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Secession and the Sovereignty GameStrategy and Tactics for Aspiring Nations$
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Ryan D. Griffiths

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781501754746

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501754746.001.0001

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The Causes and Consequences of Bad Strategy and Poor Tactics

The Causes and Consequences of Bad Strategy and Poor Tactics

(p.155) 11 The Causes and Consequences of Bad Strategy and Poor Tactics
Secession and the Sovereignty Game

Ryan D. Griffiths

Cornell University Press

This chapter identifies the causes and consequences of bad strategy and poor tactics. It distinguishes three sources of error: incomplete information, wishful thinking, and mixed objectives. The chapter also explains the metaphor of the “game” when referring to the subject matter as the sovereignty game, noting that the sovereignty game is shaped by an evolving set of formal and informal rules and practices. The chapter presents two reasons why wishful thinking is present in secessionist movements: the first follows from the problem of incomplete information and the second is the simple penchant for hope. The chapter also analyses how internal division (factionalism) complicates the strategic and tactical playing field and its effects within self-determination groups. The product of the different causes of bad strategy is a game where play is varied and where actors often make poor choices. The game is coherent enough to shape play but sufficiently vague to produce misaligned tactics. With such awareness, the chapter outlines these causes and their consequences and, in doing so, begin to set the stage for a more prescriptive discussion.

Keywords:   bad strategy, poor tactics, incomplete information, wishful thinking, mixed objectives, sovereignty game, secessionist movements, factionalism

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