Putin's Case for Authoritarianism
Having studied Russia’s political and military decisions, I noticed that Putin is playing tit-for-tat, while the NATO allies are acting like a suicidal kamikaze pilot.
Putin’s authoritarian strategy is beating the West’s hysterical, often wasteful beating about the bush. The West just wants Russia destroyed at all cost, whereas Putin is still looking for mutual benefits. For example, as of today, Russia is still sending ships full of liquid natural gas to the ports of The Netherlands, France, Spain, and Belgium, and has even managed to sell oil to the USA despite the embargo.
But when Chili accepted an arms deal with the USA, Putin banned importing Chilean bananas. When the Western banking system cut Russia out of SWIFT, Putin launched Russia’s own SPFS together with China. And after the bombing of the Nordstream pipelines, Putin may be hinting at cutting the Red Sea AAE-1 internet cables connecting the Western banking system to Hong Kong.
There are many such cases that show Putin has studied game theory. Scientists have long discovered the superior strategy in competitive environments. Namely, it is tit-for-tat.
Tit-for-tat means to replay one’s opponents last move in every round. Tit-for-tat players usually start optimistically with a beneficial move. If the opponent’s last move was beneficial to us, we shall then play another equally beneficial move. If it was detrimental, we shall play an equally detrimental move.
NATO’s hell-bent desire for destruction prevents it from playing this superior strategy. By the science of game theory, however, if Putin keeps up his tit-for-tat approach toward both its enemies and allies, he is likely to win in the long run. He is set to defeat the West.
The NATO allies see Putin’s Russia as an authoritarian regime. Foreign Affairs calls Putin’s military strategy top-down, which is supposed to be a bad thing, while NATO is supposed to follow a democratic, bottom-up approach. Yet, NATO is the one losing. And to explain why NATO is losing, they have to admit Putin’s “adaptive advantage” is greater.
Really? Why is Putin’s adaptive advantage greater? May it be that he is playing the superior game of tit-for-tat?
Why Authority Matters
Now, here comes the case for authoritarianism. You see, if you are blessed with the sort of leadership that understands game theory, you will still need to get the rest of your society to play along. You cannot allow detractors, traitors, mutineers, or saboteurs undermining your superior strategy.
To win with tit-for-tat as an organization, its leaders need to have the authority to impose obedience onto their employees. Obedience, mind you, not to the leaders, but to the principles of tit-for-tat. Good leadership needs to also be authoritarian in order to keep its often less-good followers in check. Vice versa, democracy doesn’t make bad leadership better.
Maybe there is a reason why Russia is both authoritarian and winning? I’m not saying any random authoritarian regime will win the upper hand. I am saying that an authoritarian regime that also plays tit-for-tat will beat its enemies in the long run, by forming beneficial alliances with those who return the favors, and by destroying those who don’t.
NATO pundits are slowly coming to terms with this reality that Putin is indeed winning the war, despite being “an evil dictator, authoritarian, disrespectful of the LGBT community,” and so on. Maybe the LGBT crowd are more likely to betray their societies (as we can see in the West), so Putin has no choice but to oppress their voices.
Western allies, at this point, can only double-down on their destructive path, which will very likely end in the collapse of Western European economies. The West is on a kamikaze collision course with a nation and a leader that has a proven track record of playing nothing but winning moves.
Western leaders should be taking notes. If only Europe would learn to play tit-for-tat. We might win Russia’s resources for our economies, and we would be able to decouple from the USA.