Surely the worst position to adopt as political powers contend for control of a new era is that of the moderate middle-of-the-spectrum compromiser between the various camps of extreme views.
This is true no matter how shifted the spectrum you are middling in. Of many examples to choose from, my favorite is Banisadr.
Abolhassan Banisadr was a hardliner in the Iranian nationalist dimension, middle-of-the-roader on religious issues, his attachment to the Ayatollah Khomeini and adoption of the religious element in opposing the Shah pulled other nationalists, but not religious zealots who primarily supported Khomeini, into the revolution. Banisadr helped form the new government. Subsequently, the extremists purged moderates, Banisadr was a moderate and ultimately fled Iran’s clerical forces disguised as a fully-veiled woman.
Banisadr had a Ph.D. from the Sorbonne and was responsible for the deaths of the people who trusted his judgement and followed his lead, and from whom he derived his influence. I thought the Sorbonne’s representatives should have shot him dead on the tarmac as he left the plane in Paris to inform the world that was bad judgement in their view, lest the world come to believe a Sorbonne education useless in the practical world.
The man went into a violent revolutionary situation as a moderate in some dimension and did not maintain an independent and superior armed force!
Equivalents have happened in every revolutionary situation, Moscow and France and Cuba and … They somehow don’t get used as the proper examples they are, most of them being dead. And they are dead, because the dynamics are against being a mild and compromising non-vigilent normalcy-biased moderate : everyone else will resort to killing before you do, you are not essential to any of those groups’ success, your moderating and peacekeeping efforts are a hindrance to many, and your normalcy bias prevents you from grasping how fast things are changing. Events blindside you, generally from ambush.
The alternative, choosing one of the winning extremist positions, is equally fraught, and perhaps even worse. People and groups in violent revolutionary situations tend to get used and used up*, hard to tell sometimes where you are in a hierarchy of manipulators. Add in the problem of getting accurate intel, which only gets worse as the system collapses, and doing the right thing and the right thing to ensure your safety as much as possible and the outcome you think best for you and yours, very difficult indeed.
The entire west is ending political dominance of our planet, no government is stable in the tsunami of political and economic changes that this cycle’s end of the era will bring. But depend upon it, many of us will be faced with the possibility of extremists seizing political power.
A good strategy for choosing tactics, to prevent short-term necessity from dominating your future by side-effects, is a necessity alternative to depending on luck or prayer.
So, some bits of advice about how people handled these situations in history :
First, never trust anyone you don’t trust completely. That is, you can’t be surprised so easily if distrustful, well-armed, have the most effective, best positioned, largest amount of firepower, and have enough important enough hostages. Especially, ‘Lots of important hostages’, hostages who are kept far away in your innermost ring of security.
Generally speaking, in the histories I have read, positions of that relative power were sufficient to prevent treachery and deter use of force. I stopped watching ‘Game of Thrones’ the first time one of their treacheries happened : real people in history sometimes got it from inlaws, or a cousin, rarely a jealous brother, but they were never killed by un-trusted rivals unless it was an anonymous ambush, because everyone had hostages. Hostages fit in, no problem, because everyone sent their children off to other homes to be brought up through their young adulthood, pages through squire. For tradesmen, it was apprenticeship, but always young men going to other’s households as part of their learning phase and also being social bonds for the future.
Between allies, they were signs of continuing trust and sources of continuing understanding. Between maybe not allies, the same and people were careful to have someone with you all the time. Openly and casually, nothing hidden, but you were not going to escape, hostage.
So, if you are so foolish so as to have become a peacemaker among wolves, and as a moderating influence on the wolves, insist that everyone exchange hostages. All children, brothers and sisters should be exchanged so that everyone holds one of everyone else’s loved ones, and wives should be circulating between the families. A lot of information will be exchanged in that. And friendships formed, if everyone is careful. Also, futures ruined if people are not very careful for the safety of each other’s children, so they must be coddled.
Peace can be kept so long as the information flows. If you are really skilled in producing peace, you will arrange marriages among the hostages and keepers.
Be careful, 9/11 was also clearly arranged death for many of those people. Sacrificial lambs are common in power games.
In this effort, I strongly recommend never doing harm to a fellow human. Those kind of things lead to non-linear effects, which is why false flag massacres are such a good tool for guiding political opinion. Make some group out to be the bad guy in random deaths, and a government has support for whatever extreme measure it might like to use. There is no need for guns or explosives, there are far more effective tools for replacing governments than that.
But however that goes, it is about not allowing events to get out of control. If they do, run as far and as fast as you can go, start over elsewhere. Peace will return when the ammunition is expended.
Beyond that, NEVER support, and be very much on guard against, any group advocating violence against people. Those are extremists. You should be very wary of extremists, they are the people who kill moderate peacekeepers because moderate peacekeepers thwart their plans.
You are at a serious disadvantage, they will start shooting first, and if you start shooting first, people might think you are yourself an extremist. Plan accordingly, but know you are very vulnerable if you are in the midst of people with guns, and are trying to keep the peace. Some of those people might not want peace.
Everything in the world is biased toward a facade of normalcy. The bad judgement produced by that bias probably kills more people in revolutionary situations than any other flaw of thinking.
If you are going to be a peace keeping moderate, say a Libertarian Constitutionalist, in the midst of people willing to do violence, you have to plan better than Banisadr. Your moderation in thought and action, your wanting peace, is a very major liability unless you have a sound strategy, a good plan, and lots of backup.
Arms to keep the peace, and people convincingly expert in their use, there is no substitute. Defense experts, and every position enough backup, because your population blends its own defense into everything. Centralized military stuff is for the birds.
Note that there is a fine line between the competent bunch of good guys who everyone is happy to have around being socially and economically useful and a bunch of muscled thugs with paunches and too much fancy equipment bullying people and taxing them. Integrate with the community to prevent that.
*In defense of our great nation and lack of much ideology, I would point out that the ideological masters of propaganda have completely failed to use it to run a government, Marxist-Lenninist governments disappeared. Not quite the same, however, as not knowing how to socially destabilized a country. So don’t mistake the various components, it is easy to be overconfident.