Public support depends on trust and openness. Citizens do not trust leaders who operate in secret, or who lie about what they have done.
Strong powers, secure in their leadership, do not have to fight wars. Rising powers pick their fights and win. Declining powers pick their fights, too, but victory escapes them.
Wartime dishonesty and deception, however, carry potential for harm beyond any other kind of lie a political leader might tell. Fifteen years after President Bush led the United States to smash Saddam Hussein and his state, we ought to remember where he brought us.
Play the position on the board. Find the best move. If you lose the current game, you can set up the pieces and play again. Many players have won when they thought they might lose, if they just find the best move at each turn.
If you have read Revolution in the Air, or a couple of related posts on Gene Sharp’s From Dictatorship to Democracy, you know that I agree with Sharp’s ideas about how to resist dictatorships in order to replace them with democratic forms of governance.