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TV Tropes Monday: Genghis Gambit


Tweet of the Day: War in the Lands of Midnight


Diplomacy and offers of peace in our time are all well and good but nothing brings people together (at least temporarily) as a common enemy. But those are hard to find so sometimes you may have to create them.

Enter the Genghis Gambit.

The threat might run the gamut from real to illusory. For example, it might be a real rival which has clashed with group/state in the past and while dangerous it is not as dangerous as other threats. Or it may simply be a easy to pick on minority or movement whose demands challenge the group/state identity in some way but do not posses any real power to affect change or attack the group in question. Either way, the person employing the gambit has to spin the threat in such a way as to appear more menacing that the threat from the rivalries between the factions they are attempting to unite.

Of course such gambits can backfire. The once insignificant enemy might just been a sleeping giant that has the power to destroy not only the gambler but all his new found allies, or crushing said insignificant enemy might spin out of control, specially if the acts against the faction become so barbaric that they can gain good publicity from being the oppressed or a rival faction gains significant credit in said conflict thus taking the lead away from the gambler. And if the threat is such that it can crush all beneath it unless the rival factions unite, what is stopping one or more of those factions from switching sides to to ally with it or declare their neutrality until the dust settles and they are the only ones left?

This trope needs a sharp writer that can create sharper characters to pull it off.



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