The Game vs. Jay-Z Through an IR Lens

Mark Lynch brings an international relations perspective to The Game’s recent attacks on Jay-Z:

So what does Jay-Z do? If he hits back hard in public, the Game will gain in publicity even if he loses… the classic problem of a great power confronted by a smaller annoying challenger. And given his demonstrated skills and talent, and his track record against G-Unit, the Game may well score some points. At the least, it would bring Jay-Z down to his level — bogging him down in an asymmetric war negating the hegemon’s primary advantages. If Jay-Z tries to use his structural power to kill Game’s career (block him from releasing albums or booking tour dates or appearing at the Grammy Awards), it could be seen as a wimpy and pathetic operation — especially since it would be exposed on Twitter and the hip hop blogs.

The Realist advice? His best hope is probably to sit back and let the Game self-destruct, something of which he’s quite capable (he’s already backing away from the hit on Beyonce) — while working behind the scenes to maintain his own alliance structure and to prevent any defections over to the Game’s camp. And it seems that thus far, that’s exactly what he’s doing. We’ll see if that’s a winning strategy…. or if he’s just biding his time getting ready for a counter-attack. Either way, I’ve succeeded in wasting a lot of time so… mission accomplished!

One thing worth noting is that even when restraint can be identified as the best strategy, it’s often emotionally difficult to choose this path. When someone comes after you, you get angry. You want to respond in an intelligent and effective manner, yes, but there’s also a desire to do something that will make you feel better. And lashing out as per the Ledeen Doctrine (“Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business”) often can achieve that goal. And of course there’s a risk that members of Jay-Z’s camp who urge a policy of restraint will be accused of actively harboring pro-Game sympathies or otherwise failing to manifest a sufficient degree of loyalty.