MUNecdote: Crisis Mind Games

by Richard Zhao on January 25, 2017

Here at Best Delegate, we’re implementing monthly themes for our website content! The theme for January is Crisis Committees – enjoy this crisis-filled article and let us know what you think!

Additionally, The MUNecdote (MUN-Anecdote) series, will be a string of epic MUN stories, retold by our Media Associates to guide you through their mindset on how they successfully circumvented themselves out of some sticky situations. 

Author: John Salchak

France flag

Most delegates eventually find themselves in the elusive crisis committee at some point in their lengthy MUN careers. My first crisis experience was actually my first time ever doing Model UN. I was a nervous wreck, I had no idea what crisis committees were, and I was thrust into a complicated and fast-paced triple joint crisis. I was the Foreign Minister of Russia and the year was 1804. A fragile peace held Europe together, and my task was to navigate European politics to build a coalition capable of landing a fatal blow to Napoleon’s dreams of conquest and subsequently razing his empire to the ground.

The conference was held from a Friday to a Sunday, and the three parties to the conflict were Napoleonic France, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Third Coalition, which was made up of delegates from Austria, Great Britain, and Russia. Historically, Great Britain was in a state of permanent war with France for most of the period between 1800 and 1815, and the British raised multiple coalitions of various European powers to fight their French rivals. The War of the Third Coalition saw Russian and Austrian armies smashed by the brilliant Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz with a neutral Prussia standing by.  I was dedicated to not letting this happen again.

I was tired by the end of Saturday, the Foreign Ministers of Great Britain, Austria, and myself had spent most of the weekend trying to convince the Prussians to take up arms and join our coalition, but they wouldn’t budge. At one point in the day, the Prussian cabinet agreed to sign a non-aggression pact. While my committee intended to sign it, the paper got lost in the sea of crisis updates and we all forgot about it.

The situation was dire for Europe and a storm was brewing, the continent was about to go to war. The French committee had German allies and an army in Bavaria, but an hour before the last session of the day was finished, we received the worst possible news. Prussia not only rejected joining the Third Coalition, they signed an alliance with the French! It was chaos in the room as we hunted down the piece of crumpled paper with the non-aggression pact, quickly signing it to maybe buy us some time.

Desperate times call for desperate measures so we concocted a plan. The military leadership sent in the orders and my fellow Foreign Ministers were escorted by our Chair downstairs to the Prussian Cabinet. We brought with us a list of concessions we were willing to make for them to leave the French, but again, we were met with stalwart resistance. The negotiations were failing and the Prussians were adamant that an alliance with the Napoleon French was better for them. It was at that moment that the doors of the committee swung open and a Crisis Staffer came running in crying that French troops had just entered Prussian borders from multiple directions and, in the words of this staffer from 4 years ago, “They are burning villages, killing peasants, and throwing babies into bonfires while cursing the name of the King!”

It remains the most satisfying moment of my MUN career, the Prussians were in shock, and they thought they had been duped by the French. My colleagues and I stood up, we told the Prussians that they had many things to consider, we were still open to working with them, and we left. I walked out smiling because they weren’t duped by the French, they were duped by us. Earlier that night, after we left to meet with the Prussians, military leaders from the Third Coalition had ordered the elite British 95th Rifle Brigade to impersonate a French force. There was no French invasion, but by the time the Prussians realized that, the die had been cast.

The next morning, we came into committee to find a Prussian request for military aid. Sometimes all you need in a crisis committee is an old fashioned false flag operation.

Here are some more Crisis resources for your upcoming conference. Good luck and hope you thoroughly enjoyed this read!

Assassinations in MUN Crisis Committees- When To Do It, and When To Avoid It

5 Mistakes Model UN Delegates Make in Crisis Committees

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