How does the “two steps forward, one step back tactic work?”
First step forward
Evil sets an objective that might help it attain its ultimate end goal. It seeks to achieve this goal in step two, but does not reveal this. Instead, it merely floats the idea or subtly introduces the evil through minor actions or events. Reaction to this is gauged.
Second step forward
The evil course of action is implemented, often in a severe or extreme manner. The goal set in the first step forward is achieved here. This is met with opposition only after the damage has already been inflicted.
One step back
Evil is finally resisted and it deliberately takes a step back to feign weakness or seem diplomatic, but it leaves the achieved goal and the consequent damage it has caused intact. Those resisting evil feel as if they have won some sort of victory, as if they have forced evil into some kind of compromise. There exists the illusion of regained territory, but nothing has been gained at all because the territory evil won in step one remains firmly within its control. In other words, it has advanced while its opponents have been pushed back.
Cue the music again
Evil begins planning its next “two step forward, one step back tactic” on the same battlefield to gain further ground if needed; or it opens a new front somewhere else if all of its objectives on a given battlefield have already been achieved.
From Francis Berger's excellent blog - read the whole thing.
Francis is a regular and valued commenter here, but I only recently started reading his blog. He posts daily at present, and this contains some of the best writing and wisest thinking you'll currently find on the blogosphere.
Why not take a look?