This is, of course, unquestionably brilliant as befits anything from the pen (keyboard?) of the inestimable Osnos.

However, dear Peter, I would cavil with you on one historical allusion (and forgive me if I have misread the intention if not the letter of your comment):

"....elites adhered to all things French and yet went to war with Napoleon for territorial dominance...." If I am not in error, was it not Napoleon who went to war with Russia who was the seeker of territorial dominance and came to grief on the horrors of a Belarusian winter !??


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fought instead went to war.....

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