For some reason Napoleon reminded me of Joseph Smith. My mind coughed up a reason but I’m not convinced they are the real ones and not just stuff it came up with after the fact to justify itself.
They both looked to the past for heroes and models, and borrowed the forms of the past. Napoleon to military greco romans and JS to scriptures. Perhaps thats just the times and its in stark contrast with our chronocentric generation.
Betrayers – he was hard on his subordinates and alienated some. It seems he made Talleyrand and Metternich really really angry at him. Maybe they would have not have worked so tirelessly for his downfall? Still, all of Europe got really serious about defeating him raising armies much larger than before and paying the huge costs of it. JS too seemed to have a lot.
Some other thoughts:
Definitely a military genius. Particularly evident in the final campaigns to save the empire, then his throne, then france. I think though the army size that best showed this genius was about 70,000. Larger armies didn’t seem to benefit as much. His innovations seemed to be concentration of artillery and independent but mutually supporting flexible corps that made it difficult for armies to attack him in the flank without getting attacked in turn (some of these were french innovations that he first implemented successfully). The three armies system in the 1813 campaign kind of mirrored that. Really though I think he had a sort of temporal-spatial intution that allowed him to read terrain and see how things would play out.
Dictators Handbook – Attack quickly, come to peace quickly (win or lose). He did not do this 1811-1814. Granted he hadn’t really had to deal with losing before.
Bruce Bueno da Mesquite- Peace w/ England? It seems he gave England no incentives to maintain the peace. One idea would be to give them good trading rights in France? He didn’t do that because he was a protectionist and a statist. His attempts to improve Frances economy failed (Conscription may have something to do with that.) and at some points they had to make exceptions to the continental system to get enough shoes for his soldiers. But trading rights would create a peace faction in England.
Turchin – Instability in elites. For a member of the nobility his family was in dire straits.
Nation-States: It seems nationalism first really got going in France during the 100 years was as a response to English depredations. Then it spread to England via their antagonisms. Napoleon seemed to have spread it through Europe: Italy, Germany, and perhaps poland. It was weaker than, as the story numerous generals fighting for other nations shows. But thanks to him it become a powerful force that would peak in the world wars. It has been in decline for a while. Maybe it will come back or maybe it will disappear and our descendants will replace it with something as alien and inscrutable to us as the physite controversies.