It has now been a month since the Order left terms and the hard work of innumerable Pacificans saw its reward. It is of no controversy to say that they surpassed all global expectations in the process.
When entering terms over eleven months ago, most international observers worked with the hopeful assumption that the Order would decay under the dual pressures of isolation and deprivation, as so many others have in the past. Buying into their own oppositionalist propaganda they saw a weak and untested people, a tyrannical, decadent and incompetent government, and ultimately an alliance incapable of survival when put to the test. This particular prophecy, shouted with such self-confidence, is now understandably long forgotten by its proponents.
In place of this lost prophecy we see an Emperor who wins plaudits the world over, and a people so universally respected that leaders wish they could fire and replace their own.
A New Emperor
A Great War heralds two things of importance in the world. The first is certain: a sea change in politics. The old blocs fall away, new ones emerge, and all the power-relations of the world melt away only to recrystallise in ways that one could never have imagined. The second is less certain, but nevertheless flows naturally from the first: a change in the Emperor of the New Pacific Order. The Emperor serves the Order, not vice versa, and so is always mindful that he must be best suited for the circumstances of the day -- as those change so it becomes more likely that the Emperor will. Thus we saw Comrade Dilber take over after the Great Patriotic War, Comrade Revenge take over after the First War of Retribution, and Comrade Emperor Cortath take over after the Armageddon War.
Here it is of importance to note that for the first time in Pacifican history its Emperor has come from the economic wing of the Order -- a break from the historic dominance of the military, diplomacy and justice wings. The expertise and understanding that this brought was vital to the emphasis put on growth in the initial weeks following the war, as entire systems had to be overhauled to deal with the new restrictions specifically designed to stunt growth and demoralise Pacificans. And overhauled they were, as the restrictions were swept to irrelevance and growth proceeded at an unprecedented pace, moving the alliance from unsanctioned to second in score and strength, and giving the Order's former enemies a fright in the process. Significant at this time was the efficiency with which reparations were dealt with, especially after the appointment of Comrade Jasmine -- an efficiency which soon earned her an Imperial office.
In this we can begin to recognise the second drive that Emperor Cortath brought with him: the drive for reform. The public face of this has been the transformation of the Imperial office, with with five out of nine Imperial Officers now owing their appointment to the new Emperor -- none of them coming from the pre-Bobian 'old guard'. But this is merely a symptom of a wider movement, demonstrating fresh strategic priorities and structures for the new era, from reform in Council (an ongoing process) and modernisation in Pacific Bank, to reprioritisation in diplomacy and rapprochement with historic enemies.
The Emperor's new politics in foreign affairs are understandably what will draw the most global attention, and on this count there is much to discuss. The most immediate issue that had to be resolved was the forcible opening of the red trading sphere. This had been a major issue of contention since the very earliest days of the Order, with comrades debating all manner of paths forward -- from one extreme to another and back again. The question of how to move forward was thus before the Order, not least because many of the new alliances springing up were headed by self-styled enemies of the Order -- from arch-moralist Villien with The Moralist Front, to arch-misleading journalist Schattenmann with the Cult of Justitia.
The path chosen was what became known as Red Dawn, which not only embraced the new opening of the sphere but offered material assistance to the new red sphere alliances and encouraged other alliances to join. Though, as became generally known, this particular path was blocked by the G15 until after the war terms expired and the treaty could be officially signed, it has nevertheless proved itself both as an experiment in a more cooperative brand of diplomacy for the Order, and as a demonstration of that brand to international analysts. This policy received its first real test when Solidarity was set up as an anti-Pacifican alternative bloc on red, highlighting the remaining spirit of opposition even to an enslaved Order, and urging others to flock to its banner. However, such was the success of the path taken that Solidarity's anti-Pacifican call found no echo, and it ultimately dissolved as two thirds of its membership left to sign the Red Dawn treaty instead.
Lesser known foreign policies that the Emperor headed up personally were the rapprochements with alliances where relations had traditionally been strained, thus demonstrating the strong desire to reshape the terrain within which the Order existed. In each case substantial concessions were required from both sides, and substantial hurdles (or trenches) had to be overcome. As one might expect progress has varied, with some hurdles bypassed quicker and easier than others; however, it has everywhere been significant, even if just in laying the requisite groundwork of humanisation and understanding.
Nevertheless, as the Order exited terms the cry went up that it was signing treaties with old friends -- as if this were a surprise! Indeed, the Order is deeply indebted to a number of alliances, who continued to fight throughout the most destructive war in history while others ran for cover -- and this is a debt which the Emperor has desires to repay, with a substantial rebuilding fund established for the purpose.
However, this only tells half the story. During the period under terms the Order reconciled with many old friends and made many new ones -- often those dissatisfied with the incoherence of the continuing anti-Pacifican propaganda. We can thus see closer relations with numerous alliances who fought with Karma, some of whom, such as NSO, the Order now has a treaty with, and some of whom found their pursuit blocked by the very same alliances that would later complain about the lack of treaties with Karma alliances.
The history of the past ten months thus establish themselves proudly in the mind of the Pacifican, demonstrating what is best about the Order -- the ability to objectively view what does and does not work today, regardless of its success in the past.
An Old People
We have begun to tease out some of the grand strategic reasons for the Order's success in driving through terms, as it was rejuvenated economically, politically and diplomatically. However, one must refrain from subscribing simply to a 'great man' theory of events. No matter how great the man at the top, he can only work with the resources he has and within the limits they impose. This is doubly true of a Pacifican Emperor, who embodies the strengths, desires and fears of the Body Republic, with the mere duty of channelling them in a concentrated and effective manner. On this the new Emperor has found himself a wealthy man.
One of the major expectations of the Order's enemies was first that the membership would desert during a destructive war, and then after that failed to materialise that they would desert during a year-long period of terms that pauperised them. This too failed to materialise -- something that was unsurprising to those with memories of the great sieges of 2003-2006. The importance of this strong Pacifican spirit and camaraderie is not to be underestimated, for it was this that allowed the growth of the institutions that the Emperor put to such good use in everything from maintaining surrender term compliance to ghost monitoring.
No less important was that within the Body Republic he had many comrades of outstanding ability surging through the ranks and using the institutions of the Order to utilise their skills to their full potential. Thus we can see in Military Intelligence Comrade Waterana, or in the Praetorian Guard Comrade Gandroff, or in the Pacifican Bank Comrade Letum; and indeed, Comrades JesseEnd and Jasmine both came through the ranks during this period to become Imperial Officers.
From this we can recognise a victory of Pacifican culture -- of permanent revolution and revolutionary institutions; of solidarity and meritocracy; of imperial sovereignty and freedom of potential.
A New Golden Age
Such has been the rapid advance of the Order over the past ten months that one could be forgiven for thinking that it had already entered a golden age as soon as the war ended and terms began. Freed from the constraints of power it was able to rediscover its revolutionary foundations, knock down and rebuild formerly load-bearing walls, and fill the resulting structure with a Body Republic of unlimited talents. Disastrous events thus proved an ideal opportunity for examination and reinvention of structures and policies throughout. But it goes without saying that one cannot speak of a golden age while an oppressor breaths down one's neck threatening to sink in its fangs.
The oppressor has now gone, and the Order has survived a uniquely vulnerable moment in its history as it leapt over the abyss to independence. It would be remiss to presuppose what an intensely unpredictable future holds, but an engine as powerful as this Body Republic driven by this Imperial Staff may yet find that the coming age belongs to her.