"I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I have seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness... and by what you decide to do every day, you will be a good man - or not. "
"A king may move a man, a father may claim a son. But remember that, even when those who move you be kings or men of power, your soul is in your keeping alone. When you stand before God you cannot say "but I was told by others to do thus" or that "virtue was not convenient at the time." This will not suffice. Remember that."
Kingdom of Heaven
Class is, far and away, the most valuable quality an alliance leader can have. It doesn't matter if you have horrific, vulgar, or downright stupid views if you can act classy and handle situations with respect - there will always be someone at your back.
We live, now, in an age of micro-alliances, blocs, and massive amounts of protectorates. The crappy byproduct of this is typical; some newb leader with no respect for the status quo or precedent invariably spouts off with threats his own alliance could never dream to actually enforce, and their protector is (willingly or not) forced to back it up if not for the protectorate's reputation, then for their own since they've put it on the line. This does nothing but foster bad karma and a complete disdain for the parties in question, across the board.
Levelheadedness, humility, and above all classiness will get you the respect of your protectors and the world at large. No one in their right mind would, or should underrate this - Opethian's been riding his PR wave since the second Great War and it's saved his hide more times then I care to count.
Disbandment, harsh terms, and all the other things people in general don't like (whether they say it or not) wouldn't be necessary without the spite and disrespect that's been thrown around since the fourth Great War. The fact is, when spite comes into play what's a fist fight becomes a blood feud, and you end up with no choice but to cripple them severely - be it disbandment, or harsh terms. Even despite, even if your opponent could never hope to match you on equal terms, they could still wait and hit you when your weak, or when they've got a lot of nukes, and what's the point in worrying about that?
Why bother when all it takes to avoid it is a non-hostile conversation? I understand spite well. I won't deny it's been the motivation for much of what I've done on CN and I've made no bones about that. I consider myself a repenting alcoholic of sorts, though. I'm experimenting with different approaches and seeing how it pans out.
Those reading this may be familiar with our recent war with the Christian Coalition of Countries, and this is a good example. In any other war we would've been blunt, cold, and given them crippling terms or flat out disbanded them. That's standard protocol, since we generally don't go to war unless we really don't like you and it's usually never pretty.
CCC provided a good opportunity to experiment some, though. Both sides made sure no one trolled, we kept in touch and more or less kept it polite, we didn't make them bend over backwards with crappy terms, and the war was kept short and to the point.
I liked it, it beat the crap out of all the trolling in GW3 and the downright spite in and after GW4. I don't have to really have to worry about a CCC bandwagon in the future because it's not real likely, as it was with any of the other situations.
I guess my point can be summed up pretty simply - act right and you'll probably get treated right, or as various bibles put it, "Do unto others as you would have done unto you."
If you don't want to be approached by irrational blowhards hitting above their pay grade, don't do it yourself. If you don't want to pay 200 mil in reparations along with never be able to vote in the senate or take a leak without supervision don't force others to do it.
Cyber-Nations is what we all make of it, ultimately.