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In Praise of VE

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Schattenmann

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The Stage

Yesterday, the world witnessed a cancellation years in the making: The withdrawal of the Viridian Entente from the 2-member Balkan Entente bloc.

The Balkan Entente was signed in 2008; it's constituent AAs being Argonaut, VE, and GOD. Argo was a smallish Green alliance with a really complicated and silly government structure, which later merged into VE leaving GOD and VE the only parties to the treaty.

For whatever reason--disbandment denial, bad breath, dumb leaders--VE was never welcome among GOD's other bloc, SuperFriends, so the perpetual bond of the Balkan Entente served VE well as an avenue to a real bloc. In the period immediately post-Pax Pacifica (while SuperFriends and C&G pinched their noses and locked lips long enough to make sure NPO was dead-dead) the Balkan Entente continued to be a boon to both VE and GOD, and VE used the period to begin exploring options to create its own power base. In October 2010, VE's efforts paid off with Pandora's Box, a bloc comprised of itself, Fok, iFok, Poison Clan, Umbrella, and GOONS.

Unfortunately for VE, just over 2 weeks after the formation of PB, GOONS and Umbrella entered into the Doom House bloc with MK. With the C&G-SuperFriends charade finally ending, VE was once again left in the lurch; rather than captaining their third-rail bloc PB, their blocmates pulled the infant bloc toward DH and C&G. VE was left straddling two irreconcilable power spheres.

The Problem

Pulled in two directions, VE sought to keep the peace. Only a very few know what must have gone on in the back rooms of DH, PB, SF, and C&G as their post-Karma nose-pinching quickly unraveled. In the end, VE was unable to stop the war that first DH and their Mjolnir allies and then DH and their Pacifican allies brought to SF in pursuit of GOD.

Regardless of whether GOD will come to terms with it, rather than defending their ally, VE was left playing conductor to the symphony of war in the first instance, and then a half-hearted defense in the second.

For over a year, the Balkan Entente was more than broken. Yet it remained. No longer an alliance between two alliances, now a sinister, mocking reminder of its failure. A sentimental relic.

For too long, the world's alliances have united almost universally behind the juvenile foreign policy most succinctly stated "friends over infra." In practice, this philosophy is more correctly "friends over infra, but not politics." And that is the entire problem with this sandbox mentality: Alliances are political entities, treaties are political unions, war is political. Any alliance--witness: even the VE--which pursues a foreign policy tainted by unions based or maintained solely upon friendship is doomed always to be leaving a friend out in the cold when the clouds of war gather.

The Solution

Alliances must learn to embrace their true nature as political entities. Alliance leaders must learn restraint in which friends should be just that, and which friends also have the political continuity to also be allies. Not every friend can be an ally.

The result of this is laid out in part in my last blog "Irreparable Damage" so titled due to OsRavan's hyperbolic claim that this cornerstone of Justitian philosophy is doing irreparable damage to Digiterra:

The result of Justitian ideology is a world where alliances and blocs form distinct identities. They have distinct, intrinsic ideologies, beliefs, and values, and from that seed of identity they grow natural allegiance to some alliances, and natural animosity toward others. They ally themselves based on political relationships that grow out of identity-based amity. These natural allies have a vested interest in the success and defense of each other, and will defend each other with conviction and dedication. Unencumbered by no (or few) illogical, friendship-only, or convenience-based treaties, these alliances or blocs are free to go to war when war is called for, or free not to go to war when war is not called for.

While OsRavan's claim was silly in context, it is true. And it is not until alliances begin to adopt it that the global stagnation created by "friends over infra" will end.

This week, the Viridian Entente has finally come to that realization, has grown the backbone to act upon it, and has faced the hard reality of life in the political arena. For its step into the future--however late--VE deserves praise. I praise VE for its decision. And I call upon all the world to look to VE's example. We can break the logjam if we are all brave.

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For whatever reason--disbandment denial, bad breath, dumb leaders--VE was never welcome among GOD's other bloc, SuperFriends

Bad breath, it was definitely bad breath. Smooth had a horrible gingivitis problem back then.

As for the rest, well, I'm not quite sure how to reply to a post with this title from you, so I won't.

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For whatever reason--disbandment denial, bad breath, dumb leaders--VE was never welcome among GOD's other bloc, SuperFriends
Bad breath, it was definitely bad breath. Smooth had a horrible gingivitis problem back then.As for the rest, well, I'm not quite sure how to reply to a post with this title from you, so I won't.

What a disappointing reply. I can only assume this means that you did not find anything in the OP to be contestable

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The idea of treaties based without regard for political reality is idiotic and unrealistic. The end result is letting yourself be put in a place to be pulled by multiple sides.

The idea of treaties based without regard for friendship and solely on political reality is equally idiotic and unrealistic. The end result is you turn into an alliance no one likes or trusts. And you have 'allies' who wont have your back when the road gets rocky.

No one should be afraid to re-evaluate treaties in peace time. And theres nothing wrong with cutting ties alla what VE did. But the implied judgement of your deriding of 'friends greater then infra,' which is that friendship has no role in the signing of treaties, is equally eye roll worthy. I dont think many people want to live in a world where treaties are just pieces of paper with no meaning or relationship behind them other than a mutual political gain. If for no other reason then that is a pretty damn shaky foundation on which to build... well... anything.

Those who base their FA on both real-politic needs *and* genuine friendships will end up with a FA foundation that can be relied on in bad as well as good times. Give me an ally I can truly trust any day of the week and twice on sunday over an 'ally' who will be with me when im on top but that I can't trust with my back turned.

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But the implied judgement of your deriding of "friends greater then infra," which is that friendship has no role in the signing of treaties, is equally eye roll worthy. I dont think many people want to live in a world where treaties are just pieces of paper with no meaning or relationship behind them other than a mutual political gain. If for no other reason then that is a pretty damn shaky foundation on which to build... well... anything.

Those who base their FA on both real-politic needs *and* genuine friendships will end up with a FA foundation that can be relied on in bad as well as good times. Give me an ally I can truly trust any day of the week and twice on Sunday over an "ally" who will be with me when I

m on top but that I can't trust with my back turned.

An okay reply, but not to this blog.

The Solution

Alliances must learn to embrace their true nature as political entities. Alliance leaders must learn restraint in which friends should be just that, and which friends also have the political continuity to also be allies. Not every friend can be an ally.

I pointedly did not include ". . . and not every ally can be a friend."

The idea that a treaty--a political union--should be entered into with another alliance with which one does not have the sufficient underlying relationship to sustain it is obvious, that's why it need not be discussed in detail.

And I say "relationship" rather than "friendship" wherever I can precisely because friendship is a playground word.

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Not to mention friendship occurs on a largely OOC level, and between individuals.

Assuming that moving away from the (ex-) PB corner of the web and back toward SF wasn't going to happen, this seems like the responsible thing to do.

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*relationship* is a vague word. Sure everything is determined by 'relationships' but thats cause everyone has a relationship good or bad strong or weak. Saying you have a 'relationship' ultimately means nothing. You and I have a relationship schatt. That doesnt mean it would be the healthy foundation of a treaty ::grins::.

I also dispute (since its a sunday night and im home and have nothing better to do) your dismissal of the word friendship. Because like it or not ic and ooc thats precisely what drives this game. Friendship and dislike. People are friends... ooc and ic (and yes the two overlap) and thats how coalitions are built. That friendship is often what drives real politic, and certainly the two are intertwined. And its also how coalitions fall apart.

Its for that very reason by the bye, that 'friends greater than infra' is still a guiding principle of this game. Why do you think alliances that abandon their friends in war are ridiculed and have such backlash that their politics become stunted and often their members leave in droves? Because the number one cardinal sin in CN is to abandon a *friend.* Not a relationship or a political connection... a *friend.* Juvenile or not. Its not cause you abandoned a 'relationship' that dishonoring a treaty is the most heinous crime in CN. Its because that 'relationship' is viewed and expected to be more then just professional. A betrayal of a treaty is viewed as a betrayal of trust on a personal level. Its one thing in CN to tell your friends ahead of time 'we cant back you cause of the political situation and thus we cant have a treaty.' And its viewed as something else to sign a treaty with your friends and then not honor that commitment.

The only reason treaties have meaning in the game is because of the consequences of not honoring them. And those consequences are based off the expectations of how 'honorable' people deal with friends, and the idea of 'friends greater then infra'. Note... that doesnt mean everyone actually meets those expectations or are friends with their treaty partners. But that is the cultural *expectation* in this game. And thus a betrayal is more then an alliance simply looking out for their own needs. You can think that silly maybe, but its the reality.

I also personally think its a good reality. Think how meaningless every action in this game would be without friendship guiding it. Theres nothing OOC really at stake unlike real life politcs. So what are the 'stakes' of cn? Pixels i suppose. But when you have large warchests mixed with ambivalence about your nation, those arent enough. What keeps the game going are the 'relationships' as you said. But specifically two types of relationships... friendship and 'hatred' (quotes since I eye roll over hating people in this game the way you do over friendship).

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Give me an ally I can truly trust any day of the week and twice on sunday over an 'ally' who will be with me when im on top but that I can't trust with my back turned.

The irony contained in this post is greater than words can describe.

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Give me an ally I can truly trust any day of the week and twice on sunday over an 'ally' who will be with me when im on top but that I can't trust with my back turned.
The irony contained in this post is greater than words can describe.

::yawns:: D34th insults ODN. Color me shocked.

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An ally shouldn't be someone you have to be able to trust completely. An ally should only be someone who you share a common cause or objective with on a temporary basis or measure. A friend however is someone you should be able to trust completely on a long term basis.

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Give me an ally I can truly trust any day of the week and twice on sunday over an 'ally' who will be with me when im on top but that I can't trust with my back turned.
The irony contained in this post is greater than words can describe.
::yawns:: D34th insults ODN. Color me shocked.

I'm not insulting ODN, I'm just pointing that based on the history of your alliance, who insulted itself with coward decisions, your comment is pure irony.

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Os, it seems you're thinking only friends can trust each other or work together on a mutual goal. Granted, it can help keep a treaty strong, but it's not necessary if your ally proves themselves loyal and you know that your alliances are guided by the same principles and worldview. Besides, there has to be something broader to keep you together beyond the social relationship between current administrations. Ignoring political reality to try to honor a friendship inevitably puts you in a position of making promises that you can't fulfill.

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a good point prodigal.

I suppose I think of it (which doesnt mean im right) that if we really have the same principles and world view we will end up forging a meaningful friendship/relationship. As opposed to say a treaty where its like (to make up an exampe) 'omg polaris wants to roll me... and they want to roll you. I HATE you but lets team up to take out polaris.' That wouldnt be a healthy treaty and is what I think of when people say 'real politic' treaties.

And I suppose its the chicken and the egg. i.e do you share the same principles/worldviews and thus forge friendships, or do your friendships tend to create a shared worldview/principles. It probably happens both ways, so I definitely agree with you though prodigal. I guess I just see the two tightly intertwined.

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OsRavan, you already agree with me:

Alliance leaders must learn restraint in which friends should be just that, and which friends also have the political continuity to also be allies.

Those who base their FA on both real-politic needs *and* genuine friendships will end up with a FA foundation that can be relied on in bad as well as good times.

But you persist in an argument of vocabulary. This is not the intellectual debate you keep asking me for. You must come to realize that sometimes you're going to agree with even your most bitter opponents. Take myself and VE, for example.

*relationship* is a vague word. Sure everything is determined by 'relationships' but thats cause everyone has a relationship good or bad strong or weak. Saying you have a 'relationship' ultimately means nothing. You and I have a relationship schatt. That doesnt mean it would be the healthy foundation of a treaty ::grins::.

I also dispute (since its a sunday night and im home and have nothing better to do) your dismissal of the word friendship. Because like it or not ic and ooc thats precisely what drives this game. Friendship and dislike. People are friends... ooc and ic (and yes the two overlap) and thats how coalitions are built. That friendship is often what drives real politic, and certainly the two are intertwined. And its also how coalitions fall apart.

Its for that very reason by the bye, that 'friends greater than infra' is still a guiding principle of this game. Why do you think alliances that abandon their friends in war are ridiculed and have such backlash that their politics become stunted and often their members leave in droves? Because the number one cardinal sin in CN is to abandon a *friend.* Not a relationship or a political connection... a *friend.* Juvenile or not. Its not cause you abandoned a 'relationship' that dishonoring a treaty is the most heinous crime in CN. Its because that 'relationship' is viewed and expected to be more then just professional. A betrayal of a treaty is viewed as a betrayal of trust on a personal level. Its one thing in CN to tell your friends ahead of time 'we cant back you cause of the political situation and thus we cant have a treaty.' And its viewed as something else to sign a treaty with your friends and then not honor that commitment.

The only reason treaties have meaning in the game is because of the consequences of not honoring them. And those consequences are based off the expectations of how 'honorable' people deal with friends, and the idea of 'friends greater then infra'. Note... that doesnt mean everyone actually meets those expectations or are friends with their treaty partners. But that is the cultural *expectation* in this game. And thus a betrayal is more then an alliance simply looking out for their own needs. You can think that silly maybe, but its the reality.

I also personally think its a good reality. Think how meaningless every action in this game would be without friendship guiding it. Theres nothing OOC really at stake unlike real life politcs. So what are the 'stakes' of cn? Pixels i suppose. But when you have large warchests mixed with ambivalence about your nation, those arent enough. What keeps the game going are the 'relationships' as you said. But specifically two types of relationships... friendship and 'hatred' (quotes since I eye roll over hating people in this game the way you do over friendship).

Once again, while I am discussing what are generally hypotheticals, you on the other hand are spouting fantasies. You have taken a position opposite me (because its Sunday and you're bored) and worked from there, and in doing so everything you just wrote is actually the exact opposite of reality.

GATO ditched its allies in the middle of war because their dislike of Polaris was greater than their commitment to their "Friends" Weeks later, GATO was welcomed with open arms into C&G. Because GATO demonstrated its willingness to ditch friends for politics.

When the democratic process of MCXA resulted in an ouster of gov, TSO was formed, pilfered a large part of the membership, and threatened war with their former alliance mates. They were rewarded with protection from TOP and stigmatization of MCXA proper.

Polaris made Echelon and MCXA the alliances they were, from middling lackies to harbingers of doom. Then the two delivered Polaris into the clutches of their enemy, and Polari's oldest and best friends looked on with smiles wide whilst MK defender Polaris, first coining the term "friends>infra" They were rewarded with membership in One Vision.

Bob Ilyani and his regent used the malicious OOC slanders of a jilted divorcee to hand over the founders of Ragnarok to MK for techraiding. They betrayed the heart--however flawed--of RoK and their friendship. Bob went straight from that snafu into the Heptagon of TOP.

You are wrong to the very core, OsRavan. "Friendship" is a concept alien to this world, because Digiterra is a political realm.

The ethereal consequences you say await those who ditch their friends are reserved only for those alliances which are already ostracized, and whose actions won't matter either way because they've been labeled "WAE" and will not be judged based upon action until their tormentors have decided to use them. Like ODN. Like GATO. Even now, like Pacifica.

Far from friendship, the alliances at the top of the global order have used the sentimentality of the many for manipulation, selling-out, and betrayal over and over again. Their system--the global system--in the mean time, has tangled up the vast majority of political actors, leaving only a tightly-controlled, boring, ballet rather than the dynamic and fast-paced vision I have laid out.

But, you have already stated your agreement with my original position, and we need not argue the detrimental effects of the dominant foreign policy philosophy; we're living in it, we all know.

An ally shouldn't be someone you have to be able to trust completely. An ally should only be someone who you share a common cause or objective with on a temporary basis or measure. A friend however is someone you should be able to trust completely on a long term basis.

You are very correct. There are many times in which a purely political union is entirely appropriate, Mjolnir is the purest and best example, and it worked out splendidly. The ability to react to the moment by maintaining the greatest sovereignty (freedom) is a central goal of Justitian ideology.

Give me an ally I can truly trust any day of the week and twice on sunday over an 'ally' who will be with me when im on top but that I can't trust with my back turned.
The irony contained in this post is greater than words can describe.
::yawns:: D34th insults ODN. Color me shocked.

We were all thinking it.

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Heh way to dance around the actual points with insults. That doesnt foster the intellectual quality and civil discourse *you* claim to want. No need to push a political agenda here schatt. I doubt anyone is going to be swayed one way or the other by this sort of back and forth. You dont have to agree with me. I expect we view this game differently. Thats fine. But honestly, look at the sort of replies people like prodigal put up... thoughtful genuine disagreement and well thought out replies in a non-offensive manner. Then look at your post.

I'll save time and ignore the insults and the political spin you're spewing. I mean honestly, dont you ever get bored of twisting facts for PR points?. I'll just address the one actual point you raised...

"You are wrong to the very core, OsRavan. "Friendship" is a concept alien to this world, because Digiterra is a political realm. "

Heh thats patently and laughably not true.

1) politics in cn at its very core is simply the interactions and sympathies of people. It may drive you insane, but CN is not real life. *All* of our politics is driven purely by the personal. Like and dislike of X. TRy to wrap it up in grand causes all you like, and thats what it comes down to.

2)Again like it or not, world politics in this game are driven by the relationships among an active core on places like IRC and skype and to a lesser extent the forums. The bonds or lack thereof between these individuals then trickles down to alliance politics.

You can dislike this, and ill even sympathize to an extent. I find it counter productive at times how things work. But if you want to pretend that bob is driven by 'philosophy' or political codes or morals or anything else as opposed to "I like you" or "I dislike you" then ill laugh in your face.

But by all means go back to your pr spinning and random insulting. I wouldnt want to distract you with an honest conversation.

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1) politics in cn at its very core is simply the interactions and sympathies of people. It may drive you insane, but CN is not real life. *All* of our politics is driven purely by the personal. Like and dislike of X. TRy to wrap it up in grand causes all you like, and thats what it comes down to.

I will raise you a WuT. There was no like, dislike or any element of major friendship between the majority of signatories prior to the creation of WuT, only common goals and aims. This can be shown as factual if we view the collapse of WuT as the result of these common goals and aims being fulfilled after GWIII.

You don't have to have to be friends to work for the common goal. Heck, "friendship" in this realm is used as a hostage in most situations anyway.

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OsRavan, once again, while you offer only generalities, I have demonstrated specific examples across decades which disprove everything you have said. And, once again, unable to match fact with fantasy, you have accused me of insulting you simply because I have stymied you. Well, I suppose I have insulted your ego, at least.

I understand your withdrawal. Reality locked this one up before the first keystroke.

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DH and their Pacifican allies

lol good one :v:

Well...since NPO was included as part of the Doomhouse coalition as per GOD's surrender terms, technically you were allies with DH for the duration of the conflict.

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Heh way to dance around the actual points with insults.

Quite the opposite, he addresses your points with specific arguments and examples, whereas you insist with generic statements that you don't even bother to document (let alone "prove"), at the same time implicitly and explicitly accusing him of being intellectually dishonest.

I think that your ideas are clever and that you are an intelligent poster, but your absolute refusal to give Shatt credit and to approach his posts openly is handicapping your contribution to the discussion, which is a loss for everyone.

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GATO ditched its allies in the middle of war because their dislike of Polaris was greater than their commitment to their "Friends". Weeks later, GATO was welcomed with open arms into C&G. Because GATO demonstrated its willingness to ditch friends for politics.

Don't quite have the three years free that I'd need to really join in here but the Laslo Institute for Facts would like to highlight the fact that "weeks" is probably a bit unfair, although I suppose you can measure anything in weeks providing there's been more than one since.

Carry on!

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GATO ditched its allies in the middle of war because their dislike of Polaris was greater than their commitment to their "Friends". Weeks later, GATO was welcomed with open arms into C&G. Because GATO demonstrated its willingness to ditch friends for politics.
Don't quite have the three years free that I'd need to really join in here but the Laslo Institute for Facts would like to highlight the fact that "weeks" is probably a bit unfair, although I suppose you can measure anything in weeks providing there's been more than one since.Carry on!

You're correct; I thought it was sooner because OsRavan's mid-war re-election campaign platform during the DH-NPO War included getting closer to GATO. But, it was Feb when GATO ditched it friends to war due to politics, and it was September when C&G admitted GATO without GATO having done anything in between except talk. They could not have demonstrated any sort of post-DH/NPO return to commitment between condemning their old allies and finding their new ones because there was no war that concerned them in between.

And, again, completely contrary to OsRavan's insistence that friendships create a strong incentive to honor treaties because of the extreme taboo of a friend ditching a friend/ally, OsRavan himself campaigned on getting closer to GATO while the war that GATO fudged was still going on.

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Heh way to dance around the actual points with insults.
Quite the opposite, he addresses your points with specific arguments and examples, whereas you insist with generic statements that you don't even bother to document (let alone "prove"), at the same time implicitly and explicitly accusing him of being intellectually dishonest.I think that your ideas are clever and that you are an intelligent poster, but your absolute refusal to give Shatt credit and to approach his posts openly is handicapping your contribution to the discussion, which is a loss for everyone.

He always does this. He starts up, I reply, he dismisses anything that I say as propaganda, and accuses me of doing nothing but insulting people while insulting me. Last exchange, his vague claims included that CoJ's philosophies are destroying the very game and that I personally make it my business to run people out of the game with OOC attacks. Still no bodies.

He dismisses the OWF altogether because of the ~level of discourse~ yet he--and everyone, out there, you--has the ability to do something about it and won't.

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