Im not saying to STFU because anyone manufactured a weak CB. Im saying STFU because weak CBs have been, and will always be the norm on CN. It was a conflict that everyone KNEW was going to happen eventually, who gives a flying crap how it started. There is not one power base EVER in CN, that has not acted on a WEAK CB. Thats why CBs are flipping stupid.
Source: Which ally will act first?
I take inspiration from Rush's posts (there are many others before and after that one) to try discuss what CBs are, what they represent in CN and what part they play in the fun we have (or don't have) when playing this crazy game.
First of all, what is a CB? Most would probably disagree on the details, but I think that most of us can agree that a CB is some incident/offense that is cited as the reason some party is going at war for. For example, the attacks on a nation protected by the MK were the CB of the last big war.
Note that this definition doesn't in any way mean that the CB is the "real" reason someone goes to war for: it's just the reason that is cited as such by the attacking party.
Also note that this definition doesn't necessarily mean that the reason is sound either. Just to inject a bit of reverse Godwin's Law, let's remember Germany's terrible CB for their attack against Poland in WWII: if crappy CBs got used in Real Life we can certainly (OOC) accept them in CN too (of course, making all sorts of complaints is fair game from an IC/RP POV!)
I definitely disagree with the theory that a CB doesn't need to be sold as "just" by the party acting on it: justice is necessarily implied when you talk of a "casus belli", simply because that's what that expression is meant to mean. MK's "Save Dave93" CB was probably a bit too evidently done in jest, but it was anyway formally a "real" CB as the DoW and a large part of their public discourse was, at least initially, centered around the defence of their sovereignty. Considering the joking attitude, that would have probably be too weak for several others (it would have just looked as a way to dress a CB-less aggression with some mockery), but it was IMHO OK for the MK's "lulzy" style (which, like it or not - and I can personally appreciate it in little quantities only - is legitimate gameplay - we don't have to be "realistic").
Examples aside, it wouldn't make us any good to reduce our terminology to a newspeak-like blob with limited expressiveness, especially considering that we can use other better suited terms for what other we want to say (e.g. "reason", "conspiracy", "imperialism", "warmongering", "defence", "anticipatory attack"... Whatever you want to say.)
It's not difficult: call it a CB if it's one!
I thus totally disagree with Rush that there are only "weak" CBs and that their quality isn't important. As Bama put it in that very discussion, controversy is necessary for our fun and, should lazily-manufactured CBs (or the complete lack of them) become the norm, we would all quickly become quite bored of our discussions about wars (which are a large part of the activity on these forums). "Stupid" CBs can maybe work, at times, but there's a level of stupidity beyond which any and every debate becomes simply absurd. Cross that line and you'll lose a significant part of the fun associated with global conflicts.
There's also no need at all to give up on having meaningful CBs, as they're really cheap to obtain. CN is largely based on imagination: it doesn't really take that much of an effort to make up something to justify what you want to do anyway, especially as often there's some suitable "raw material" (= not too ancient incident) already around, and/or it's relatively easy to bait/provoke others. If I am not mistaken the LSF recently intentionally provoked NoR exactly to get the war they wanted: I don't see why anyone else can't cause/fabricate/exploit some other incident as well.
If purely strategic reasons are all you can come up with, instead, just go with them and be happy. But please don't call them a "CB", or at least be ready to accept that people will criticize you from an OOC angle if you try to do that: they're right. If your purely strategic reasons anyway work to convince your side/allies, you'll be fine... And "being fine" (victorious) isn't a necessary goal for playing, anyway (be my guest and go with your own style).
On the other hand, if your adversaries openly explain their attacks with purely strategic reasons, it doesn't make sense to (OOC) cry foul for their lack of a CB. There's no rule in the game about CBs being necessary to act, and an OOC criticism would in this case be unfair. Just avoid looking stupid and confine your criticism in the IC/RP realm.
(I hoped that I explained my POV without too much unneeded blah blah... )