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The Art of What You Can Get Away With

lamuella

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There are two types of politics in Cyber Nations: idealism and Realpolitik.

Idealists face the world in a certain way because that's how their code tells them to play. GPA might be a perfect example of an idealist alliance. In their deeply twisted way the Cult of Justitia might be another one.

Realpolitik is the art of facing the world on its terms and winning. Alliances of convenience, ground level pragmatism, the art of "power makes right".

Most alliances are a combination of the two, especially in what they dry to put into the world. You have the way you want the world to be, and it informs the changes you can make. You do what you are ideologically motivated to do, what you have the ability to do, and what the considerations of others can't or won't stop you from doing. Some alliances are further towards the ideological, some further towards the pragmatic, but they're part of the same spectrum. Politics in Cyber Nations is and always has been the art of what you can get away with.

Not that everyone agrees with this.. The "because we can" school is frequently countered by those decrying their actions, claiming such actions will build up later resentment. Certainly, the history of Cyber Nations is littered with the burnt remains of those who thought they could get away with what they were doing. Some however go further and decry the actions of the "because we can" school in the basis that certain behaviours should be avoided on moral or ethical grounds.

Until comparatively recently, a major factor in what was and was not allowable in the game was, bluntly, what Doomhouse and friends wanted to happen. Three years ago, the norm in major wars was that they ended in white peace. GOONS wanted there to be consequences for attacking them, so they pushed for reparations and surrenders in their wars. At the time this was greeted with outrage, but it was accepted and adopted over time, because the people in charge wanted it to happen. This was realpolitik: GOONS wanted it and could get away with it, so they had it.

At the moment, the most powerful influence on the current war is how Equilibrium want to fight it. They have decided that they can enforce the idea that "an attack on one is an attack on all", to allow their allies to enter the fray wherever and whenever they wish. If other people don't like it, they can settle it on the battlefield. Equilibrium want this and think they can get away with this, so they have this.

What this means, though is something quite interesting. It means that this war is not about the toppling of an oppressor or the defeat of a tyrant, but about a pragmatic shift in the balance of power, from what group X can get away with to what group Y can get away with.

This coin is still in the air, and it may not land in the way anyone expects it to, but one thing is clear from the actions of Equilibrium: power will continue to be exercised in the same way. What this means, unexpectedly, is that whether Doomhouse win or lose, their way of playing the game will still be the victor.



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I disagree with your conclusions. How the game is played can change based on how the alliances handle the post-war game based upon the results of the war. If an established group can never impact how the game is played then you may as well say the game really hasn't been changed since it's inception in how it is played.. in which case, Doomhouse wasn't even around to be called the parent of the style of play.. either way, your conclusions are not accurate.

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I think you're misinterpreting my conclusions. How the game is played constantly changes based on how alliances decide they want it to change. Politics is consensus. I gave a pretty clear example of that with the shift from white peace only to surrenders being acceptable.

My argument is that Equilibrium have demonstrated how they want to play the game by their actions, and it's remarkably similar to how it was played before. It's not that they couldn't play another way, it's that they aren't playing another way.

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That style of play is indeed far older than three years. Case in point, you have the whole Moldavi Doctrine era of NPO supremacy, with the "Woodstock Massacre" being a case study for wars of occupation, which seem to be rarer nowadays, with the exception of "Overtime". Thankfully. Politics is not always about concensus, insomuch as acceptance; few liked the Moldavi Doctrine dunig its time for instance, but it was years before the political situation shifted to result in its destruction. Few probably liked DH before now; hence the current balance of alliances.

War. War never changes. Sort of.

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Good read. It could lead to a lot of debates and walls of text, but for the moment I'll limit myself to the following thought.

You seem to be saying that the current shift of power (if a shift will be) won't bring substantial changes in the "might makes right" paradigm, i.e. the change will be enacted through hard power. What IMHO is missing from your analysis is that the hard power that has been united against DH & co is the result of a long exercise of "soft power" (values, morals, standards, call it as you like).

The tool looks the same, and it is the same, but what allowed AI & co to put it together might not have been the same process.

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Well, yeah, but the way DH started playing it is in turn remarkably similar to how it was played in the good old days of Pacifican dominance, it's just that there was a short break in between.

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"Three years ago, the norm in major wars was that they ended in white peace."

Which explains the record-setting reps charged to TOP and IRON three years ago, I take it?

Fun fact: the Dave War was the first global war without reparations since at least 2007.

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You have to figure though. Its not that Equilibrium thinks they can get away with it. Rather, the whole "an attack on one is an attack on all" is a strategic necessity due to the top tier situation. Only by drawing on a huge coalition of alliances can EQ wrangle up enough top tier to fight on the various fronts. I would not call it an effort to change the power equation. Rather, its a cause and effect scenario.

Over the last 3 years, DH has systematically dismantled the top tiers of various alliances and power bases one at a time. That is the cause. The effect is those top tiers that remain outside DH's control realized odds were good they were next, so now they are forming a method of collective security through the Equilibrium Protocol. I get the feeling the complaints from the other side on this stems from the fact that they can no longer dog pile particular top tiers and take them apart one by one. Particularly the Ai top tier, of which the general consensus of Bob was the next group to be targeted with or without this war.

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I agree that, to some extent, this sort of temporary MDP coalition represents something that the numerically stronger force is "getting away with." But we've been headed in this direction for a looong time, and anyone who follows the treaty web should realize at this point that individual treaties are basically only degrees of connectivity between a handful of interconnected spheres, and not actually binding ties. I'm not endorsing that trend at all - quite the opposite - but it's time people start getting real about how wars are actually fought and acknowledge that individual treaties are mostly useless and often counter-productive to a dynamic political environment. So maybe this will lead to a more honest approach to treaties, blocs, and coalitions.

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I guess GOONS wanted a Vladimir for this war?

Equilibrium is "getting away with it" only because people are sick of everything that DH "got away with" and have agreed to help put it to an end. This is hardly a shift in power to a new party. It is the dissolution of that absolute power. If you look at the treaties, Equilibrium is quite spread out and disparate. Our mutual banner will vanish when the last war is ended.

Some suggest that Duckroll will be the next hegemonic power, but I disagree, at least for now. Just being the largest bloc does not equate to unquestioned power. But what you have, is several "power spheres" interested in no longer living under the reign of their Doomhouse oppressors, and so they have agreed to work together to bring about your end.

Our "attack on one is an attack on all" mantra is because the evil of DH is so great that we have decided to not risk failure by letting DH pick and choose where their counters will be, or any other silly "treaty chain" shenanigans. It is a direct result of the intense hatred and ill will you and yours have generated for yourselves, and a statement that other parties (such as CoJ, for example) are invited to join the efforts without fear of abandonment or targeted retribution.

Our cause is of justice, not of a grab for power, and thus there is no such thing as "bandwagoning." We're all in this, together, to eliminate our mutual oppressors.

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Hey, Lamuella, glad to see you're around; after so many years of silence I had assumed you had quit.

For my part--and I won't ask you to agree--I simply find a certain comicality to the gnashing of teeth on your all's part over our decision to handle this specific war in this specific way. In my perspective, it has no sweeping implications for the future, much less is it the heralding of a once-and-future-hegemony as claimed by the most Chicken-Little-alarmists out there. It is the way this war must be fought, so that's they way we're fighting it.

They have decided that they can enforce the idea that "an attack on one is an attack on all"

References to this execution of the war as some kind of new, novel idea are silly.

The idea of an attack on one party being an attack on the other is the foundation of compulsive (in CoJ-speak, "Mutual" in the mundane) treaties and protectorates. It is uncommon for a DoW not to be posted, but it is far from true that we are not posting DoWs. The coaltiion has been created with the pretense of one-for-all; as follows, every alliance that has joined the coalition (to my knowledge) has posted an initial DoW stating their initial target and their membership/affiliation with Equilibrium with its one-for-all pretense. We are acting as one in concert, if, after an AA has joined, we need one nation of their's out of 50 to cover a stagger on another alliance, and you want a DoW posted for that given that Equilibrium has clearly stated what we're doing, then you're being silly.

This is more than DH afforded anyone in the DH-NPO War as a matter of too-cool-for-school bucking of Digiterran norms, and it was intentional to muddy the waters so that when the alliances they attacked "recognized hostilities" DH could activate defensive treaties. In point of fact, DH ran circles around their more conservative adversaries because they manipulated our adherence to conservatism and relied upon their own allies' unquestioning attitude about it.

Quit the opposite in this case, we have laid bare from the beginning exatly what the score is. For years, Doom House has laughed at "e-lawyers" and "moralists" while outmaneuvering them (and frankly from CoJ's position out here in the desert even I have chuckled at DH's ability to do it so well, it was funny in a very wry way). Today, however, many of your talking heads have suddenly found religion and find it repugnant that we're refusing to tie our own hands in this war, making moanful appeals to our senses of honor and morality to condemn us with charges of unethical behavior, and making legalistic arguments about defense and aggression and when a war begins or ends etc etc. That's funny, too.

For example, during the DH-NPO War, CoJ and 64Digits noticed that ODN's protectorate was still sending them massive amount sof tech while ODN was engaged with us. We informed the protectorate, Flood Empire, that those tech deals were an act of war. ODN went ballistic, threatened reparations, and at the end of the war CoJ had to apologize as a term of peace. Today, Voodoo of TOP queried GLoF to demand that GLoF declare peace with a dealer sending tech to TOP during war. Shall we now demand that TOP apologize to GLoF as a condition for peace? Simply comical.

Doom House and its allies know the basic system of inter-alliance norms which are not laws, but which everyone works within to make life easier for themselves. Not accepting ZI targets, sanctioning rogues, not aiding rogues, not aiding people at war. But for their own amusement DH has thumbed its nose at these norms, and applied them to everyone but themselves, while putting in place new and bizarre norms to benefit themselves. Now that their opponents have gotten a little--a very, very little--liberal with the traditional norms, you all can't hardly believe what evil devils we are.

Spare me.

whether Doomhouse win or lose, their way of playing the game will still be the victor.

I hope this isn't a prelude to years of silly Vladimiresque claims of ~true victory~ on the part of DH.


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What this means, unexpectedly, is that whether Doomhouse win or lose, their way of playing the game will still be the victor.
You mean that the victor will still be whoever goes around bulling alliances until he annoys so many people that everyone agrees to join forces and dogpile on his ass?
Well, the reality of what has happened to any hegemonic bloc that has degenerated in such course of action, proves your premise wrong.

But, also, to call that juvenile course of action as "Realpolitik" is... well, insultant for the term. "Realpolitik" implies achieving your objectives and still coming up clean and with a smile, close to a White Knight PR rating. On the contrary, the "deal with it" doctrine is just plain inmature bulling, doomed to failure in a place like Bob, where war is economically inefficient for the most part.

Many of you, moralist-loathers, fail to realize the true power of morals. Nations in Bob are more than just a bunch of infra, tech and land. They are his leaders, and behind those leaders, there is an human being. Alliances are more than just bunchs of infra, tech and land packed togheter. They are communities of human beings. You may force them to do your bidding at the point of a gun, for a time. But whoever wins their hearts and minds, wins on the long run. And when your Hegemonic bloc acts in the stupid way you are defending, they pave half the way for the so-called "moralists".

So, there are indeed two kinds of politics in Planet Bob: The good ones that let you survive and maybe become a power-player, and the bad ones that get you destroyed. Your "realpolitik" belongs to the latter kind, as the community of Planet Bob is once again on the way to prove.

Respectifully

Me

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Drawing a comparison between Doomhouse and Equilibrium (and implicitly therefore drawing a comparison between the Dave War and this current war), ignores the individual circumstances. The Dave War was a repeat curbstomp attempt of the same corner of the globe with absolutely no CB. This war has a much more reasonable CB. And since this war hasn't ended yet, the only way to weigh the "realpolitik-ness" of the two compared to each other is by how they each started. The differences are fairly significant, you cannot say that the spirit of Doomhouse lives on in this war.

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This war is more idealism (aka scoring grudges against DH) than realpolitik. Half of the alliances on Equilibrium side can simply avoid this war, since the original CB had nothing to do with them, and yet gain from its result. The fact that so many disparate alliances banded together against a common foe shows how much tension was built up against DH.

MK, Umbrella, TOP, etc. have much less support now than what NPO had in 2008.

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Anytime there is an actual war (as opposed to prearranged ones or the parties coming to a peaceful agreement), regardless of the philosophy the alliances involved take and the reason(s) for it, it's about "right makes right." This is true in every single war in CN history.

If it were about anything else, the issue would be worked out peacefully.

I'm not saying that there aren't reasons to war, I'm just pointing out that the act of war itself IS an attempt to force some view on someone else period. Both parties are trying to "get away with" something.

In this war, at least officially here is the argument:

1. Rogue attacks AI.

2. People not AI attack rogue without AI okay. Umbrella says "we can, via BIBO." By attacking the rogue without AI's okay, Umbrella (and whoever else is doing so) is acting in a way that forces their view that BIBO is okay (or that they have a "right" to attack a rouge who isn't attack their alliance without an okay from the group attacked) regardless of what AI wants on AI. If AI decides not to do anything about it, Umbrella get their way through force.

3. AI chooses not to accept BIBO and decides to attack Umbrella as a result thus attempting to force the view that BIBO is not okay on Umbrella.

Both alliance are relying on "right makes right" to have their way. So far neither has decided it's not worth forcing the issue via military and so the war rages on.

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