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Federation: An Alternative to Merger?

HM Solomon I

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On today's Planet Bob, merger is seemingly more common among established alliances, instead of just recently established micros. The reason for this is simple entropy, despite the fact that I believe CN to have a decent amount of life left in it, the older alliances become, the more likely it is for them to go into decline, a state which often leads to merger. It takes a lot more effort to keep an alliance going for five years than it does for one year, so it is significantly less likely for an alliance to last for five than for one. Sometimes this decline leads to disbandment and migration (often referred to as annexation, a term I believe to be inaccurate as it implies that the disbanding alliance is not making the decision), in which an alliance decides to disband and to encourage its members to move to another specified alliance, often one with which the now disbanded alliance shared a close bond (one example being when TFD disbanded and most of its former members moved over to NATO).

The other option is merger. In a merger, two or more alliances cease to be and come together to form one big, new alliance. The main problem with mergers is that they often don't last as the cultures of the merged alliances often clash and don't work together as hoped. This leads to the splintering of the newly formed alliance. However, what if there was a way to get the best of both worlds: give the cultures of the alliances their own space so they may continue on, but also create a central authority to share the resources of each alliance to the benefit of all parties. This would especially be helpful in cases where three or more alliances want to come together as more alliances means more cultures to potentially clash.

Enter the concept of federation. In a federation, the previously independent, now constituent alliances maintain a level of sovereignty, but they also establish a central government to manage the entire federation, which can also have the power to constrain or limit the authority of the constituent alliances in some or all spheres by imposing federal policies, laws, and decisions. The only current example that even approximates a federation is the bloc Die Linke, comprised of the alliances LSF, UCR, and SWF. However, Die Linke is much more like a confederation than a federation. While the terms of its establishing treaty prohibit secession like a federation, unlike a federation its member alliances are still treated as fully sovereign entities. There is a central committee that must approve of bloc-wide treaties and of new new members of the bloc, but there is nothing to prevent an alliance from holding or signing treaties individually, so they can still carry on their own foreign affairs if they wish to. All the members of the bloc are also completely in control of their own internal affairs, and despite the fact that all members are members of all the member alliances, through the dual membership clause, members cannot vote on internal matters (anything that does not affect the bloc as a whole, presumably) outside of their own alliance, and nor can the central authority impose any sort of internal policies on the member alliances that would in any way supersede their own, individual internal policies and affairs.

This makes Die Linke a loose association rather than a strong association. If three or more alliances were to come together, instead of merging or forming a Die Linke-esque loose association, they could form a federation. In a federation of alliances, the constituent alliances would retain some sense of sovereignty, but there would be a central authority which would exercise full sovereignty on behalf of the federation. To illustrate how such a federation might work, here is a hypothetical example of one:

Three alliances A, B, and C come together to form a federation. This federation is called the ABC Federation (because names don't have to be creative in hypothetical examples). Each alliance keeps its own government and its distinct character, including its forums and in-game AA. In the ABC Federation, a member of alliance A is simultaneously a member of the ABC Federation
and
Alliance A. However, only ABC Federation elected officials can see the forums of more than just their home alliance (A, B, or C) and the ABC Federation central forums. Everyone else can
only
see the forums of their home alliance and the ABC Federation central forums.

The ABC Federation has a central government comprised, in part, of a Legislative Council, whose nine members are elected every three months from the constituent alliances of the Federation (three from each); these elections take place on the constituent alliance's own forums. This Council has the power to make Federation-wide law which is binding on all the constituent alliances, their members, and the Federation as a whole; all legislation passed by the Council must be signed by the Federation's President to become effective, which gives the President the option to veto legislation (a veto may be overturned by a unanimous vote of the Legislative Council).

The Federation's central government also contains the President of the Federation, who is directly elected by all members of the Federation on the Federation's central forums once every three months (offset so the Presidential elections do not coincide with the Legislative Council elections). Any Federation member may stand for election to the Presidency. The President then nominates a number of Federation members to serve in his/her Cabinet, which includes a Secretary of Foreign Affairs, a Secretary of Defense, a Secretary of Commerce (in charge of economic and fiscal matters), a Secretary of Internal Affairs (in charge of immigration, education, and general membership concerns), and a Secretary of Justice (in charge of internal security and serves as chief prosecutor). All nominations must be confirmed by the Legislative Council. The President also nominates three Federation members to serve on the Judicial Committee of the Legislative Council, an autonomous committee of the Council. This committee serves as the court of final appeals for all the constituent alliances' judicial/court processes. Though the President may veto legislation passed by the Legislative Council, even if the President signs a piece of legislation, the Secretary of Justice may submit laws to the Judicial Committee, after which the Committee may invalidate the law as being unconstitutional, per the Federation's Charter. The Secretary of Justice may do the same for laws or policies passed by the governments of the Federation's constituent alliances, and a designated (by the constituent alliance in question) official or body of each constituent alliance may sue for the invalidation of any Federation law, policy, or executive action by the Judicial Committee. The Judicial Committee has the additional power to resolve disputes between constituent alliances.

Given that members of each constituent alliance are dually members of the entire Federation, the Federation will establish a uniform policy for transferring membership among the constituent alliances which is much less involved than becoming a member from outside the Federation. This means that members can easily move between the constituent alliances, and the policy for such moving is set by the Federation, but that those outside the Federation can only join the Federation by becoming a member of one of the constituent alliances and that each constituent alliance sets the policy by which this can happen. This is an example of the federal character of this Federation, in which sovereignty and governing power is shared by the Federation and its constituent alliances.

Obviously, there would be many more details that would need to be worked out, but this provides a basic framework under which such a federation could be formed. I apologize for the longer nature of this entry, but federation is a somewhat complicated idea and I wanted to do it justice.



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It makes much more sense for a federation to harmonize services as opposed to laws - laws that are unpopular in one alliance makes it much more likely for them to break away (as they already have the pre-existing forum infrastructure available).

Trades, tech, education, even defense would be good places to start cooperation, rather than going from the top down.

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Well services would be harmonized as well, that's why there is a cabinet. There would of course be a charter for the entire Federation, and I actually don't really foresee the Legislative Council (or equivalent) having to pass many laws. It may be desirable, however, to leave some things out of the Charter so that they can be more easily changed. The main purpose of the Legislative Council in the example I gave is to check the power of the President and his/her cabinet and to pass only those policies/laws necessary to define the relationship among the constituent alliances.

For example, the Judicial Committee can resolve disputes, but the Legislative Council could then make some policy to deter future, similar disputes. Most of the work of the government would thus be done through the Cabinet.

I realize though that, in my example, I don't really talk that much about these services, which is mostly because I wanted to talk about the underlying mechanics of the Federation and the relationships among its parts. In other words, the theoretical framework, rather than the day-to-day workings.

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I'm pretty sure OBR, RotR and whatever their third AA is meets your federation idea. They are ultimately the same entity but each have their own rules and individual purpose.

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Except all but OBR are ostensibly not alliances, according to their own wiki pages. Blackwater is a military order and RotR is like a tech/trade partner AA, it is just for those that don't want to join an alliance but still want protection and some advice. It's definitely similar, but not really the same.

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A few of us, myself included tried an idea similar to this back in 07 and it didn't get off the ground. Primary concern was that some alliances might have more influence than others and would use the Federation to achieve their own goals.

Truth be told in CN I think an imperial federation would be the better way to go anyway.

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Charles, I think I remember that.

At the end of the day, how is the federation actually operationally different than different ministries or divisions in one alliance? The rules are basically the same in most alliance with a few exceptions. That does not sound much different than many blocs in their heyday.

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Seems to take the one advantage of having a couple alliances in close coordination(a larger pool of gov't folks to work on the same number of members) and kick that to replace it with a clumsy top down structure.

Folks that take enough pride in keeping their AA should be able to take enough pride to run a proper gov't for it. I've seen this sort of thing happen informally before, but it invariably works out to a stronger, more well organized alliance either keeping a weaker, less well organized alliance afloat or getting dragged down by double the workload for an alliance that isn't their own. There's really no way around it and I would stridently object to taking on extra long term work for an alliance that exists just to exist and doesn't actually want to work on itself.

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Much of what was said, esp. Auctor.

Alliances that can no longer function and provide the ecosystem for gov't people to come about and do the important tasks, need to fold. Any alliance that isn't doing what they want to do, or is striving to become better (and working towards it), need to go else where, where their assests (members, activity, warchests/tech, technical skill of their members [if any]) can be utilized.

Alliances that are more mature members (elite, so each member can mostly take care of themselves, without detriment to themselves or the alliance), or are a less serious alliances (not ones with delousions of grandour, or perhaps are more of retirement homes) I'm okay with (I suppose...).

Really though, we need less alliances. And I if DL is to continue to exist, I would love for them to work more closely together (internally), or honestly just merge.

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Re: Orville and Charles

Preventing one alliance from using the Federation for its own ends could be largely prevented with a few procedural safeguards, so I don't see that as much of a problem. One such safeguard that I didn't mention in my example is that any action by whatever body is designated as the legislative authority of the Federation could require that the majority include at least one representative of each constituent alliance. This would effectively give alliances a legislative veto to prevent actions that they deem contrary to their interests. Importantly, in the example above, it would ensure that each constituent alliance would have representation in the cabinet by preventing the President from stacking it with members of just one or two of the several alliances.

The major difference between this and a traditional alliance is that the constituent alliances retain some sense of sovereignty within a federal system, which means that they are all legally equal to each other and that they are all entitled to substantively participate in the federal government, which brings me to my response re: Auctor and King William.

It is entirely possible for an alliance to have declined without being unmanageable and wholly inactive. The goal of federation would be to save the culture of formerly separate alliances, which of course assumes that there is something left to save. The fact is that nobody wants to disband even when it is clear that there is no saving the situation; it took TFD many months to finally make the decision. This is because any alliance that has been around for more than a couple of years develops a culture and a unique sense of community, and it's members often want to maintain that. However, that is very difficult to do after disbandment or merger because circumstances necessitate that the members of the now defunct alliance become accustomed to their new situation, whether they like it or not. In this process, their old sense of community is typically all but lost.

Further, it is entirely possible for three or more very close alliances to want to federate without having been in decline because by doing so they can keep much of their current political and cultural order and still harmonize and combine their resources for their mutual benefit. Blocs are typically military entities, and they are often ill-suited to fully integrate government services and functions, which is the whole point of the concept of Federation: it goes beyond what most blocs aim to do.

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A few of us, myself included tried an idea similar to this back in 07 and it didn't get off the ground. Primary concern was that some alliances might have more influence than others and would use the Federation to achieve their own goals.

You mean like...a federation.

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Well, as Hand I basically wanted to create my own federation after the war. It can work with a strong leader, but without one it would be little more than a traditional bloc.

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So you mean something like the Harmlins except a bit closer?

http://cybernations.wikia.com/wiki/The_H%C3%A4rmlins

Sort of, a Federation would be closer, but it would stop short of a full merger. It implies political integration beyond the military obligations inherent in a bloc or treaty, even one as strong as The Härmlins. A Federation also isn't really a DMT, as its members are members of the alliance in which they reside and the Federation, but they aren't actually full members of all the constituent alliances of the Federation.

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