Case Study: Ex-Moralists
And so we’re in what may be the final alliance sphere topic: Ex-moralists. Sometimes called Ex-AFM, or the old-beer-o-sphere minus XX. Ex-SF, etc. As you can see, the first and easiest criticism of the sphere is that they are not known as anything in particular, but rather are referred to as what they once were. In recent years, no one has referred to the “Chestnut” sphere or anything similar to that. How could this smattering of alliances be responsible for the political stagnation of Planet Bob? Well, the first is the most obvious.
No sphere has suffered from inactivity more than the ex-moralist one. The alliances of Invicta, NADC, Sparta, RIA – just to name a few – are shells of what they once were. Their talent has either left the game or fled to other AAs; their remaining cores are stagnant and unwilling to look to alternatives (save part of NADCs membership, who merged into TTK earlier this year). Simply existing as institutions, these alliances do not contribute to politics in any meaningful way or at least have not in the last five years or more – and there is little indication that this can or will ever change. Inactivity is a more general problem that plagues the planet, but it is especially prominent in this sphere when it comes to their (lack of) politics.
The next issue with the Ex-Moralist sphere is their relatively inflexible position when it comes to moralist politics. The remaining leadership in these alliances are only interested in political narratives that make them the good guys and everyone else the bad ones. While Cobrasphere was criticized by me for their inability to build a coalition based on behavior – the Ex-Moralist sphere tends to reduce alliances into two categories, those who are with them and those who are Oculus. This very reduction tends to inhibit the alliance from dynamic possibilities and it is assured that their FA will only have a single, but non-pursued direction. Because they have not become the active villains capable of challenging the political status quo, which from their perspective is led by an evil Hegemon, they perpetuate the system they supposedly loathe. It doesn’t help them that their overall ideologies are inherently even more defensive than those of Oculus or RFI. I would be curious as to the last war (with more than two alliances) that this sphere actually started as a belligerent. Since the ideology of the Ex-Moralist is so much focused on their own inferiority and underdog story, they also frequently fail to analyze the political, military and economic realities of their situation. I can recall various times where I was privy to the goings on of this sphere over the years, and the most consistent theme is the belief that their alliances are ideologically required to defend their allies by attacking the biggest threat. The complete lack of strategic thinking is a result of their ideological constriction: Better strategists would not spend their time in the leadership of an alliance that inhibits their ability to make moves. The end result is clear. They are predictable in politics to the point where it is generally less valuable to hold a mutual level treaty with them than an optional one, since the alliances of this sphere are more likely to bring risk with little to no upside into the equation.
If we think about why these alliances are the way they are, we just need to look at history. When the CnG - SF hegemony fell apart, these alliances were cast into a sort of free agent status, racking up treaties with a variety of spheres but never committing to any of them. Aftermath, among the worst blocs I’ve been able to witness, formed and the sphere found itself frequently at odds with whoever was in power at any given time. When Oculus red carpet rolled out, their sphere had already fractured. Its leadership maintained the status quo. Half of them were anti-Oculus and the other half wanted things to go on as they had. These alliances have been shaped almost entirely by the history of hegemony rather than their own individual actions. It never mattered who was in charge ultimately – this collection of defensive oriented alliances without firm ambitions and who could not even agree amongst themselves were always going to be pushed to the periphery. It comes as little surprise then that the wheat separated from the chaff as time went on, and in many cases, that meant the draining and disbandment of the majority of the sphere.
How can they be blamed today? Leadership. They can be blamed for what they didn’t do, for what they continue to not do and their continued ambitions to be great without putting in a modicum of effort to be more than what they are. For some of these alliances, they are resigned to a position of contentedness – not one that is born of security but founded on the belief that the alliances simply do not matter enough to do anything anymore. They are “waiting for the lights to go out” and their leadership cares so little for their members that they aren’t even willing to try to improve their precarious situations. These are alliances with failed leaders who care more about the prestige of their titles than their membership’s security or alliance cultures, which they have both allowed to erode. The very boredom that paralyzes their membership and plagues their leadership is sourced at least in part by their lack of internal cultures and utter inability to churn out rustlings of excitement from within their memberships.
The diamond in the rough for these alliances has historically been TTK, the only alliance militarily capable and active. And while CCC & Sparta are appearing to wake up after their long slumbers, I’m not convinced that this sphere is really reigniting. Unlike the other spheres covered in the case studies, I have no belief that these problems can be rectified or can be addressed from the outside. From my perspective, the majority of this sphere might as well disband or declare neutrality if they aren’t playing the political game anymore.
After this, the next post in the series will be focused on the commonalities and standout points in the case studies. I want to discuss some of the issues raised in General Kanabis’ insightful comment ( https://forums.cybernations.net/blogs/entry/4365-case-study-cobrasphere/?tab=comments#comment-40044) about some of the issues identified in this series of case studies, as well some others that I will bring in. Hopefully that sort of “wrap up” assessment of problems will point us toward some solutions or at least open a discussion about them.
Edited by Tevron