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The Purpose of War


Ferrous

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In Vladimir's latest blog entry, Thesis, Antithesis: the Story of a Great War, we saw the creation of a theoretical framework for describing political trends in the Cyberverse. Underlying these trends are two basic axioms: war is inevitable, and political power does not last forever. The reasons why can be analyzed in detail, but they basically boil down to the fundamental nature of the Cyberverse, namely, that this is a game, and it is no fun when one gets stuck in a predictable scenario.

The overall trend, in short, is basically as follows: for a period of time, a ruling party maintains the dominant political power in the Cyberverse. Over time, an opposing party will try to topple them through political maneuvering, until the point where they believe they have enough military power to bring down the forces that be. Once the dominant forces are replaced, a new era starts and the trend starts over again. Hence Vladimir's basic argument that history is cyclical in nature.

By this reasoning, we've had three major eras, and are beginning a fourth, although this matter may be up for dispute:

  • Era 1: Inception of the Cyberverse, no dominant faction. Leads up to the first Great War
  • Era 2: With an increasingly bipolar Cyberverse, two parties struggle for power. First Great War starts, NPO and friends surrender, leading to the second era that is essentially ruled by the CoaLUEtion. NPO, after their surrender, regain their military power and begin to place themselves in a political position to be the undisputed leading faction of CN. CoaLUEtion sees the challenge and get their own allies, leading up to GWII and GWIII.
  • Era 3: The second and third Great Wars happen in early 2007, leaving the NPO and their allies in a position of power at the end, and their opponents very much weakened. Throughout 2007 and 2008, a number of political occurrences happen which essentially reflect a growing opposition to the NPO and their allies. Near the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, this opposition slowly takes form, resulting in the most recent Great War. NPO and their allies are defeated, ushering in a new era where a new faction is dominant.
  • Era 4: Currently in its inception. There is no single dominant faction at this point, since the opposing faction to the NPO (and the hegemony) was only a loosely organized coalition, and not a formal bloc. The current period may be perhaps better described as a period of transition, rather than a true era.

With this kind of framework, and this basic description of the political history, there comes an important question. Why go to war in the first place? In the world outside of Planet Bob, war is typically for material wealth, including acquisition of more land, natural resources, or things of that sort. However, that is not the case in the Cyberverse. True, war can be profitable, but the political consequences of profiteering are usually too large in order to conduct this kind of a war. Of course, there are several reasons to go to war, namely, that war is fun, to get revenge, or to gain material wealth. However, the most basic reason, and the one seen on the large scale of Cybernations is quite simply to gain more political power. Power, to use one common definition, is the ability to control another individual's actions. Those who perceive the existing political superstructure to be infringing on their ability to control their own actions will seek to break away or change the political powers that be. Over time, simple statistics will dictate that eventually the powers will topple. The remaining question, in this direction of thought, is simply, "how."

Given this framework, it may be wise for many alliances to re-evaluate their political strategies. For example, for an alliance that is too easily tied into the MDP web, it is easily dragged into conflicts that it may not wish to be a part of, but its agreements dictate its course of direction. No alliance wishes to be another's pawn, as we all wish to have some control over our own choices. However, with every mutual defense pact we sign, we forfeit some degree of our sovereignty, increasingly tying our fates to a larger struggle that no single individual or alliance control.

While complete independence may not be ideal, Sister Midnight (ex leader of IRON) may have been on to something. By maintaining complete independence, IRON essentially could do whatever it wanted, without having to fear of getting dragged into a war from an MDP partner. Unfortunately, this meant that it could never get involved in a war because it had no definitive allies, and therefore essentially remained neutral until later in its life. If we take that policy as one extreme, then it is easy to imagine the opposite extreme being signing too many treaties. While treaties do have the benefit of providing additional security (assuming they are upheld, which can sometimes be a large assumption), they also have costs which are usually unaccounted for. For the purposes of this article, the main cost in question is "political baggage." If an alliance signs too many treaties, it can be effectively immobilized, unless it decides to not uphold all of its treaties. Either way, the outcome is not desirable. Unfortunately, deciding how much is "too much" is much more difficult. However, with a clear political strategy and awareness of the ramifications of signing an MDP, an alliance may gain much more security than by simply signing with as many alliances as possible.

Whew, talk about a tangent.

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