This has been mentioned in other threads, but I feel it deserves a discussion all its own. Mainly, the merit of belief that a war can be won, and power can be gained, solely by powerful upper tiers that for the most part, constitute the vast minority of nation strength and population of nations in the game.
In referencing the "Upper tier stats" threads, the focus has solely been on 508 nations spread across every belligerent alliance in the war. As a matter of population, this comes out to around 7.88% of the entire belligerent population of the game. Of that roughly 8%, a little over half (around 5%) are from the Competence Coalition. While these nations are indeed powerful, they constitute the minority of power, on both sides of the conflict. While DH does indeed have a plurality of upper tier nations compared to other power spheres, this plurality only translates into a few percentage points of the overall population of the game and an even smaller percentage of the nations actually fighting.
This fact forces us to ask a critical question. What is the goal of war? In its simplest term, the goal of war is to destroy the enemy. Whoever that enemy happens to be, and however you choose to define destruction. Be it in pure stats or in political terms. History shows though, that the former strongly influences the latter. And ultimately, after everything is said in done, the most important stat in this game is not tech. It is not money, it not infra. It is membership. An alliance without membership is doomed to irrelevance and disbandment. And an alliance, no matter how top heavy in stats with regards to upper tiers, cannot hope to maintain power in this game without a membership base to draw on for support. Be it for sending out diplomats, running government programs or replacing bored senior officials who cannot be bothered anymore.
The fact that this base is being destroyed by Equilibrium should be cause for concern on the part of Competence. What should be more concerning though is not only is the vast majority of their base being destroyed, this same base also constitutes the majority of their raw nation strength power. Why is it upper tier nations are being forced to spend billions of dongs to try and stay above the fray? Because they know their is nothing underneath them but a swarm of destruction. Equilibriums upper tier by comparison, has no such fear. ZI is not a death a sentence. It is a salvation. An EQ upper tier nation that is ZI's is safe to restock nukes and rest. A Competence upper tier nation that is ZI'd is swarmed upon and must spend huge amounts of money to try and escape, being pounded on all the way back to the top.
You cannot be a power with a foundation of Sand. Already the mid and lower tiers of Competence are beginning to collapse. Many a WRC armed nation is facing a shortage of tech, and within a few weeks will be below the critical 500 tech level where things become exceptionally dangerous for any mid tier nation. Especially those with WRC's that cease to be a benefit and become a monetary drain. All the while being unable to attack the strong mid tier power base of Equilibrium, that constitutes the vast majority of the belligerant population and as an aggregate is presently 272.8% more powerful then Competence.