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Found 13 results

  1. This article is best read while listening to the Karma activist's new anthem. Selling the Status Quo "It's better than another treaty announcement thread." So goes out the call of Karma's epigones, characteristically blind to the fact that, far from highlighting the positive aspects of their thread, they condemn the entire state of world politics that they have constructed. So slow, so mundane, so controlled have things become that we are expected to drop on all fours and lick up the crumbs benevolently thrown our way, thanking them for constructing a system where this can genuinely be portrayed as the best we could ever hope for. But only in the most short-sighted and brow-beaten individual, an individual who has become so psychologically dependent on the existing structure of power that they cannot even imagine the slightest systemic change, only they could hold such an excuse in anything but the highest disdain. Our degeneration to this point has become abundantly clear over the past few weeks, as the Mushroom Kingdom carelessly thrashes about in a vain attempt to live up to their former reputation as an 'unconventional' and 'fun' alliance, rather than a status quo power incapable of anything beyond perpetuating what already is. Unfortunately for them their thrashing about only betrays their complete misunderstanding what politics actually is -- the struggle for power. With the global structure ossified to the extent that it is seen as somehow natural they instead begin to tinker around the margins, deeming that doing anything, no matter how contrived or irrelevant, must make them appear once more as the exciting alliance shaking things up. As a result we see them more and more targeting peripheral alliances of minor political importance. They will threaten NSO and express bewilderment when people roll their eyes, then attempt to deflect attention onto the 'evil' NPO and be shocked by a response of yawns and slow head-shakes. But even were they to attack NSO or NPO, what would change on the political scene? They are not challenging a centre of political power, nor risking any of their own in the process. These moves can never be more than an attempt at bread and circuses to the disenfranchised masses, and thus while they are doing something, they are not really doing anything. Grasping at Air This is the mistake that we see so many of the big players make today. Their minds continue to exist in a past where there is MK's side and a competing 'other'. As a result they continue to see the political interplay as being between the strength of their side and a revisionist power that they can attack and engage in political games with. The concern begins to develop when they realise that despite all their fighting they are left feeling empty, the contentment they remembered from days long past and sought to recapture evading them as grasp and catch only air. The simple explanation for this is that there is no 'other' in any meaningful sense of the word. There is no potential political or military challenge, and thus any attack on perceived others means nothing -- there is no political risk and no political victory, only a continuing emptiness as the the form of politics goes through the motions without any of the substance. The only possible outcome from this shadow of what was once politics can be a feeling of 'what has any of this actually meant?' And so the search for politics continues in vain, as those capable of creating it continue to box at shadows, either too blind or too fearful to challenge any of the real pillars of power -- to risk a loss and chase a meaningful win. And this is where we sit, in an apolitical abyss strangled free of oxygen while we bow down in thanks for the poisonous carbon monoxide provided in its place. It's better than boring old carbon dioxide, after all.
  2. The question of the great war is upon us once again, this time asking where the next one will come from. As one would expect, there have been a multitude of responses covering nigh every alliance in the known world, while others fall into despair that we may have reached the end of history for the foreseeable future. But no one has yet dared to transcend the superficial examination of alliance relations and enter a scientific analysis of the great war concept itself. As has been noted previously, a great war is essentially the climax of a revolutionary movement in the process of attempting to overthrow the hegemonic bloc -- that is, the bloc which maintains its place atop the unipolar world. Thus, the coaluetion toppled the NPO, the Initiative toppled the coeluetion, the Unjust Pact attempted to topple the Initiative and was itself toppled by what became the Continuum, Karma toppled the Continuum, and finally C&G toppled Karma. At the most basic level what we can take from this is what has been implicit within most responses: the next great war will be a challenge against the hegemony of C&G/SF. However, more pertinent to the question is precisely how these great wars came about, and in this we find an interesting consistency: the hegemony invariably enters a civil war. Thus, the NPO fell due to its long-term backers, GATO and Legion, aligning against it; similarly, the Initiative fell due to a challenge by elements within it; the Continuum came to an end as a result of several alliances going over to the other side; and finally, Karma met its demise as it broke into its warring component parts. Indeed, the only great war that wasn't broadly brought about by defection was the second great war between the Initiative and the League, and this can be explained by the extraordinary circumstances of several new and large alliances developing simultaneously in that period and destabilising the power structure -- something that would be impossible today. To understand this we must first understand how the unipolar world works. It is invariably defined by a hegemonic bloc that controls international politics -- in our case this bloc is the aforementioned C&G and its sidekick, SF. This control derives in part from raw strength, but primarily from the bloc's central position in the treaty web, which spreads its influence to almost all significant alliances. The way in which this works is perfectly demonstrated by Lord Sharpe's 'BlocNet' (the image at the top of this article), designed at the height of the Continuum's power. In BlocNet we can see that the ruling bloc was largely defined as being made up of the ruling alliances from the various corners of the world, each hugely influential within its own sphere. This parochial influence was then used to create the global influence of the Continuum, which in turn fed back and conferred global influence on the parochial ruler. This is broadly the social structure of a unipolar world, and through it we can see a clearly defined hierarchy made up of three categories of alliance: At the top there are the Core alliances, capable of bending the world to their will by virtue of their place atop the semi-periphery -- there is usually only room for one such alliance (eg. GOONS in the Unjust Pact; NPO in Continuum; MK in C&G). This isn't to say they aren't constrained -- they must keep the semi-periphery on-side -- but they are constrained in a different way from others, enjoying an infinitely greater degree of freedom. The semi-peripheral alliances are those that hold considerable power to bend the world to their will, but are also constrained themselves by the core alliance and other semi-peripheral alliances, each pushing their different agendas. This category is mostly made up of the non-core alliances within the ruling bloc. The peripheral alliances are the great mass of alliances lower down, usually tied to the semi-periphery and core through a system of protectorates, treaties and blocs. However, as the above would imply, within every social structure there are contradictions. The core maintains its position so long as they maintain control over the vast bulk of the semi-periphery, while the the semi-periphery has a constant pressure to advance its own interests at the expense of the core (and itself -- the other semi-peripheral alliances). The result of this is a constant, if often blunt, tension, leading to a constant strain on the core alliance as it battles to simultaneously maintain peace within the semi-periphery, the respectability of the bloc, its own authority, and the pursuit of its own unique agenda. With a skilled core this situation can carry on peacefully for prolonged periods, but in the long run it is unsustainable, and the longer the period carries on the more the dual motivators of grievance and ambition begin to build up. We can therefore begin to understand why the great wars have primarily come from within the hegemonic bloc itself. The hegemonic bloc doesn't rule by virtue of its own power, but rather by virtue of the power of its constituent parts (ie. the ability of the semi-periphery to pull significant sections of the world with them) that is then invested in the core. While an uprising of independent peripheral alliances is nearly impossible due to the numbers required, the likelihood of the uprising being quashed prematurely, and the interfering influence of core and semi-peripheral alliances, it is that semi-peripheral influence that has the authority to shift large chunks of the world at once, altering the very terrain upon which we stand. We can sum up therefore by saying that all blocs, and indeed, the entire world system, is nothing more than a social construct that exists only insofar as it is perceived as advancing the personal interests of each of its members. The hierarchy inherent to any hegemonic bloc makes it vulnerable to a rapid change in this perception, as the core pushes its own agenda while acting as a mediator for the other major players, in the process holding back and alienating those who inevitably lose out. The conclusion to this structural analysis isn't, unfortunately, anything so simplistic as an alliance's name. However, it can tell you where to look. If we are to have another great war, the build up and spark for it can only come from within C&G and SF themselves. The only question is: when will the second tier alliances get tired of being the supporting caste and decide to take their destiny into their own hands.
  3. With the ongoing curbstomp of NSO, many questions are no doubt whizzing through the minds of regular La Vanguardia Pacifica readers. Why is Vladimir always right? When will Bob Janova concede the victory of materialist analysis and become a Francoist? And I'm sure there are probably others too. This is a particularly interesting turn of events for two reasons: first, because curbstomps were so loudly condemned throughout Karma as the personification of the old decadent order, and secondly because so many people have attacked the idea that the new powers are essentially the same as the old on the basis that 'at least there haven't been any curbstomps' (debatable to start with, demonstrable nonsense now). 'But this curbstomp was justified!' come the cries of the New Hegemony. We must first say plainly that despite the misdirection poured on top of it this is in fact an alliance-scale war (potentially a global-scale war) over $6 million in aid to a nation. Moreover, it is a war that was rushed into operation 6 full hours before update without even attempting a diplomatic solution -- that is to say, without ever talking to the leaders of the NSO despite ample opportunity. This is extraordinary since these issues arise all the time in alliance affairs and are resolved peacefully, and indeed, alliances engaging in this attack have done exactly the same with nations going rogue on the NPO and ithers in the past. All that is to say: if this were a legitimate justification for war then we'd be having one every week. It is unquestionably a fabrication. But while ostensibly important given the current debate, this is all besides the point. When Karma was busy condemning curbstomps and justifying the great war as a way of removing them from the world, they were not condemning the content of the (often watertight) justifications used, rather they were condemning the form that the attack took -- that is, they were condemning the very concept of the curbstomp. It is not difficult to see why, since it sums up so well in a single action the power relations of the world -- the overwhelming strength of one group against the complete impotence of another. Never has this been so clear as today since this is not a normal curbstomp, but rather, as many people have already pointed out, it is meant as a provocation -- a means to the removal of all of the potential competition, no matter how weak and disjointed. This much is clear from the needless nature of the curbstomp and the needless nature of the tactics pursued. Why bring half the world to fight against an already wounded NSO, and, more importantly, why have the other half of the world sitting on standby "if [RoK] needs us" (why would they be needed?). Moreover, the not-so-subtle glimmer in the eyes of the attackers as they attempt to bait their other targets into war gives their hopes away somewhat: "Well, good stuff, but if your allies were actually your friends, they'd activate their treaties anyways, so I'll be intrigued to see what happens." This has been taken to such an extreme that several statesmen have begun to question the fact that discussion seems to revolve more around NSO's allies than NSO themselves. And all this following directly on the heels of the 'Red Raiding Safari', which was a rather explicit (if silly) attempt to force the NPO into war. It is simple enough to see that this is the logical conclusion of the old 'ex-Hegemony' theory -- the idea that there is some sort of cohesive enemy out there for the New Hegemony to fight against. Over the past month this theory has been falling increasingly out of favour as various members of the New Hegemony realise the pointlessness of it -- there is no-one to propagate against, and the more likely outcome is to see alliances treaty with the less vocal New Hegemony alliances. As such we are witnessing a last throw of the dice, as the New Hegemony attempts to salvage their raison d'etre by creating their enemy on the battlefield. But ultimately this is not a show of strength, but rather one of weakness. It is a sign that the New Hegemony is little more than a hollow husk. An entity with no positive vision, no sense of self, condemned to to try and relive past glories by beating up the corpses of long-since deceased enemies. The New Hegemony has thus betrayed two things about itself today, and neither one is cause for envy.
  4. This article is best read while listening to the modern hegemony's .In explaining why GOD, Kronos and others felt it necessary to pretend that they were declaring war on a weaker alliance, GOD's leader, Xiphosis, suggested that he was conducting a social experiment. While the discovery -- that an alliance threatened with war will probably prepare for war -- wasn't overly surprising to those of with more than a week's worth of political experience or two brain cells to rub together, there were far more profound and unintended conclusions drawn from this 'fun' experiment. Ultimately what it served to highlight was how monotonous normal life under the new regime has become. This was brought about by the contrast of sudden activity with the lack of it once the world returned to normal -- one can live in poverty while one remains unaware of the riches down the road; it is only contrast with the latter that demands recognition of the former. Thus, what comes out of this experiment is not a statement on how fun and powerful and popular Xiphosis is, but rather a statement on the power-relations of our day -- a realisation of the stifling superstructure erected by the ruling alliances, and an intensifying of the reality that any alliance at any time could be destroyed by this ruling elite without cause. This once again must be contrast against the aspirations of Karma, with its underlying narrative of making the world a more exciting and free-flowing place. The lesson to be taken from the Xiphosis Experiment, therefore, is the reaffirmation of the victory of an enhanced unipolarity, where there is no competition: only the powerful -- playing whimsical games and jokes on an international scale -- and the powerless -- sitting with their heads down, hoping not to end up a victim.
  5. Over the past few weeks a number of alliances within the New Hegemony have become increasingly self-aware and confident, believing that they can act with impunity thanks to the power-base sitting under them. The result has been an undeniable and boisterous break with many of the alliances that raised them into that position to begin with, as they explicitly contradict and even mock the beliefs they used to propagate. Every political break coincides with an equally fierce intellectual break, and this case is no different, as the question of morality in global politics is once again propelled into the spotlight. On one side of this debate we have GOONS, \m/ and the Mushroom Kingdom, among others, (hereafter referred to as Unjust Path 2.0) arguing that morality has no place in the world, while on the other we have those arguing that our activities should be considered through a moral lens as well as one of immediate self-interest. It is through this intellectual debate that Unjust Path 2.0 has demonstrated its lack of political understanding. The position of Unjust Path 2.0 is well summed up by GOONS member Alonois, who asserts that "People TALK of morality. They do not ACT upon it." One is tempted to suggest that this is at least superficially true -- after all, nobody has stepped up to end the Red Safari. However, one is only so tempted because moral activity is so ingrained in all of us that it is taken for granted. We can thus take a simple example: the question of war. There has never [or if there has, extraordinarily rarely] been a significant war without a casus belli, strong or weak, and this is precisely because it is known that if one doesn't have a casus belli there will be serious political consequences, ranging from a severe loss of political capital to a declaration of war in defence of the attacked alliance. Moreover, if a casus belli is to be accepted then it must be accepted as having a moral legitimacy by the significant alliances of the world, and this is the very basis of debates on what constitutes a strong and what constitutes a weak casus belli -- one cannot get away with a casus belli over the colour of an enemy's hair, for example, precisely because such a reason has no moral legitimacy. We can go beyond this and question the moral consequences of everything from OOC attacks, to spying, to perma-ZI lists, to honouring treaties, to diplomatic norms and beyond. It is this plethora of social norms and rules that makes up the moral fabric of our world, usually without us even realising it. It must be understood, however, that all these moral norms and rules are social constructs -- they do not exist in the abstract, but rather because they are supported (actively or passively) in the international arena by enough power that violating them becomes politically unwise. Given this, the consequences for violating the world's moral fabric, if you cannot convince the world of your case, goes beyond whether or not there is an immediate military reaction and into the far deeper questions of political support -- for this too is nothing more than a social construct. Alliances enter into treaties and blocs because they see these things as representing their interests, and their interests in turn are merely a representation of their view of the ideal world -- whether military dictatorship or free-thinking utopia -- and their view of the ideal world is in turn merely an extension of their internal culture and morality. Thus, a violation of widely held moral concerns may not bring about immediate military repercussions, but it will nevertheless undermine the idea that alliance interests are advanced through affiliation to the violators, and thus significantly weaken the political ties that act to prevent military repercussions. In the long run it is this process that leads to the hollowing out of hegemonies and ultimately to great wars. Alliances begin to view their interests as being in contradiction to the standing hegemony, and consequently seek out new vehicles and movements -- a new serious of treaties and blocs -- to advance themselves through. It was ignorance of this fact that led to the rapid destruction of the first Unjust Path and in part to the downfall of the Continuum. While Unjust Path 2.0 may be on much more stable ground at the moment, if they choose to believe that morality has no place in the world, and that talk is cheap, then they will quickly find themselves headed for a Wile E Coyote moment, where the political support that they depend on no longer supports the weight of their actions.
  6. Since 2007 and a peak of 40,000 the number of nations on Planet Bob has been dropping. This problem found its scapegoat in the New Pacific Order and formed a powerful pillar of anti-Pacifican thought throughout the Initiative and Continuum eras: for not only was the Order a political enemy, it was a threat to our very existence! However, the constant monitoring that we saw between 2007 and 2009 has now dried up, and debate on the causes has been strangely absent over the past year despite numbers dropping at an increasing rate -- down by around 6,000 to 23,700 since the end of the Armageddon War; the lowest figure since 2006. What is the reason for this lack of concern? One hesitates to say that it has disappeared completely, since the existential threat remains and its problems -- lack of trades and tech-sellers among them -- are a constant in inner-alliance discussion. Rather, it is simply no longer convenient to discuss the threat as having political causes since it would now require the then-accuser to change, complicating their own immediate political goals in the process. We are thus left with three options: politics is still to blame, but nobody wants to talk about it; it was never believed that politics is to blame; it was believed that politics is to blame, but as soon as the political power-structure changed so did that belief. Not being a mind-reader, and with no discussion from which to take hints, it is impossible for me to answer this question. But I would suggest that none of the three options paints the protagonists in a particularly glorious light.
  7. Vladimir

    Rebirth

    Expectations It has now been a month since the Order left terms and the hard work of innumerable Pacificans saw its reward. It is of no controversy to say that they surpassed all global expectations in the process. When entering terms over eleven months ago, most international observers worked with the hopeful assumption that the Order would decay under the dual pressures of isolation and deprivation, as so many others have in the past. Buying into their own oppositionalist propaganda they saw a weak and untested people, a tyrannical, decadent and incompetent government, and ultimately an alliance incapable of survival when put to the test. This particular prophecy, shouted with such self-confidence, is now understandably long forgotten by its proponents. In place of this lost prophecy we see an Emperor who wins plaudits the world over, and a people so universally respected that leaders wish they could fire and replace their own. A New Emperor A Great War heralds two things of importance in the world. The first is certain: a sea change in politics. The old blocs fall away, new ones emerge, and all the power-relations of the world melt away only to recrystallise in ways that one could never have imagined. The second is less certain, but nevertheless flows naturally from the first: a change in the Emperor of the New Pacific Order. The Emperor serves the Order, not vice versa, and so is always mindful that he must be best suited for the circumstances of the day -- as those change so it becomes more likely that the Emperor will. Thus we saw Comrade Dilber take over after the Great Patriotic War, Comrade Revenge take over after the First War of Retribution, and Comrade Emperor Cortath take over after the Armageddon War. Here it is of importance to note that for the first time in Pacifican history its Emperor has come from the economic wing of the Order -- a break from the historic dominance of the military, diplomacy and justice wings. The expertise and understanding that this brought was vital to the emphasis put on growth in the initial weeks following the war, as entire systems had to be overhauled to deal with the new restrictions specifically designed to stunt growth and demoralise Pacificans. And overhauled they were, as the restrictions were swept to irrelevance and growth proceeded at an unprecedented pace, moving the alliance from unsanctioned to second in score and strength, and giving the Order's former enemies a fright in the process. Significant at this time was the efficiency with which reparations were dealt with, especially after the appointment of Comrade Jasmine -- an efficiency which soon earned her an Imperial office. In this we can begin to recognise the second drive that Emperor Cortath brought with him: the drive for reform. The public face of this has been the transformation of the Imperial office, with with five out of nine Imperial Officers now owing their appointment to the new Emperor -- none of them coming from the pre-Bobian 'old guard'. But this is merely a symptom of a wider movement, demonstrating fresh strategic priorities and structures for the new era, from reform in Council (an ongoing process) and modernisation in Pacific Bank, to reprioritisation in diplomacy and rapprochement with historic enemies. The Emperor's new politics in foreign affairs are understandably what will draw the most global attention, and on this count there is much to discuss. The most immediate issue that had to be resolved was the forcible opening of the red trading sphere. This had been a major issue of contention since the very earliest days of the Order, with comrades debating all manner of paths forward -- from one extreme to another and back again. The question of how to move forward was thus before the Order, not least because many of the new alliances springing up were headed by self-styled enemies of the Order -- from arch-moralist Villien with The Moralist Front, to arch-misleading journalist Schattenmann with the Cult of Justitia. The path chosen was what became known as Red Dawn, which not only embraced the new opening of the sphere but offered material assistance to the new red sphere alliances and encouraged other alliances to join. Though, as became generally known, this particular path was blocked by the G15 until after the war terms expired and the treaty could be officially signed, it has nevertheless proved itself both as an experiment in a more cooperative brand of diplomacy for the Order, and as a demonstration of that brand to international analysts. This policy received its first real test when Solidarity was set up as an anti-Pacifican alternative bloc on red, highlighting the remaining spirit of opposition even to an enslaved Order, and urging others to flock to its banner. However, such was the success of the path taken that Solidarity's anti-Pacifican call found no echo, and it ultimately dissolved as two thirds of its membership left to sign the Red Dawn treaty instead. Lesser known foreign policies that the Emperor headed up personally were the rapprochements with alliances where relations had traditionally been strained, thus demonstrating the strong desire to reshape the terrain within which the Order existed. In each case substantial concessions were required from both sides, and substantial hurdles (or trenches) had to be overcome. As one might expect progress has varied, with some hurdles bypassed quicker and easier than others; however, it has everywhere been significant, even if just in laying the requisite groundwork of humanisation and understanding. Nevertheless, as the Order exited terms the cry went up that it was signing treaties with old friends -- as if this were a surprise! Indeed, the Order is deeply indebted to a number of alliances, who continued to fight throughout the most destructive war in history while others ran for cover -- and this is a debt which the Emperor has desires to repay, with a substantial rebuilding fund established for the purpose. However, this only tells half the story. During the period under terms the Order reconciled with many old friends and made many new ones -- often those dissatisfied with the incoherence of the continuing anti-Pacifican propaganda. We can thus see closer relations with numerous alliances who fought with Karma, some of whom, such as NSO, the Order now has a treaty with, and some of whom found their pursuit blocked by the very same alliances that would later complain about the lack of treaties with Karma alliances. The history of the past ten months thus establish themselves proudly in the mind of the Pacifican, demonstrating what is best about the Order -- the ability to objectively view what does and does not work today, regardless of its success in the past. An Old People We have begun to tease out some of the grand strategic reasons for the Order's success in driving through terms, as it was rejuvenated economically, politically and diplomatically. However, one must refrain from subscribing simply to a 'great man' theory of events. No matter how great the man at the top, he can only work with the resources he has and within the limits they impose. This is doubly true of a Pacifican Emperor, who embodies the strengths, desires and fears of the Body Republic, with the mere duty of channelling them in a concentrated and effective manner. On this the new Emperor has found himself a wealthy man. One of the major expectations of the Order's enemies was first that the membership would desert during a destructive war, and then after that failed to materialise that they would desert during a year-long period of terms that pauperised them. This too failed to materialise -- something that was unsurprising to those with memories of the great sieges of 2003-2006. The importance of this strong Pacifican spirit and camaraderie is not to be underestimated, for it was this that allowed the growth of the institutions that the Emperor put to such good use in everything from maintaining surrender term compliance to ghost monitoring. No less important was that within the Body Republic he had many comrades of outstanding ability surging through the ranks and using the institutions of the Order to utilise their skills to their full potential. Thus we can see in Military Intelligence Comrade Waterana, or in the Praetorian Guard Comrade Gandroff, or in the Pacifican Bank Comrade Letum; and indeed, Comrades JesseEnd and Jasmine both came through the ranks during this period to become Imperial Officers. From this we can recognise a victory of Pacifican culture -- of permanent revolution and revolutionary institutions; of solidarity and meritocracy; of imperial sovereignty and freedom of potential. A New Golden Age Such has been the rapid advance of the Order over the past ten months that one could be forgiven for thinking that it had already entered a golden age as soon as the war ended and terms began. Freed from the constraints of power it was able to rediscover its revolutionary foundations, knock down and rebuild formerly load-bearing walls, and fill the resulting structure with a Body Republic of unlimited talents. Disastrous events thus proved an ideal opportunity for examination and reinvention of structures and policies throughout. But it goes without saying that one cannot speak of a golden age while an oppressor breaths down one's neck threatening to sink in its fangs. The oppressor has now gone, and the Order has survived a uniquely vulnerable moment in its history as it leapt over the abyss to independence. It would be remiss to presuppose what an intensely unpredictable future holds, but an engine as powerful as this Body Republic driven by this Imperial Staff may yet find that the coming age belongs to her.
  8. With the NpO's latest switch of sides, SuperGrievances have finally been able to open up their exit strategy to public view. With this opening we can first recognise SG's view that we have officially exited the bipolar world, which forces alliances to fight for the moral high ground (whether they are being genuine or realpolitik) and into a unipolar world, where they can take actions without great concern for damaging political repercussions -- for who is left to stand against them? Naturally the first stages of this transformation are of great interest for everyone, as they demonstrate the world that we will be moving into. Below I present just two statements from dozens that capture the essence of present: "And why should we let an alliance that aggressively and pre-emptively attacked us with no CB at all off the hook just like that? If you want surrender terms I don't think we'd be happy with any term that leaves TOP/IRON sitting with a nation above 1k tech just yet." -- Seerow [1] "They attacked me. They brought war to my alliance, and I have no reason to doubt they will do it again. Clearly lack of a just cause, or any cause at all, is not something to stand in their way. Much as I am not enthusiastic, I must take steps to defend my alliance and my allies before I can advocate peace." -- Archon [2] So what does this tell us? First, the obvious: terms are back. Of course, the word "back" implies that they ever went anywhere, when in reality this is the first war after the Karma War (which itself imposed the harshest terms ever seen). There was no idealistic break, just the continuity one would expect from power politics. Indeed, Seerow's assertion that they will push for all of TOP's nations to be below 1k technology is astonishingly harsh by any historical standard. But perhaps more interesting is the reasoning behind this, implied in Seerow's post and made explicit in Archon's: the removal of a challenger. This is the natural reaction to a war. Whether it is offensive or defensive is irrelevant, since either way the war was brought into being by a conflict of interests that each alliance desires to resolve. The intuitive way to resolve this from the victor's perspective is to physically destroy the defeated alliance's capacity to wage war, by removing technology and preventing growth for as long as possible. In this there is no change of direction from the past, which used precisely this logic. There is no consideration of 'past crimes' or any of the other justifications that were put forth in the last great war. There will be no allowing alliances to rebuild after a war on the basis that 'competition is fun' as was proposed. Rather, security will be put first and competitors cut down to remove the threat the pose. Recognising this logic and its implications, and the complete removal of Karma's normative logic from SG discourse, we can extrapolate future actions quite well, for we have seen precisely where it leads. We, the loyal readers of La Vanguardia Pacifica, on the other hand, are left still waiting for our Jam Tomorrow.
  9. This is a quick follow-up to Thesis, Antithesis: the Story of a Great War. Structure and Unit In examining our political world we must recognise two basic analytical concepts: structure and unit. The latter, unit, is where most analysts spend their time, carefully (or, more often, not so carefully) examining the characteristics and motives of individual alliances, and making predictions based on these observations. The problem with such analyses is that they typically come to see alliances as living in a vacuum, and thus come to imagine said characteristics and motives to be static properties, leaving the theories developed with zero predictive qualities. The result is what we saw during the Karma war: dreams of multipolarity -- of multiple blocs competing independently, winning and losing wars, and building back up again to challenge the others on an equal footing. The former concept, structure, examines the underlying realities of our world -- when someone mentions international anarchy, they are talking about structure. Unfortunately discussion on this rarely goes past giving it a name. Structure is what provides alliances with their incentives and disincentives: it is what broadly makes a rational action rational and an irrational action irrational. If I walk off a cliff it is only irrational because an element of the physical structure, gravity, will crash me to the ground; if instead I floated walking off a cliff would no longer be irrational. Structural analysis alone cannot tell us when or where a great war will occur (though it can track the development of bipolarity), but rather gives us a wider view as to what will occur over long periods of time. The Great War The past seven months have been a powerful demonstration of structure at work. As we emerged from the Armageddon War we could recognise a number of blocs and forces, including Complaints and Grievances, SuperFriends, Citadel, Frostbite, former 'Hegemony' and many others. Under the unit analysis we would expect each of these blocs to build up independently to pursue their own agendas, but this is not what we saw. As the months rolled on what we saw was clear antagonisms arise between certain alliances and certain blocs as they got in each others way politically and culturally. As these antagonisms developed we saw them suck in greater and greater forces, destroying any proto-multipolarity in favour of a powerful bipolarity. The reason for this is simply that it would not be rational for an alliance to pursue a 'pure' agenda (that is, its whole program) where there is one side of the conflict supporting a part of their agenda and another side supporting an agenda that would be detrimental to their own. As a consequence of this alliances sacrifice their ideal world in order to practically advance its salient elements. This is exactly the same dynamic that we see when alliances join blocs in the first place. Recognising this we can see why nearly every major alliance in the world quickly became sucked into this two-sided conflict, codifying the bipolar world that had been in development. It was only rational for alliances to join a side and fight for the world that would inevitably emerge after it, based on the culture of the victorious alliances. It follows from this polarising that any minor incident will stand the risk of becoming a great war, and so we saw two great war build-ups with similar alliances on each side in less than a month, the second after the first failed to resolve the underlying conflict (much as the 'Third Great War' followed the Second). One could also hypothesise from this that the first attempt to spark a great war via The Pheonix Federation, was a calculated provocation to draw the opposing forces out before they were fully prepared. We can also recognise the disastrous consequences of the New Polar Order's acceptance of peace, which will inevitably be seen by those on its side as a betrayal of their interests, costing them the trust that is so vital in a world of imperfect information and the resultant suspicion. From here (assuming a Complaints & Grievances victory against TOP/IRON/NSO), barring a drastic political move, they will either be forced into the arms of a world order that is contrary to their interests, or be left isolated on the wrong side of the tracks. Likewise we can see the 'two wars' theory being advanced by C&G as the 'second' war is in effect a battle against half of the interests opposed to them, allowing a divide and conquer strategy that could set them up in a powerful unipolar position for some time to come. New Regime, Old World The post-NPO world therefore has served as a slap in the face to unit analysis and a confirmation of structural analysis. We can now see for the first time that the NPO did not cause the great war structure of our world, but rather was only a unit within it, vindicating the predictions made by structural analysis. We can therefore also expect the predictions made to continue with the end of this war. If C&G and their allies emerge victorious a new unipolar world will emerge built in the image of its hegemonic bloc(s), and, over time, a new counter-hegemonic bloc will develop to challenge it before founding a new unipolar regime. We can also expect the consequences of this, as, for example, wars like Athens attacking TPF or NpO attacking \m/ no longer develop into great wars, but remain curbstomps, and the treaty web continues to proliferate.
  10. Oh, you noble Karmaites, champions of the little guy, protectors of the weak, bringers of hope, scourge of the strong. Imagining yourselves the creators of a new world, free from tyranny, where might no longer makes right, where nations do not have to live in fear of attack, where conflict is not a matter of mere chance, and where war is reserved rightfully for the deserving. Such sentiment, such morality, is it not your greatest strength? Is it not what binds you together as a whole in the face of such fierce internal contradictions? But wait, what's this? Someone has stepped out from the crowd. A small, introverted figure, his old tattered cap grasped firmly in both hands, he contrasts starkly with the prestigious crowd. Did a tramp wander in off the street, or did one of the help get lost? Wait, no, it's the little guy! And he's taking to the stage! Come to cheer forth the Karmaites, perhaps? To pledge a meagre donation of gold and weapons to aid the cause? No, he comes with all that he has, words. Thunderous applause rips round the auditorium as he makes his way across to roars of 'Liberté!', 'Egalité!', 'Fraternité!' The shuffling figure at the front stops and steps up to the podium. The Karmaites notice a small red badge, symbolising his home in the red sphere, Pacifican territory. The room erupts once more, a standing ovation, cries of 'Free Red!' ring around the hall. Finally, eager to hear the voice that they fought so hard to liberate, the noise dies down, and the figure at the front moves to speak. His mouth opens, his meek voice barely carrying the disproportionately large stage that he has cautiously dared step upon. He speaks for a way of life, simple, independent, peaceful and prosperous. He speaks for thousands like him, his neighbours, friends and colleagues. He speaks of the war and what it means to him, outside the power structures and institutions of global politics. He speaks of freedom. The room sours. Who is this young upstart? What are his credentials, his relevance? Noticing that the gentle nods have been replaced by and angry glances, the figure continues. He speaks of freedom from unprovoked attack, freedom to enjoy his simple life without being crushed under the mighty weight of another at a whim, freedom to pursue his interests unhindered, freedom to continue with life as it was. Outrage! Heated discussion erupts across the hall. How dare this uppity unaligned tell us what to do! Doesn't he know who he's talking to? The odd shout begins to rise above the base. 'Tyrant!' cries one, 'Oppressor!' howls another, 'Agent of the Pacific!' accuses a third. The figure looks on stoically and moves to speak again. Does Karma not fight for freedom from attack and from fear? For a world where might no longer makes right? So many, like he, came to red to experience such blissful freedom, and so they did. Would Karma seek to destroy such a sanctuary? But it's too late. Already the Karmaites have cast aside their sentimentality. Sitting atop of the world their vision has been widened, and the words of this commoner, this plebeian, no longer ring true. He is not trying to free himself from these things, he is trying to enslave us! By suggesting that the little guy should be protected he is instituting himself as a world police! By suggesting that he should be free to live in peace he is attempting to dictate our policies! Who can decide who attacks whom? We cannot label one attack wrong and another right, for it is dependent on the individuals involved and only them! Who else can decide what is a valid reason to attack, it is purely subjective! Freedom goes for everything, freedom to attack and freedom to be attacked! The stoic expression on the figure's dishevelled face begins to break as he realises the psychological process before him. But what about the thousands of nations that will be ravaged, the dozens of alliances destroyed, the many friends and rulers that disappear from our world altogether! Many in the audience can be seen waving their hands to dismiss the now despised figure. What of them? They should have learned to protect themselves, or submitted to the politics of another by becoming a protectorate. And in any case, what do these people matter, they aren't one of us, a NAAC or a LUE. They're lucky we don't just wipe them out and be done with it! A man stands up in the audience, and the hall quietens expecting a lecture on the universal nature of rights, as the Karmaites have become so accustomed to. But instead they are greeted with something new; something short, concise and powerful: "Planet Bob will never be tailor suited after your needs and desires. Get over it." The man is mobbed by those around him, seeking to pat his back and shake his hand. The lonely figure on stage, now long forgotten as the hall breaks into a rampant military anthem, reflects. So suddenly has the morality of man become the morality of god within this group; so suddenly has freedom for all men become freedom only for the self-appointed divine to act as they please at the expense of the rest. No longer is morality based on opposition to the ruling structure, on freedom from tyranny, but instead on reshaping the world in a form that suits the politico-economic strategy of the new ruling structures, neglecting or destroying all that lies without. Power may or may not corrupt, but it always changes one's perspective, and the perspective of the newly powerful has little room for him. He makes one last speech, unheard, but unmistakable in its clarity. Oh, you noble Karmaites, champions of the strong, protectors of oppression, bringers of despair, scourge of the weak. Imagining yourselves the creators of a new world, free from petty sentimentality, where might makes right, where nations must forever watch over their shoulder, where conflict may come at any time, and where war is reserved rightfully for those who cannot defend themselves. Such nobility, such mastery of power, is it not your greatest strength? Is it not what binds you together as a whole in the face of such fierce internal contradictions? *** All Karmaite opinion taken from [1] [2]
  11. The more Karma are pushed on their actions, the more they seem to morph into the supposed monster that they fight against. In most threads we have now managed to move past the idea that the actions the Continuum and allies (including, it must constantly be pointed out, many suddenly-enlightened Karma alliances) took were inherently wrong, and have instead moved onto the idea that these actions are only wrong in a certain context. Thus what we begin to see is wide-spread use of the fallacious reasoning, where it will be pointed out that a proposal is exactly the same thing that Karma just finished condemning, only for the Karma representative to turn around and claim that it isn't the same due to some minor technical difference in circumstances, or, more often, some minor difference of perspective, ie. X didn't deserve the action, while Y does. Long forgotten it is that these actions were not condemned based on who they were carried out upon, but as an absolute rule. We didn't see a clause in the anti-EZI treaty stating 'unless they deserve it', for example, in fact we saw an outright rejection of the practice. Out of this basis comes more and more Pacificanised reasoning. "Do you honestly believe NPO deserves", "Do you believe it is in the best interests of Karma", "Do you think that the NPO [...] would then use that as a launching pad for an assault", "NPO put harsh terms on relatively innocent alliances [...], if Karma puts harsh terms on NPO (who isn't innocent due to the above line and multiple other reasons) then it wouldn't make Karma as bad as the NPO", "If the NPO does not get off easily, it is because they started this whole thing and have a large list of 'crimes' to atone for." [Thank you to shahenshah's thread for attracting all of these quotes into one place, but they (and even better ones) can be found all across the forum -- and that's before we even get to instances such as what is generously called the OV 'peace talks'.] Here we see Karma outright dumping the moral justifications and searching instead for their own immediate political interests. When it comes to justifying actions on the basis of how evil the NPO is, they do nothing more than justify actions on the basis that the NPO is their enemy while the NPO's enemies were not (or, more accurately, were, but momentarily are not), leaving one to wonder what future 'deserving' alliances lie just up the political road. We can amply demonstrate this by stating that the bones of the arguments as quoted above are exactly the same used by the so-called Great Satans themselves: everything was justified in terms of self-interest; wars and terms were justified on the basis that they would help prevent future attacks; the alliances attacked were demonstrated to be far from 'innocent', thus legitimising the actions against them by making them atone for their crimes. Of course, Karma representatives will come back and say 'but the NPO was evil and those alliances were innocent'. In this we have discarded the facts and moved onto mere labelling -- those who are against us are evil while those who are with us, and see things from our own perspective, are good. It is akin to saying 'I am right to do this because I am doing it, while you were wrong to do it because you were doing it'. In this way we begin to peel away at the self-deceit of the Karma coalition, going through layer after layer, from the hypocritical outer 'absolute morality' shell, through the confused 'certain context' skin, to the true 'pragmatic' core. It seems that Karma may have looked a little too long into the abyss. Welcome to the Evil Empire.
  12. Dreadfully confusing indeed, but I wager that Alice would find it much more difficult to understand the 'jam tomorrow' logic of our own 'Karma', who are suddenly incredibly enthusiastic about the very same tactics they claim to be fighting against, in true "ends justify the means" style (their words not mine). The Queen of course, in much the same way, was using the promise of jam to get people to do work for her; only the jam was an illusion embedded in the tomorrow that never comes. Perhaps Karma banners, then, should carry the slogan: 'Utopia to-morrow and utopia yesterday - but never utopia to-day!'
  13. Recent events surrounding GATO have been met with celebration from both involved parties, as well as from numerous uninvolved parties, and rightly so. But it has been equally interesting to see the identities of those opposed to unfolding events: those who have spent the most time calling for them. The reason for this is, on the surface, inexplicable. Why would one call for X to happen, see X happen, and then denounce X happening? Such a contradiction baffles the mind. But going under the surface to get at the root cause, we quickly find that the only possible explanation is that, whether consciously or not, X was never truly the aim. This investigation could be aimed at a multitude of individuals, but unsurprisingly the primary culprit has been the wannabe anti-Pacifican vanguard, Vox Populi, and so it's them that we will focus on. For months they have been among the most outspoken opponents of the GATO Viceroyship, placing it as the central plank in their political crusade against the NPO. As the story went, the Order was wrong to be compromising the sovereignty of another alliance, and so lifting the Viceroyship and allowing GATO to make its own sovereign decisions was acceptable. Of course, the Order didn't disagree with this in the longer term, and so it has finally happened. Where it all went wrong was that the new sovereign entity decided not to run into the arms of Vox as they had smugly predicted, but instead, after months of cooperation, turned around and signed a treaty with the Evil Empire itself -- the NPO. Que a tirade of abuse from Vox, as they spat on GATO and its sovereign actions, branding it weak, pathetic, brain-washed, and all number of other things. So here we have a sovereign alliance taking sovereign actions, while the self-proclaimed champions of sovereignty mock and shout at it all. While a sad turn of events for any fan of Vox, it is remarkably telling of Vox's view of the world. When they discuss sovereignty, it isn't the sovereignty to do as you please: a sovereign alliance signing a treaty with the NPO isn't sovereign. The reverse of this is that an alliance is only sovereign when it is in agreement with the foreign policy goals of Vox: freedom is not the freedom to your own opinion, but the freedom to agree with them -- to allow their opinions to dictate your actions. Thus any alliance that is in disagreement with Vox is not sovereign and open to ridicule and attack until they fall into line -- disagreement will not be tolerated! In this way Cortath has hit the nail on the head when he speaks of Vox being outright afraid of the new GATO and its implications. Not only does it fly in the face of the way they think the world works, but it highlights the contradictions within their dogmatic view of sovereignty. If a sovereign alliance can be opposed to Vox, then what is the point of sovereignty? This is the underlying question going through their minds. Ultimately they cannot support sovereignty, for anyone who takes a different view from them is by definition an NPO agent and an enemy. So what do they support? As already outlined, the goal was never sovereignty, nor can it be said to be a move towards a less harsh world, which this announcement was. Sovereignty to Vox means doing what Vox wants: opposing the New Pacific Order. If you're sovereign, and don't oppose the New Pacific Order, you're "brainwashed" like GATO, or "controlled" like IRON or GGA. In the Voxian world, there can be no sovereign state that does not oppose the NPO. In framing the debate in terms of sovereignty they have either been clever or self-deceptive, but evidently the cracks cannot survive the real world. If sovereignty only exists when in agreement with Vox, and if sovereignty is the ultimate goal, then the ultimate goal is to have the entire world rotating around their internal structure; something akin to balancing the globe on the head of a very confused pin. It is not about 'peace' or 'rights' or 'multi-polarity', or any other such things that they throw up. It is, and always has been, about the pursuit of pure, unadulterated power. To put it in a more concise form as Triyun did: "They want GATO free but they don't want it to be able to make its own decisions." Welcome to the freedom of Vox Populi -- the freedom of a pawn on their global chess board. Or, as their propagandists may prefer to put it: the freedom to be enslaved. However, there is a second side to this coin. Why was the sovereignty movement so strong to begin with, before it so indignantly collapsed? This I believe has already been excellently covered by Alterego, and as such I publish the entire content of his post below:
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