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Congress of Riga


Uberstein
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Riga Castle, Riga

 

A invition was sent to the following nations: Babylonian Empire, Grand Duchy of Moscow, Northlands, Alvonia

 

In the interest of peace and stability, President Uberstein invites you to Riga Castle to discuss the future Europe and its neighboring regions.

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After receiving the invitation, and sending a reply in a sealed diplomatic missive couriered to the Ubersteinian Embassy in Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Medvedev would board a specially modified jetliner and fly to Riga. Upon arriving, he would make his way to the historic Riga Castle.

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((OOC: Awesome! LET US BEGIN.))
 

entrance-riga-castle.jpg

Entrance to Riga Castle

 

Upon arrival, the various foreign diplomats, ministers, and leaders would be brought to a conference room inside Riga Castle. The room wasn't terribly large, and there was only a single guard armed with a tazer standing by one of the doors. President Uberstein would come into the room shortly after everyone had been gathered, and would dismiss the guard, "My apologies. My security team is occasionally too paranoid for their own good."

 

He paused to light his cigar, "I'll be brief, our nations have had good relations. Our nations have shown themselves to be rational states built upon responsibility and reason. Rampant expansionism doesn't appear to be in our vocabulary. Other states...do not have the reservations we have shown ourselves to have. However, greed and imperialism inevitably leads to conflict. Conflict rarely remains regional, we all know of the chaos that preceded our nations. I have gathered you all here today to discuss with me the best course of action to prevent a return to that chaos."

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"Well, the particulars are something I feel we should come up with as a group, but some kind of joint defense pact would be useful. Separating Europe into distinct zones of influence could also be useful, to prevent misunderstandings between us in the future. The conference on Germany showed that such negotiation is possible; south Germany went to Alvonia, North to the Northlands. Not a single shot fired."

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"I feel that as part of such a proposed joint defense force, our nations could take steps to maintain an equitable balance of power similar to the system that existed in post-1815 Europe. Through such arrangement, our nations could encourage peaceful dialogue as a diplomatic norm in Europe, work together to stop or reduce the possibility of war, contain any conflicts or war that does break out, and cooperate to prevent the rise of a hegemony in Europe."

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"What is this organisation we are proposing to create becomes the hegemony of Europe? The Empire is not a European power, but a middle eastern power with a vested interest in European affairs, such as our recent security agreement with Uberstienia."

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"I would welcome a future hegemony of Europe based on this pact. As Mr. Medvedev said, the goal of this organization should be the creation of a dialogue in Europe. Thus, if one day this pact does become the primary power in Europe, it would be a Europe passed on peace and negotiation. It would be an inclusive hegemony, not one based off of invasion and oppression."

 

"Besides, the Middle East is not that far. Baghdad, Damascus, Alexandria, Istanbul, these cities have been linked to Europe throughout history. Catholic Popes learned about math and astronomy in Muslim Spain. Even the Crusades, though a violent form of contact, connects the regions together with a common history."

Edited by Uberstein
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"When said like that, it sounds like a utopia. But Europe is not a Utopia, it is bloody and war ravaged and has been for milennia. Unless this pact has the will and force of arms to enforce such a vision if all dialogue failed, then the pact will fail. We must be realists about this. Many will see this as the creation of an organization to oppress the freedoms Europe currently has by forcing conflicting nations to the table if needs be, and at worse case, then going turning to military options. That is something we must accept as the hard truth of the situation. New Babylon has no issue with occasionally being seen as the bad guy so long as the greater good is not lost in translation and its meaning becomes mere lip service. Based on that, the Holy Emperor can support such a treaty or organization."

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In between the representatives from other nations, Dressler was on her phone texting Director Wilding, relaying the concerns and statements of the others. Once she saw an opportunity, she leaned over to Tresler and spoke into his ear in a whisper. "Likewise," he said after listening to what Dressler and the Babylonian had to say, "Alvonia does not have a problem with taking the gloves off, so to speak. We should, as a group, work towards preventing needless bloodshed, ultranationalism, terrorists and expansionism at all costs. Of course, dialogue should be the first option, but if that fails we must all as a whole be ready to stand and fight."

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"Perhaps I should have worded a bit differently. Let me elaborate: by hegemony, I mean a hegemonic power that could adversely dominate the Continent. The idea behind this proposal is not to create a bloc-based hegemony, but to establish a forum, a venue if you will, for which European powers can work together toward a common goal of preserving, promoting and safeguarding peace and stability in Europe. And force of arms is not necessarily an overriding option should peaceful dialogue options be exhausted; economic pressure for instance could be applied. But the general focus lies on using diplomacy to resolve disagreements and as such."

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"Economic pressure has never done anything to weaken a nations resolve, only strengthen it. The only surefire way to ensure it worked would be to blockade a nation and sink all of its trade vessels. Enact a no fly zone and shoot down all aircraft. It is not feasable. This is not the old world ladies and gentlemen, this is the new world, if dialogue fails then we either stand and fight, or we keep our mouths shut and sit down in the corner. The sooner that is accepted, the sooner we can move on and start discussing articles and responsibilities."

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"I have to agree with my Babylonian counterpart. Economic sanctions may have worked in the 19th century, but now people always find a way to get their goods and services exported. In addition, we must be a counter-balance of power. Already the French, Italians and Swedish are either aligned or close friends. Wehrmacht reports place all three of their armies as being very strong and well-trained. Simple dialogue will not stop them if they decide military might is the answer. I believe first, like our Baltic host had suggested, we start by clearly defining zones of influence."

Edited by Markus Wilding
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Both individuals representing the Northlands listened to the others as the different nations spoke. Schmit had been introduced with the ambiguous title of Adviser, but it was he who was the senior member of the member of the Northlands delegation. As the Royal Adviser of Foreign Policy, he was directly accountable to the King, whereas Lavoisier was subject to the Office of Foreign Affairs. The two men had discussed the possible talks and direction the meeting would take and had come well prepared, with Lavoisier speaking first.

 

"The Northlands appreciates the opportunity to sit among friends, having treaty relations with Ubersteinia, Muscovy, and Babylon. In general, our nations supports closer ties among the nations of Europe and are optimistic that a more cohesive, stable Europe will lead to a more peaceful region and world. We are open to closer ties, though as our treaty archive would currently show, we are hesitant to engage in binding defense arrangements with nations that we have little to no previous history with."

 

Lavoisier let Schmit speak. "That being said, I must express concern about the nature of what is being proposed. Muscovy says our nations will be able to prevent hegemony in Europe, while Ubersteinia and Babylon actively advocate for it. Ubersteinia and Muscovy advocate for diplomacy while Alvonia and Babylon seem more insistent on a realist use of force approach. No doubt we can find some common ground, but the Northlands is unwilling to promote a pugilistic stance as part of a new European hegemonic force. 

 

The biggest danger is that such a proposed agreement would actually serve to splinter Europe further. As Alvonia mentioned, France and Sweden are noticeably absent from these discussions. For a nation like the Northlands, sandwiched directly between these two more powerful nations of Europe, participation in a pact with nations that seem not reluctant to use force would pose a serious threat to our state security. How can we talk about being inclusive when other European players are absent from these talks? We prefer you speak honestly. 

 

We have good relations with the nations in this room and do not want to be spoilers. The Northlands would certainly support the construction of a framework that allows for closer economic integration and dialogue between the nations present as well as all states of Europe. We believe that some security arrangement could be discussed and agreed upon, but I must reiterate that the Northlands has serious reservations about forming a warmongering hegemonic bloc, which could lead to a destabilizing Europe and achieve the opposite of our aims."

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"Babylon is not advocating hegemony over Europe, we fear that this organization may turn into such a group. Nor we are insisting on using force of arms as a 'go to' resolution finder. But when dialogue does fail, economic sanctions mean nothing, and to have any credibility, force of arms, or the threat of using force of arms.

 

This meeting is not to create a military alliance to dominate European politics, it is to create an open forum for discussion with certainly security guarantes for those here today."

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"France and Italy have both shown themselves to have imperialistic designs. France has begun attempting to reclaim her grand empire while the Italians only recently attempted to claim African land. It was only the force of arms that drove both of these away in North America and Africa, respectively. Again, while diplomacy should be attempted first, force may be required in some cases. Three states in Europe have already aligned together - their goals unknown, but it can be inferred that imperialism is at least one ideal they share in common. The Northlands speak the truth, though. A pact such as this may serve to splinter Europe further. However, we have to ask ourselves - at what point do we stand up against these imperialists and say that we do not approve? The natives and regional powers have spoken, yet we have been silent on their constant overseas adventures. Condemnation from the regional powers only does so much. We need to send a message to them that imperialism is long dead and should stay in the past. Whether that happens through dialogue or force of arms is something that we need to iron out here and now."

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"I propose that we form a body comprised of the nations assembled here today. This body will serve as an open forum to the nations of Europe, regardless of their foreign policy. Every five years we vote on a President/Spokesperson to represent our nations. There will of course be provisonal seats for the French and Swedes and any other power in Europe. The open forum will serve as a place of discussion and diplomacy, wherin all European nations may voice their concerns or anything else for that matter.

 

We nations will be part of a security agreement to protect eachothers mutual interests. This will not be mandatory, simply obligatory. We follow strict protocols. If there is a problem, we use all available political assets to resolve it. If diplomacy fails, then we produce a show of force and unity to deter a problem from getting worse and escalating to force a continuation of talks. If this fails then we resort to force, but only with strict mandates and rules of engagement with a clear and concise mission to uphold that would be drawn up and decided by us. Any action by force must require an 80% majority.

 

This body would also be tasked with keeping vital sea lanes open such as the Gibraltar Straits, the Baltic entrance, the English channel, the arctic passage and so on. These bodies of water hold international waters shipping lanes and they must be kept open."

 

"I also have one more suggestion. The recent treaty New Babylon has permitted the Empire to station ten thousand men in Ubersteinia. I am authorised to deploy the rest of the corps, which is another forty thousand men. With a division in each of your nations, it allows the Empire to easily uphold its end of the treaty as well as bolster your own defences until such a time they are not required or wanted. They would act as a deterrent to any... belligerant nations in the region."

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"I feel that we are getting a little...carried away. Personally, my goal for this pact is purely defensive. The reason I said that I don't worry about it becoming a hegemonic pact is because the nature of the treaty, in my mind, would make that a good thing. It would mean that everyone had willingly come to the table and agreed to work together. As such, it would only be hegemonic in the same way a commune's community is."

 

"When I spoke of dividing Europe into sectors of control and influence, it never entered my mind to impose such a division upon non-member states. They are sovereign entities, and we must stand as examples. If we want to end imperialistic expansionism, then we must show that there are states in Europe who will actually be self-limiting and reasonable. With the kind of talk we've had at this meeting, I completely understand the Northland's concern. This shouldn't be an aggressive pact, nor should it be the European police. It should be a defensive pact that aims to maintain what we have. A bulwark against aggression towards the member states."

 

He paused to tap his cigar against an ashtray, "I have no intention of riling Europe up into an us vs them situation. I simply want to send the message that violence is an unacceptable policy for solving conflicts between states. The best way to force somebody to the table is to make war unattractive. Once at the table, diplomacy and peace can reign."

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Tresler and Dressler leaned in close to each other and conversed in German with each other, in hushed tones. More than once, Tresler could be seen rubbing his forehead with his thumb and pointer finger before sitting up straight again to address the other representatives. "Perhaps clarification is in order from us. When we state force of arms should be an option, that is purely in reference to another nation attempting to infringe upon Alvonian interests, whether that be land claims or economic concerns. If diplomacy fails in that realm, then we must be ready to defend militarily. Should we work towards a unified joint command structure?"

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Both of the Northlands delegates were glad that the others had clarified their intentions. "We're pleased that the defensive nature of this pact has been reiterated," Lavoisier said before replying to Tresler. "A joint unified command may be one venue for cooperation, but I think we still need to lay the basic framework for any agreement proposed here."

 

"It sounds like those present agree to the need for greater European cooperation through dialogue and economic and security agreements. This would promote a more peaceful and prosperous Europe while also unifying us and our interests when working with other nations around the world. In order for this to be successful, the more cooperation from Europe's states the better. At the same time, the concept of mutual defense only works with nations that have mutual trust, and thus would conflict with having the participation of every European state.

 

In order to keep these talks moving, we propose the following framework for such an agreement between our nations in order to reconcile the above dilemma. This is simply one idea, to be modified or scrapped altogether should a more suitable structure be proposed. 

 

The 'European Community' would be an organization with membership afforded to and encouraged of all European states. Member states would be part of an economic agreement to sensibly lower trade tariffs, the specifics of which can be further discussed. Additionally, member states would be part of a continental non-aggression pact with a provision for optional defense, as well as intelligence sharing and extradition clauses. 

 

Member states would be eligible for security member status, subject to a vote of security member states. Security members would be part of a multilateral mutual defense agreement. Member states in good standing have the ability to petition for security member status, to be voted on by current security member states. 

 

Essentially, all members have equal status in regards to the economic and non-aggression agreements, however only security member states are treaty to a mutual defense agreement. This allows for nations to cooperate with other European nations with the opportunity for further security guarantees if desired by the nation and current security members." Schmit paused and allowed the others to consider what he had just said, ready to answer any questions asked.

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"We would be in a favor for the proposal put forth by Mr. Lavoisier. Not only does it seemingly respect the sovereignty of the individual European states, but it would establish the framework for peace, dialogue, and cooperation on a continental basis, and in a way that do not cause unnecessary concern in several certain states." Medvedev spoke up.

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