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What makes an alliance?


Unko Kalaikz
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What is not an alliance

I have seen some confusion from some fellow nation rulers regarding what an alliance is, or what alliance law is, so in the interests of a more educated world I will attempt to shed light on this issue. A grasp of political theory, even if only political theory calibrated for an online game, will certainly give many advantages and insights to the intelligent alliance officer.

First, lets begin by discussing what is not an alliance. An alliance is not a community, a forum, a chat room, an in-game alliance affiliation, or a charter/constitution. With the exception of a community, all of these things are simply tools for an alliance that enhances communication, alliance governance, and coherency. A community is simply an OOC network of individuals that either is based on the alliance, or the alliance is based on. Even all these things together do not make an alliance.

Why are alliances needed?

An alliance is a legal pact between a group of nations whose primary purpose is the reduction of the state of nature between said nations as well as external threats. The state of nature is a state of absolute freedom for the individual nation.

Why is the state of nature undesirable? In the state of nature, nations must fend for themselves and are in a state of heightened conflict. They are vulnerable to raids and other forms of conflict. Thus they must dedicate most of their thought and resources to defense, or sit in impenetrable peace mode which stunts growth and restricts economic opportunities. In practice we see the vast majority of nations not belonging to an alliance are much smaller than the average nation belonging in a sanctioned alliance (or most larger alliances for that matter).

This brings into play the concept of freedom of potential vs. absolute freedom. A nation in the state of nature (i.e. absolute freedom) languishes in constant conflict. It is in the interests of the nation to enter a state of heightened freedom of potential. Freedom of potential means that some freedoms are given up in exchange for the ability to thrive in a situation of decreased conflict. In layman's terms it is trading a level of freedom for security.

Levels of alliance evolution

An alliance reduces the state of nature first by reducing the level of conflict between its members. This begins with a nonaggression pact but is best accomplished by instituting a sovereign institution (popularly called the alliance government) that can resolve disputes between member nations. This basic action alone can eliminate most or all military conflict between nations, allowing for civil discourse and the implementation of measures to provide for a common defense against external military threats (usually a defense or war department).

Some alliances stop at this point. Although nations in this alliance will certainly do much better than nonaligned nations, they could do better. The next level of alliance evolution involves reducing non-military conflict between members. Conflict can take many forms, war is simply one form. To reduce other forms of conflict, nations may choose to surrender other freedoms to the sovereign institution, such as free speech, or declare war, or the ability to commit fraud. Each of these things result in less internal conflict for the alliance, and potentially less external conflict as well depending upon the caliber of leadership.

If alliances continue to evolve, they will seek to reduce internal and external conflict even further. This can be done by instituting operational security procedures... limiting information to a need-to-know basis. Treaties might be signed with external entities. The concept of unity of command may also be implemented (the best way to reduce conflict at the top). Democratic policy votes may replace consensus, Elected officials might replace democratic policy votes, and finally appointed officers might replace elected officers. All these steps can lead to further reduced internal conflict if done correctly.

At the apex of alliance evolution is the authoritarian alliance, in which organization is arranged as a chain of command, which is the ultimate expression of unity of command theory. The alliance is designed for efficiency, reduced internal conflict, and growth. At this point the alliance may have reduced internal conflict to the point of allowing for directed conflict, that is war against external enemies for the advancement of the alliances self interests. Assuming capable leadership this alliance is always the best at promoting freedom of potential.

The alliance and you

Now that you are familiar with the basics of political theory, it is my hope that you may use this to adjust your mindset to advancing the interests of your comrades and constituent nations to their fullest.

Edited by Count da Silva
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What authority gives you the power to declare what "alliance law" is in the first place?

The authority of reason.

Alliance law is simply contract agreement enforced by the alliance government. Since there is no world government to enforce contract, alliances do so internally. For alliance law to exist requires there be a governing mechanism (a sovereign institution) to enforce it.

By extension, a group of nations who agree to defend one another but do not surrender individual sovereignty cannot be considered a legal alliance, because there is no legal enforcement mechanism (they would be closer to the pacts and treaties we see between alliances). Same goes for a community.

Edited by Count da Silva
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Asriel sees the nice man who has written this paper, and agrees with many things that he has written, but others, not so much. He sits down at a table and quietly writes his response:

I am glad that you have taken the time to write up what you believe is an alliance so that people may look at it and gain a basic feel for what an alliance might be, though, I think that you are limiting what an alliance is a little bit too much. Here are a few of the definitions (easily accessible anyway) of alliance:

the state of being allied or confederated

a connection based on kinship or marriage or common interest; "the shifting alliances within a large family"; "their friendship constitutes a powerful bond between them"

an organization of people (or countries) involved in a pact or treaty

a formal agreement establishing an association or alliance between nations or other groups to achieve a particular aim

Now, I took the liberty of narrowing those down into ones that I believe work best for this planet into the following:

a connection based on kinship or marriage or common interest; "the shifting alliances within a large family";

This one is basically saying that one can be considered part of an alliance simply by having a similar interests or connections. This is where the biggest question about communities being considered some form of alliance come in.

an organization of people (or countries) involved in a pact or treaty

This is basically saying that an agreement can be considered an alliance. As low as a person agreeing to help someone else on a person-to-person basis, to as high as multiple countries and multiple blocs of countries agreeing to defend each other. This also raises a question about your definition: If nations agree to help each other out, on a community level, is there no alliance existing? You said yourself that alliance affiliations, government, forums, IRC, etc do not make an alliance, but that they are simply tools of an alliance, yet your whole essay bases "evolution" of alliances on government type, and freedoms.

a formal agreement establishing an association or alliance between nations or other groups to achieve a particular aim

This one also raises a question to your essay. If they agree on achieving an aim of being a community with no formal government structure, IRC, Alliance Affiliation on their flags (ooc: nation), etc, they can still be an alliance, as long as they agree to be associated with each other and achieve a particular aim (if the aim is to be a community, it can still be an aim).

So while I do like your essay, Count, I will say that it is far too limiting on the definition of what an Alliance is aloud to be.

Asriel folds up his letter neatly, puts his seal on it, and mails it off to the Count.

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As I stated once before, I never liked the term "alliance" being used to describe the multi-nation organizations (MNOs) we see today. It is confusing because in a traditional OOC sense an alliance is, as you noted, simply a pact, sometimes informal. The term alliance should have been reserved for treaties between multinational organizations but since we are stuck with the term we have to define a meaning that best describes its use in this world.

That is one of the purposes of this brief paper, to define and assess a CN alliance. Now by traditional ooc terms, can the word "alliance" be applied to what you said? Yes, but in that case the word ceases to have any meaningful use for our world.

So I will clarify that when I use the term "alliance" I am really referring to in-character MNOs and not other types of pacts. This is what "alliance" has been traditionally reserved to in this world.

Edited by Count da Silva
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An alliance boils to to something very simple.

Imagine you have two nations amongst many where one of them goes "Hey, if you watch my back i'll watch yours, k?"

Imagine this very same idea applied on a grand scale.

Edited by Tomcat
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That is not the end all be all of what an alliance is, it's just a model of the generic alliance structures we see. An alliance can be whatever the membership of that alliance decide it wants to be. Maybe they enjoy warfare and split off in teams and blow the snot out of each other? Maybe they don't want to bother with the world at large and never sign a single treaty? Maybe they decide this whole singular authority and secrecy is for the birds and decide to live in what can best be described as an anarchistic state?

The possibilities are limited by only imagination.

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An alliance boils to to something very simple.

Imagine you have two nations amongst many where one of them goes "Hey, if you watch my back i'll watch yours, k?"

Imagine this very same idea applied on a grand scale.

AKA: NSO.

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AKA: Every alliance worth their salt.

That too.

Tomcat changed his post as I was making a reply, but I was responding to something along the lines of:

'What about alliances that ENCOURAGE internal conflict?"

I was just making a point: he didn't even include his own alliance into the equation. The couping functions in his alliance make a particularly good example of internal conflict.

Edited by Heyman
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That too.

I was just making a point: he didn't even include his own alliance into the equation. The couping functions in his alliance make a particularly good example of internal conflict. I also quoted the wrong post. :(

Yeah, and now you gone and ruined it. :(

There was an off chance that he might have not realized his alliance's philosophy flies in the face of everything he wrote. Oh well :P

Edited by Sal Paradise
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That too.

Tomcat changed his post as I was making a reply, but I was responding to something along the lines of:

'What about alliances that ENCOURAGE internal conflict?"

I was just making a point: he didn't even include his own alliance into the equation. The couping functions in his alliance make a particularly good example of internal conflict.

Sorry bout dat mah spellin aint so grate

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An alliance is a bunch of people who wear the same AA.

So then I suppose ghosts are part of your alliance then. :rolleyes:

'What about alliances that ENCOURAGE internal conflict?"

I was just making a point: he didn't even include his own alliance into the equation. The couping functions in his alliance make a particularly good example of internal conflict.

Conflict is not the same as directed competition. Competition within an alliance that results in a directed end goal is a very positive thing. For example, two officers competing for promotion will direct their energy towards the advancement of the alliance. This is mutually beneficial for the alliance as well as the individual who is promoted. Internal conflict, on the other hand, is negative and uncontrolled, and presents itself in the form of opposed political or military factions, party politics, government wings (example security vs military, or executive vs judiciary), or deconstructive bickering. The latter stunts and reverses growth and freedom of potential.

The NSO is designed to promote positive directed competition and reduce negative uncontrolled conflict. We even have a steam release valve in the form of upper government coups, meaning that the leader (Ivan) can be quickly and easily replaced if the alliance is divided, with a minimum of conflict taking places to do so.

Edited by Count da Silva
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That is not the end all be all of what an alliance is, it's just a model of the generic alliance structures we see. An alliance can be whatever the membership of that alliance decide it wants to be. Maybe they enjoy warfare and split off in teams and blow the snot out of each other? Maybe they don't want to bother with the world at large and never sign a single treaty? Maybe they decide this whole singular authority and secrecy is for the birds and decide to live in what can best be described as an anarchistic state?

The possibilities are limited by only imagination.

Yet they are all included in my definition.

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