The Downward Spiral: A critical analysis of the state of politics in Cybernations, by New Reverie May 30, 2008
Prologue[edit | edit source]
It has been quite a while since I have felt the need to put up a wall of text. Typically the mood strikes me during what I see as a critical event within Cybernations. The events happening now are such that Cybernations has reached a turning point and direction that may sadly be irreversible and irreparable. The events over the past year have all but destroyed meaningful alliance relations and Cybernations politics for the most part have ceased to exist. Before I continue with the bulk of this message, I would like to state that this is not an attack on any alliance, individual, or group composed of either of the previous. I say this because I feel it to be required in the current political state of the world and I do not wish to bring destruction or ill feelings on myself or my alliance from those that are capable of doing so. That said, alliances and individuals have to be named as examples to support the arguments contained below. This call for change is however not directed at any specific alliance, but a call for diplomacy to return to a world that has long forgotten its purpose. Do to the shear size of this work it will be released chapter by chapter over the course of several weeks. I encourage everyone to read and reread it as I make each addition. Lastly I would like to point to my two previous works as a prehistory to which the following will expand upon.
You can find them here:
Chapter 1[edit | edit source]
The event, as I see it, which set in motion the events leading towards todayâ€™s political and power landscape was the end of Great War III. During the course of the war many new precedents were set. Many different alliances and individuals helped to set these precedents, many of which have been expanded upon and have become a standard, but together they have all contributed to the downfall of politics within Cybernations. Two notable doctrines and the sub doctrines that follow from them stand out as having a major affect on how both war and politics are handled today.
I. Might Makes Right and Fear of Retribution[edit | edit source]
The first and most important is the complete lack of respect and contempt for an enemy on the battlefield. It is the suppression of dissent by a more powerful foe that in many ways has collapsed the culture that once existed in every area of the game. Military victory no longer became acceptable and in many ways military victory was no longer the most important goal of a war. Instead the new standard by which war was conducted became social victory, or the complete eradication and marginalization of competing logic or opinion.
It is this concept of social victory that has grown into the politics of the world we see. Over the months it has grown through a variety of ways. The GOONS shark week is a classic example of the results of how the social victories of GWIII have damaged free expression. Shark week also gave us the beginnings of attacking for reasons that were held OOC. This form of social victory has been used repeatedly to construct an atmosphere where dissenting opinion whether IC or OOC and regardless of how well or poorly constructed can be used for war. From this we achieve two new doctrines; Might makes right and Fear of Retribution.
Might makes right is a simple enough concept, yet it has not always been a concept that existed within Cybernations. During the periods of time when there was either a balancing force of power or an instability within a power group, might makes right was not the solution to which opposing sides reached. Oddly enough by todayâ€™s standards, diplomacy was used first and foremost to resolve issues. The last vestige of diplomacy over war that I can fully remember was during the Moldavi Rebellion. During this brief but dramatic period of time war seemed to be a possibility. Yet no actual fighting occurred between the groups of different opinion. Why? I believe it had less to do with Pacific and Polarâ€™s long relationship and more to do with the balance of power overcoming their mutual desire for conflict. To conclude, might makes right is the standard doctrine employed by most alliances now, but the doctrine fails in a fair fight. Today the policy has gotten out of hand. Might makes right was at one time used with restraint. Yet now I see it used purely as a tactic to bully weaker forces with dissenting opinion. Might makes right has become the centerpiece of social victory. Instead of winning arguments through discourse and politics, the spear has replaced the pen as the instrument of choice for winning a social conflict. Dissent is now crushed in its infancy or through overwhelming force. Once it is crushed it is either held in place through continual conflict or eradicated through social reprogramming. The question then becomes why dissent must be so utterly destroyed? The answer, I believe, is presented within the fear of retribution.
It is interesting that some alliances refer to Great War III as the War of Retribution. It is from this name that I derive the fear of retribution doctrine. From a historical standpoint retribution only makes sense if there was some original wrong that must be righted. This original wrong links to the Great War I. During the period of time between GWI and GWIII no major conflicts occurred. GWII itself was only a minor conflict by todayâ€™s standards and surrender terms largely consisted of apologies. The explanation for this is twofold. Might makes right and the fear of retribution doctrines did not exist. Had either of these doctrines existed during this era, dissenting opinion of weaker parties would have been stamped out. Instead diplomacy was the weapon used to resolve conflicts as they arose. Now however it is the fear of retribution that is the driving force to keep dissent from gaining strength. The fear that if an opposing view gains enough strength that armed conflict is inevitable. To absolve this fear and prevent the possibility that retribution occur, the purpose and ability for others to carry out retribution are attacked. This is not to say that opposition regardless of its strength will follow through with retribution for some earlier wrong. But the fear of retribution doctrine requires that such a scenario not be allowed to occur at all. Thus opposition regardless of strength is always attacked and quieted so that no retribution can occur. In essence war is used continuously to prevent war.
Fear of Retribution, much like the doctrine of might makes right, has systematically destroyed politics and discussion of ideas within the world. The risk of exposing yourself or an alliance as a dissenter of a larger entity is too great. The opinion of the stronger is instead carried and repeated and supported by the weaker regardless of personal beliefs. True opinion can only be expressed once attacks are already being carried out and by this point it is too late. Those of different opinion have already been ridiculed and social victory has already been achieved.
II. Total Victory[edit | edit source]
The second precedent set by GWIII is the forced disbandment of alliances. This in many ways ties into the doctrine of social victory, yet the forced disbandment of an alliance is more than a social victory, it is a total victory. It is within this doctrine that this area of discussion will find its focus. Total victory and forced disbandment is designed to humiliate an enemy. Humiliation is achieved through a variety of means, but its purpose is to make continued membership in an alliance so undesirable that the alliance can no longer support itself for the good of its membership and thus fails at its purpose.
Total victory through humiliation is quickly becoming the standard of warfare. Many alliances forced to disband were pushed into the situation through their own actions, although /b/ is the standard example of this, one must remember that they were also never offered alliance surrender terms. However other alliances such as the NAAC or the IAA never contributed to any atrocities and found themselves in war because of treaty obligations. It is because of the practiced doctrine of total victory that many alliances choose to save themselves rather than following through on a treaty. I am in agreement with these alliancesâ€™ actions after seeing the progression of conflict. Safety and dishonor is a much better choice than humiliation and disbandment. To establish the concept of total victory, two sub doctrines form its guiding principles. These are denial of alliance surrender and prisoners of war.
My insights on why surrender terms are denied will be reserved for a later chapter. For now I want to focus on their affects on how total victory is achieved. To provide a history, surrender terms used to consist of an apology and some sort of financial reparations. Surrender terms were offered to alliances at the request of those wishing to surrender. In addition to this, the process of negotiating alliance surrender was one where respect was still maintained for both alliances. Outrageous terms requiring decommissioning of troops for months, the destruction of improvements, and the acceptance of viceroys were unheard of. Note the dramatic difference between surrender terms in GWII
compared to that of GWIII.
Some say that the terms were different between these two wars because league alliances had not learned their lesson in GWII. Respectfully I must refute this opinion. During the Second Great War, the sides were more evenly matched. Not only that, respect towards fellow alliances, even enemies, remained throughout the conflict. This was because the social victory doctrine had not been established. There were also several alliances that stayed neutral and could have possibly changed its outcome if they were to enter. Pushing humiliating surrender terms could have resulted in the entrance of other alliances and changed the war.
During the Third Great War, none of these factors existed. Victory was always guaranteed for the Initiative. This allowed for the issuance of the harshest surrender terms ever given, including the forced disbanding of several alliances by not offering alliance surrender terms at all. The refusal of surrender created the most dangerous precedent we face in the political discourse of Cybernations today. Through its establishment entire alliances, cultures, and methods of thought have been eradicated from the game. While I do not disagree that some elements have been disruptive to the political atmosphere via OOC means, the vast majority of forced disbandment have been the results of IC conflicts. The most disturbing fact relating to this is that the forced disbandment is a result of either overly harsh and unacceptable surrender terms or a complete disregard for political discussion between the combatants. The victor who is usually predetermined uses their position to not only humiliate the defender but to force them out of the world completely. Worse still is the non-issuance of surrender terms to any member of an alliance ever, even if that member attempts to leave the alliance. This occurrence happens far too often and its result is the forcing of those individuals to remove themselves from the world along with their alliance. While social victory guarantees that dissenting opinions have been eradicated, total victory via denial of surrender and forced disbandment guarantees that the formulators of alternate political views are removed from the game entirely. Denial of alliance surrender terms is only half of the process through which total victory is achieved. The second half is by converting the membership of an entire alliance into POWs.
The concept of POWs did not come about until after GWIII. There are several purposes for POWs which play into the concept of total victory. The first and most obvious is to create a means of tracking an enemy, even if that enemy is no longer a combatant, and while allowing enemies to become trackable prisoners, creating a conduit to force the disbandment of an alliance. Once an enemy has surrendered and become a POW they loose all rights. Cybernations has no set rules for the treatment of prisoners. Nations are forced into what amounts to slavery, no one may escape until whatever the desires of the alliance keeping them have been met. Becoming a POW, when offered, is more beneficial to a nation than remaining within an alliance. The former offers the prospect of protection in exchange for an undefined time of service and then freedom, the latter offers only endless destruction.
The combination of offering individual surrender terms while not offering alliance surrender terms also contributes heavily to the death of political discourse. No alliance is capable of discussing surrender terms with every POW, but discussion of surrender terms between alliance leaders has always been possible. By only offering POW status, victors have created a means of avoiding any political recognition of their actions. There is merely the war, endless and crushing until there is nothing left to attack. No effort has to be made to address the reasons for war beyond the initial declaration. Beyond that point attacks are perpetual and prisoners are taken with no need for negotiation.
By only offering individual surrender terms which do not require negotiations and are created entirely by the winning alliance total victory is achieved. The victorious alliance is able to go to war, win a war, and track its prisoners all without having to ever engage in political discussions with the loser of the conflict. The pursuit of total victory is in essence an effort to completely humiliate another alliance. The loser is never recognized by the victor beyond being a list of nations that are open for attack. Taking on POWs disrupts an alliances ability to negotiate. It is much simpler for a victor to offer its own terms exactly the way it wants, instead of speaking to leadership. The result is the continued and growing trend of disrespect and the loss of another valued facet of Cybernations politics.
To many who fought on the loosing side of the Third Great War, the feeling that the game was over had real meaning. After the war ended it seemed at first that this was possibly an exaggeration. Now over a year since the end of that conflict I am not sure anymore who was right. Politics have largely been removed from Cybernations through the use of the social and total victory doctrines. The game has found itself in an ever tightening downward spiral that has been given more force with each overwhelming victory against a differing opinion. Politics have given way to trolling, disrespect, and fear. I look at the world in its current state and I am saddened at what it has become. It is this sadness that has compelled me to put pen to paper and reach out to the controllers of strength, power, and influence in this world and strive to see politics return.
At this point, this essay does not offer solutions. But I hope that this first chapter will cause alliances and individuals to look inward and discover areas in their present and past where they have used the doctrines of social and total victory to the detriment of the world. There is still much more to discuss, but that will have to wait for the next chapter. Until then, I commend those that have made it this far and hope you enjoyed it.