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The Economist ~ The Myth of ConTRoL

Day 1,763, 10:13 by Iain Keers

*I’m writing this article as a world citizen who owes allegiances to the UK, Serbia, Poland, Sweden, MKD, Slovenia and a half dozen countries I think of as friends. It’s not propaganda, it’s just my personal thoughts. If you think I’m misinformed, then publish the truth. Don’t hide in the dark and complain when people don’t see you for what you are...*




Dear friends,


I’m coming today to write about the changing alliance dynamic and the way it’s effecting the future development of the game. As many of you will be aware, the CTRL alliance has been proposed as an alternative to the old ONE/EDEN bipolar world conflict for a long time. The main contributing factor to the CTRL idea was a general dissatisfaction amongst the four countries involved (Spain-Poland-USA-Brazil) about a game which has been Balkan focused since the rise of Hungary in V1. The idea was that the Americas alone (Terra) were too weak to resist either ONE or EDEN, and so were permanently tied to EDEN for protection against ONE. With a larger Terra alliance, including SPoland, it would be far more practical to resist the two Balkan-based blocs, or even stay out of the conflict altogether.

In theory it’s a sound idea. In reality it has never been something supported by a majority of the four countries involved, never mind their general populations. Despite a constant and unending stream of propaganda, there are major trust issues between the countries and also a deep fear amongst both halves that the other is trying to recruit them to “the other side”. This fear is not unfounded- people from both sides are desperately trying to prise Poland away from its allies in South East Europe by creating tension and pushing up provocative articles in the media. To me there is no real possibility of a politically neutral CTRL alliance- any alliance will inevitably be bound to EDEN by mutual enemies, and thus any future CTRL alliance would be nothing more than a brazen attempt to regain two of the most powerful ex-EDEN members for the EDEN damage sheet.

The problems which resulted in the collapse of Terra and ONE were all based in a presumed imbalance of power between the various members of the alliance. Poland (and especially Spain) resented the so called “domination” of Serbo-Hungarian interests in the ONE alliance (a myth that has never quite been dispelled), and the Brazilians and other members of Terra felt overlooked by the USA, who tended to just ignore Terra HQ whenever it felt like it, knowing that the HQ was too weak without American backing to actually do anything about it.

The issue is that these problems, real or imagined, are not problems which will be solved by the formation of CTRL. The geographic location of the alliance means that certain countries will always be at the brunt of any attack. Spain and especially Poland would always border non-allied countries, whereas the USA and Brazil would be literally crouched behind the European meat-shield. When Terra was formed many in the soon-to-be ONE alliance joked about how the French and Germans were a living bullet-vest to protect from Poland. It seems that having witnessed the ineffectiveness of that particular shield the Americans are reaching for another, more proven one. What exactly will happen to their erstwhile French and German “allies” in West Europe is obvious- permanent occupation by the Polish giant.

The truth is that Americans are an unusually loyal bunch by eRepublik standards. They often make apparently poor decisions in the name of doing the “right” thing, and the idea of betraying an ally (as was seen by the Canadian event) is one which they don’t embrace willingly. As a result, there is a constant wave of propaganda flowing across the Atlantic- half trying to convince the USA that France loves them more than they love soft cheese, half trying to convince them that the French are behind a desperate power grab in the US. Obviously both of these stories are rubbish. The French need the USA desperately, and although the government’s official line is to get the USA on-side by reminding them of their friendship (a historically successful tactic) others are going for a nastier route, which puts the French PTO team in bed with some rather unsavoury elements.

Which brings us to another major issue with CTRL. EDEN and ONE existed so long that the two main members of both –Poland and the USA- are full of members of their old alliance. The USA especially is packed with Croats, Romanians and so on who are just biding their time and watching the situation. You can be sure that any attempt to break away will result in a unification of interests between those groups and the Serbo-Hungarian PTO groups already there. A quick glance at past elections can show you the amount of influence these PTO groups already have.

The thing is that CTRL is a political fiction pushed by a minority of players. The problems with it are huge-
*Imbalanced power and responsibility
*Abandoning of old friends and allies
*A forced choice between former ONE and EDEN members for both sides

This is why that minority of players is pushing it, all for very different reasons. In my opinion there are elements in Spain which for a long time regretted leaving EDEN and resented the ONE leadership for various reasons. These elements essentially killed the ONE alliance by any means necessary- lies, propaganda, leaking information and so on. In the last month of it’s existence, the Spanish CP Siddy spent the entire month undermining the HQ team who were attempting to rescue the situation. In the end it became obvious that his goal was to bring Spain into and American alliance and so people gave up trying to reconcile the problems. It was clear no solution would be good enough.


Guess the cultural reference

My suspicion all along has been that the major motor behind the formation of CTRL has been Siddy and a minority of American players. The Polish have always been reluctant parties to it, saving aVie, and the Brazilians have long been quiet on the issue. From their perspective, CTRL offers nothing. They already have a NAP with Spain if they want it, and fighting outside the Americas is impractical and a drain of resources. Besides, they can always fight via MPP if they want to. The alliance benefits Spain the most, giving it security away from the allies in East Europe which it has alienated and keeping the Polish onside (who are the only major threat to Spain should they join the USA and the rest of the proEDEN bloc).

The future of the UK in all of this is a murky one. Under my term as CP we committed formally to alliance with the Polish post-ONE. As our major strategic partner in the region, we rely almost entirely on their support for continued independence. Our relative lack of resources make us an unattractive target anyway, but Polish support was invaluable for our last major liberation war. As such the future of the UK militarily should lie with Poland. The problem is that whether Poland sees it or not, any move towards CTRL is a move towards alliance with EDEN against the Serbians, Hungarians, Macedonians and so on- who were major supporters of the UK for years. On top of this alliance with the likes of CRomania, even indirectly, is a bitter pill for many to take. If it was put in those terms, I doubt many in Poland would support CTRL either, which is why it’s being done in such an underhanded way. Relative silence from Serbia and Hungary for the past two months hasn’t helped the situation, and if that doesn’t change they’ll find themselves isolated and alone on the international stage.

Interest groups pushing the formation of CTRL are not doing it for the good of the countries involved, but for their own good. It’s a constant truism that alliances are built around the people who found them- and a lot of the people who have been pushing hard for it around the world are the ones you’d least want an alliance to be based on. Backstabbing politics, betrayal of allies and deception are all well-used tools of the new world, but founding an alliance on these principles is asking for trouble.

Whatever the decision made by the countries involved, the basis of a CTRL alliance is far from solid. On such shifting sands, permanence is impossible. CTRL lacks even the basic external pressure that often substitutes for genuine friendship in times of hardship. I can’t think of any reason for the alliance to exist at all, except to protect American and Brazilian bonuses- something which is more or less guaranteed anyway due to the relative weakness of Spain and the suicide of attacking the USA’s 50+ regions in a direct conflict. An artificial alliance with few benefits and with almost no grassroots support is a poor proposition, but it’s one that’s still going to be discussed until a genuine successor alliance to ONE arises. The question is, do we have to endure six months of CTRL insanity before we finally learn the lessons we should have learned from the political disaster that was ONE?

Again, sorry for the rant :)

Iain




Ps. Great to be back in Poland :) Last time here was a great chance to meet lots of new people, and hopefully I’ll get to see more of you this time. If you want me to join a channel or whatever, just drop me a PM and I’ll come and say Czesc :P

PPs. 168 votes to get into top 5... it’s almost like eRepublik has players again!

 

Comments

DevilsBreed
DevilsBreed Day 1,763, 10:16

PRCCCCCCCCC

Prophet009
Prophet009 Day 1,763, 10:21

So Iain, you came to Poland just to publish anti-CTRL article? Interesting.

Jimbojoy
Jimbojoy Day 1,763, 10:24

Very good article, but not harsh enough on the Americans, who are the root cause of losing all their allies at an alarmingly high turnover rate, for all their "loyalty". The yanks are cool individually, but retards en masse.

eDarkAngel
eDarkAngel Day 1,763, 10:27

"Backstabbing politics, betrayal of allies and deception are all well-used tools of the new world, but founding an alliance on these principles is asking for trouble."


Works well for EDEN (core), why not for others

ObIiterate
ObIiterate Day 1,763, 10:29

One minute it's disastrous policy, the next it "works well". Derp.

Nice article Iain.

Iain Keers
Iain Keers Day 1,763, 10:32

I don't see how being anti-CTRL means anti-Poland. I love Poland, I lived here for a long time and I've always supported the country. But yeh, CTRL will be a disaster for Poland, and I think people are trying to hide the fact. Prophet you of all people should know the kind of people involved in this shit...

Mr. Azure
Mr. Azure Day 1,763, 10:40

I don't know about the other countries, but here in Brazil, the whole CTRL idea started in a highly restricted secret forum (two dozen members, tops). A couple of guys (you know who) came with the idea and started messaging people from the other countries, specially Spain. Months of negotiation later, they threw the idea in the main active forum (to which most of our active players are members). (continue)

elbandido
elbandido Day 1,763, 10:42

...balkans watching at CTRL

Mr. Azure
Mr. Azure Day 1,763, 10:44

Most people liked the idea of creating an alliance outside from the eastern europe eternal wars (thus, no Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romenia, Hungary, Poland). Some few protested against leaving some good balcanic allies behind (specially Croatia). No one even thought of the idea of selling our traditional american allies (Argentina, Colombia and, to some extent, Portugal) out. Then a little propaganda came by the same couple of guys (again, you know who). (continue)

Prophet009
Prophet009 Day 1,763, 10:47

Of course it doesn't mean you're anti-Poland. However I can see that you'd like to have influence over Poland and drive us into another Phoenix v4 alliance, which will end in the same style as Phoenix and ONE, or at least you'd like to see us in such alliance.

Our society refused in referendum for being in such alliance.

You're also talking about the minority pushing for an alliance, but wait. Wasn't that in the case of ONE? Majority of our society didn't want to leave Croatia. So you're

Death and Taxes
Death and Taxes Day 1,763, 10:47

Any chance of an executive summary

Mr. Azure
Mr. Azure Day 1,763, 10:51

First they began with the "Portugal just cares about themselves" propaganda and sold them out. Now they are with the "EDEN are a bunch of TOvers traitors" propaganda. Summarizing, those couple of guys were able to change a whole country opinion. I'm not saying that brazilian people is against CTRL. Today, most of us are for it. What I'm saying is that this idea was incepted by a couple of guys.

(Sorry for my broken english)

Prophet009
Prophet009 Day 1,763, 10:51

criticizing the same thing which was while creating of ONE.

The funniest thing in this is that EDEN thinks that CTRL (if gonna exist of course) will be pro exONE and pro exONE thinks CTRL will be pro EDEN. And the truth is that both EDEN and exONE don't want the rise of the new alliance

ObIiterate
ObIiterate Day 1,763, 10:52

Maguilao: The same thing happened to every country which changed alliances. The exact same thing. Incredible that people don't see the manipulation by now.

k0stek
k0stek Day 1,763, 10:59

Margaret H Thatcher: And you are far over any manipulation right?

ObIiterate
ObIiterate Day 1,763, 11:02

Err yes, actually. I have very sure opinions on things but I'm neither manipulative nor sneaky like the people pushing CTRL.

Coyote Starrk
Coyote Starrk Day 1,763, 11:03

"CTRL is a political fiction" -> I agree with Iain.

CTRL is a nice idea but it will not work.

Poland + Spain -> OK
USA + Brazil -> OK

Poland + Spain + USA + Brazil = ???

YEAH, seems OK, but making alliances is not so easy.

aVie
aVie Day 1,763, 11:20

"And the truth is that both EDEN and exONE don't want the rise of the new alliance"

+1

Coyote Starrk
Coyote Starrk Day 1,763, 11:23

+2 : )

Iain Keers
Iain Keers Day 1,763, 11:28

Prophet, If you read the last sentence of my article...

"The question is, do we have to endure six months of CTRL insanity before we finally learn the lessons we should have learned from the political disaster that was ONE?"

Yes ONE had huge problems, I acknowledge that. I'm not saying that ONE V2 is the future for Poland, I am just giving my opinion about CTRL, which is nothing more than an elitist pipe-dream for power with little chance of long term success. Do you want another ONE?

New Faustian Man
New Faustian Man Day 1,763, 11:33

"My suspicion all along has been that the major motor behind the formation of CTRL has been Siddy and a minority of American players. The Polish have always been reluctant parties to it."

Really? Siddy and Co. may be driving forces, but a lot of people from the 4 founding nations are behind CTRL. It has it's opposition in the US sure, but also huge support. And this isn't some "minority" we're talking about.

aVie
aVie Day 1,763, 11:36

Iain:

'with little chance of long term success'
and you're saying that because you know sth that we don't ?

Captain Kushskiller2001
Captain Kushskiller2001 Day 1,763, 11:37

always a great read

Prophet009
Prophet009 Day 1,763, 11:42

ONE definitely no, unfortunately I have been on every meeting in January then since March and I saw too much to just go for ONE 2.0 : ) About the beginning of ONE/its best whiles - I was 2-click back then and honestly I don't remember much.
Well I can say that after all ONE was such a dream. Somehow our bloc of countries is making the same mistakes over and over again, creating -> dissolving then another creation and the dissolution, when we have some power over EDEN then we're struggling with

Prophet009
Prophet009 Day 1,763, 11:45

each other, then suddenly nobody wants to lead it for real and some usurpers starting destruction of the alliance.

New Faustian Man
New Faustian Man Day 1,763, 11:51

CTRL shouldn't suffer from any of the faults built into ONE. The fact its global and has large member-states spread over Europe and SA is a strength -- not weakness. For a start, it makes any attempt to wipe the alliance near impossible. Even with air-strikes the possibility of wiping the US, Brazil AND either Poland or Spain would be such a massive venture that no alliance would seriously consider undertaking it. The expense would always out-weigh any reward.

thelanelim
thelanelim Day 1,763, 11:58

Interesting

Iain Keers
Iain Keers Day 1,763, 12:01

Four powerful countries in two blocks with little history of working together and little love for each other decide to work together to make a super alliance to dominate one half of the world for bonuses... sound familiar?

The pain of such an artificial creation is obvious to everyone and whether you like it or not it is definitely a dream of a minority of people who don't see the big picture. Remember CTRL has been on the discussion board for 8-9 months now, and it still doesn't exist.

New Faustian Man
New Faustian Man Day 1,763, 12:02

And more importantly, the US, Brazil and Poland are all at the top of their respective foodchains -- which impacts hugely the security of their bonuses, and the knock-on effect this has for the entire alliance is obvious. CTRL may have three countries with the potential to secure long-term 10/10 bonuses. No alliance has ever been formed on such a sound footing.

New Faustian Man
New Faustian Man Day 1,763, 12:12

And lest we forget: The lack of genuine military opposition on the doorstep of 3 of the 4 founding members means no incessant drain wars, thus negating another HUGE problem suffered by ONE. The alliance can still be attacked ofcourse, but it should have such an immense resource-base that it can withstand multiple assaults against it without production suffering for any appreciable length of time.

GregoryG
GregoryG Day 1,763, 12:13

Well, well. In some things I agree with Iain and in some things I agree with aVie and prophnet.

1) When I ran for SG in ONE early summer this year, I had heard rummors about the idea of CTRL. The solo reason I ran was because I couldn't allow a situation in which 1-2 key countries ( in our case SPoland ) leave ONE and the rest got stuck in a dying alliance with 0 diplomatic manouverability whatsoever. The downfall of ONE this summer was precisely engineened by few individuals.

GregoryG
GregoryG Day 1,763, 12:16

Because we realised we have to do what is neccesary.

2) I don't believe CTRL will be either proExONE or proEden. It's a completely new possible power block. JUST AS ONE WAS. One was always far from PHX and Peace, because it's mayor powers were Hungary Serbia Poland and Spain. With the addition of MKD, and further expansion the alliance itself became more and more similar to PHX, both in structure and composition. I always disliked it, and I expressed my fears often and loudly.

GregoryG
GregoryG Day 1,763, 12:19

The original concept behing ONE was small alliance with large military powers, with as few resoponsibilities as possible. This worked pretty well until mid 2011 march, when the ONE and the ONE power block became so dominant that we could afford having many fronts and wars open and still win. Thus the original concept about focusing our power on core members became unnecessary and so the structural and internal political changes followed.

Petsku
Petsku Day 1,763, 12:23

A nice article. Alliance based purely on bonuses won't work. I don't see these 4 developing a strong bond, which is exactly what's needed for long-term success.

GregoryG
GregoryG Day 1,763, 12:24

3) As how this alliance will benefit certain coutries.
a) Spain, it's pretty obvious that Spain will have secure borders with no serious threats nearby. It's something every one of us would like in a new alliance, so there is nothing to be condemmed here. Siddy and the actual Spanish leadership had the time, talent and idea to intiate this now alliance concept. All I can do is congratulate them.
b) Poland: Pretty secure 10/10 with Germany and France are deemed expendable by BrUsa.

GregoryG
GregoryG Day 1,763, 12:25

Military focused might relocate to Northern Europe ( the currently Asgard is fighting the Polish ally ABC ), or the the east.
However the Hungarian relations migth become endangared. (?). ( I'll get back to this. )

GregoryG
GregoryG Day 1,763, 12:28

c) BrUSA: Sorry to say it but to some extent I have to agree with Iain. Spain and nPoland secured as allies will ensure safe eastern borders for them. ( "Stronger meatshield" ). However I don't think this is the main motivating force behind them. But the chance of becoming leading countries in some independent mayor alliace. And by mayor I mean not a satellite alliance like Terra was ( for EDEN ). Thus giving more strategic, diplomatic and allover mobility and decision making freedom.

GregoryG
GregoryG Day 1,763, 12:33

4) How this effect Hungary ( and Serbia, but I'll focun on a Hungarian perspective here ). Some of us are confused, some are irrationally conservative and want a ONE 2.0, et cetera...
Well, this might be a more subjective part of my series of comments after all. So I won't hasitate to clearify. I LOVE POLAND. My favourite 5-6 months in erep were from 2010 december - 2011 may. And the friendship which developed between Hungary and Poland was something extraordinary.

Thomas765
Thomas765 Day 1,763, 12:33

I'm pro-CTRL since being in ONE HQ. My views on this were motivated by the petty bickering between Poland and Macedonia and the lack of cooperation between some member nations and HQ. I've been supportive of Poland since December last year and they have been great allies, despite being a past enemy of the UK. Also < 3 Marvin and Prophet : P

Thomas765
Thomas765 Day 1,763, 12:36

Also, it is nice to have a change every now and again to rejuvinate the game. This is one of many reasons why particular people in all four countries want to try out this alliance. Spain and Poland have never been an ally of Brazil, so what's happened is a huge stepping stone. I'm glad they've dusted off parts of the rot/meatshield personally.

GregoryG
GregoryG Day 1,763, 12:36

Of course the flame of this love burn brighter some times, but it has been burning ever since, and can only be compared to what we feel towards Serbia. Those months I spent with working so closely with Poland ( and Spain and Serbia, well mainly with the 4 founders of ONE ) left a deep mark in my ePersonality. Those who remember that period will realise who perfect were the 4 countries together even so that we are different in many things.

Thomas765
Thomas765 Day 1,763, 12:41

I will say this though: It will be very difficult to remove elements of the balkans from any alliance. Even countries that aren't /directly/ involved will still somehow get involved in the constant wars in that region.

GregoryG
GregoryG Day 1,763, 12:41

That is exactly why I am not worried for Hungary and Serbia. We SPoland and SerHun grew too closely to each other - if some deny to admit it - to get separated completely. I don't believe Poland will ever fight againts Hungary in the close ( well 1 year ) future. Hun-Pol relations are the link between SerHun and SPoland. And this strong bond makes us unseparatable.

GregoryG
GregoryG Day 1,763, 12:42

Even if SerHun will have to stay outside the official CTRL in the beggining, sooner or later we'll become either members or become a closely attacked mini-satellite alliance for CTRL.

Sorry for the typos, I had a long day. Please tell me what you think about my thougts.

Fin

GregoryG
GregoryG Day 1,763, 12:46

Post scriptum:

Ah yes the Balkans.

Well Hungary and Romania both realised our mutual need for a lasting NAP so no Balkan war there. Minor wars againts Ukraine are not something I'd consider a bourden for any alliance.
As for Serbia their "Balkan wars" are more like "Serbian occupation of nearby hostile countries for bonuses".

Any unending ancient in the area war both SerHun dislikes and will ignore if can in the future.

Thomas765
Thomas765 Day 1,763, 12:54

I'm glad there's a NAP between Hungary and Romania. That war was driving me insane as dMC/MC of ONE : P I think the Balkans do have the capability to cooperate. Greece and Turkey managed it (possibly out of desperation) at least for now. I honestly can't see where Hungary or Serbia will be in the coming months - perhaps there's a similar thought in their governments, hence the silence.

Plainswalker
Plainswalker Day 1,763, 13:15

actually I wish ctrl will officially start to exist, so that others can properly organize against it and crush it like a bug

Siddy Tramero
Siddy Tramero Day 1,763, 13:36

Apparently I'm the most important player on the game now as I can bend countries and alliances to my will.


I want to say 'hi' to my fans!

M. de Ruyter
M. de Ruyter Day 1,763, 13:53

Nice article, good read.

 
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