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