A couple months ago I moved back to Poland from Slovenia to publish an article about CTRL. In fact, in the months I’ve been here I’ve published two (here and here) about the alliance and its prospects as I saw them. As you probably know by now, I am not a fan of the alliance, and I felt it was doomed from the start.
The huge stumbling blocks of differing goals and ambitions, differing cultures and a history of being enemies stretching back years tripped the alliance at every opportunity. When Poland announced today it was leaving the alliance along with Spain, it wasn’t so much a shock as a relief for me. The alliance was based on concepts which were interesting but ultimately relied on a bonding that never happened between the allies. With no real external threat, the alliance tore itself apart as each half stretched the hand of friendship whilst continuing to fight proxy wars abroad.
The future for the alliance system now seems inevitable. The original focal point of CTRL- a NAP between SPoland and BRUSA need not be scrapped, but it seems inevitable that the USA will drift back to EDEN, with MPPs being slowly dropped and informal alliances reappearing. The former ONE countries never lost their close ties, and now what has persisted for a long time as a close friendship has the potential to go further.
The problems with ONE were not in most cases problems with countries. The problems were systematic, to do with the way the alliance was organised and structured. It was simultaneously too weak to enforce unity, and too strict to allow compromise. It encouraged cliques, it encouraged infighting and by the end countries were being used as tools in power struggles between leaders that drove the alliance apart.
The lesson learned from the ONE disaster should be that the purpose of an alliance is to represent and co-ordinate synergistically, so the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. To do this you have to look at power proportionally. In the ONE alliance a frequent event was the inactive leadership of Sweden being used as a proxy vote by one side or another, since the actual CP rarely turned up to vote, or if they did was disassociated from the ongoing politics and was easily swayed. The presence of small, weak and inactive countries in the ONE leadership was a major problem, and meant that votes were disproportionate to the actual importance of the country.
Now this might sound cruel or undemocratic, but it’s not. Coming from a very small (and very active) country, it’s always frustrating to be lumped in with other countries our size that boast a mere handful of top class leaders. But we still have to accept that it’s not only impractical but ridiculous when four countries representing 60% of the damage and population of an alliance can be over-ruled by a half dozen barely active proxy vote CPs who are stampeded in a certain direction by ambitious alliance politicians. Any future alliance to emerge from the ruins of EDEN/ONE/CTRL must have at its heart a system whereby the importance of a country is reflected by its political clout. Whether that means associate membership, or weighted voting, is a decision to be made by leaders in future. But the illusion of equality was a disaster in ONE and we should learn from it.
Another problem with alliances is the push of responsibility for military leadership from the MoD/CP to the alliance Military Command. This makes the job of the MC impossible, and almost nullifies the purpose of the MoD themselves. Where possible priorities should be discussed by MoDs between themselves- again easier with a smaller number of states involved. One solution to the MC problem would be to appoint an MoD as MC, thus combining the roles. By rotating the position, you prevent one country hogging priority whilst putting the most active and involved people in charge of setting military priorities. Smaller countries, or affiliated members wouldn’t need to be on such a council except as observers. If you compare the UK, for example, which has perhaps 200 fighters in organised MUs to Serbia- which has more than 2000- you quickly realise that being MoD in a small country is like being a MU Commander in a larger one. Lack of representation again isn’t a problem, and there’s nothing stopping talented people in small countries progressing within the alliance.
Another thing we need to learn from ONE/CTRL is that the function of treasurer/central bank/liberation fund/tank fund is essential. We had a small tank fund in ONE and it proved to be the single most effective military tool we had- and it was tiny in comparison to the Phoenix Central Treasury which preceded it. Not only is financial understanding more important than ever, but the use and distribution of weapons in a MU-based military module is the most efficient way to direct damage. Up-scaling and centralising this must be a priority for any alliance which wants a rapid response system to deal with RWs, late night battles and surprise attacks.
The last and most important lesson we need to learn regards the influence of non-elected citizens from various countries. Nearly every battle at the end was on the lines of CPs asking “why is such-and-such a citizen from my country in HQ when I don’t like them?” The old argument that CPs do not select HQ needs to be binned with finality. Presidents should choose HQs, and that includes everyone from the SG to the lowest advisor. Advisors should be reviewed every month, should require sponsorship from a core member and the assent of all members. They should be banned from interfering in local politics, and in fact should be politically neutral. If an advisor from Serbian party A is in HQ, and Serbian party B is elected, they need to be able to work with both equally well. This would do much to crush the feeling of an isolated elite which dominates every alliance.
In conclusion, CTRL is dead and I’m glad to see it go. It represented an impractical escalation of what was a perfectly well functioning NAP. It existed for over a year but never once acted as an alliance. It was however exactly the shake-up we needed post Terra/ONE and has changed the political scene in Europe forever. From here the European nations have a number of choices. Either reform a new alliance like ONE, continue on with the current loose affiliation or build a wholly new alliance based on the principles I’ve mentioned here. I might be a little biased, but I know what I’d do.
Here’s to the future
“You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'”
-George Bernard Shaw
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