I’m going to bore you with some abstract philosophising today. Every country has two faces- and internal face and an external one. The internal face is the one most people in that country will see. A mix of personal friendships, culture and environment which creates the feel of a country. It is the face that has all the dirty politics, the arguments over supplies, the moaning about leaders and the squabbles over who is in charge. The external face is the face seen by countries abroad, and really it is the polar opposite.
To ordinary citizens the only window into a country is through their damage. To some citizens who have travelled, they might also have a glimpse through the borrowed eyes of journalists they have subscribed to - provided they are writing a language which can be understood. To high level diplomats and country presidents, the external face of the country is visible. That external face is a mix of expectation and reality. Commitments made, and help offered. It often manifests in the form of old, reliable players who you can contact time and again. These players provide in a sense a public face for the country that can be identified and negotiated with- a constant.
Because of this, bonds form between players at the high levels. A surprising amount of alliances have been born or forged simply because individual A likes individual B and invited them along to the party. The importance of friendship in international relations is always underestimated, because those friendships can call armies, summon assistance and change the face of the world a lot more easily than any official agreements will. Because unlike a treaty obligation, a friendship is made by the people concerned and stands the change of governments.
On the other hand, strategy also plays an incredibly important role in foreign policy. Geographic distribution of your neighbours, potential for expansion, non-aggression agreements and mutually beneficial pacts are the bread and water of international politics. For example, take Slovenia. Surrounded by Croatia, Hungary and Serbia, it’s necessary for Slovenia to be allied with at least one of the three to protect it against the others. In this case, it is allied with Serbia and Hungary. That is partly friendship, but also strategy.
In the UK we spent a long time totally isolated from help, wiped out. Strategically we should have stayed in Terra where we were protected on all sides by friends. But the friendships we had with Serbia and the need for an external enemy meant that was untenable in the long term. Now we are in ONE, our most important strategic allies in the region are Poland, underlined by relatively new but meaningful friendships between our two countries. Sitting on our Southern border, Poland is the guarantor of our freedom. Although there for its own reasons, it’s position protects us from French and Canadian aggression. Friendship with Poland will always be a deep-seated strategic goal for the UK. Yes there is friendship there, but also necessity, and a double-bound treaty is stronger. This is in my opinion honest politics. I am a friend to Poland because of personal friendships and the long time I spent there, but even without that there would be strong reasons to maintain that bond.
Been trying to put this into an article for a while now
Let’s look at another type of relationship then, as an example. Indonesia is as far from the UK’s shores as it’s possible to be, and is another ally of ours. They entered ONE not long before the UK did, and much of that entry was orchestrated by me as SG of ONE. Our relationship is built on long lasting friendships between our two people. At a leadership level we’ve worked together for a long time, and have been allied since mid-2009. In that time we’ve built bonds of friendship which provide the basis of our relationship. Although it’s unlikely we’ll ever fight a war on the same continent nevermind against the same enemy, we remain allies and continue to fight for one another.
I’m not going to go through a list of every member of ONE and describe our relationship - I’ve done that in past articles. My point is that foreign policy is built on twin pillars of interest and friendship, and that both of these factors combined are the linchpin that holds together not only individual countries but also alliances. When it is no longer strategically necessary to be allied, or friendships begin to fray, then alliances collapse. For that reason Phoenix and its predecessor alliance PEACE both survived tough times only to collapse after major victories. When the need for defence isn’t there, and the friendships are atrophying, new alliances are formed. Ironically however both Terra and ONE were born out of the remnants of those friendships.
As we move on the UK must of course look to our strategic interests. Our survival as a country relies on us maintaining good relations with at least some of our neighbours. Even with our agreement with Ireland we have two neighbours who have consistently shown an interest in taking our regions from us. We need to acknowledge that the presence of strategic allies discourages attacks and in turn allows us to project our own damage through MPP battles abroad.
Anyone else see this? Back to the Future is now in the past, and still no flying skateboards
On the other hand this is an uncertain world and whereas strategic necessity can change, friendships are forever. Friendships that have taken years to build across multiple alliances shouldn’t be tossed away- they’re too valuable for that. When the UK entered ONE it was sponsored by Poland, out of friendship. Serbia was the first country to vote yes, followed by Indonesia. We need to maintain our friendships because when it comes down to it we’re no strategic superpower, we’re a small island nation with a lot of enemies. Our friendships run both ways, and the UK has sacrificed itself countless times for our friends. Those sacrifices were all there to show our loyalty to our friends, and that has to be respected and nurtured.
Under my Presidency the UK will be focused on developing our own position both within the ONE group and within the world as a whole. It is desperately important that we protect our friendships, and that whatever happens we present a good face for our allies. That has basically been my job for the past three years, and it’s something I’d continue to do as President
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