Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Lets Play A Game
Let's play a game.
You are the leader of Nation A. Nation A has a long and storied history of advancing basically every good thing that has ever happened to people. Your nations history is written in blood, yet when it reached the point of absolute dominion over every other nation in the world, it decided that instead of being an malignant empire, it would benign power. Unfortunately, that was long ago. Now, your nation, Nation A, is facing a perilous future, beset on all sides by enemies once thought destroyed and an active fifth-column which has worked tirelessly to transform Nation A into a socialist utopia.
Now, not all is bad with Nation A. I mean, don't get me wrong. Nation A is still the leader in basically everything. Your citizens are the freest in the world. Your economy, though currently suffering a series of catastrophic disasters, is still the strongest. Even your "poor" live lives that are on par with middle and upper classes in most places around the world. Your military might is basically unrivaled throughout the world. Even your closest competitor, Nation C, doesn't have the strength militarily or economically to rival you. For now.
None the less, things are all going in the wrong direction, or at least, facing the wrong direction. Your economy is on the precipice, you have discovered that your allies aren't really allies at all, and your fifth column has succeed in not only alienating the few remaining real allies you have, but in turning a good portion of your population into mindless drones over the last several decades.
Let's look at the major challenges you face one by one. You are tasked with trying to fix each of these problems:
1.)Your Economy. Based on the "free market" model, your economy has brought better lives to more people than any other economic model in human history. It's not perfect, but it gets the job done. Unfortunately the fifth-column has succeeded in turning your free market into the enemy. It has managed to ingrain it, (the economy) with the centralized bureaucracy so tightly that it seems impossible to separate them. Nation A is currently experiencing a series of economic catastrophes brought about by the fifth-columns activities. You must revitalize your economy, and reverse the trend by the fifth-column towards a fascist-socialist economic model.
2.)Your Borders. Your nation is literally a nation of immigrants. However, those immigrants founded a Republic based on the rule of law. None the less, your immigration laws have been largely ignored. Your southern most neighbor, Nation M, is currently in the midst of a civil war that is pouring across a poorly monitored and defended southern border into Nation A. Millions of illegals from Nation M sneak into your country every year, wreaking havoc on your infrastructure and your economy. Not wanting to be another failed isolationist, you must figure out a way to keep the good immigrants coming in, while stopping the bad ones.
3.)Your Military. Your military is the greatest military in all of human history. From its foundation as a rag-tag army of free men who fought of their own accord, to the preeminent force on the globe today, its second to none. You have invested gazillions, (yes, in your world gazillions is really a unit of measurement for money:) in military technology. You can literally strike any target on the planet within hours. You army is still comprised of free volunteers. Their weapons systems are unrivaled anywhere. Your military has defeated the forces of tyranny in two successive global wars, destroyed the forces of communism after a long "cold war" and has recently carried off two full scale invasion/occupasions with a relatively low casualty count, (relative in the sense of cold military history). Unfortunately Nation A's military has been used as the worlds police force, a precarious, "no win" situation is there ever was one, and has seen some embarrassing withdrawals from conflicts which served to emboldened your enemies. Even your investments in technology have become your Achilles heal, with your reliance on it threatening to be your undoing with the literal click of a button. You must design a better strategy for the use of your military, find a way to destroy your enemies, and figure out how to keep your technology an advantage, instead of a weakness.
4.)Your People. The people of Nation A are a mixture from every culture on the planet. They are basically "fat and happy" as the saying goes, and are largely want for nothing. They are a free people, or at least, more free than most other people. Unfortunately, you've discovered that over the last several decades, "freedom" has come to mean something different to your people than what it originally meant. "Freedom" is now equated with "freedom from want". Like all wealthy societies, Nation A is facing a rot in its very heart: the people. You must figure out a long term and short term solution to this, and help your people become truly free again.
5.)Your Fifth-Column. Perhaps more than any other threat you face, your fifth-column is the most dangerous. They have succeeded in doing more damage to Nation A than any other force. They are ingrained into every aspect of your nation; the economy, the borders, the military, the infrastructure, and the people.
But who, or what, is the fifth-column? Your fifth-column is made up of people who really don't believe in the principles upon which Nation A was founded. They long for the authoritarian efficiency of tyranny, with some disagreement among them as to whether it should be a hard tyranny or a soft tyranny. The soft tyranny seems to have won the debate; most likely a tactical decision by the fifth-columnists based on Nations A's history of a free people. The fifth-column has managed to subvert personal liberty and replace it with a state-sponsored "nannyship". A good portion of your people could care less, as the education system has become so co-opted by fifth-columnists that the meaning of words themselves has been changed. "Freedom" equals "Freedom from want", "God" equals "oppression", "Companies" equal "tyranny", and "Tyrannical government" is now your "friend". The fifth-columnists will stop at nothing to fundamentally change Nation A into their idea of a "Utopian" society; a docile population controlled by a small number of authoritarian techno-crats who administer every aspect of the peoples lives. They will fight you in every attempt to set your nation back upon the course to prosperity and freedom. For the people of Nation A to survive, you must find a way to destroy the fifth-column.
6.) Your Allies. Being the force for good that your nation is, your allies largely reflect the same values. At least, they used to. All nations put their own self interest first; there's nothing wrong with that. However, you've discovered that your "allies" interests have made a left turn somewhere and Nation A, as a force for good, largely stands alone. Once the leader of impressive global coalitions fighting first the fascists and then the communists, you now find yourself in the position of having to beg, borrow, and barter for even the most minor cooperation. To top it all off, one of your greatest true allies, Nation I, is facing an increasing threat from its neighbors and the fifth-column, (ever so good at making things mean their opposites) has managed to turn Nation I into the bad guy. Nation I will most likely be the recipient of a full scale invasion by its religo-fascist neighbors soon, but you're not sure you can rally your people to its defense. You must find a way to help your Allie, Nation I, while at the same time serving notice to the rest of your "allies" that friendship is a two way street.
7.)Your Infrastructure Nation A is an amazing mixture of the industrial, technical. and agricultural. You have a massive communications system, transportation system, and industrial sector. You supply food and aid to a good portion or the world, both friend and foe. There is really nothing that your nation doesn't create. It takes a lot of energy to keep things working. Unfortunately, Nation A gets a large portion of its energy from other countries who use that income to fund interests that are quite contrary to yours. Nation A sits on massive and diverse natural resources, but doesn't take advantage of them. You must figure out a way to change this.
Other nations of note:
Formerly your greatest adversary, Nation R is now a dieing empire. It can't keep its own military funded, its people are in the midst of several epidemics, including a resurgence of tuberculosis, AIDS infection rates that rival the worst parts of the third world, starvation, and an economy that relies on the whims of a few wealthy politburo power players. To top it all off, Nation R doesn't have much of a future in the most literal sense; its people have stopped having children. The native population drops by about one quarter every generation or so, to be replaced by a growing number of foreign religo-fascists. What Nation R does have is an abundance of weapons to sell on the global market. Unfortunately it appears to only be wiling to sell them to your enemies. A massive nuclear stockpile, chemical weapons, and missile systems threaten to fall into the hands of those promising to use them on your allies, or worse, on you.
Nation C is perhaps your greatest economic and military threat. While Nation C has only a fraction of the military resources you have, it has learned how to exploit your Achilles heal, (your technology) and threatens to literally shut you down in any military conflict. On top of that, Nation C's economy, largely through shady and unsustainable practices, has grown dramatically over the last few decades. While being dependent upon the people of Nation A to keep its own economy working, Nation C at the same time seeks to bankrupt you by making involvement in regional affairs so costly that you either withdraw or collapse. Nation C, along with Nation R, actively supports your enemies abroad and your fifth-column at home, and is currently attacking your infrastructure with complex cyber attacks. You must check Nation C both economically and militarily.
Nation E is really made up of many smaller nations, all of which have banded together. Many of them were your "allies". Most notably, Nation B, which until recently was arguably your greatest Allie in the world. Having won your independence from Nation B in the early years of your history, you in turn helped save Nation B, (And most of the other Nation E countries) from the fascists in the global wars, and protected them from the communists during the "cold war". Alas, Nation B has been slowly turning her back on you, having been largely subverted by her own fifth-column, collapsing birthrates, and a massive influx on religo-fascist who play an ever growing part in her affairs. While still officially an Allie, Nation B can't really be relied upon for much anymore, and relations have been strained of late. The rest of the Nation E countries have either openly thrown in their lot against you, or have kept silent.
Non-State Actors Large empires using proxies to fight with each other is nothing new. However, since the global wars and the invention of nation killing nuclear weapons, the use of proxies has become the norm. Religo-fascists are an ancient threat to free societies, but they have been increasingly used as proxies through which your traditional enemies threaten and destabilize. It is a role the religo-fascists are more than happy to fill, as you are their number one target anyways. There are many nations around the world which are completely under the control of the religo-fascists, most notably, the countries where you buy your energy resources. However, some of the most violent and aggressive religo-fascist groups call no particular nation home and take up residence wherever they can. They have a variety of strategies, from outright combat to slow subversion. Nation A is currently decimating religo-fascist fighters in open warfare on several fronts. In the mean time, the religo-fascists have grown stronger in other areas, having managed to co-opt many of your former allies by abusing their "open" societies and out-breeding them. They have allied themselves with your fifth-column at home. As the sole remaining force for individual freedom in the world, you must stem the rising tide of religo-fascism.
On your domestic issues, it must be noted that your nation, Nation A, is a Constitutional Republic. In short, this means that you have a very specific framework from which you can mold and steer your society. Also, your people have a set of rights given them to them by God, which cannot be ignored or changed in any attempts to solve your problems domestically. Success in this arena is not as elusive as it seems. However, you will have to act on both a national level and a local level, while planning both short term and long term strategies.
On your foreign issues you have larger options. You can use economic leverage, diplomacy, or military might to solve your problems.
You may find that several of these issues can be addressed with one solution, or, that a solution to one issue may cause unwanted repercussions in others.
(Edit: I have been, and will continue to, work on my own answers to each of these problems. I will post my solutions when I believe I have satisfactorily addressed each issue.)