Europeian Letter update

Updates and diplomacy with the region of Europeia
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Vlaska
Diplomat
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Europeian Letter update

Post by Vlaska » Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:29 am

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Produced By: JayDee
In a special edition from the Europeian Letter, we have a full feature from the EBC and an interview of Cormac, former Pharaoh of Osiris, by Minister HEM.

With the entire world descending into chaos with declarations of war flying left and right, our very own Vice President decided to take the time to sit down and discuss his own personal opinion on the future of foreign policy. With the abolition of the IJCC, there is much uncertainty in the Independent Sphere of who drives the reins anymore.

Europeia itself has almost always found itself involved in multiple foreign fiascos. From the recent threat of Francoism from NPO to the 2016 and even earlier 2013 coup of Osiris. To talk about some of Europeia’s foreign past foreign policy decisions and recent gameplay changes is Cormac. A traditional adversary of Europeia who still finds room for agreement on a regular basis.
Where To Go From Here
Written By: Pierce
After the disbanding of the IJCC, foreign policy experts and citizens alike are left wondering what’s next for Europeia’s foreign policy, and may be concerned on what changes Europeia should make to expand its foreign affairs. Those worried over these concerns should set their minds at ease.

The idea to expand our foreign affairs portfolio is not a new one. Last term, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Rach announced intentions to build ties with The Communist Bloc and Forest, and former President Drexlore proposed a Pact of Non-aggression to the Senate for consideration, which has since been revised with Attorney General Drecq to develop its language after former Speaker Pichtonia raised concerns that the first draft was “not within our standards”; the legislation has since passed. When Europeia’s foreign affairs became somewhat strained after the dereliction of the duties to head of state by previous Presidents, the controversies surrounding the IJCC, and the backlash revolving around the acceptance of Mare Nostrum’s ambassador from our allies, experts began to look at other rising powers in NationStates in the event that the IJCC did disband.

Those paying attention to Gameplay have noticed that there has been a new generation of growing and promising regions that are separate from the cliques of the big UCRs and GCRs of the game. With large and active populations and diversely structured governments, these rising regions have brought the attention of experts within the spheres of UCRs and GCRs. Such realignments are nothing new to NS foreign affairs. There are many that remember a time in which monarchist UCRs led by Cobi Grey, Neisse, Onder, and others became prominent in NSGP, giving way to many large British regions such as the Kingdom of Great Britain, the British Isles, and the other British-themed precursors of those regions. Those regions are no longer powerbrokers as they once were, although the Land of Kings and Emperors remains relevant on the NSGP stage arguably thanks to Onder’s influence behind the scenes. Among the successors to those regions are Pax Britannia and the Empire of Mare Nostrum.

Pax Britannia was a region that separated from the British Isles after a disagreement on having the elections of the region’s leaders and regional business based on the forum, so the founders of Pax Britannia separated with their own region. The region was active based on the NS site for some time, and remains as such. While it doesn’t have a population over 100, its participants did seem more active in the region than the British Isles did at the time with over 100 nations. The British Isles is now dead with their former King John now reigning over the Kingdom of Great Britain, and its last King influential in EMN (and formerly in LKE).

In the Land of Kings and Emperors, the former PM known as Mega, had a falling out with their Imperial Family after falsely accusing the former Emperor Onder of allegedly importing citizens to influence another candidate against him, and essentially broke away from LKE, moving to his region of Mare Nostrum which had been founded earlier. Since splintering from the LKE, its growth has been impressive. Since the fourth of August this year, its population grew to a height of 239 nations on the 27th of September, and has conducted regular missions. While it’s uncertain how many of those nations are actually puppets, the region has had an active forum community and recently conducted raids with Osiris. While former President Drexlore did issue a statement from Goldenblock banning the ERN from working with EMN, the recent decision to accept Thomas Insaniac, Legatus Prefect of EMN, as their ambassador shows that the Administration is open to working with new and rising regions.

There are some in foreign affairs circles abroad that believe that Europeia is too close to the “Ondersphere”, a term used to describe the sphere of influence by former LKE Emperor Onder as a respected raider, who remains influential in LKE policymaking and serves as Europeia’s Chief Justice. It has been suggested by those watching the Sopo Administration that allowing an ambassador from EMN is a signal that Europeia is distancing itself from the so-called “Ondersphere” as the IJCC’s future became uncertain.

Those that are worried about such challenges and obstacles should set their minds at ease. President Sopo and Minister of Foreign Affairs HEM made it clear in a recent statement from the Goldenblock that enabling dialogue with new and rising regions with similar ideologies does not necessarily mean that we are turning our backs on our allies; and the recent discussions on the NSGP forums regarding the Balder leaks (the report of which only served to stir the pot) have highlighted that while the allied regions do have disagreements with one another, all parties will and have always had frank and open dialogues within and among each other. It is unlikely that the traditional establishments of Europeian foreign policy buckle since we have always been able to have those open and honest disagreements with our allies, but if they do, the Sopo Administration’s aim to “refine our independence” by building bridges and new dialogues will ensure that Europeia remains a leading UCR for the Independent ideology. If anything, these bold new steps should serve as an assurance that Europeia is able to look after its own interests while working with its valuable allies rather than being directly under the influence of an individual. It should be noted that even though the IJCC has officially disbanded its structure and despite certain recent strains, Europeia will continue to hold close ties and cooperation with Balder and the Land of Kings and Emperors.

In addition to the worries that revolved around IJCC, the WALL organization may also be facing competition from a rising WA organization known as the Interregional Legislative Coalition (ILC) formed by former Delegate Courelli of the Social Liberal Union (population of 116 nations, 480 at its height) and President Ivory Rhodes of the Democratic Socialist Assembly (population of 348 nations). Its membership is mainly composed of ideologically leftist or liberal regions including SLU, DSA, The Internationale, The Versutian Federation, and most recently The Communist Bloc (whom of which some foreign policy experts last term hoped would have entered WALL). According to its Charter, its purpose is to “promote our shared values of unity, fundamental equality, democracy, and internationalism within the World Assembly”. When I was Delegate of the Social Liberal Union before the ILC came into existence, it was a goal for the region to expand its FA and political portfolio to draw attention from the big regions through such an alliance. While they don’t have nearly as many votes in the WA (the WALL has about 2,179 votes compared the ILC’s 535), as an outsider, the SLU and DSA have achieved the expansion of their portfolio and TCB’s membership further legitimizes the organization as it grows. In order to counter this rising competition, the Europeia’s Ministry of World Assembly Affairs should work with the WALL organization to seek out other regions to absorb into the organization to maintain its place on the WA stage.

It is also worth noting that the war against NPO presents a unique opportunity for Europeia to build stronger bonds with regions that also oppose the NPO and its Francoist ideology. The ideology itself is, in the words of President Sopo, “at the very core… an ideology that demeans our stature as a region and questions our very right to exist, let alone co-exist”. With NPO being an existential threat to all UCRs and with other UCRs following our lead already in pushing for war against their ideology, all UCRs in NationStates now have a common enemy to fight. Having this common enemy presents us the opportunity to continue taking the lead through the ERN with TBH in the fight against Francoism, and to build new ties with other regions to take our place once again as the UCR of UCRs.

While we should not abandon our allies, Europeia must continue to network and seek out new friendships and alliances to increase its influence as a prominent Independent and political UCR; having dialogue with new regions does not necessarily mean that we are turning our backs on our allies, but it means that we do not hold ourselves exclusive to the established orders and that we’re able to make proactive foreign policy decisions ourselves. If any of our current allies find this problematic, then we must begin to question exactly what sort of relationship we have with allied regions and the influential policymakers behind them. By networking with these new and rising regions, we expand our prominence beyond simply the old powers and cliques of already powerful GCRs and UCRs, some of which such as Osiris who have taken note. By opening the necessary dialogue to expand our prominence and taking a lead in the War on Francoism, we will be able to take the mantle in order to become a leading region with a powerful voice at the table, a similar vision that we had at the beginnings of the IJCC.
Interview with Cormac
Interview By: HEM
HEM:

Hey Cormac, thanks for agreeing to this interview! A little context for you and the readers: I'm looking on doing a series of interviews with traditional "adversaries" of Europeia as an opportunity to both create dialogue and hopefully exchange ideas between folks who don't always get to have civil discourse that often!

For you, particularly, I'd be interested in starting at the beginning. The wayyyy beginning, you were actually a Senator in Europeia. In broad strokes, could you take us from your journey of being a officeholder in Europeia to being a little more Euro-skeptical (lol) over the years?

Cormac:

Happy to participate! Sure. Well, I should start by saying despite being an adversary there are still many things I respect about Europeia. That doesn't always come across in the heat of the moment. But I did have some very nice things to say about Europeia in a newspaper article I wrote quite some time ago, and I stand by those.

That said, I think the beginning of my issues with Europeia was after I made a decision years ago to become a defender. Despite the region billing itself as an independent region, my experience of that was Europeia was incredibly hostile to defenders even if defenders weren't particularly hostile to Europeia. I think over time that just spiraled into noticing more inconsistencies about Europeia's approach, particularly in foreign affairs but internally as well. It bothers me when people say they're about one thing but turn out to be about something else entirely, and I feel like there are elements of that in Europeia.

HEM:

Well, I'm not sure there is any person or ideology in Nationstates that has ever been perfectly consistent. I remember not so long ago writing a series of articles that laid out occasions in which the Founderless Region Alliance (FRA) invaded regions. I'm wondering if you'd be willing to be a little more specific on the inconsistencies so we might be able to talk through some of them?

Cormac:

Well, I should note when I talk about inconsistency I don't just mean changing one's mind about something. I would be the last one to be critical of that. :p I just mean inconsistency in the sense of there being a divide between the message and the action, if that makes sense.

Some other examples of inconsistency include Europeia's opposition to interregional organizations in its treaties, which at one point nearly became an issue for regions that joined Sovereign Confederation, but not having any issue with the UIAF, the ISRA, or more recently, the IJCC which Europeia itself joined. There were also the times that Europeia first supported a coup of Osiris in 2013, then opposed one in 2016 despite the reasoning behind them being broadly similar. It has always seemed to me that Europeia's standards shift and are very situational. But that is somewhat to be expected in a democracy where leadership changes and maybe perspectives change over time. The issue in Europeia is it seems like no one wants to acknowledge there has been any change and wants to pretend everything is still consistent with past actions and philosophies.

Another recent example is of course the issue with Osiris, where we saw inconsistencies in Europeia's stance on maintaining sovereignty over its military, and its moderate raiding principles and when those principles apply and don't apply.

HEM:

In regards to the Osiris situation, having a sheer three years between two events can make it pretty difficult to be fully consistent haha. I mean our leadership turned over, there are different actors involved, and things might've changed. EDIT: I wasn't fully active in 2013, so I don't know the full particulars of that situation, but I think it's a bit unfair comparing events that far apart

With the IJCC I think the fact that we specifically revised past agreements to emphasize ultimate sovereignty with the respective regions would show folks our commitment to regional sovereignty. We ensured that it was possible for friends to deal with Europeia and not with the IJCC if they chose, and ensured that we had the ultimate say in whatever our troops did or did not do. Maybe that could've been communicated more proactively? I definitely agree that there's been some communication problem in that regards.

Cormac:

It's true that the passage of time definitely makes a comparison of Europeia's differing responses to the two coups in Osiris complicated. To be fair, there were also key differences that likely contributed to a differing response, but the difference in approach was so night and day that it was jarring. Is it really relevant now? Not particularly, except in response to how my own history of an adversarial relationship with Europeia came about.

I do think sometimes the biggest problem for Europeia is a lack of communication, which again, I do think is somewhat owed to the frequent changes in leadership resulting from your democratic system. It can be hard to always keep straight who has communicated what and with whom. Communication definitely seemed to play a role in the IJCC problem with Osiris, and I think it has at other times as well. Communication is obviously a two-way street, but sometimes other regions don't know what they should be communicating with Europeia about until a contentious issue has already developed. I think particularly at a time Europeia is considering reforms, it may want to look at making sure there is more institutional continuity in terms of foreign affairs, so communication can be improved.

HEM:

I don't disagree there. Pivoting to a new topic, how do you see a region like Europeia which has been predominately political fitting into a Nationstates that seems to be tilting a bit more toward casual, social activities rather than hardcore political ones. Even more broadly speaking, what do you see the game as a whole looking like?

Cormac:

That tilt has been bad for gameplay, in my view. It has made everything more personal, far too often these days even on an OOC level, and it has really dragged down the game. I would ideally like to see Europeia resisting that trend, as Europeia has always been one of the more politically oriented regions. That said, I'm not sure anyone can really resist it. Sometimes cultural change is so strong that you just have to adapt to it, and I interpret your question as being more how can we adapt to this change than stop it.

I don't really know the answer to that. I think it has to involve finding some aspect of the game that can interest people politically, but without personal toxicity entering into it. The old gameplay interests aren't doing that anymore. I think the key might be in focusing more on the World Assembly, because I think there is still enough distance between what the WA does and the social aspects of gameplay that there is room for political intrigue there without a lot of hurt feelings and OOC toxicity. I definitely think regions are going to have to find a way to move past old ways of doing things though, because those just aren't working with the new social media-like environment.

HEM:

I definitely agree that the increased OOC-ness of the game has led to more nastiness, and quite frankly a game that resembles more of a high school cafeteria that a political simulation game. What do you think has led to some of these changes? I know someone people (me) have placed some blame on the proliferation of Discord, but I'm also sure it's more complicated than just that.

Cormac:

I think it's a broader trend on the internet. Everything has become so much more personal now compared to several years ago. You often can't get in a RL political debate with people without them getting personally offended and thinking you're a terrible person either. I do think Discord has contributed to the problem, in that it has become a medium for NS that is similar to the role played by Facebook and Twitter in RL. It has brought everyone together more, which is good, but it has also contributed to everyone being everyone's friend and feeling close with them, which can make politics quite difficult. It's much easier to separate being political rivals with someone from any personal feelings when they're not telling you their life story like a friend would in RL.

We've always had communication mediums, like IRC and Skype, but they weren't as accessible and user-friendly as Discord. So everyone wasn't using them constantly, and more time was spent on the actual game. That has changed thanks to Discord, in my view.

HEM:

Pivoting back to gameplay, how would you go about describing the current geopolitical situation of NS? There has clearly been a bit of a shift over the past few years, and I'm interested to know who you see as key players and key regions.

Cormac:

The GCRs are really dominating the geopolitical scene. I think you still have spheres of influence that go back quite a long time, even though the more traditional R/D dichotomy has mostly broken down by now. For example, in TSP and TRR, which I would identify as key players for their sphere, you have many of the same people you had in the FRA and UDL or people who think broadly like them. And then on the other side of the coin you have Balder, Europeia, and The LKE. So there are a bit of the old rivalries, transferred to new regions. But a lot has changed too. I think you see regions like TEP, TWP, and Osiris occupying a middle ground that makes them more interesting than they have been in a while, because they could determine who ends up being able to wield geopolitical power to their benefit.

HEM:

Yeah, I broadly agree with that assessment. Speaking of some of those regions, you and others have launched a lot of accusations about the Europeia-Balder-LKE sphere, often claiming that certain regions control the others. Would you still say that's true today, and if so, would you elaborate?

Cormac:

That's a tough answer to pin down, honestly, because I think it's a fluid situation. There's a lot of overlap between those three regions, and I think you end up with different players having more influence at different times. Right now, it seems like The LKE's interests are moving more to the forefront, because the emphasis on power projection through the IJCC and exclusionary policies like the many PNGs in Balder are much more The LKE's M.O. It's unusual to see Europeia participating in an interregional organization at all, as it was skeptical of them for years. And Balder used to be a much more open region, and I'm not even talking about the distant past -- this has been a change that's happened just over the past year or two. So I think The LKE is definitely in the driver's seat, to a degree.

That said, I don't think it's totally accurate to ever say one region controls the others. It's more that there's so much overlap that a particular culture and way of thinking becomes dominant in all three regions. Right now, it seems like that's The LKE's culture and way of thinking, but in the past I've seen Europeia play a bigger role. Oddly, I've never really observed Balder having much of that influence over the other two regions.

HEM:

Your analysis above seems like an even-keeled and thoughtful response regardless of if I totally agree or not. But it seems like some of the public rhetoric is much more explosive, openly calling for couping Balder and overthrowing it's userrite captors. Do you think people are just being dramatic, or do folks believe that?

Cormac:

Public rhetoric often tends to happen in the heat of the moment these days. I do think a lot of people do see UCRs exerting a lot of influence over a Sinker, and that bothers them, primarily because they've never seen it reciprocated. As I mentioned, I can't think of a time I've seen Balder influencing the other two regions the same way they sometimes influence Balder and each other. I think there's a general feeling that Balder should be more than it is, and that it's being held back from its full potential. So I think that part is real. Some of the rhetoric I think is hyperbole. I think many people wish Balderans themselves, including the Queen, would do more to shake things up in Balder and wield more influence. We want to see Balder reach its real potential.

I also think there are many people who believe Solorni simply isn't going to do that, and that others are either incapable of doing it because Onder and NES exercise so much political power there, or are in league with them and don't want to try to make changes. So I think that's why you see people wanting Balder to be "couped," or "liberated" as some have put it. Because they think there is no hope for meaningful change through any peaceful means.

HEM:

Yeah, I just think it's very difficult to have reasonable discourse about Balder. I know I made a few posts during one of the more explosive arguments and I basically got ignored. Specifically, I responded to Altino's assertions that multiple natives have gone to her saying that their region is under siege from the LKE — which I found pretty implausible.

I guess I'm skeptical of Balder being worse off than most generic feeders/sinkers and see this more as pointed criticism toward players who just aren't "popular" in the public sphere. Honestly speaking, in the long arc of history, most feeders/sinkers have been inactive most of the time.

Cormac:

That's true. The natural state of Sinkers, in particular, is to be inactive -- I'm convinced of that. Sinker communities are always struggling against that natural tendency toward inactivity. That isn't just true of Balder, by any means.

I think a lot of the issue with Balder is seeing people at the top who are so strongly connected to The LKE and Europeia. Although we've seen that in other Feeders and Sinkers in the past, we don't see it much anymore. We don't see people who are prominent and very involved in UCRs at the top of Feeders and Sinkers much these days. So I think when people see that, and maybe see them doing more in those UCRs than they're doing in Balder, it leads to frustration that they should get out of the way and let people who are exclusively - or at least primarily - involved in Balder take the reins. And people can start to feel like it's a bit malicious when some of the same people are in the legislature over and over again, rotating the office of Statsminister between them. So there is a lot of frustration about Balder, and when frustration grows it can be hard for reasonable conversations to happen.
For what it's worth, there are natives of Balder who complain about it, and especially people who were once in Balder and have since moved on to other regions. There is a feeling among some that if they speak out about their dissatisfaction with Balder they will be pushed out. That has happened before, with Ikania and others.

HEM:

I mean, I think it's a fine line? Because people can have dual citizenship, and the natural state of gameplay is for people to join multiple regions and get involved. Indeed, it seems to me that that's true in this age of Discord more than ever. From my perspective, it seems like some are being selectively outraged about this in regards to Balder in part because of personal unpopularity of the players involved.

Cormac:

There could be a bit of that going on. There is also some resentment on the part of longtime players who were once targeted by people like Onder and NES for being involved elsewhere and being "insufficiently loyal." For example, NES was one of the people who helped drive that narrative about the UDL in TNP back in 2013. So there has always been this pushback against cosmopolitanism in the GCRs, and sometimes that has been driven by people in the independent and imperialist sphere. So I think now there's a bit of payback going on. People who have been targeted with questions and insinuations about their loyalties are returning that in kind now that Balder's leadership is comprised of so many people prominent in UCRs.

HEM:

Yeah, that's why I find the whole situation really difficult to resolve, but ultimately so long as Balder is a democracy it's really tough to argue that the region isn't pursuing the destiny it wants. That's where I usually settle it in my mind, at least.

Cormac:

I think it would be very helpful if their democracy was more open. Not to the outside world, to the people in Balder. It would improve perceptions a lot, I think. But that is ultimately something they'll have to decide for themselves, at least until some external force causes change, if that ever happens.

HEM:

Yeah, I mean I'm not an expert on Balder's government but I know there are elections and the people keep returning the same folks to government. Unless there's like a wide range of people disenfranchised from citizenship or voting, I'm not sure how an unpopular cabal is staying in power :p

Cormac:

Well, I think certain things can discourage participation. The Statsminister being elected only by the very small legislature, the same people running for and being elected to the legislature, etc. It's true voters are choosing them, but one wonders how many more voters there might be, and how much more participation there might be, with a system more open to participation. Even Europeia's system is more open, despite having an elected legislature as well. So it need not mean getting rid of the elected legislature, but more could be done to encourage participation, in my view.

HEM:

Fair enough, fair enough.

Cormac:

But, as I said, I think ultimately that's going to be up to Balder. As much as some may wish to see change through other means, it's probably not going to happen any way but internally through their own processes.

HEM:

I know I've brought up my feeling that "personal unpopularity" rather than strategic decisions or ideology is driving a lot of gameplay today. Would you agree with that, or push back?

Cormac:

I agree that has a lot to do with it. I think the new emphasis on socializing that we talked about earlier has a lot to do with it. I also think it has a lot to do with the staleness of gameplay. In many cases the ideologies are the same, the decisions made are unsurprising, the blocs that form are exactly what one would predict. That leads to boredom, and boredom leads to more interpersonal conflict, and more of gameplay being based on popularity and unpopularity. We need something to breathe new life into gameplay. I really feel that needs to be top-down technical change, but that's unlikely, so another idea I've had is to focus more on the World Assembly, including the General Assembly, as I briefly touched on earlier. I think that could lead to more interest in real gameplay again, and start moving us away from popularity and interpersonal conflict.

HEM:

Phew, okay well this has been really interesting. I'm going to end with a softball (for me!!) that I'm going to ask all participants of this interview series.

What is one piece of advice you would give us Europeians on improving our region?

AND

What is one piece of advice you'd give a new player in general who just joined the game and is looking at getting involved in gameplay?

Cormac:

My advice is to really shake things up! I know you've been having a debate lately about reform, and while I don't know all the details of what you're considering, I think drastic reform is exactly what Europeia needs - and what most regions need. Things have become too stale and predictable. We need to liven things up with changes that will bring people's interest back to gameplay, and make people who are bored with the game think maybe there's something new here instead of just the same old, same old. I think major reforms will not only help Europeia, but by helping Europeia and getting it focused more on gameplay again, help gameplay overall.

My advice for a new player is not to be timid. This is supposed to be a game, and people should play it like a game. Don't be afraid to have fun with it because that's what we're supposed to be doing here. And if you're not having fun doing what you're doing, do something else! Don't be discouraged by people telling you that you can't or shouldn't. As long as it's within the bounds of OOC rules and whatnot, go for it. You decide how you play the game.

HEM:

Love it! Thanks for your time Cormac, and I'm sure we'll be sniping at each other in the NSGP forum v soon

Cormac:
Probably! Thanks for interviewing me, it's been fun.[/hr][/hr][/hr]
Last edited by Vlaska on Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sanctaria
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Re: Europeian Letter update

Post by Sanctaria » Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:07 am

Thank you for the update! Our best regards to our friends in Europeia.

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