Here lies the penultimate chapter of the Make Love, Not Statecraft saga. For those who’ve just come upon this dark tale or for those who need a serious recap, go ahead and check out the first episode, last time’s episode or charge ahead and keep reading.
The end was coming soon; we all knew it to be true. The world was dying, hobbled by a supernatural plague, paralyzed by diplomatic stalemate and ravaged by conflict. The only hope to save the world rested on the shoulders of the Durendal Khanate, the very tyrants who’d brought this world to the brink. Yet even with all of our immense power, it very well would all be for nought if we couldn’t find one country: DACT.
Through international coalition building, generous subsidies and even a fair bit of micromanaging on the part of Freuden, most of the world had been stabilized. The plague still rippled, but the majority of the world’s countries would survive it. Except for us if we couldn’t work with DACT. Due to a specific stipulation of the rules, if the occupied nation of DACT succumbed to the disease, so would our country. But, we couldn’t just give them their country back and hope for the best: the moment they were healthy and restored, they’d simply nuke the Khanate back into the stone age.
Thus, we had to somehow get them to the peace table, disarm their nukes and inoculate them enough to survive the plague. If any one of those criteria didn’t come to fruition, it would be game over for us.
The first criterion was already problematic. As mentioned previously, DACT was AWOL, partly due to spite and partly due to being “done” with the game. There was also the small wrinkle that it was the week of the International Affairs Symposium, of which virtually all the movers and shakers of Statecraft, were a part of in some form.
The International Affairs Symposium is an annual event where diplomats, think tank fellows, journalists and more come to Lewis & Clark to debate salient issues over several days. It’s a massive event, with multiple speakers per day, many of which are (in)famous in their respective circles. We’ve had speakers from all ends of the political and professional spectrum from neoconservative wonks (Reuel Gerecht last year and Max Boot this year) to liberal journalists (David Ignatius and Kait Bolongaro this year). Each one of these speakers is hosted by two LC students, while another set of LC students run the whole show.
Needless to say, it’s both intensely stressful and immensely fun to see the foreign policy elite combat for our pedagogical enjoyment. On paper, it seemed like it’d be a distraction from the world of Statecraft. Instead, it served as the backdrop for intense diplomacy, cutely mirroring the real work done by the professionals we hosted.
For the 54th annual IA Symposium, I hosted Benjamin Mako Hill, a professor at the University of Washington who was a founding member of Ubuntu, among a whole host of other internet projects. He was a pretty swell guy. More importantly, I was paired up with James Daley, a member of Degostan, a southern country nestled between Maldonia, DACT and Ennor. James proved to be an unexpected ally, stalwart in his work and personable in his diplomacy.
While we hosted Hill, we talked shop about Statecraft. I told him the Khanate’s side of the story, let him know the responsibility we had for the world and, most importantly, how we’d make it worth his while to give us a hand. He was more than happy to help us out, to work as an impartial proxy in the diplomatic efforts with DACT. His position as a part of a neutral power combined with his cordial quality of statesmanship gave him an edge that neither I nor Freuden had in these negotiations.
While James played good cop with the people of DACT, I leaned on Freuden to play bad cop. I had a very frank conversation with her, letting her know the consequences of a nuclear armed DACT. I let her know in no uncertain terms that it was a high probability that if our capital was destroyed by DACT, so would be our economy, an economy that fed a massive war machine, the Isten Kardja. Seeing as nuclear weapons are strategic rather than tactical weapons, our army would survive such an attack.
That army would be very hungry. In the case of such destruction, the only rational move left in the Durendalian playbook would be all out conquest, if only to feed such a beast. Naturally, the first on the menu would be Styrkuria. With our country already destroyed, the Styrkuri nukes would only have use as a method of scorched earth, destroying their own country to spite us. Even so, the Isten Kardja would overtake them anyway, spilling over into neighboring countries shortly thereafter and bringing chaos and despair to the world...of Statecraft.
Of course, this doomsday scenario was unlikely, as I’m sure Freuden knew, but the possibility of it happening would be far higher in the case of a freed and nuclear armed DACT. I’d made a threatening gambit in that conversation, but I knew someone as rational and risk-adverse as Freuden would be at least marginally receptive. In any case, it seemed to work, for Freuden put the diplomatic pressure on DACT, bringing her entire country into the diplomatic arena.
This diplomatic onslaught eventually found its target: Tamar Shuhendler. Tamar was someone I always knew as a bit of a LC flower child. Bright, smart and bubbly, she was quite popular among the IA crowd. Of course, soon after the invasion of her country, I saw a very dark side of Tamar. I’d receive well-deserved glares from her when I came to class, as well as threats of a forced head shaving. It was a strange, albeit amusing threat. What was I, biblical Samson? That without my hair I’d lose my strength? Regardless, I was reminded not to judge a book by its cover.
In any case, Tamar was also a host of the IA symposium and thus was around for diplomatic posturing. With the help of James, we managed to get her to come to the negotiating table.
More like cornered her at the table, that is.
On the first night of symposium, right after the various guests had been dropped off at their hotels, their hosts converged on neutral territory at LC: the student government office. Present was the entire country of Styrkuria, along with James representing Degostan, Jeremiah and myself representing the Khanate, and Tamar representing DACT. While Freuden mediated and James politely cajoled, Jeremiah, Tamar and I fought it out. As the Khanate, we were irascible and obstinate: any ground given could be shown as a sign of weakness, a weakness easily exploited. Remember, DACT was the one with true bargaining power here, whether they knew it or not.
To Tamar’s credit, she withstood a very hostile environment and stuck to her guns. Completely surrounded, she still fought hard for her country. She demanded the complete return of her country, with no-nuclear disarmanent. Eventually, we negotiated a one-to-one trade of one city for one nuke. We’d retain control of one of their cities, along with some resource regions, while they’d get the majority of their country back, albeit with nuclear weapons. Still, she didn’t want to commit to any settlement without consulting her team. Although there was no love lost between Tamar and I, our antipathy towards each other paled in comparison to the utter hatred some of her compatriots had towards me and my country. Thus, if she regrouped with her companions, our deal would be dead on arrival.
Eventually, we settled on a compromise: she sent a few messages to her friends asking whether they’d be alright with the deal. If she didn’t hear back from her friends by tomorrow morning, we’d meet at the crack of dawn to finish the deal. We were running dangerously close to the deadline: tomorrow evening was the end of Turn 8. If we couldn’t get a deal together, it would be game over.
Compromise in place, we went our separate ways, exhausted by the day. I thanked my coalition allies for all the help, particularly James for convincing Tamar to speak with us. The following morning, I met with Tamar and Freuden to complete the deal. There hadn’t been a negative response from her peers, so we went ahead.
Moderated by Freuden, Tamar destroyed one nuke for each city I gave back. Once disarmed and newly freed, I gave her the requisite technology and enough funds to build up the health quality of her nation. I knew they had enough resources without our help -- they weren’t a poor country, after all. But it was part of the deal we’d struck and I kept my word.
Diplomacy had been successful and the world was safe once more. The plague had been vanquished and peace had returned. The last few turns would pass quietly and we’d be finally done with Statecraft.
Or so I thought.
The following day, Nicolas of Maldonia approached me. He wanted nukes.
God damn it.