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Ask me about Diplomacy and International Relations

Discussion in 'Research' started by MiguelDHorcrux, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. MiguelDHorcrux

    MiguelDHorcrux Minstrel

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    Hello, all. I don't want to brag, but I feel like I have to give back to this wonderful community. After five years of absence, I now return with a lot of free time and a Master's Degree in International Relations. If you need help with diplomatic relations either current or historical, hit this thread.
     
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Congratulations!!!
     
  3. KC Trae Becker

    KC Trae Becker Troubadour

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    Thanks. I do happen to have a question.

    If a high school age character in modern times learned that in a few years, they were going to be leader of a monarchy stuck with 15th century technology and 12th century human rights viewpoints what college majors or classes would help prepare them to lead such a country?
     
  4. MiguelDHorcrux

    MiguelDHorcrux Minstrel

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    Economics
    Sociology
    Theories of International Relations and Diplomacy
    Security Studies
     
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  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    In my story, there's an empire that still exists on paper, with an empress in a capitol that's only propped up by a province or two, while the rest of the empire has fractured into independent provinces, keeping their own armies and raising their own taxes. They keep only the ritual show of support that they're still one big empire. Now in the story, the capitol and its supporters want to come back into power.

    I'm sure there are examples of this kind of scenario in the real world. Are there any good anecdotes, or do you have any thoughts based on your education on what the capitol might do to regain power, or how the provinces might react in surprising ways?
     
  6. valiant12

    valiant12 Sage

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    How much money , manpower , natural resources and army regiments the empire have compared to the provinces that are de facto independent
    I would suggest using false flag operations and intrigues to to turn the different factions against each other. The empress first priority should be to avoid fighting a war with several stronger factions.
    And she must change something in the military- the rebels probably know the standard imperial tactics by now.
     
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  7. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    also, History, said the historian.
     
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  8. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I can think of two basic ways: come with wealth, or acquire wealth. For the most part, the first option pretty much never happens because the powerful fragments of the Empire see to it that the only ones who become Emperor themselves have only a minor power base. They don't want a ruler, they want a figurehead.

    Once in a while, the new guy will surprise them. He might make advantageous marriages for his children (e.g., Maximilian I), or he might win great victories in battle (e.g. Leo I in the Byzantine Empire). It's helpful if the aspiring Emperor has a strong ally (e.g., the Orthodox Church in the case of a couple of Byzantine emperors) or at least has no powerful enemy (e.g., Duke Henry the Lion over against the Hohenstaufen Frederick I).
     
  9. MiguelDHorcrux

    MiguelDHorcrux Minstrel

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    The capitol can do exactly as the Capitol in the Hunger Games series did, or what North Korea is doing. Paint an outside power as an imminent threat using massive investments in propaganda, although that will depend if there are outside powers in your story in the first place.

    As to the provinces reacting in surprising ways, well who knows? Maybe they are just waiting for the central government to get its shit together. Realist theorists advocate that military power is the first and foremost need of a state, and that might be something that the small provinces don't have on their own. Again, outside powers might also play a role. Scotland would not want to be independent now that Russia is high on hormones. Also, your smaller provinces might even band together and establish a second empire, or a republic if they are tired of being under a monarch. The possibilities are endless. They can fragment completely, unite under a new central province, stay with the empire, be absorbed by a neighboring nation and whatnot.
     
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  10. MiguelDHorcrux

    MiguelDHorcrux Minstrel

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    World History is my undergraduate degree :p

    And nope, pretty much those four subjects already have all the history a ruler-in-training needs. Security studies alone requires tomes upon tomes of history books.
     
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  11. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

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    Personally, if I was 'wargaming' it, I'd go with something more Bismarckian. Cultivate an external enemy more powerful than any individual province, use its looming threat to pass laws devolving powers to the provinces that they already hold de facto in exchange for unitary agreements that would only come into force after an act of external aggression. Manufacture an incident that causes the external power to declare war in such a way that it is seen by the provinces as an act of external aggressions against them triggering previous agreements and creating a united force under the central authority of the empress. Win the resulting war. With victory achieved the empress will be the hero of the people, hold control of a loyal and experienced army, and have established clear influence over the provinces. An empire united and not a civil war to be seen.

    Of course, no plan survives contact with the enemy so as for how the provinces would react, well, the skies the limit. Claimants to the throne were always popular, particularly in the Roman Empire. Breakaway factions are a possibility, as are hostile attempts at federating several provinces. Siding with the enemy, holding out for a better deal, turning out to be a paper tiger that collapses at the first sign of threat. And these are just the obvious ones.
     
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  12. MRAcadence

    MRAcadence Acolyte

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    Writing a story where there are 3 countries that share one continent. The hostile country declares war kind of, they kill everyone within their borders from the other two. But the hostile country also hasaid a massive wall surrounding it that prevents an invasion without siege. The two countries are extremely friendly and have an alliance with the eachother so my question is how would you react if governing one or both of these countries ?
     
  13. johnsonjoshuak

    johnsonjoshuak Troubadour

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    Friendly with each other, or friendly in general?

    Is there a sea-route that goes around the wall? If there is, one of the nations would probably pour their resources into ship building and the other could focus on land-based warfare to be carried by the ships. If they went this route, the first act would be to expel any possible spies or informants (diplomats, merchants, etc). They would want to keep their budding navy a secret as long as possible for the element of surprise.

    Another benefit to this plan would be that it would create worriers within both nations. Nation A would worry that Nation B would hold all of the power with their ships, Nation B would worry that Nation A would be able to overrun their cities with their armies. Creates internal tension.

    If there isn't a sea-route viable, you have to start looking at getting spies and agents within the aggressive nation's guards. Use immigrants from the aggressive nation, exile them back to their homeland when they are in fact working for you. Otherwise you're going to be looking at heavy duty siege warfare to break through the wall or any gates that might exist.
     
  14. MiguelDHorcrux

    MiguelDHorcrux Minstrel

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    First, your premise is a little shaky where international relations and diplomacy are concerned. Unless Nation A has twice the economic and military power of both Nation B and Nation C COMBINED, it's suicide for it to declare war, and even just to kill everyone on their shared borders. Consider the USSR doctrine during the Cold War. They call for three of their force for one of their enemies to effectively win. And the way you I see it in your story, this trio is like the Russia-Britain-France of Europe. One cannot win a war over the combined forces of the other two, and it also works the other way around because the balance of power is almost set in stone.

    Popular domestic opinion must also be considered. Is Country A facing a Civil War and needed to distract its populace just like China is doing now? Does Country A really want the utter destruction of the other two, or to merely redefine the borders, hence the wall?
     
  15. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    Great thread, pleased to join it.

    I would add in the language, religion and mythology of the country he or she is going to take over. Languages change a lot in 500 years or so...

    I would drop sociology.
     
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  16. MiguelDHorcrux

    MiguelDHorcrux Minstrel

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    The main character is still in the modern world. I presume he knows he will be somehow transported to the 15th century and be its monarch, so I suggested that he learns Sociology while he is still in the modern world.
     
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  17. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I understood that.

    I just believe that a modern soc course would not help one run a 15th century kingdom with 12th century values. Now if it was a course on the sociology of the renaissance or the middle ages that would be different. :)
     
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  18. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    ... the historian bravely resists the urge to bash the social sciences ...
     
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  19. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    Embrace it...let it flow...
     
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  20. KC Trae Becker

    KC Trae Becker Troubadour

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    This conversation has been entertaining and very helpful.

    MiguelDHorcrux, my teenage daughter and I had a laugh at your assumed male gender of the character. I purposely didn't specify because I didn't want gender to dilute the question (the character is female going to a female dominated monarchy) so the gender is essentially irrelevant. But we had a good chuckle.

    The issue of historical versus modern sociology is more complicated.
    1. The city-state she will rule is on a slower time-feed than our world, at a ratio of 1/70th speed, yet when people cross over, the culture gets bursts of updates, often poorly disseminated and more poorly understood It does allow some language acclimation though.
    2. Technology is limited by the total required absence of iron and a strict taboo against cutting trees. (Fortunately for them most people do not have food requirements, only children and half of procreating adults. The food requirements are met through theft from cross overs about once a year by our calendar.)
    3. Knowledge is limited by the taboo against bringing books over since most paper is made from trees. This is not strictly enforced, so secret libraries are scattered throughout the country, but there is serious shame involved.
    4. There is one place, sort of half way over, where information flows more freely in both directions, and thanks to your advice I see she will have to have greater access to this place. But she won't have that access until she is older, closer to coming of age. She has limited advice from people who understand the situation. So she is trying to prepare herself as best she can from high school classes, some online college classes and books.

    I need to figure out what she would know from her preparations before she crosses back over, maybe even before she goes to the halfway place for the culture/history training.

    Thanks for the help. I'll check out the courses recommended here.
     
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