Farmina's Food for Thought: Annexation

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Founded: Oct 02, 2004
Moralistic Democracy

Farmina's Food for Thought: Annexation

Postby Farmina » Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:37 pm

Playing the conqueror is more complex than many RPers think. Just imagine the invading army fighting through a city. It won’t occupy industrial, commercial and residential zones in equal measure as it advances. What if the conquering army advances through the residential areas first? Peoples’ homes will be on one side of the line, while their work is on the other. This will mean on one side of their line there are people without work, and on the other side business/government organisations without employees. Hostile civilians are going to be a much greater problem when they don’t have any work to keep them busy. The desperation caused by no income will only make things worse. Of course these problems aren’t just for attackers, but also for defenders who may lose access to the staff who run vital war industries, or lose the industries but keep the residencies of the staff.

This however is simply a side issue of ongoing military conquest. This rant goes into what happens after forceful acquirement: annexation. What territory should you annex? And what is involved in annexation and administration of new territory?

You can hold territory without annexing it, by treating it as occupied military territory. Also there is the option of indirect administration, through puppet governments. Other options also exist. However this discussion is limited to annexation.

What to annex?
I often suggest to people, when looking at a problem, start at the end. Look where you want to be and then think about what needs to be done to get there. Annexation of territory can be done for a number of reasons. The territory may be treated as a trophy, it gain/deprive access to strategic territory, to gain/deprive access to economic resources, for political gain, to unite people of similar culture, etcetera. Asking why you want the territory is vital. Looking at the end has a second implication. You have to imagine your administration of the new territory, which makes the first and second part of this discussion hard to separate.

Another consideration is the defensibility and accessibility of your annexed territory. Annexed territory is an equal part of your nation and thus should not be inaccessible or indefense, in the context of your nation as a whole. Good transportation links between the annexed area and the rest of the nation will help integrate the new area into the new nation. This is one reason border territory is often annexed; it’s easy to access and easy to add to the nation’s defence and transport networks. Nations annexing territory simply to gain more defensible borders (woodlands, high ground and water obstacles) obviously fall into this category.

Your nation should be a well oiled machine consisting of a series of intricately interlocking parts. By annexing territory you are adding new parts to a carefully balanced machine. A piece that does not fit should not be added. A piece that does not fit, knows it doesn’t fit and will resent this. As a cat resents being left at the dog kennel; people who are made citizens of your nation by force of arms will resent being the third wheel, being treated as prizes rather than valued citizens. This requires the previous paragraph to hold, the new territory has equal place in the nation’s transport and defence infrastructure. However it should also have a role in your vision of your nation as a whole. Did you acquire a large number of steel mills? Now you can turn that iron ore you’ve been mining and sending overseas, into steel by putting it on the north-south rail line and sending it south to the newest part of your nation.

Don’t be greedy! Don’t take it all. Don’t even take the majority. Take a nice bite sized portion. Later I will discuss the complications involved in governing new territory. These problems get bigger when you annex greater amounts of territory. Plus your new citizens won’t be entirely impressed about their new citizenship, so the more territory you acquire at once, the greater trouble you will face. You want troublemakers to be a small portion of the population and the best way to do this is to minimise the number of foreigners who become citizens overnight.

Try and annex territory by administrative regions (e.g. states, provinces, baronies). This has multiple advantages. First and foremost, by annexing a whole administrative region, the administrative machinery is already in place. If you conquer a small portion of a state then you have to add it to one of your own existing regions if you have a federal/feudal system. If you are going to conquer most of an existing administrative region you might as well conquer all of it. Your enemy maintaining tiny portions of a state that is essentially in your hand, will allow them to keep appointing/electing representatives for that region. These people are inclined to be incredibly hostile and stir up sentiment against you in a nation you thought you had dealt with. The administrative region will essentially have two governments and although this sounds fun, it can only end in a nasty mess.

Moving back away from the political, it is best to annex territory your nation has seized by force. I realise your new citizens should be treated with love and equality, but this will not stop some of them hating you. If they have seen your troops marching through their city, expelling their defenders by force, they may not love you but they will have a fearful respect of you. Law and order will be vital for governing your new territories and you cannot do that without respect.

Please note that the above items may in some circumstances be contradictory. That’s life. As a ruler it’s your duty to make a value judgement about which rules to follow and which rules to break. I suggest however, the most important rule is to remember exactly what you are trying to accomplish and use that as a starting point. Too often, in too many things, people have a vision, but then excessively dilute their strategy of getting there by placing too much importance on secondary considerations. In cases like this, people need more tunnel vision.

How do you annex territory?
This depends partly on your own (and the losing side’s) constitutional arrangements. Most players leave the power with a legislative chamber. Thus, in most cases it is simply a matter of the legislature endorsing a treaty that transfers rule from one nation to the next. This however is without style and gives the strongest feel of annexation of force. Style. That’s what a good annexation requires.

What follows is about is the one I used in the annexation of Trinity. Please do not treat it as a cookbook to annexation. Use your creativity.

*First, conquer the territory intended for annexation.

*Then establish a collaborationist regime to rule the newly conquered territory.
*Collaborators are easy enough to find, there are always people who have grudges against previous rulers or want the money/power you will bestow on them. That said don’t grab anyone with a grudge or a greedy side. You want people of influence and statesmanship. Even when the regime is an obvious puppet, the occupied will still prefer to be ruled by their people than by a military authority or a distant bureaucracy.

*Once it is clear that the territory won’t be lost, the collaborationist regime (on secret instructions from the conqueror) petitions your conquering government for permission to join your nation. After long and careful consideration, your government graciously accedes. Therefore rather than ‘annexation by force’, there is ‘membership by consent’. Obviously most people will see through the farce, but it will be more official and slightly easier to accept.
NB: attempting an annexation then losing the war will be humiliating. Be sure you can enforce your decisions, rather than getting egg on your face.

*Have a big party. Have an official public ceremony to conduct the official annexation. The collaborators and the conquering government sign an official looking document to formally annex the document once all the necessary legislation is out the way. Give the people a good time. Make it flashy. Brave, proud sounding speeches with lots of talk about ‘bright, united futures’ but without much substance.

*Start imposing your laws. Handle troublemakers firmly. The locals might be citizens now, but this isn’t a free pass to rebel against the rule of law.

*Win the war. The losing side is forced to recognise this Province/State as a legitimate part of the winning nation as a condition of the treaty. The losing side’s recognition of the ‘rightful’ division of territory is the final step, not the first.

What is involved in administering new territory?
So now you’ve annexed some poor fools. This means they must obey your national legislation. This is a nightmare. The annexed territory will have completely different legislation in all sorts of field that will create a practical nightmare.

Medical/educational/engineering/(just about anything) training standards will vary across borders. All the schools/hospitals in your new territory may have teachers/nurses that will not be acceptably qualified to continue working in the newly acquired facilities. This is potentially true for private businesses whose staff will may also no longer meet national training requirements. Imagine businesses, schools or hospitals shutting down on mass due to staff-skilling crisis in your new territory. The concentrated mass disruption will not help your new citizens imagine themselves as equals when they are the only region plagued with crisis. Do you change national legislation to prevent mass disruption in the new province? This could lead to a dilution of standards nationwide. Do you ship professionals from all across the nation to fill the positions and retrain existing staff? This will put a massive strain on the rest of the nation. The people, who helped you win the war, will now have a feeling of ‘hollow victory’ as their resources are drained to prop up the new territory.

Not only is it about people’s qualifications, but standards across all sectors. Education is a simple example. The national curriculum will need to be imposed. Are the current teachers qualified to teach your new curriculum? What about children half way through school on the old curriculum, can you just switch education frameworks without disruption or will they miss something vital and be left behind? The history curriculum will be the most divisive. An entirely different nation’s history will be taught. Again there is the question of teacher qualifications. Also, your new history curriculum will upset your new citizens as it will likely be too soft on your nation and too harsh on the defeated nation from their point of view. The existing teachers, upset about annexation, may well try to teach the history in a way less sympathetic way to your nation and your government. What do you do? Abandon the national curriculum in this one area and let them do things their way? How can you make your new citizens equals if you give them privileges?

Another example is building regulations. What building safety standards? What if the new territory is full of buildings not up to safety standards? Do you evict people and businesses en mass? Or do you deliberately flout your own laws to avoid a revolt?

Things your new citizens used to do might now be illegal. For example, walking the dog naked is banned in your country. How do you treat naked dog walkers? They might not realise that nakedness while walking the dog is illegal in your country. They might resent your law full stop. Do you give people in the conquered to the law immunity? You will be moving away from the goal of equal citizens. Equal citizens are equally subject to the law. It might stir up hostilities from other sectors of the community that begrudge the new citizens extra rights (especially if they also desire to walk their dog naked). Do you give them a warning for the first offence? Do you launch a publicity campaign in your new territory about the dangers of walking the dog naked?

You might have worked out by now a federal system makes annexation easier. The more of their own affairs the regions run, the less you have to worry about the nightmare of bringing your new territory in line with rest of the nation. However, in more centralised societies, I suggest the creation of transitional arrangements and clear timeframes. Allow the old administrative arrangements to exist in the short-term bring the annex territory in line with national requirements in a manner that is quick, but not so quick as to cause chaos. For example, establish a scheme that all new teachers in the annexed territory are trained in the national curriculum, and twenty percent of existing teachers in the annexed territory are retrained each year. Obviously real transitional plans are more complex than one sentence.

Ensuring Your Laws Prevail
This is just the administrative side of your problems. The other side is preventing your new rule collapsing. Conquering a territory in war is fairly pointless if you cannot rule it in peace. You might try and implement your national laws, but the locals may not be so receptive. Responses that the nation you defeated will RP to your new rule will vary from reluctance, but peaceful acceptance, to civil disobedience campaigns, through to the extreme (and the most common and unrealistic case, especially amongst RPers who are sore losers) of open revolt against your rule.

What do you do? Do you beat down even mild dissent with an iron fist or do you open your arms while your new citizens take pot-shots at you? There are many thoughts on this matter, but this is my thread so you’ll hear mine (which come partly from Machiavelli’s The Prince). To speak generally, I am ruthless and firm, but not what I consider brutal.

Rule 1: Have Strength at Hand and Be Prepared to Use It
The strong hand should not only be military, but civilian intelligence agencies, national police and collaborationist organisations. The aim is to break the cycle of violence before it begins. Showing a strong and willing hand gives rebellious types little room to move and places significant fear in the hearts of your enemies. Strength is not only a short-term cure to violence, but more importantly it is preventative. Use all the organisations available to you to strangle the resistance in the cradle.

Rule 2: Peace Requires Law and Order
The law applies equally across all your territory. What would you do if someone blew up a few soldiers in the capital? Farmina would execute the bastard for murder. In annexed territory the law would apply equally. The rebel would get a short drop and a quick stop for murder and probably get a second one for treason. That is equal application of the law, short and brutal. Once the treaty is signed, there are no longer ‘Prisoners of War’, or even saboteurs. In peace there are traitors and murderer and terrorists. Treat them as such. It’s brutal but it’s also has an incredibly sense of equitability.
NB: If you have incredibly lenient murder/treason legislation it may be worth toughening it up.

Rule 3: Your Citizens are Equal and Valued
This point has already been discussed. The conquered must have a role to try and develop a sense of belonging. They must be equals and not second class citizens. Nor should they be patronised in a flimsy attempts to buy their love with cheap gimmicks. They should not be given special privileges as these are unsustainable. When you remove the extra benefit, you will earn contempt beyond what you gain. Annexed territory should not be treated as colonies. New territory should have the same access to infrastructure and be closely tied to other parts of the nations. Equality is not just about some form of appeasement. Equality is an absolute concept. Equality is as much about political rights, as it is about a person's right to a cigarette and a blindfold (a.k.a. the firing squad) when they step out of line.

Rule 4: Be Decisive
When there is resistance to your rule, crush it. There are no two ways about it. You cannot buy love, but you can buy fear. Your new citizens do not want to end up on the receiving end of a firing squad. Make sure that they know if they step out of line that there will be a firing squad in reserve, just for them. The bringing of order must be decisive. Dealing lightly with rebels will not bring their threat to an end. Each half measure will annoy them further, without removing the cancer. Instead the half measures will increase hatred as people lose their brothers, sons and fathers, but will allow the survival of organisations that allow the mourners to express their grief violently. The conqueror must be unquestionably ruthless in these matters, without being unnecessarily brutal. Intelligence services should infiltrate these organisations and map their structures. The police should then seize all involved, and on the findings of guilt, execute or incarcerate their members from the lowest rung to the highest.

Rule 5: Open the Borders
When the occupied territory becomes an equal part of your nation, free movement of civilians into and out of the new region should be allowed. This again feeds back into proper integration of transport infrastructure, but it goes further. By allowing people to pour out of the rest of the country into your new territory, it allows the local populous to be diluted. It allows new citizens to mingle and be influenced by the old ones. It allows your long time citizens to keep a close eye on the new ones. Immigrants to the annexed territory will help bring your culture to bear on the conquered in a way they cannot avoid. On the downside, ‘colonists’ provide a soft target for militant resistance, in a way military targets do not.

Rule 6: The World Has Changed, Don’t Let Them Forget It
Federal systems might allow new territories to have some independence, but when you annex a territory, you must stamp your authority on it. Old institutions should be remoulded in the appearance of the new order. Heads of the bureaucracy should be replaced with more sympathetic faces. The education curriculum should let you sell your version of events. The people won’t change of their own volition. You need to manipulate the institutions to change them. Please note: forcing a prescriptive law on people to behave in a certain way, is not the same as manipulating your new citizens to fit into your new mould. This is one of the problems with complete cultural imperialism as some RPers propose. Cultural imperialism works only to an extent, but you can never, not with any amount of laws or soldiers or bombs, completely change what a people believe in.

Please supply your comments and spelling/grammar/factual corrections. Comments encouraged. Changes may be made over time.

Repost from the old forums

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Founded: Oct 03, 2009

Postby Buchio » Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:49 pm

Should be stickied.

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Posts: 194
Founded: Oct 02, 2004
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Farmina » Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:21 am

Buchio wrote:Should be stickied.

Thank you - although I don't think a sticky is quite justified.

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