Pacem Appellant

“The best approach to peacekeeping is the sophont-friendly one.

“This is standard doctrine. Most sophonts resent being policed by machines – unfeeling, uncaring, unstoppable. They can’t be negotiated with; can’t empathize; can’t offer even a moment of understanding. A mailed fist without a velvet glove. Thus, our peacekeeping brigades, providing the essential sophont touch.

“This doctrine is supported by every memetic and sociodynamic study that has been done on the topic. The Empire knows this: it produced most of them. Don’t ever think that they don’t know this.

“They just don’t care.

“Should you find yourself cross-assigned with the Imperial Navy on one of their rare peacekeeping operations, you will find that the opinion of their hainadar is that all the peacekeeping in the world isn’t worth one drop of indigo, white, or any other color of blood, and that the people being peacekept stopped deserving such consideration at the moment when they started being people who needed to be peacekept. They keep the peace from high orbit, with surveillance dust and KEWs and standard-issue war drones cruising through the streets with smart hunter micromissiles. Zero risk.

“If it takes a little longer, costs a little more in blood and treasure on the other side… well, it’s all going on their account in the end, isn’t it? Just as it would in their domestic law. No friend ever did an Imperial a favor without being repaid in full, so goes the saying, but on such a secondment, never forget that it goes both ways, to the last duodecimal.”

– excerpt from a lecture given by General Toris Politeran
at the Echelonic Battle Scholium,

Sentrivass (Moerid Nest)

6 thoughts on “Pacem Appellant

  1. Which, I suspect, is one of the points hampering diplomacy with the Empire: The Extreme version of “Fiat justitia ruat caelum”. It’s a good thing as long as you win, but there is a significant danger of “Galaxy on Fire” with tit-for-tat escalation somehow, somewhere, having made peace impossible (“We can’t agree to peace treaty, the blood of fallen calls for balance.”)

    Basically the inverse of why the Culture cannot be trusted to keep it’s bargains (to paraphrase “somewhere there is a Mind running calculations and if those calculations predict more people will be saved by breaking diplomatic agreement, the agreement goes down the drain that millisecond”).

    • On the one hand, that’s certainly true to an extent, although while the resolution must be balanced, there’s no requirement that it be balanced in any particular way. (Why “weregeld” exists in the legal system, for example.)

      On the other hand, the Ministry of State and Outlands would point out that one of the chief causes of trouble in international relations, as in domestic law, is uncertainty – and while democracies change their minds with every election, and pragmatists are only as reliable as their self-interest, the Empire’s foreign policy is highly predictable and constant as the northern star. You are very unlikely to get into trouble that you couldn’t have known you were getting into.

      (On the gripping hand, the biggest thing hampering diplomacy with the Empire remains the lack of any there, there. When your entire trade and immigration policies can be summed up as “Sure, go ahead, why are you asking us?” and many types of treaties we’d be familiar with off-limits as ultra vires, there’s not all that much non-routine diplomacy left.)

      ((On the other gripping hand, in this particular area, the MoSaO would point out that the Empire’s peacekeeping policy is exquisitely crafted to deliver one thing: almost never having to do it.

      One of the problems of being a Great Power, as history on Earth demonstrates more than adequately, is that everyone who isn’t wants to drag you into their local squabbles one way or another. Unlike the waserai, the Empire likes to counter this with a healthy dose of “don’t make us come over there”, in the form of making Imperial interventions about as desirable as having Black Surtr and his army of fire giants stop by your planet on the way to Ragnarok.))

  2. And this line of thinking is precisely why I question the eldrae’s claim to hold the moral high ground — or, indeed, their claim to themselves being sane.

    (Given that discussions along this theme have tended to get… explosive in the past, that’s all I’m going to say.)

    • To reply less irritably:

      The other line of thinking here which General Politeran does not point out is that the soft approach produces false positives.

      Everyone’s nice to, and in the presence of, an external force with a velvet glove of +5 empathy and a big stick. Obvious example: pretty much any of the many domestic abusers who seemed like such nice, quiet people who would never dream of doing such a thing. Doesn’t tell you a damn thing about who they are when you’re not standing over ’em or what they’re going to do when you leave.

      The Imperial approach, on the other hand, is that if they don’t behave like civilized chaps in the dark, when [they think] no-one’s watching, and without anyone praising them for doing it, then they haven’t learned a gorramn thing. You’re supposed to do the right thing even when it hurts, and/or it costs you, and/or it won’t ultimately matter, and/or when no-one will ever know, and the closer you get to that scenario, the more reliable your test cases are.

      When the former enemies are spontaneously helping each other with no external reward save a continuing lack of being exploded by a passing Murderbot 9000, then you can call it.

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