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Singapore is a Meritocracy* [EXTRA LONG POST]
Edit: Thank you for all the comments and chat messages! I'm trying to go through each one. Writing thoughtful comments in the midst of having a full-time job is HARD WORK. I think I've missed a few questions, drop me a message if you're interested in continuing a discussion, I'm open to listening! There has been a lot of good comments, a few with great perspectives, and now I have a whole lot of things to read up on. --- Now that the 2020 General Election is firmly in our rear-view mirror, there is something that I have been meaning to write about: institutionalized racism affecting the minorities, especially the Malays, in Singapore. If you are groaning at this thinking you have been misled by this post’s title, I assure you that by the end of this post you will understand the caveat behind the above-mentioned title. I plead for a little of your time and patience. We have seen many discussions online about majority privilege and systemic racism impacting the minorities. Many of you may have even participated in some of these discussions. I will not try to explain those terms for they have already been repeatedly debated to death. What this post aims to achieve is to bring to light Singapore’s history and government policies that have either benefited the majority race or kneecapped the minority race. Or both. Why am I doing this? It is frustrating to see some Singaporeans fully buying into the narrative that Singapore is a truly meritocratic society; that the government’s policies do not discriminate against minorities, or if a Singaporean worked hard enough he or she will succeed (whatever the definition of success is), or that we have anti-discriminatory laws that protect the minorities. Some even claim that the Malays enjoy special privileges due to Section 152 of the Constitution describing the special position of Malays, and that the Malays are blessed with free education in Singapore. Section 152, “Special Position”, free education for all Malays?
Minorities and special position of Malays 152.—(1) It shall be the responsibility of the Government constantly to care for the interests of the racial and religious minorities in Singapore. (2) The Government shall exercise its functions in such manner as to recognise the special position of the Malays, who are the indigenous people of Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the responsibility of the Government to protect, safeguard, support, foster and promote their political, educational, religious, economic, social and cultural interests and the Malay language.
"The aim of the government is not to turn out a few well-educated youths, nor a number of less well-educated boys; rather it is to improve the bulk of the people, and to make the son of a fisherman or a peasant a more intelligent fisherman or peasant than his father had been, and a man whose education will enable him to understand how his lot in life fits in with the scheme of life around him".
"The great object of education is to train a man to make a living.... you can teach Malays so that they do not lose their skill and craft in fishing and jungle work. Teach them the dignity of manual labour, so that they do not all become krannies (clerks) and I am sure you will not have the trouble which has arisen in India through over education"
What is the Stand-Up India Scheme? All Your Burning Questions Answered Here
Stand-up India Scheme Looking for an MSME Loan designed for women and SC/ST entrepreneurs for setting up a Greenfield Enterprise in India? You have landed at the right place. This page contains all the information you will need on Stand-up India Loan Scheme. Setting up a new business can be challenging in many ways. But getting funds for a business that has not been established or even started is the biggest one of them all. Keeping this in mind, the Indian Govt. has created a few programmes for different groups of people to help them get financial assistance in setting up a new business. Stand-up India, Mudra loan and Start-up India scheme are three of the most successful initiatives in this direction. On this page, we are going to focus on the Stand-up India scheme. What is the Stand-Up India Scheme? Stand-up India is an initiative of the Indian government, started in 2016, to offer support to women and SC/ST entrepreneurs to start a new business. Under this scheme, eligible entrepreneurs can avail bank loans up to Rs. 1 crore for setting up a new business in the manufacturing, trading and services sector. In case of non-individual enterprises, at least 51% of the shareholding and controlling stake should be held by women or people from the SC/ST community. Please do not confuse this with the Start-Up India scheme which is a different initiative by the Indian govt. to offer a host of tax benefits to enterprises that are recognised as start-ups. What are the Eligibility Criteria for the Stand-up India Scheme? The Stand-up India loan scheme is meant for encouraging people from the SC/ST category and women entrepreneurs to set up greenfield enterprises (new business) in the manufacturing, services or trading sector. In case of non-individual enterprises, at least 51% of the company stakes should be held by women or people in the SC/ST category. The applicant must be above 18 years of age. What are the Features of the Stand-up India Scheme? Some of the important features of the Stand-up India scheme have been mentioned here: · Loan Amount: The minimum loan amount sanctioned by Indian banks for this scheme is Rs. 10 lakh while the maximum loan amount is Rs. 1 crore. The actual loan amount offered is decided by the bank on a case-to-case basis after carefully accessing the application · Interest Rate: The interest rate applicable for this loan is decided by the bank offering the scheme. However, keeping with the Stand-up India guidelines, it cannot exceed the sum of 1-year Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate (MCLR), a factor of 3% and Tenure Premium · Repayment & Moratorium: The Stand-up India loans have a maximum repayment period of 84 months after the end of moratorium period. The maximum repayment holiday period offered for this loan scheme is 18 months · Security Needed: These loans can be secured with collateral as prime security or Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme for Stand-up India Loans (CGFSIL) coverage. CGFSIL is a special scheme started by the Govt. of India to provide a guarantee to loans extended under the Stand-Up Loans scheme · Borrower Contribution to Total Cost (Margin Money): The bank may take anywhere from 10% to 25% margin for these loans (Note: Margin money refers to the amount the borrower contributes to the overall amount required. The bank will cover the rest. So, if the total amount needed is Rs. 20 lakh, you will have to contribute 20% which comes to Rs. 4 lakh. The bank will provide the balance of Rs. 16 lakh.) Which Indian Banks Offer Stand-up India Loans? Indian Banks that offer Stand-up India loans are:
Bank of Baroda (BoB)
Bank of India (BOI)
Bank of Maharashtra
Central Bank of India
Indian Overseas Bank (IOB)
Punjab National Bank (PNB)
State Bank of India (SBI)
Tamilnad Mercantile Bank (TMB)
Union Bank of India (UBI)
A Final Word Now that you know about Stand-up India Loans, you might want to know more details about Stand-up India loan schemes offered by different Indian banks. Please visit our MSME Loans page for details. Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. All details provided here are correct as on the publishing date of this post. Please check with official sources before taking any investment or related decisions.
Progress Report 51: Yes, Prime Minister (UK Pt. 1)
Hello, and welcome to Progress Report 51 for Calm Before the Storm. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the United Kingdom’s Peacetime Political Content. The PR schedule for the UK will be as follows:
Pt. 1 (This PR): Peacetime Politics
Pt. 2: Other Peacetime Content (re-armament, foreign, and colonial policy)
Pt. 3: Wartime Content
The UK in 1933 starts under the eyes of King George V and Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald’s (National Labour Organization) Second National Government: Though the PM is from the Social Democrat party (NLO), the government was largely dominated by members of the Conservative and Unionist Party, commonly known to us as the Conservatives. The UK starts with the following national spirits: Pacifism: The terror of the First World War caused anti-war sentiments and pacifism to skyrocket in popularity, leading to a strong lack of support for intervention in Europe: The Great Depression: As you may know, the collapse of the American stock market had a similarly devastating effect on the British Economy, leading to the fall of the Second MacDonald Ministry (Labour Government) and the abandonment of the gold standard. However, by 1933, the economy had troughed and was slowly on its way back up. Subsequent governments had engaged on a rough austerity program that continues into the game’s start. The Sun Never Sets: Britain in 1933 boasts the largest colonial empire in history. As such, profits from the colonies are represented by making more consumer goods available for you, and the ability to conscript natives are represented as recruitable population. However, as the UK found out post-war, maintaining such a large empire is expensive. Welfare Spending: This is the first of the three parliamentary modifiers, which you may recognize from Progress Report 49. The UK uses the same parliamentary mechanics as Weimar Germany, meaning that changes in policy can be represented as a change in these dynamic modifiers. In 1933, the austerity program meant that relatively little was being spent on welfare. Revenue and Stimulus: This modifier represents combined revenue (taxes and tariffs) and stimulus spending. Thus, the modifier starts with a positive value as relatively little is being spent on output due to austerity, but the government is taking in much more from taxes and tariffs. Defense Spending: Like welfare, relatively little is being spent on defense at this moment. Let’s meet the parties!
Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB): The CPGB is a stalinist party, and as you might expect, it is significantly influenced by Moscow. Their electoral goals are to transform the UK into a USSR-style Vanguard Party State. However, a distinction must be made between the more dogmatic party leadership and the more flexible party activists. The latter segment of the party puts significant emphasis on anti-fascist activism and cooperation.
Independent Labour Party (ILP): confusingly, the Independent Labour Party precedes the Labour Party itself, and is not a splinter group. Instead, the ILP was formed to allow for the representation of labour interests independent from the Liberal party. Though they have the same philosophical roots, the ILP is noticeably to the left of Labour. Their platform demands the immediate institution of minimum wage laws, workday reform, and nationalization of key industries.
Labour Party (DemSoc LP): Labour was not initially formed as a political party, but more of a coordinative umbrella group for organizing leftist parliamentary candidates. Up to 1932, when the ILP broke ties with Labour, it was common to see candidates as members of Labour and the ILP simultaneously. Labour’s 1934 program, which is used in-game, demands the establishment of a National Health Service, the nationalization of some industries, and other pro-working class positions.
National Labour Organization (NLO): The NLO is a splinter party from Labour, formed by Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald to join the National Government. NLO policy is more loosely defined, but it is generally worker-oriented and definitely protectionist.
Liberal Party (SocLib LP): The Liberals and Labour are not one party. Their initials are just the same. The Liberal Party used to be one of the strongest parties in the UK until Labour and the ILP usurped them as the primary party of the working class. The Liberals are pro-welfare and pro-worker, though to a more moderate level than the other leftist organizations. They joined the National Government in 1931, but quickly left over policy disagreements.
Independent Liberals (IL): The Independent Liberals are not really a party, but rather an informal grouping around David Lloyd George and his family. Though they are also technically socially liberal as well, they left the Liberal Party over the Liberals’ joining of the National Government, which was decidedly protectionist where Lloyd George famously advocated for free trade, and have thus been given the market liberal slot.
Liberal National Party (LNP): The Liberal Nationals -- to become the national liberals after the war -- are another split from the Liberal Party. Unlike the Independent Liberals, the Liberal Nationalists are in favor of protectionism, and thus continue to support the National Government.
Conservative and Unionist Party (CUP): The Conservatives, sometimes known as Tories, start the game with an overwhelming majority in parliament. The CUP has several factions within it, including the semi-progressive One-Nation Tories, a more Liberal Faction, and the infamous High Tories. The High Tories and any Ultra-Royalists (neither of whom have seats, or at least any worth mentioning) have been abstracted in Authoritarian and Autocratic Despotism respectively. These wings cannot rise to any prominence. The dominant wing in 1933 by far is Baldwin and Chamberlain’s liberal wing, who support democracy, liberal economics (though with protectionism), and cautious welfare measures.
British Fascists: The British Fascists claim to be a fascist party, though are more accurately described as an Ultra-Royalist Anti-Communist group. They peaked with a few thousand members in 1926 when their leader, Rotha Lintorn-Orman predicted that the General Strike of that year would lead to a violent Bolshevik revolution, only to be met with peaceful actions. By 1933, the organization was all but defunct, as much of its money was spent on parties. It dissolved in 1934, and Lintorn-Orman died the following year.
British Union of Fascists (BUF): In 1930, an influential member of the Labour Party, Oswald Mosley, published his “Mosley Memorandum” and pressured Labour to adopt it as their platform. The memorandum included significant public works projects and the adoption of a form of economic corporatism. When Labour refused to accept it, Mosley left and formed a new party called the New Party. Though it did not win any seats in 1931, it did garner a surprising amount of vote share in some constituencies. After meeting with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, Mosley founded the British Union of Fascists on the Italian model.
Parliament: Instead of starting with the focuses, we will be starting with the House of Commons: The House is programmed to show only those parties who have seats, so if, for example, the Communists gain seats (which they are programmed to in 1935), they will show up as having them. However, if they lose those seats, they will disappear. As you can see, the National Government has such an overwhelming coalition that for the first couple of years in the game, you cannot fail to pass any laws. Please seeearlierprogressreports to learn about Parliaments. Finance Acts are only available for the given year. Unlike in other nations, British laws cost less and take less time to complete, as there is a very high volume of them. Other acts will become visible as you take the focuses in the tree. The Trees: We will start with the National Government Tree which should last you until the 1935 election. Now, very little happens in the UK in terms of parliamentary policy until the Government of India act (which will be handled by the colonial policy tree), so these might seem like filler, though there are important acts that lay the groundwork for further reforms. Unlike in Weimar Germany, multiple laws can be tied to a single focus. For example, the Legal Reform focus offers six focuses that bleed into the post-election period These laws will become available about 1-2 months before they were enacted (as written on the documents themselves). You can take the focuses at any time, though the laws will not necessarily show up immediately. The AI will only take the focuses at an appropriate time. Reforms in Scotland is a vital focus to take here, as it allows you to enact other laws relating to Scotland There are other smaller focuses, such as “Prevent Animal Abuse” and “The Petroleum Production Act”. All these focuses except for the header unlock laws rather than directly affecting your country. This includes those focuses with a single law, such as “Married Women’s Rights” or “Amend the British Nationality Act”. These should take you up to the 1935 election. This is the only election event, and will be used for all elections. Note that the text and results are dynamic. You do not get to directly choose the results of the election. Instead, the game will automatically reallocate seats in the House of Commons, and the winner is chosen from there. If the Conservatives have more seats, then they will declare victory. If Labour has more seats, then they will have won. Only the CUP and Labour can win elections. The UK’s voting system, first-past-the-post, strongly favors large parties as it gives the constituency to the candidate with the most votes regardless of vote share. As such, to properly model the UK’s electoral system, the algorithm in-game is heavily biased towards Labour and the CUP.These are the seats reallocated using the popularities at start. Note that in 1935, and 1935 only, the CPGB, ILP, and IL are scripted to get their historical amount of seats at minimum regardless of popularity. As the Conservatives won the election, the Conservative Tree is opened up. The Conservatives will try to enact their historical legislation between 1935 and the start of the war in 1939, as well as three fictional laws at the bottom. The laws, like in the National Government tree, are roughly arranged in order of year, but are grouped together when it is appropriate. The Conservatives are interested in democratic and pro-worker reforms, but at a far more cautious rate than Labour. As you can see, major pieces of legislation receive their own focuses. At the bottom, you have the three fictional focuses. Here are three examples of laws. Here is an [example of an effect]https://i.imgur.com/unpvda8.png. National spirits are a rare consequence of an act. This is a more common set of effects. If Labour is elected, they will of course have their own tree. You might notice that some of these focuses overlap with the Conservative tree. Said focuses either include more laws or will be automatically bypassed if the Conservative version of the focus is already complete. Labour will largely attempt to enact legislation from their victory in 1945 to 1950. This is allowable because the actions of the two Attlee Ministries largely match their 1934 program. However, what if Labour is elected early? In this case, the game will record when Labour is first elected, and use that as a starting point for all the laws. Therefore, if Labour is elected 10 years early, the laws will be scheduled for 10 years earlier. If Labour is elected 5 years early, the laws will be scheduled for 5 years earlier, etc. Labour will want to reverse Conservative restrictions on strike actions and improve education. However, their primary goal is the nationalization of resources and utilities. This includes the nationalization of Coal, Electricity, Transport, Water (which was actually done by the Caretaker government in 1945 but is included here if it is not done earlier), hospitals (the NHS), communications, and the Bank of England. You might notice that labour has far more laws than the Conservatives do. This is accurate to what happened historically. Whereas the House of Commons may have enacted 14 laws on average between 1933 and 1938 (inclusive), Labour enacted 22 between 1946 and 1950 (inclusive). However, after Labour takes both nationalization focuses, and are still in power six years later, they will get this event. In short, it is a proposal to introduce elements of democratic management into state-owned workplaces. An act will be slated to unlock for seven years after Labour is first elected to this effect. Of course, refusing it might be better if you’re starved for political power… Event Chains The UK has received several event chains to provide a sense of political development as a supplement to the focus tree. We’ll go over them now. We’ll start with the Labour Party chain. In a gameplay sense, since you cannot directly choose a Labour victory, this chain is one of the mechanisms used to allow a player to go down the Labour path. As a result, a player who wishes to remain Conservative now has greater impetus to complete the National Government tree. The chain starts with the 1934 London City Council election, in which the Conservatives lost control for the first time in thirty years. The LCC will immediately get to work improving infrastructure and services. However, these projects will cost money, and Labour will soon run out the 2M pounds in the treasury. Concurrently, Labour will adopt a new platform at their 1934 conference. This platform would be the basis of the policies of the Attlee Ministries, and thus the Labour path in-game. If fascism continues to expand into Europe, then Labour will to pressure their leader, the arch pacifist George Lansbury to resign. If fascism does not continue to expand into Europe, then he will remain. Otherwise, Labour will want to take the party in an actively anti-fascist direction, which forces them to abandon pacifism (though they officially maintained an anti-war position in opposition to Conservative policy). Labour will then soon hold its leadership election. There are three possible Labour Leaders: Clement Attlee, deputy party leader; Herbert Morrison, leader of the LCC; and Arthur Greenwood, the former minister of health. The winner is determined randomly. Related to the Labour Chain, the Pacifism sub-chain will begin in February 1933 with the King and Country Debate. A few years later, this will be followed up by the Peace Ballot, a poll conducted by the League of Nations Union. The Socialist League subchain details the story of the eponymous Socialist League, a left-wing faction within Labour. The League wanted to bring Labour into cooperation with the ILP and the CPGB, which was rejected by the party at large. Note that this happens in 1937, and Labour will have the opportunity to entertain this proposal, though nothing will come of it. The Socialist League dissolved soon after. The British Union of Fascists chain begins in early 1934, when the Daily Mail prints a headline declaring “Hurrah for the Blackshirts!” Lord Rothermere was a personal friend of Mussolini and Hitler, and was thus enthusiastic at a properly fascist party in the UK. However, this is where the BUF peaks, as support will steadily decline as the Blackshirts engage in thuggery and violence at events, culminating at the Olympia Rally. The chain will pick back up again in 1936, as Mosley announces a march through the East End. Stepney residents appealed to higher authorities, both inside and outside the government, but ultimately, they had to organize themselves. These efforts were led by the Jewish People’s Council and Communist Party MP Phil Piratin. Right before the march, local officials and activists will pressure the Home Office to prevent the march, which was historically ignored. However, the player and the AI have the choice of following through. It is thus entirely possible to avoid the Battle of Cable Street entirely. However, if the march is allowed to continue, there are three possible outcomes. The historical outcome has the highest chance of happening, and will always happen if historical focus mode is on. Historically, Anti-Fascist groups including Communists, Anarchists, Socialists, Jewish Groups, and Irish Dock Workers managed to establish a blockade blocking the march, which the police tried to reroute to Cable Street. They were likewise unable to go past the blockade at Cable Street, after which the march was called off. Should the police manage to clear out some of the first blockade, the Blackshirts will attempt to go through their planned route. This will trigger an all-out brawl with the anti-fascists, who outnumber the police and Blackshirts by over two to one. They will force the Fascists out by force, which is deemed a “full anti-fascist victory” (as opposed to the historical anti-fascist victory), though the BUF will use this opportunity to victimize themselves. Now, the logical third outcome would be a fascist “victory”. In this rare scenario, East End activists are unable to convince the CPGB leadership not to hold an unrelated anti-fascist event at Hyde Park at the same time in support of Spain, while they were historically able to convince the Party Leadership to divert resources into helping the East End instead. The police will try and clear out the first blockade as in the ahistorical far-left victory scenario, but the anti-fascists will no longer outnumber the fascists by a large margin, and thus will create a standoff. This will be perceived to be a failure of the CPGB (within local and leftist circles) and thus cause a rise in support for the ILP instead. Should either anti-fascist victory scenario occur, the chain will end with a retaliatory Pogrom. The British Fascists event chain only has three events. First, the BF dissolves in late 1934. As written in the event, the BF was very much on the decline since 1926, and much of their budget was being spent on parties. It went bankrupt in 1934, and consequently dissolved. Rotha Lintorn-Orman will die the following year. However, in 1939, the Far-Right Authoritarian slot will be filled once more, this time by the British People’s Party. A splinter faction of the BUF, they are technically fascist, but they also adopted Social Credit policies. Finally, we have the Abdication Crisis Chain. It will really start in January 1936, when King George V dies. This will, of course, put Edward VIII on the throne. Edward VIII was popular among the people for his good looks and fashion sense, but was not trusted by the political establishment to properly fill his role as King. The monarch is meant to be politically neutral; they are not meant to give opinions on policy or try and influence legislation in any way. However, some of Edward’s remarks (in public!) made the establishment very worried that he was trying to influence public opinion and thus policy. In addition, whereas the King is meant to show a more measured middle-class personality in public, Edward wasn’t very discreet about his affair with Wallis Simpson, an American who in 1936 was separating from her second husband. When Mrs. Simpson divorced her second husband in October 1936, everyone assumed that Edward was going to marry her as soon as possible. The proposed marriage was opposed on moral, religious, political, and nationalist grounds. Faced with this proposition, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin (though it could be a Labour PM, the chain is unchanged) offered him three choices. First, Edward could simply marry Mrs. Simpson, granting her the title of Queen Consort. Second, he could marry her Morganatically, which would deny her any titles. Thirdly, he could abdicate. The government and the Prime Ministers of the dominions were strongly against the standard Royal Marriage, stressing that option two and three are preferable. However, Edward proposed that he make a broadcast in which he would publically accept the Morganatic Marriage. Baldwin saw this as an attempt to influence public opinion, and blocked the speech. Faced with no other option, Edward chose to abdicate. His brother Albert will then take the throne as King George VI! The chain does not end here. First, Stanley Baldwin will resign in 1937 (even if the Conservatives are not in power) for health reasons. Secondly, Edward and Wallis, now the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, will tour either Nazi Germany or, if there is no Nazi Germany, he will tour Fascist Italy. And finally, Ireland will become a de facto republic. This will be moved to the Irish focus tree, but it is here for now to provide a mechanism for Ireland to break free. Full Tree So Far Frequently Asked Questions: Will it be possible to Keep Edward VIII, either through a morganatic marriage or other methods? Not in 0.1. We will look into options in future versions, but a morganatic marriage will not be possible. Edward can only have the throne or the marriage, not both. Will the Conservatives and Labour have unique interactions with Edward VIII, or will those events be the same? They will be the same for the time being. Can we CPGB/Liberal/BUF participation in government? The CPGB and BUF had very little popular support, and it is implausible that they would get sufficient support from either the people or another party. Both Leninism/Stalinism and Fascism never really caught on in the United Kingdom. Though the Liberals have seats unlike the other two, they a) still have insufficient support to form a government and b) disagree too much with Labour and the Conservatives to join a coalition with them. Can the BUF’s ideology change if the international situation is different? Not at present, though this will be looked into in the future. However, it will not allow for a BUF path unless the UK is occupied by a fascist country. Is there a Republican path? Republicanism is a dead movement by the 1930’s, specifically because of actions taken by the Conservatives in the two decades prior to present the Monarchy as an inter-class institution rather than a symbol of the upper class. Will Labour be able to enter into a coalition with the ILP and/or CPGB? Labour, the ILP, and the CPGB largely wanted nothing to do with each other, especially between Labour and the Communists. Is the old parliament system (as shown in PR 26) gone? Yes, the UK will now use the same system as shown in Spain and Germany. Can Irish or Welsh Nationalist Parties gain Representation in Parliament? Not in this time period. The SNP first gained representation in 1970, and Plaid Cymru first gained representation in 1974. Closing Thoughts: We are still in need of developers, primarily coders at this point. If you have an interest in coding - regardless of nation or other aspect - please see Progress Report 8.5 or message me directly for details. If you have an interest in coding but don’t know how to code, the Hoi4 Wiki contains a great amount of information! We are not just looking for country developers, we are also looking for people to do some generic work. If you do not have much coding experience, this could work well for you! About the Position: As a coder you will work with our planners to create content for countries in the game. This includes, but is not limited to focus trees, decisions, events and national spirits. You will get the chance to develop programming and teamwork skills. You will also be working with artists and writers to implement our top-quality graphics and writing. Commitment: Our system of management ideally expects that each modder make a meaningful contribution every month, with a limit of three months of inactivity. However, we understand that sometimes, life just gets in the way, so such situations will not count as inactivity, so long as the team is notified beforehand (and if you don't know what counts and what doesn't, just ask!). Positions available: Lots! Qualifications:
Experience with Hoi4 code OR strong experience with other PDX games' code (such as CK2 or EU4)
Ability to work well in a team
A tolerant and open mind
About the Team: The CBtS team (which at present includes upwards of 50 developers) is intercontinental and multicultural, and we offer a welcoming and friendly environment. We're happy to help each other with our code, learning how to make gfx, Aside from modding, we enjoy memes, video games, and learning more about history.Where do I sign up?If you're interested in joining the team, please see Progress Report 8.5 OR message me for details. Where can I go to learn how to mod? The Hoi4 Wiki contains extensive documentation on how game mechanics can be scripted and how to use most commands. There are also many tutorials on YouTube. Other Credits:
Good morning from the UK. It’s Friday 24th April. My marigold seeds have taken off and are starting to sprout secondary stage leaves (marigolds are good companion plants; they ward off various pests in a vegetable garden whilst they can also be good sacrificial plants should a slug manage to somehow breach our electric barrier). Meanwhile, the first of my wife’s radishes seeds is starting to emerge from the compost she put in a recycled milk carton tetrapak a few days ago; she’s very excited by this. Advance warning, today’s post is a bit food supply chain heavy. Happy Friday everybody.
Virus news in depth
AP Story from Tuesday 21st April: UN food agency chief: World on brink of `a hunger pandemic’ - The head of the U.N. food agency warned Tuesday that, as the world is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, it is also “on the brink of a hunger pandemic” that could lead to “multiple famines of biblical proportions” within a few months if immediate action isn’t taken. World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley told the U.N. Security Council that even before COVID-19 became an issue, he was telling world leaders that “2020 would be facing the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.” That’s because of wars in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, locust swarms in Africa, frequent natural disasters and economic crises including in Lebanon, Congo, Sudan and Ethiopia, he said. Beasley said today 821 million people go to bed hungry every night all over the world, a further 135 million people are facing “crisis levels of hunger or worse,” and a new World Food Program analysis shows that as a result of COVID-19 an additional 130 million people “could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020.” He said in the video briefing that WFP is providing food to nearly 100 million people on any given day, including “about 30 million people who literally depend on us to stay alive.” (Cont’d) Beasley, who is recovering from COVID-19, said if those 30 million people can’t be reached, “our analysis shows that 300,000 people could starve to death every single day over a three-month period” — and that doesn’t include increased starvation due to the coronavirus. “In a worst-case scenario, we could be looking at famine in about three dozen countries, and in fact, in 10 of these countries we already have more than one million people per country who are on the verge of starvation,” he said. According to WFP, the 10 countries with the worst food crises in 2019 were Yemen, Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria and Haiti. He pointed to a sharp drop in overseas remittances that will hurt countries such as Haiti, Nepal and Somalia; a loss of tourism revenue which, for example, will damage Ethiopia where it accounts for 47 percent of total exports; and the collapse of oil prices which will have a significant impact in lower-income countries like South Sudan where oil accounts for almost 99 percent of total exports. The Gulf Times takes a different slant on the story: ‘Instead of coronavirus, the hunger will kill us’; COVID-19 brings fears of a global food crisis - In Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, people desperate to eat set off a stampede during a recent giveaway of flour and cooking oil, leaving scores injured and two people dead. The coronavirus has sometimes been called an equaliser because it has sickened both rich and poor, but when it comes to food, the commonality ends. It is poor people, including large segments of poorer nations, who are now going hungry and facing the prospect of starving. “The coronavirus has been anything but a great equaliser,” said Asha Jaffar, a volunteer who brought food to families in the Nairobi slum of Kibera after the fatal stampede. “It’s been the great revealer, pulling the curtain back on the class divide and exposing how deeply unequal this country is.” Already, 135 million people had been facing acute food shortages, but now with the pandemic, 130 million more could go hungry in 2020, said Arif Husain, chief economist at the World Food Program, a UN agency. Altogether, an estimated 265 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by year’s end. “We’ve never seen anything like this before,” Husain said. “It wasn’t a pretty picture to begin with, but this makes it truly unprecedented and uncharted territory.” (Cont’d) There is no shortage of food globally, or mass starvation from the pandemic yet continues the Gulf Times article. But logistical problems in planting, harvesting and transporting food will leave poor countries exposed in the coming months, especially those reliant on imports, said Johan Swinnen, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington. While the system of food distribution and retailing in rich nations is organised and automated, he said, systems in developing countries are “labour intensive,” making “these supply chains much more vulnerable to COVID-19 and social distancing regulations.” On a recent evening, hundreds of migrant workers, who have been stuck in New Delhi after a lockdown was imposed in March with little warning, sat under the shade of a bridge waiting for food to arrive. The Delhi government has set up soup kitchens, yet workers like Nihal Singh go hungry as the throngs at these centres have increased in recent days. “Instead of coronavirus, the hunger will kill us,” said Singh, who was hoping to eat his first meal in a day. Coronavirus-driven CO2 shortage threatens US food, water and beer supply, officials say - The Guardian reports that there is an emerging shortage of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) according to a Washington state emergency planning document. The document, a Covid-19 situation report produced by the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), contains a warning from the state’s office of drinking water (ODW) about difficulties in obtaining CO2, which is essential for the process of water treatment. The document says that the ODW is “still responding to [that day’s] notification of a national shortage of CO2”. It continues: “Several [water plants] had received initial notification from their vendors that their supply would be restricted to 33% of normal.” It further warns: “So far utilities have been able to make the case that they are considered essential to critical infrastructure and have been returned to full supply. However, we want to ask if CISA [the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency] can assess this through their contacts, if this is sustainable given the national shortage.” (Cont’d) Asked to clarify the nature of this problem, ODW director Mike Means said in an email that his agency had first learned of potential problems when Seattle public utilities were “contacted by their vendor Airgas who supplied a copy of a Force Majeure notice”, warning them that their CO2 order would be reduced due to pandemic-related shortages. Force majeure is a contractual defense that allows parties to escape liability for contracts in the case of events – such as a pandemic – that could not be reasonably foreseen. In this case, Means wrote, “Airgas informed in their notice that they would only be able to do 80% of their normal service but subsequent discussions said to expect more like 33%”. At this point, he added, “we reached out to understand if this was a WA specific problem or national. We quickly understood it to be a national issue.” (Cont’d) ODW had then contacted federal agencies such as CISA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) and industry bodies such as the Association of State Drinking Water Authorities (ASDWA). The main reason for national shortages, according to the CEO of the Compressed Gas Association (CGA), Rich Gottwald, is a ramping down of ethanol production. “Back in the summertime, the [Trump] administration exempted some gasoline manufacturers from using ethanol. Then we had Russia and Saudi Arabia flooding the market with cheap gasoline. All of that led to an oversupply of ethanol,” Gottwald said. “As ethanol manufacturers were ramping down because there wasn’t a market for their product, along comes Covid-19, which meant people weren’t driving anywhere”, he added. This led to plant closures, including among the 50 specialized plants that collect CO2 for the food and beverage market. Gottwald’s association, along with a number of associations representing food and beverage industries, which together use 77% of food-grade CO2, issued a joint warning to the federal government about the shortage. In an open letter to the vice-president, Mike Pence, the coalition warns: “Preliminary data show that production of CO2 has decreased by approximately 20%, and experts predict that CO2 production may be reduced by 50% by mid-April.” It continues: “A shortage in CO2 would impact the US availability of fresh food, preserved food and beverages, including beer production.” The 'land army' needed to keep the UK's food supply chain going as thousands of tonnes of food risks going to waste - ITV has done a piece on the UK farming supply chain. Farmers are desperate for help. Without their usual influx of migrant workers from the EU, thousands of tonnes of food risk going to waste in fields up and down the country, just as the summer crops come into season. Every year our farming industry needs 90,000 seasonal workers. Like Robyn, many have put themselves forward - but in no way near the numbers needed. Others are finding the application process hard to navigate. Mark Thorogood, whose family have run the Essex farm for three generations, says it’s a perilous time for the food supply chain. "If we can't get the labour – it doesn’t get picked. That’s the crux of it", he said. Meanwhile, the charity The Food Foundation claims more than one and a half million Britons are going without food for at least a day because of the pandemic and three million have experienced hunger since the lockdown. On top of all that - the reality that nearly 50% of our food comes from abroad. With the numbers of ships crossing the Channel reduced and port workers hit by the virus, this is now under threat too. So could this crisis see a permanent change in how we feed our nation? The country's leading voice on food security, Professor Tim Lang gave us a grave warning: "The entire world food system is being disrupted. More disruptions are coming. Plantings not happening, food being wasted. "Britain only produces about 50% of its food - the country that can only half feed itself has got to wake up". (Personal note: this is why I’m putting effort into growing veg)
New Zealand: People are being urged not to relax alert level 4 restrictions over Anzac weekend. The country will move to level 3 at 11.59pm on Monday but police say they will continue to enforce the current restrictions until then. They say officers will be visible on the roads, with checkpoints operating at holiday hot spots. (Personal note: It’s the local equivalent of memorial weekend there with NZ and parts of Australia enjoying Monday as a public holiday). Level 3 restrictions mean organised sports are still not allowed outside the home bubble, including playing frisbee or kicking a rugby ball around. Playgrounds and public sports facilities are still off limits, and physical distancing is still required when exercising outside. Sports such as golf, tennis, and bowls, where two metres of distancing is possible can be played, and mountain biking on known trails is permitted for experienced bikers.
Three southern Sydney beaches closed for a second time, only five days after being reopened, according to a statement from the Randwick City Council. The beaches of Clovelly, Coogee and Maroubra were shut at 1pm Friday after “people failed to use beaches for exercise only.” The three beaches will reopen Saturday and Sunday between 6am to 9am for exercise only, according to the council. The situation will be reassessed on Monday.
Results of a new survey from C+R Research shows that 60 percent of American shoppers are “now fearful” to shop at grocery stores, with 73 percent saying they are shopping less at physical stores says The Spoon. Not surprisingly, C+R’s survey also found that grocery delivery has shot up 3.5x during the pandemic. Whereas consumers used to take an average of 2.3 weekly trips to the grocery store before the COVID-19 outbreak, they now average 1 trip a week.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has criticized China previously for its handling of coronavirus, but tonight he was clearer than ever, saying, "China caused an enormous amount of pain, loss of life, and now a huge challenge for the global economy and the American economy as well by not sharing the information they had." Pompeo, appearing on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox, added, "I am very confident that the Chinese Communist Party will pay a price for what they did here, certainly from the United States."
Inevitably, left leaning media sources such as The Guardian have attacked President Trump for his suggestion yesterday of injecting disinfectant to cure the virus. At Thursday’s White House coronavirus task force briefing, the US president discussed new government research on how the virus reacts to different temperatures, climates and surfaces. “And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute,” Trump said. “One minute! And is there a way we can do something, by an injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that. So, that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me.” Dr Deborah Birx, the task force response coordinator, remained silent. But social media erupted in hilarity and outrage at the president, who has a record of defying science and also floated the idea of treating patients’ bodies with ultraviolet (UV) light. (Personal note: already I’ve seen several memes on the topic).
Germany’s coronavirus reproduction rate has increased to 0.9 according to the country's centre for disease and control, the Robert Koch Institute, meaning every 10 people with the virus infect an average of nine others. That’s up from a reproduction rate of 0.7 a week ago, according to the Institute’s Vice President Lars Schaade. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has previously warned that if the number -- also known as the R0 value -- rises above 1, the country’s health system would eventually be overwhelmed. Yesterday she expressed concern that some German states were moving to ease coronavirus restrictions too soon, saying it could undermine the results that have been achieved.
The British prime minister is recovering at his countryside retreat, but there's no decision yet on when he will return to work, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News.
It's the first day of the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims; in Indonesia, millions can't travel home as is custom due to travel bans, and in Malaysia, the national lockdown has been extended through early May. Meanwhile, Muslims in India are facing discrimination, attacks, and being blamed for spreading the virus. An infection cluster was identified at a Muslim group's event last month, heightening public fear and Islamophobia.
Police in the United Arab Emirates are deploying smart helmets that can scan the temperatures of hundreds of people every minute in their effort to combat the new coronavirus. The helmets, which need less time and less contact than traditional thermometers, can measure temperatures from five metres (16ft) away and scan up to 200 people a minute, triggering an alert if a fever is detected. Chinese company KC Wearable says it has sold more than 1,000 of the temperature-scanning helmets and has received orders from the Middle East, Europe and Asia.
Supply chain news in depth
Hidden threat: Japan only has a 2-week stockpile of LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) - If supplies stop, it will cause major power supply problems in the country says Nikkei’s Asian review which has an article highlighting the continuing energy supply chain vulnerability in Japan ever since the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It takes about one month to ship LNG from the Middle East to Japan explains the article but if the coronavirus outbreak prevents ships from docking in Japan it could have a big impact on the country's power supply. The physical properties of LNG mean it is poorly suited for long-term storage hence the country only holding a two-week stockpile. Despite this, the country depends on the fuel for 40% of its electric power generation needs, and all of the LNG it uses is imported from the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Tokyo Bay, which stretches across the prefectures of Chiba, Tokyo and Kanagawa, is Japan's most important LNG power generation hub. JERA operates many of the power plants there, all of which run on LNG. Accounting for about 30% of Japan's total LNG power generation, these plants produce 26 million kilowatts of electricity. If, for instance, the coronavirus was to force these plants to stop, the Greater Tokyo area would immediately lose its power supply (Personal note: that’s a population of approx 38.5m people). (Cont’d) Today, LNG is a pillar of Japan's electricity. Before the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Japan, LNG made up 28% of the country's power generation. That increased to 40% in fiscal 2017 as the nation's nuclear power plants went off grid, one after the other, following the Fukushima nuclear crisis. While some of Japan's nuclear plants have come back online, based on the strictest standards in the world, only three of the 10 electric power companies have been able to do so. Moreover, the coronavirus is inching closer and closer to the nuclear plants. Recently, a contractor working at the Genkai Nuclear Power Plant in the southern prefecture of Saga tested positive for the virus and construction at the site was stopped temporarily. Japan has traditionally tried to maintain a diverse mixture of power sources -- including nuclear, LNG, fossil fuels and renewable energy -- due to its reliance on imports as an island nation. "It is highly unbalanced to depend close to half of our energy on LNG alone," an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry concedes. With shipments arriving constantly, a few missed shipments will not immediately signal a crisis. But an extended cutoff will spell trouble for the country. (Cont’d) Japan was already facing a power shortage this year, "so the timing is very bad," said a power industry source. The Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture was shut down last month because it failed to meet antiterrorism standards. The No. 3 reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture is offline following a court injunction. The number of nuclear reactors in operation this year is expected to temporarily fall by half from nine, so Japan cannot rely heavily on nuclear power. Japan's energy self-sufficiency stands at about 10%, well below the 40% for food. The movement to shift away from carbon has led to a backlash against domestic coal-fired power plants, so dependence on LNG could rise further. One reason that Tokyo Electric is rushing to restart its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture is because "heavy concentration in LNG power in Tokyo Bay is a major risk to the stable supply of power," according to an official at the utility. The coronavirus pandemic is testing whether Japan's government and utilities can diversify energy sources to prepare against the risks that threaten supplies. USA meat packing plant Covid-19 problems worse than originally thought - A rash of coronavirus outbreaks at dozens of meatpacking plants across the nation is far more extensive than previously thought, according to an exclusive review of cases by USA TODAY and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. More than 150 of America’s largest meat processing plants operate in counties where the rate of coronavirus infection is already among the nation’s highest, based on the media outlets’ analysis of slaughterhouse locations and county-level COVID-19 infection rates. These facilities represent more than 1 in 3 of the nation’s biggest beef, pork and poultry processing plants. Rates of infection around these plants are higher than those of 75% of other U.S. counties, the analysis found. (Cont’d) While experts say the industry has thus far maintained sufficient production despite infections in at least 2,200 workers at 48 plants, there are fears that the number of cases could continue to rise and that meatpacking plants will become the next disaster zones. "Initially our concern was long-term care facilities," said Gary Anthone, Nebraska's chief medical officer, in a Facebook Live video Sunday. “If there's one thing that might keep me up at night, it's the meat processing plants and the manufacturing plants." Factory workers, unions, and even managers say the federal government – including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – has done little more than issue non-enforceable guidance. On its website, for example, the CDC has released safety guidelines for critical workers and businesses, which primarily promote common-sense measures of sanitization and personal distancing. USA Today says that state health departments have also taken a backseat role in all but a few places. There’s more in the article here.
Supply chain news in brief
Supply chain dive gives a glimpse into the soaring demand for PPE during the pandemic. Numbers from group purchasing organization Premier and data software company ESO show the supply chain gaps in getting needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to those on the front lines. Data on increasing orders of PPE in the hospital setting and the arc of COVID-19 calls compared to a typical flu season show the pandemic in a new light. Healthcare procurement departments and group buying organizations track purchases as part of business. When a spike in usage occurs, it helps them understand their needs and project what will happen. "Dealing with COVID, we’re using five to seven times more PPE than with the traditional patient," Michael Alkire, president of Premier (a group purchasing organisation), told Supply Chain Dive. Typically, Premier purchases 22 million to 24 million N95 respirators per year for its members, including about 4,000 hospitals and 175,000 nonacute healthcare providers and organizations. In January and February, before the virus was spreading rapidly in the U.S., Premier’s members used 56 million respirators.In late March, Premier's systems were ordering 110 million to 150 million respirators, Alkire stated in an Alliance for Health Policy webinar. According to a March Premier survey of its hospitals, 23% of respondents had less than a 10-day supply in inventory. The number of SKUs (SKU = Single Keeping Unit, think of it as a unique product code) on allocation, meaning ordering is restricted due to a shortage, has also skyrocketed. On March 23, 2,600 unique SKUs were on national allocation, Alkire said. By April 1, that number had risen to 9,200. PPE categories can have multiple SKUs. The N95 respirator could have 50 SKUs, including various sizes and colors.
The Singapore Times reports that small businesses in Thailand’s food manufacturing and wholesale trade industries have been encouraged to buy and sell across regional borders, with the help of a new online channel. Thaitrade.com, an e-commerce portal run by the country’s Department of International Trade Promotion, teamed up with a Singapore-based firm to raise the profile of selected Thai brands. The partnership with business-to-business wholesale food platform OctoRocket, which is partly owned by Business Times publisher Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), aims to help Thai food manufacturers export their wares. Food suppliers in Thailand can also tap the new channel to connect with regional counterparts and source products from the rest of South-east Asia for Thai consumers.
A billion kilos of French fries but nobody wants them anymore; NRC.nl reports (link, in dutch) that the demand for French fries has collapsed now that the catering industry is closed due to the coronavirus meaning growers across the Netherlands are left with full sheds. The Netherlands is one of the largest chip potato producers in Europe the article explains, clarifying that the potatoes mainly end up in restaurants, cafes, canteens and fast-food chains, but catering has been largely closed worldwide since the outbreak of the corona virus. 1.5 million tons of Dutch fries potatoes remain from the 2019 harvest. Two-thirds of this is unsaleable, the potato sector estimates. It works out at around sixty kilos per inhabitant of the Netherlands. André Hoogendijk, director of branch organization BO Akkerbouw, says that the Dutch potato sector does not quickly ask for help and until recently the sector had been buoyant but this week, the potato sector held a crisis meeting with Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture (ChristenUnie). According to Hoogendijk, the minister accepts the severity of the problem and economic need but no concrete commitments have yet been made. "We hope for financial compensation" he says.
The major US grocery chain Publix has committed to buying surplus milk and food that would normally go to schools, catering companies and restaurants and will donate it to America’s food banks according to Business Insider. The effort is intended to help both farmers who have had to discard unsold product and the growing number of Americans facing food insecurity. It expects to donate more than 150,000 pounds (circa 68 tonnes) of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk (approx 165,000 litres) in the first week of the initiative.
Major US supermarket chain Krogers has told ABC that America’s food supply is stabilizing, but it will be up to consumers to keep the supply for some hot-button items in check, Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said in an exclusive with "Good Morning America." “I was in the store last night — we had toilet paper, plenty of meat variety products: beef, pork, chicken, all those things,” McMullen, CEO of America’s second-largest general retailer, said. “As for hand sanitizer, I think it is going to take a little bit longer.” The sentiment from Kroger’s CEO has been echoed by Wegmans (another supermarket chain in the US, predominantly in the NE of the country). “While the unexpected increase in demand has challenged the supply chain, we’re seeing it start to equal out,” said Laura Camera, a Wegmans spokesperson. “We are confident it will stabilize as long as we prioritize our needs.”
Manufacturing activity in the UK has slumped to record lows says the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (link). Widespread business shutdowns at home and abroad in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic unsurprisingly resulted in a rapid reduction in UK private sector output during April. The latest IHS Markit/ CIPS Flash UK Composite PMI® (Purchasing Management Index) signalled by far the fastest decline in business activity since comparable figures were first compiled over two decades ago. At 12.9 in April, down from 36.0 in March, the seasonally adjusted IHS Markit / CIPS Flash UK Composite Output Index – which is based on approximately 85% of usual monthly replies – indicated that the combined monthly decline in manufacturing and services activity exceeded the downturn seen at the height of the global financial crisis by a wide margin. Prior to March, the survey-record low was 38.1 in November 2008. (Personal note: The PMI is based on five major survey areas: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries, and employment. The ISM weighs each of these survey areas equally. The surveys include questions about business conditions and any changes, whether it be improving, no changes, or deteriorating. The headline PMI is a number from 0 to 100. A PMI above 50 represents an expansion when compared with the previous month. A PMI reading under 50 represents a contraction, and a reading at 50 indicates no change).
Air New Zealand announced it will not resume operation of its suspended Auckland-Buenos Aires and Los Angeles-London routes due to the deep impact of Covid-19 on forward travel demand. The airline has also taken the decision to postpone the commencement of its non-stop Auckland-New York service from 29 October 2020 until late 2021 at the earliest. Along with 95 percent of its international flying, Air New Zealand's Buenos Aires and Los Angeles-London routes are currently suspended through to 30 June due to government travel bans and low demand. Last year, the airline announced its plan to exit the Los Angeles-London route in October 2020 and in March brought forward the closure of its London cabin crew base.
Meet the 12-year-old who rode 36 hours on Zwift alongside Geraint Thomas - The Tour De France winner and double Olympic gold medalist earlier this week did 3 12 hour cycling sessions to raise money for the UK’s NHS (National Health Service), eventually earning £350,000. Alongside him rode a 12 year old Mak Larkin who by the end of the 36 hours of cycling had managed to cycle 740km (460 miles). Proud mum Lynsey told Cycling Weekly: “Lockdown was really getting to Mak, being that he was so eager to race this season as it was his first year at national level road and mountain bike cross country. “He saw Geraint’s 36-hour challenge and told us he wanted to do some of it with him for something to do and to support the NHS. He then told us a few hours later that he wanted to do the full challenge and wanted to raise some money himself. At time of writing his fundraising page (also for the NHS) stands at £5,772 (approx €6,605 or $7,111 USD). Cycling weekly has more here. A toddler has been able to hear for the first time after a groundbreaking remote switch-on of her cochlear implants - The BBC reports that audiologists in Southampton activated the devices for 18-month-old Margarida Cibrao-Roque via the internet as they are unable to see patients in person due to Covid-19 measures. Professor Helen Cullington said the procedure took "technical creativity". Margarida's father said it had "opened a big window" for his daughter. Margarida, who has been deaf since birth because she has Ushers Syndrome Type One, had received her cochlear implants in an earlier operation. Staff at the University of Southampton's Auditory Implant Service (USAIS) used specialist software and were able to monitor progress via videolink to the family's home in Camberley, Surrey. During the switch-on levels of electrical stimulation were gradually built up and Margarida's responses were constantly monitored. It is hoped her new cochlear implants will, over time, help her to hear and to communicate more easily. Margarida's mother, Joana Cibrao said the team were "just brilliant and made it happen" despite the lockdown restrictions. "The possibility of Margarida calling me mummy one day would mean the world," she said.
A timeline of events in the Indian subcontinent between 2035 and 2050.
The Great Indian War (2033-2038)
Rise of DUSS and PRT Beginning in 2033 and lasting until mid-2038, the Great Indian War was, without a doubt, the bloodiest continental conflict since the Second World War, resulting in the deaths of over sixty seven million people including military casualties and civilian deaths and over two trillion dollars in terms of property damage and instrumental in completely changing the face of both Indian and Asian geopolitics forever. What began as ethnic and socioeconomic strife back in the 20s would spiral into a full-fledged continental war within ten years and while most scholars and historians regard 2033, the year of the declaration of independence of the southern Dravidian states, as the start of the Great Indian War, some argue that the war had begun as early as 2027 in the manner of ethnic and religious pogroms in India, especially targeted towards southern Indians and Muslims. Reaching a wide audience and acquiring great popular support for their separation from India, both the Dravidian Union of Socialist States and the People's Republic of Telangana were successful in keeping their territories under control despite heavy assaults and slowly chipped away at more and more territory; the city of Bengaluru, the tech capital of India, would fall to the DUSS in November 2035, a massive blow to an already deprecated morale in the Indian Army. The fall of the city also led to the Congress, already having been elected by a thin margin, to be voted out and replaced by the BJP although this time under Amit Shah, the assassinated former Prime Minister Modi's personal friend and ally. The civil strife in Maharashtra finally finds a voice in the newly rejuvenated Republican Marathi Congress (formerly the Republican Party of India), championing Marathi nationalism, secularism, anti-casteism, and laissez-faire capitalism with a focus on creating a welfare state. The party does not take up arms, however, and continues with its stance of non-violent resistance. Negotiations regarding increased autonomy with Delhi fail as the Indian economy completely collapses and inflation goes sky high, further cementing the idea of secession among all active groups and in states that had previously remained pro-Delhi as the odds of a return to a 'normal India' shrink away. Indian GDP (incl. secessionists) in 2035: $6.4 trillion Indian GDP (incl. secessionists) in 2036: $4.9 trillion Indian GDP (incl. secessionists) in 2037: $3.7 trillion The Gandharan Spring Elsewhere, however, the archrival looks on while lapping up new and old investments and local growth as foreign investment meant for India is siphoned away to Pakistan, Southeast Asia, and even Central America. While civil strife continues in India, an entirely different movement strikes Pakistan - one demanding change, equality, and justice for all. While the Islamic Republic had slowly shied away from its Islamic morals and assumed a more pragmatic approach to world affairs and had significantly benefited from this new policy, it hadn't anticipated a social revolution to begin within its own borders. The thousands of coffee cafes established in its major (and liberal) cities became a breeding ground for new thought while the newfound prosperity through rapid economic development and industrialization led to a mass wave of 'wokeness' among the population. The annual women's march, coffee shop discussions, the emergence of Latin Urdu, and a new wave of Urdu poetry in the newly standardized Latin script became a part of a newly emerging unitary culture that transcended the bounds of ethnic nationalism and culminated into a cultural renaissance as people found new ways to express themselves, their words, and their art. Marches and protests to reduce military spending and the establishment of proper universal healthcare and social security became a norm as the country dived deep into what came to be known as the Gandharan Spring - named so after the ancient scholarly state of Gandhara. Economically, the Pakistani GDP exceeds $1.5 trillion in 2037 as new investments pour in and local industry, both large and small, prosper and the newly built planned city of Şahinpur becomes a major hub of technological innovation in Asia. Total Collapse But back in India, war was the only thing on the minds of the common people. Mass migrations across state and international lines further impacted local economies and the Dravidian cause became further ignited with the BJP's return to power, once again sparking ethnic conflict between the citizenry. Pogroms and killings continue as almost every state is plunged into anarchy over hyperinflation, ethnic and religious tensions, and the collapse of the Indian federation. Courts and the judiciary became irrelevant as the Constitution devolved into nothing more than a piece of paper and civil rights eroded away in the name of security and 'national integrity'. The Indian military, by now the only functional organ of the Delhi-based Indian government, becomes plagued with deserters and a collapsed morale among all ranks with nearly all but the staunchest of (Hindu) nationalists unwilling to fight to 'preserve the union'. Popular support for the Indian government is limited only to the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar at this point with almost all other states in active revolt or too preoccupied with anarchy and ethnic, religious, or political unrest. Both the DUSS and PRT have gained strategically important and economically vital territory with the former gaining control of Madurai, Coimabatore, and Kochi port as well as large swathes of countryside in its claimed territory while the latter gained control over Hyderabad, the economic and political capital of Telangana. But all was not rosy for the secessionists in the south either. With supplies running low and exhaustion high among its ranks, both the DUSS and PRT wanted, nay, needed, a quick end to this war. And that would come albeit not in a way they would've anticipated. In early July, Kashmir rose in uproar. While pro-Pakistani/independence militias had been active in the region since the departure of the British, this new uprising was far more organized and effective and an entire new front was opened up for the Indian government to worry about. This was also the first time the term 'Great Indian War' would be used to describe the civil strife going on in India. In response, the Indian military cracked down hard on the secessionists and news of continued war crimes in Kashmir would not be well-received by the neighbor to the west. Here's Johnny! True to its newfound commitment to 'neutrality', the Islamic Republic of Pakistan had remained neutral since the declaration of independence of the two southern secessionist groups. > On the eve of July 21, 2037 one of the few remaining squadrons of the Indian Navy intercepted an arms shipment from Djibouti en route to the southern port city of Kochi which had fallen into the hands of the DUSS and while it had been widely accepted that that country had been involved in this war in some capacity, the capture of the shipment finally sealed the deal for the hot-headed government of PM Amit Shah and the BJP. Although the shipment had decidedly come from Pakistan, the government in Islamabad wholly denied any involvement in the affair and called for 'peaceful dialog' between Delhi and the secessionists. Over the last two decades, the Islamic Republic had begun to care a lot about its international image, reflected in the permanent invitation it received from the United States to the G20, but the BJP, already seething with hatred for the country and holding it responsible for Narendra Modi's assassination all those years ago (that would ultimately snowball into the Great Indian War), would have none of it. The very next day, the Indian military conducted a strategic surgical strike against a Pakistani military base in Gilgit-Baltistan which it defined as a 'warning shot' for its western neighbor to not interfere in its internal issues. All it did was ignite a national fervor that couldn't be extinguished even with the coldness of the deepest abyss. The three Pakistani soldiers killed in the strike were awarded the Nişan-i-Haider, the highest military award in the country, and Pakistan entered the Great Indian War with a declaration of war against the Republic of India on July 22, 2037. The End The initial Indian strike against Pakistan killed three Pakistani soldiers. The counterstrike conduced by the Pakistan Army as its first response killed forty seven Indian soldiers and disabled two Rafale fighter aircraft. But that was only the start. During the kerfuffle between the two archrivals, major new developments would spring up across the rest of the subcontinent especially in the DUSS and Maharashtra. The Marathi Congress, beefed up with major donations (later revealed to be major Maharasthra-based businessmen such as Ambani and Tata as well as from anonymous accounts owned by REDACTED), took control of key buildings and locations in the state, including the very import Port of Mumbai, and declared independence from India as the Maratha Republic. In the south, ideological drift between the DUSS and PRT led to an end to an otherwise quite beneficial partnership between the two. The same ideological drift would begin to take hold within DUSS as well. Kerala, notable for its high standards of living and prosperity compared to other parts of India, began to wonder if it may be better off on its own just as Telangana had split to form a smaller but ultimately more manageable sovereign state. But the war had now escalated to a degree not initially imagined as the two competing megapowers of the region, India and Pakistan, finally came to a head. While Pakistan had built up to a parity with its larger and traditionally stronger rival, it was the exhaustion of Indian forces that would give the smaller state the primary advantage early in the war as the fresh and qualitatively superior Pakistan Army blitzkrieged into Kashmir with its tank fleets of high-end Haider main battle tanks and state-of-the-art Griffin III IFVs, capturing Srinagar, Jammu, and the Siachen Glacier within twenty four hours of the declaration of war. Already exhausted in fighting the upstart rebels in the region, the Indian Army personnel stationed in Kashmir quickly resorted to defensive tactics as the invasive force rapidly captured town after town, putting sixty thousand of the ninety thousand strong Indian force under siege within just the first three days of conflict. To the south, the Pakistan Navy destroyed the Indian naval bases in the state of Gujarat (the last pro-Delhi state on the western seaboard) and deploy a major submarine squadron in the region to deter any harassment from the massively depleted Indian Navy as it made its way south, breaking the blockade deployed against DUSS thus allowing relief aid (and weapons) to once again reach the rebels. But the actual intent of their move south would be revealed with the rapid landings of troops on the many tiny islands that made up the Lakshadweep union territory and the occupation of all government buildings and posts in the archipelago. By the end of the month, the Indian territories of Kashmir and the Lakshadweep islands had both been occupied by the invading Pakistani forces and a shockwave rocked the entire subcontinent to its core. The All India Trinamool Congress declared the independence of 'Kalinga Ganga' - a federation of the Indian states of West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh to 'oppose the fascist tendencies of the Delhi-based Hindi' with their capital in Kolkata. The Sikhs of Punjab declared the independence of the 'Khalsa' - the Sikh brotherhood worldwide - and called on all Sikhs to return home. In Delhi, Prime Minister Amit Shah handed power over to the military who declared martial law across the country, dissolved the Parliament, and declared the Constitution void. The Maratha Republic took this time to announce Pune, not Mumbai, as the capital of their nascent state. At this time, cracks within the DUSS also began to show as the state of Kerala announced its separation from the socialist federation, declaring the People's Republic of Keralam, a social democratic state based on the principles established by the Self-Respect Movement and the original Dravidar Kazhagam rather than the European-derived ideology of the DUSS. Elsewhere, the Pakistan Navy crossed by Sri Lanka - where it refueled and restocked - and entered the Bay of Bengal to open up a brand new front in this massive continental war. The Indian Army attempted five times to break the 'iron wall' - the Pakistan Army's three-thousand strong fleet of M1PK Matin tanks - but failed to make a dent, losing whatever was left of their morale and drive with every failed attempt. Indian formations were ripe targets for the Pakistan Air Force which maintained total air superiority in the war with its advanced aerial fleet of F-35s and AF-1 fifth generation plus fighter aircraft and this support allowed the Pakistanis to break into India proper on January 26, 2038 as they crossed the Punjab and seized control of the state for the newly declared Khalsa while the southern command crossed the Rann and captured all of the Kutch beyond the disputed border at Sir Creek. Already halved by personnel deserting and refusing to follow orders and to defections to the declared secessionist states, the defeated Indian Army was the first to capitulated following Pakistani landings on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the capture of Port Blair, Mayabunder, and Car Nicobar by Pakistani Marines. The Indian Air Force was the next to follow. Having been defeated in the air, the IAF wouldn't find peace on the ground either as the enemy flew sortie after sortie, wrecking almost every airbase with its advanced platforms such as the F-35 and the AF-1. The defections to DUSS, PRT, Kerala, Maratha Republic, and Kalinga didn't help either and whatever was left of the Indian air fleets was lost in a final sortie over the city of Chandigarh as Pakistani troops crossed into the state of Haryana and came within two hundred kilometres of Delhi. The last two states to secede from the Union were Goa and Garhwal, the latter of which claimed the northern Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand as their rightful territory while the former declared the small coastal state of Goa as its rightful sovereign territory. With two hundred thousand personnel in Kashmir, one hundred thousand in Gujarat, and about five thousand split between Lakshadeep and Andaman & Nicobar, the Pakistan Army entered Delhi on July 2, 2038 and forced the surrender of the final vestiges of the Indian military high command (and government) thus bringing the Great Indian War to a conclusion. Treaty of Dharamsala On August 14, 2038, exactly ninety one years after the independence of the subcontinent from British colonial rule, representatives from all belligerents of the Great Indian War met at the Himalayan capital of the newly-declared sovereign state of Garhwal to sign a treaty to decide the future of the Indian subcontinent and to ensure that this war would be the last of its kind, at least in the Indian subcontinent. The following are the salient features of the Treaty of Dharamsala.
The Republic of India will be dissolved and its membership in all international organizations voided.
All nuclear weapons and facilities to manufacture more nuclear weapons will be dismantled.
No new sovereign state in the subcontinent will be regarded as the lawful successor state to the Republic of India and will seek memberships on their own merit.
All new sovereign states will commit to the ideals of democracy, justice, and freedom.
Besides these salient points, all representatives set out to solve any territorial disputes that might cause tensions in the future. Pakistan claimed full sovereignty over the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well as the Kutch region of the state of Gujarat. Garhwal claimed full sovereignty over the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Khalsa (Republic) claimed full sovereignty over the Indian state of Punjab and the union territory of Chandigarh. Kalinga Ganga claimed full sovereignty over the states of West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, and Jharkhand. Kamarupa claimed full sovereignty over the Seven Sister States. The Maratha Republic claimed full sovereignty over the state of Maharashtra. The DUSS claimed full sovereignty over the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka as well as Puducherry, Karaikal, and Yanam districts of the union territory of Puducherry. Keralam claimed full sovereignty over the state of Kerala as well as the district of Mahe. PRT claimed full sovereignty over the state of Telangana. Nepal claimed sovereignty over the state of Sikkim. And finally, Gangarashtra claimed full sovereignty over the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar as well as the union territories of Delhi, Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagarhaveli. Helpful map of the Treaty of Dharamsala
Rebuilding and the Mandala (2039-2044)
The conclusion of the Great Indian War completely changed the face of the subcontinent and left a permanent mark on world history. The dissolution of India left its archrival Pakistan as the new regional power in South Asia, further contributing to its rise as a major power. Outmatching any of the successor states of its once powerful rival in all relevant terms, the leadership in Islamabad instead adopted a different approach towards cementing its role as the leader of a new subcontinent. Instead of going the route of Russia and forcing its less powerful partners into being subservient subjects as seen in the USSR, the leadership instead looked towards Germany's role in the European Union not just as a leadership role but as a bonafide future for the Indian subcontinent. But first, it had to solve the rapidly rising issue back home. In 2039, the Pakistani economy crossed the $2 trillion mark, solidifying its position as the largest economy in South Asia and among the largest in all of Asia as it overtook the severely damaged economy of South Korea following the end of the Second Korean War. Already being a 'permanent invitee' to the G20, it was also awarded India's now-vacant seat in the forum. But the renaissance that had sprung up during the Great Indian War had now become more than a social idea to be amused by. This Gandharan Spring had become the most important issue at home, inviting comparisons to the civil rights and counter-culture movements of the United States in the twentieth century. Pakistani cinema and television turned away from romantic dramas and towards something of more substance, tackling complex issues in a conservative, Islamic society such as drug use and pre-martial sex, women's empowerment and feminism, anti-state and anti-government feature films, and even films and dramas openly based on the Hindu heritage of the nation. Urdu literature, this time in the Latin script, saw a renaissance of its own and several instances of prose and poetry saw global success, works based on heritage and social issues rather than Islamic glory and prestige. Madrasahs became empty as parents chose functional skill over Islamic jurisprudence, attracting the ire of the mullahs who denounced the 'ever increasing degeneration' of the nation. But this was much bigger than them. The newly annexed territories of Jammu and Kashmir and the Andamans had brought in a, albeit small, but influential population of Hindus into the fold and they assimilated into this new Gandharan culture with ease. Elsewhere, the Great War had left the rest of the subcontinent in a sorry state. Mass immigration and uncontrolled inflation had broken local economies while warfare had taken a severe toll on infrastructure. As relief, Islamabad organized the Hindustan Fund - a locally raised sum to help the broken economies of post-war India to once again find their footing and become functional sovereign states instead of going the route of Afghanistan and becoming burdens. Of course, such a task could never be accomplished by Pakistan alone and while the state did deliver about $88 billion in aid to the post-war states of the subcontinent over five years, substantial aid from the European Union, the United States, and China was significant in rebuilding these broken states. It is estimated that the total aid offered to these economies was in excess of $500 billion, enough to lay a groundwork on which to build new foundations for new states. In 2043, the Pakistani economy crossed $3 trillion and accounted for almost half of the entire economy of the Indian subcontinent. But the Gandharan Spring had reached it breakout point and soon enough, the state would need to make some very crucial decisions. On January 1, 2044 about forty million people across the country conducted what would come to be known as the Great Gandhara March, this time demanding significant decreases in military spending, a strong and robust healthcare and social security system, equality and liberty regardless of race and religion or any other personal metric, and a full transparent democratic system, calls that were then addressed personally by the state leadership and would be answered in the following two months. On March 21, 2044 the state conducted a mass referendum to answer a singular question, threatened by a mass exodus of the younger, more progressive caucus of the People's Party if the demands were not addressed. "Should Pakistan retain Islam as its official religion? The answer was a resounding seventy eight percent no with an almost eighty five percent turnout. But this would only open the floodgates to a complete and total overhaul of the country. A second referendum would be held the next month asking the question, "What should Pakistan's official name be?" [ ] Islamic Republic of Pakistan [ ] People's Islamic Republic of Pakistan [ ] Republic of Pakistan With eighty four percent of all votes choosing the final option, the official name of the country was changed once again to the name it had been awarded with the Constitution of 1962: the Republic of Pakistan. More questions were asked in five more referendums as Sharia-inspired laws were removed the penal code including the hotly-contested and controversial blasphemy law (which was amended to include all religion with a dramatically lighter punishment rather than being completely removed). Laws made through the controversial Hudood Ordinance of former military dictator Zia ul-Haq were completely scrubbed and the death penalty finally abolished as the country came more and more into its form as a modern nation-state. In the Indian subcontinent, the gracious foreign aid brought the broken economies of the new states back to life as life began to settle into a normal routine once again but everyone knew that things would never, ever be the same as they once were. Several monuments were erected to honor the sixty seven million killed in senseless warring and brutality and all Indian leaders vowed to never allow a repeat of what had occurred again. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was redefined and rebuilt from the ground up to allow a better and more productive platform to settle disputes and to deter any future wars between new or old Indian states. A new age of cooperation would take over the subcontinent as nearly all states, regardless of ideology, became willing allies or at least established warm and cordial relations with one another, especially Pakistan and Gangarashtra. With the latter still being seen by some as the natural (if not recognized) successor state of the Republic of India as well as the strongest among all new country in the subcontinent, it was natural for the two to work towards establishing a regional environment conductive towards peace and dialogue and lead by example. With Gangarashtra toeing the line, it became quite easy for the modern Pakistani state to ensure the loyalties of other new states both to itself and to one another as it formulated a new plan to formalize the future of the region and to guide it towards a vision of peaceful cooperation, development, and shared dignity.
Indian Union (2045-2050)
Treaty of Panjim (2041) Post-war India was not that different from post-war Europe. Both destroyed by a dangerous ideology, it was necessary for all peoples to work together to ensure that such an event could never take place again. To accomplish this, the Europeans established several commissions and organizations to negate the extreme nationalism that had ravaged Europe. European integration was seen as the antidote to such an event occurring again and the same was done with post-war India. It was easy to point out the Hindu nationalist ideology as the force that tore the subcontinent to shreds and caused the deaths of almost seventy million people. To counter the ideology and to further promote, representatives from all successor states met at the Goan capital of Panjim in 2041 to discuss the future of the Indian subcontinent. It was identified that while being proud of your nation and heritage is no crime, its devolution into hatred for other peoples is an ideology that must be combated at all cost. As part of this treaty, all Indian states agreed to curb all extreme nationalist parties and groups and denounce unwarranted religious and ethnic aggression both publicly and in their actions, leading to major purges across the region but especially in Pakistan (which continued to weaken the military-mullah consortium), the DUSS, Gangarashtra, and the Maratha Republic. Treaty of Kandy (2042) An year after the conference at Panjim, the Indian leaders met once again to do something of more substance and significance, this time in the Sri Lankan city of Kandy. Discussing further integration in the Indian subcontinent, several proposals were put forward including a bid to host a major sports tournament together (recommended by Maharashtra), to invite all leaders of the G-20 to visit the Indian states (recommended by Kalinga Ganga), to create a legislative assembly - an Indian parliament, per se - to sign off on any new laws established by any Indian state (recommended by Pakistan) but finally it was a suggestion from the representatives of Keralam that all other attendees agreed upon. A university to be established anywhere in the subcontinent, ultimately agreed upon to be in the city of Alappuzha in Keralam, to focus entirely on Indian studies including history, geopolitics, economics, and to provide training to students who will embody the values of unity and peace among all Indian peoples. Funded by all Indian states (except for Garhwal and Kamarupa which cited financial issues), the university would be established later than year with construction on the urban campus completing in early 2044. The institute would train future leaders, diplomats, and bureaucrats from all corners of the Indian subcontinent. Treaty of Lahore (2044) With the College of Indian Studies in full swing and the economies of all Indian states now rebounding from the damage suffered during the Great Indian War, leaders from the Indian states met once again to discuss further integration, this time in the second largest city of Pakistan - Lahore. A historical capital of several empire that once spanned the entirety of the subcontinent, the millennia old history of the city offered a great insight into the long and varied history of the Indian peoples. This was also where the idea for an Indian Council, created to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the Indian subcontinent, would be conceived and later brought to fruition which would establish the foundations upon which the future Indian Union would be built. The Indian Council would become an official United Nations Observer party in 2047, an year after its establishment with the following members.
Treaty of Karachi (2046) Meeting in the largest and wealthiest city in the Indian subcontinent, the conference at Karachi would establish what would become the Indian Union in 2049. At the conference, especially called by the leaders of Pakistan, Gangarashtra, and the Maratha Republic, all members of the Indian Council would decide to establish the Indian Cooperative Council (ICC) - a customs union between all members of the Indian Council to promote further economic cooperation between all Indian states. All major languages of the Indian subcontinent such as Hindustani, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, and Sindhi were recognized as official languages while English was declared the working language for all official business within the ICC. Two major organs of the council were established - the Indian Commission and the Indian Parliament. A third organ was created with the annexation of the Indian Council into the ICC with the first major amendment to the ICC charter through the Treaty of Delhi (2047). Treaty of Kolkata (2049) The second amendment to the ICC created (or brought back) the Indian Rupee, originally pegged to the Pakistani Rupee due it being the strongest currency among the sixteen member states of the ICC. The currency was adopted in Pakistan, Khalsa (Republic), Garhwal, Gangarashtra, Kalinga Ganga, Kamarupa, and the Maratha Republic the year it was introduced and by the Maldives and Telangana in 2050. Increased trade made possible through the single currency and the liberalization of trade between the Indian states led to rapid economic growth among all member states and further improvements in terms of HDI and per capita income. Treaty of Visakhapatnam (2050) The name of the Indian Cooperative Council was changed to the Indian Union (IU) and the three organs were located permanently instead of revolving annually. The Indian Council was relocated to the city of Dharamsala, the Indian Commission was relocated to the city of Panjim, while the Indian Parliament was relocated to the city of Alappuzha in Garhwal, Goa, and Keralam respectively. Encompassing agreements such as single market, common currency, customs union, free trade and movement, and a mutual defense treaty, the Indian Union has the potential to become one of the key players in global geopolitics and affairs if it manages to remain stable for at least the next ten years.
Peace in India (2050-?)
While it may seem like a little early to make such statements, the successful integration of post-war Indian subcontinent into a function Indian Union has led many to claim that we may finally have established peace in the most populous region in the world. But the sky's only the limit and there's quite a lot that is still to be done. Future Milestones To remain functional and retain its relevance, any organization must continue to evolve with time and conquer new frontiers for the prosperity of its stakeholders. While the Indian Union is a promising step towards a peace Indian subcontinent, many have already identified key milestones the union must tackle together including a unified space research organization that will be discussed at the special conference at Allapuzha in 2051, the expansion of the unified currency to all members of the Indian Union, and the possible expansion of the IU to include new members such as Myanmar and Afghanistan, both of whom have expressed strong interest in joining the union. But for now, Pax Indica has set in and how long that may last is anyone's guess.
Historically, China has been one of the largest trading partners for the countries of eastern and southern Africa. These countries would ship raw materials and agricultural products to China, where they were processed into finished goods. These finished goods--usually machinery, vehicles, chemicals, textiles, and metal products--were then shipped back to Africa. The emergence of India as one of the world’s leading manufacturers has shifted this calculus. Indian manufacturing enjoys several advantages over China when it comes to competing in African markets. First, India’s major industrial hubs are significantly closer to Africa than are China’s. At ten knots, the 7000 nautical mile journey from Shanghai to Dar es Salaam takes just over 29 days. In comparison, the 3000 nautical mile trip from Mumbai to Dar es Salaam takes just under thirteen days--less than half the time. While China was previously able to offset this disadvantage by shipping goods overland to Gwadar, the destruction of the Karakoram Highway has made this impossible. As a result, India is able to ship goods to Africa much quicker and at a far lower price than China is, allowing Indian goods to price out their Chinese competitors. As if this wasn’t bad enough, this issue hits twice. Not only are Chinese exports to Africa more expensive--Chinese imports from Africa are more expensive. It is more expensive for China to buy raw materials from Africa than it is for India. These higher input prices translate into higher prices for the finished product, again making it harder for Chinese firms to compete in African markets. This issue of price is exacerbated by the higher cost of labor in China. In 2017, the average hourly wage of a factory worker in China was $3.60, more than five times that of India. The country’s aging population, larger economy, and higher cost of living have exacerbated these issues, accelerating the relocation of foreign supply chains out of the country, and making it more difficult for Chinese manufacturers to compete with India. Of course, these higher prices wouldn’t mean much if India didn’t have the manufacturing capacity to take advantage of the weakness. All of these factors were just as true in 2020 as they are today. So what’s changed? Simply put, India’s manufacturing capacity has skyrocketed over the previous decade. The removal of barriers to foreign investment, a general trend of manufacturing relocating out of China, investment into local infrastructure (including, critically, the expansion of Indian container ports), and a slew of free trade agreements have transformed the Indian economy into a manufacturing powerhouse, fully ready to take advantage of its competitive advantages over China. Over the past decade, Indian trade with eastern and southern Africa has increased significantly, with India growing into one of the largest trading partners--if not the largest trading partner--for most of the countries on the continent’s eastern seaboard. This process has been helped along in part by the fact that much of the region speaks English, allowing India and Indian firms to better interface with local markets. The Indian government hopes to leverage this growing trade relationship to deepen political and economic ties with the countries of the region.
Free Trade is Good Trade
East African Community The East African Community, consisting of Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda, is one of the fastest growing sectors of Africa (arguably behind only ECOWAS on the western side of the continent). With SACM’s economy growing at a breakneck pace, and with the Alameen Caliphate falling into instability, the relationship between the EAC and SACM has become more important than ever. Natural gas fields in Tanzania and oil fields in Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi provide an attractive market (isolated from the political instability of the Middle East, critically) for India to buy hydrocarbons from. Likewise, India (and SACM at large) offers a cheaper alternative for consumer and capital goods, and a burgeoning market for the EAC’s agricultural products (which make up most of the EAC’s economy). India has reached out to the East African Community to negotiate a free trade agreement between the EAC and SACM. This FTA would eliminate investment barriers in both countries, allowing Indian firms to funnel investment money into key economic sectors in the EAC, including mining and hydrocarbon extraction. Moreover, the FTA would allow the EAC’s raw material exports (especially their oil and gas exports) access to one of the fastest growing economic blocs in the world. The Indian energy giant Oil and Natual Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC Ltd) and the investment conglomerate Essar are also interested in purchasing exploration and extraction rights for several unexplored concessions in both Tanzania and the Great Lakes states. Recognizing the importance of the agricultural sector to the EAC’s economic security, the proposed FTA allows the EAC to maintain protectionary tariffs on staple crops like cereal grains and rice, but eliminates tariffs on luxury goods like coffee, tea, and tobacco (with the protections similarly removed on the Indian side). This FTA is expected to be only part of increasing cooperation between the two blocs. India also intends to target roughly 5b USD in grants into the EAC every year, focusing on improving clean water supply, healthcare, and disaster management within the bloc. As grants, these will not need to be repaid (unlike loans from the AADB). India also hopes to create links between universities in India and Kenya, including research ties (particularly into agricultural resiliency, sustainability, and anti-corruption research) and scholarships (including fully-funded scholarships to Indian universities for up to 1000 qualified EAC students per year). Southern African Customs Union The Southern African Customs Union, consisting of South Africa, eSwatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and Botswana, is the oldest customs union in the world, existing in some capacity since 2010. SACU, owing to South Africa’s dominant position within the union, has managed to avoid the Chinese subservience that plagues much of the rest of the continent. India was already one of the largest trading partners of several of the countries in the union: in 2018, India was the second largest export partner of Botswana (behind Belgium) and the fifth largest export and fourth largest import partner for South Africa. The fall of Chinese manufacturing and the rise of India has only seen these ties grow. India has reached out to SACU to attempt to negotiate a free trade agreement between SACU and SACM. This agreement would open up the countries of SACU to Indian investment (as well as opening India to SACU, primarily South African, investment). Indian firms are already chomping at the bit to invest in several sectors of the Southern African economy, including precious metal extraction in South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia (India is the largest jewelry exporter in the world), nuclear material extraction in Namibia (India has been expanding its civilian nuclear arsenal--a process which has been inhibited by China’s refusal to allow it to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the lack of domestic fissile material), and mineral extraction throughout the region (factories always need raw materials, after all). This FTA would eliminate existing tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade between the two countries, including protectionary measures on agricultural products and other foodstuffs. This should reduce the cost of importing capital and consumer goods into SACU and increase the profit margins earned by SACU-based firms exporting raw materials, foodstuffs (particularly fish and wine), and precious metals. As part of a larger cooperative partnership, India would like to set up university exchanges between South African and Indian universities, including scholarships for up to 1000 qualified Southern African students per year. Mozambique and Me Mozambique has long been one of India’s closest partners in Africa. India enjoys berthing rights in Mozambique, and has run anti-piracy operations in the region since 2012. India was also the country’s second largest import partner in 2018, with exports from Mozambique to India increasing rapidly over the same period. India hopes to take the next steps to secure this relationship. Though Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world (with a GDP per capita in 2018 of 475 USD), is it blessed with massive material wealth. With rapid economic development in South Asia and East Africa, Mozambique has emerged as one of the world’s largest exporters of coal. The country also has significant potential as an exporter of titanium, aluminum, gemstones, and other raw materials. However, economic mismanagement and lack of foreign investment has stymied the growth of these industries, leaving the country mired in poverty. India hopes to help correct this with a concentrated influx of financial assistance and private investment. First, India has reached out to negotiate a free trade agreement with Mozambique. This agreement would reduce the barriers to investment by Indian firms, while allowing Mozambique’s agricultural and raw materials exports tariff-free access to Indian markets (the FTA would also allow some protections to keep Mozambique’s agricultural sector from being crushed by India’s). Indian firms are excited to invest in fields like bauxite extraction, coal mining, titanium extraction and smelting, gemstone mining, and agricultural production, particularly of cashews and cotton. Another key issue on India’s agenda is Mozambique’s natural gas reserves. Mozambique owns the southern half of the natural gas field shared with Tanzania--a massive gas field that, if projections hold, will make Mozambique the holder of the world’s fourth largest natural gas reserves. This field is still relatively unexplored and unexploited, save some Russian and South African investment in the field in 2020. India hopes that, as part of this agreement, Indian firms like ONGC Ltd and the Essar Group will be granted exploration and extraction rights for portions of the gas field, with the goal of producing natural gas to be exported back to growing markets in Southern Africa and South Asia. This agreement is not meant to cover just economics. If Mozambique signs the deal, India is ready to pour some 8b USD in grants into the country over the next five years (in addition to any loans Mozambique takes from the Asia Africa Development Bank). These grants will be focused on improving the quality and provision of education within Mozambique, on improving healthcare in the country (with a particular focus on combating HIV/AIDS), and on building infrastructural capacity in the country (focusing on improving roads, rails, and ports that enable the import and export of goods from the country).
My view of the war so far and my guesses as to what happens next.
Before I begin, please don’t spoil anything past the events of light novel volume 6. 1.) I’ve watched the anime and read the officially translated Light Novels (i.e. until volume 6). I haven’t read the manga. The available maps are not very good so I’m using my best guesses at times. 2.) This started out as my wanting to write a short summary and set of guesses as to what was going on but just kept growing. 3.) I will be using real world names for geographical entities/locations and in-universe names for political entities. The Empire: - Core territories:
Austria-Hungary minus Bosnia
- Held territories listed as “hot spots”:
The Low Countries (The existence of a “Low Lands industrial region” means that the Empire holds this region)
Unclear if this is from independence movements or from a territorial claim
I.E. Denmark and Scania (The part of Sweden that used to be part of Denmark; it’s at the tip of the peninsula)
Claimed by the Entente Alliance
What started the war in the first place
o Imperial Ostland
I.E. the Western half of Poland and East Prussia
“Potentially disputed territory” and probable claimant would be the Federation
o Imperial Dacia:
The reason this area could be a flashpoint is not explicitly stated – despite the name, Dacia having a claim on this territory is only one possibility
o Unredeemed Ildoa:
“Potentially disputed territory” that is apparently mainly Ildoan-speaking
- List of colonies unknown - Strategic situation at start of war (i.e. June-1923):
Continental power similar to Imperial Germany
Major land power able to raise and support large armies
Good internal lines of communication with a large industrial base
Significant navy but still no match for the Royal Navy
Note: Unlike Imperial Germany, the Empire has an Adriatic coast. This makes the naval situation closer to France but it appears that the Empire concentrated on the Baltic and North Sea fleets.
Surrounded by potential or real enemies; any allies are unreliable at best
Overall domestic socio-political situation is unclear
Note: Austria-Hungary had a great deal of economic disparity between various regions; there was also a lot of tension between ethnic and linguistic groups. It is unclear how much of this is actually present in the Empire but the light novels do indirectly suggest that it is much less.
- Strategic situation at the end of volume 6 (i.e. April-1927):
Entente alliance is now occupied territory
Imperial forces are now fighting an insurgency that is starting to receive some support from the Commonwealth and the Federation
Dacia is now occupied territory
The European portion of the Republic has been occupied but that has not led to a conclusion to the war
Fighting with Free Republic forces ongoing in Algeria and Tunisia
Note: Not stated if Imperial forces are fighting an insurgency in Metropolitan France but a resistance movement is almost a certainty
At war with the Commonwealth:
Commonwealth declared war 01-Nov-1925
Commonwealth naval superiority prevents Empire from invading
Currently most fighting involves the air forces of both sides
At war with the Federation:
Onset of hostilities 15-Mar-1926
Imperial army able to repulse initial attack and has advanced into Federation territory, occupying the Baltic States, Byelorussia and Ukraine
Council for Self-Government has been set up by the Empire and serves as civilian government for occupied Federation territory
Imperial army having significant difficulties supplying troops on the Eastern front
Ildoa currently notionally an ally but not a co-belligerent with Ildoan intentions completely unclear
Ildoa offering to broker peace but also potentially presents a threat to the Empire
Imperial General Staff have a contingency plan for war with Ildoa
Ildoa also serving as a middleman for some war matériel to the Empire
Unified States supplying matériel to the Empire’s enemies but not officially at war
The Empire’s economy is obviously under strain, almost certainly under blockade and has imposed rationing
Mobilisation of troops has also led to significant labour shortages
Occupied territories likely provide some support to the Empire’s economy
The Republic: - Core territories:
- Known colonies:
French Morocco and Spanish Morocco
- Strategic situation at start of war:
Identical to pre-WWI France:
Likely a hybrid maritime/continental power
First-line power but not strong enough to defeat the Empire without allies
Navy split between Atlantic and Mediterranean commitments
- Strategic situation at the end of volume 6:
Metropolitan France under Imperial occupation; unclear if there is an insurgency but a resistance movement is almost a certainty
A government in exile exists
Free Republic forces have withdrawn to colonies and are fighting Imperial forces in Algeria and Tunisia, likely with Commonwealth support
There is no mention if there is an equivalent to Vichy France. Even if there is, unlike in WWII, the North African colonies have declared in support of the Free Republic.
The Commonwealth: - Core territories:
The British Isles including the entirely of Ireland
- List of colonies unknown but likely has large colonial possessions - Strategic situation at start of war:
Maritime power rather than continental power
More dependent on maritime trading routes, therefore emphasis traditionally been towards a very strong navy
Likely a large economic base from industry as well as commercial links
- Strategic situation at the end of volume 6:
Most fighting with the Empire has been between the air forces of both sides
Significant shortfalls in production of war matériel and is purchasing matériel from the Unified States
Commonwealth naval superiority prevents the Empire from invading but the result is a stalemate
Would, obviously, prefer the Empire and the Federation exhaust themselves fighting each other; had held the same hope with the Republic
Would like to get Unified States to enter the war on their side
Facing shortages in air force personnel but foreign volunteers are helping to make up the numbers
The Entente Alliance: - Core territories:
- List of colonies unknown, possibly none - Strategic situation at start of war:
Facing significant domestic economic and social problems and using nationalism as unifying force
Irredentist claim on Norden
Militarily and economically a second-line power – attacking any first-line power directly would amount to national suicide (but they did it anyway)
- Strategic situation at the end of volume 6:
Suffered a catastrophic defeat and under occupation
Unable to even establish a government in exile
Has an ongoing insurgency
The Grand Duchy/Principality of Dacia (main map says Grand Duchy, text says Principality): - Core territories:
Romania and possibly Moldova
- List of colonies unknown, possibly none - Strategic situation at the start of war:
Able to mobilise numerically large army
Other political details unknown
Definitely less economically developed than the Empire
Appears to have oil like Ploesti in Romania (the light novel does refer to “Esti oil fields”)
Transport infrastructure less developed than that of the Empire.
- Strategic situation at the end of volume 6:
Suffered a catastrophic defeat and under occupation
Unknown if there is a government in exile
Unclear if there is an ongoing insurgency
The Federation: - Known territories:
Eastern half of Poland
The Baltic states
Note: Maps in volumes 1-4 include Finland; maps thereafter do not – Finland presumably independent and neutral
- Unknown if it controls the rest of the USSR but presumably yes. - Unknown if there are overseas colonies but presumably not. - Strategic situation at start of war:
Likely identical to USSR in the mid-1930s prior to Molotov-Ribbentrop pact
Essentially isolated in term of global politics and playing next to no role in the global economy
Had been an ally of the Republic until the revolution.
Is on relatively friendly terms with the Empire; some trade appears to be ongoing
Domestic political situation likely identical to USSR in 1930s with purges and gulags
Restive minorities and regions that want independence exist and are causing problems
Has a large manpower base and a large industrial base
A more thorough discussion of the likely economic power of the Federation is beyond the scope of this article
- Strategic situation at the end of volume 6:
Onset of war Mar-1926.
Has suffered a major defeat in the initial phase of the war with the Empire but still has the resources to keep fighting
Able to tap into people’s nationalism to unify nation as well as mobilise and motivate forces but these efforts are being undermined by the Empire allowing occupied territories self-rule
Had partisans in occupied territories but these are rapidly being eliminated by local forces
Informally allied with the Commonwealth and the two are jointly supporting an insurgency in what was the Entente Alliance
Is preparing for a renewed offensive
The Unified States: - Presumably the USA but no map available - Strategic situation at start of war:
Identical to situation of USA prior to both world wars
Large economic power with considerable industrial output
Separated from Europe by the Atlantic Ocean
Likely not playing any significant role in European affairs
No further information available
- Strategic situation at the end of volume 6:
Is currently carrying out a massive arms buildup
Is selling arms to the Commonwealth
Domestic political opinion likely divided between entering the war against the Empire and staying out of the conflict
The Kingdom of Ildoa: - Core territories:
- Known colonies:
- Strategic situation at the start of war:
Likely very similar if not identical to Italy in the 1910s
Likely the weakest “great power” both militarily and economically and likely has ambitions that clash with the interests of just about everyone else
Like Italy, trying to squeeze colonies into Africa
Like Italy, perceived as unscrupulous
Has a, possibly dormant, claim on Slovenia (Unredeemed Ildoa)
- Strategic situation at the end of volume 6:
Almost completely unchanged from the pre-war situation, remaining the weakest of the “great powers” in spite of the changing situation around them
Seeking to take advantage of the ongoing conflict to further their interests in North Africa
The light novel keeps it vague but something akin to the Italo-Turkish war of 1911-1912 might have occurred around 1925 on Tanya’s world.
Seeking to leverage their non-involvement in the conflict to extract concessions, economic aid and military aid from just about everyone else
Also seeking to maximise the benefits they will get should they succeed in brokering a peace settlement; already has unofficially informed the Empire that they want Unredeemed Ildoa (i.e. Slovenia) as their price for brokering peace
Is notionally an ally of the Empire but is not currently involved in the war
The Waldstätte Confederation: - I.E. Switzerland - Strategic situation presumably identical to Switzerland, i.e. armed neutrality The Ispagna Collective: - Only labelled map seen in anime - Appears to be the entire Iberian Peninsula - Strategic situation:
Facing significant domestic political problems (this might be a reference to the problems in Spain prior to the civil war there)
Uninvolved in the ongoing war
No further information available
The Turkman Principalities: - Possibly the Ottoman Empire but no map available. - Ildoa is trying to push colonies into some of their territories. - No further information available My analysis: - Of the Empire:
What little information available about the domestic situation of the Empire focuses on the Germany portion of the Empire and suggests that it is a clone of Imperial Germany.
It is unknown what the Austria-Hungary portion of the Empire is like. However, the existence of a region that is majority Ildoan-speaking implies that at least some of the ethnic and linguistic differences that existed in Austria-Hungary also exist in that portion of the Empire.
The Empire’s strategic situation is closer to Napoleonic France than that of the Central Powers. Unlike the Central Powers, the Empire is able to concentrate on one enemy army at a time. Like Napoleonic France, the Empire is unable to overcome the Commonwealth’s naval supremacy and, like the situation with Napoleonic France, the Commonwealth is currently focused mainly on economically supporting the Empire’s enemies. Similarly, the only non-naval military actions the Commonwealth is able to perform against the Empire are of a limited scale.
Like Napoleonic France, the Empire is not actively engaged on all fronts against all of its foes simultaneously. Like Napoleonic France, the Empire is able to achieve significant military victories but is unable to translate those victories into any lasting peace.
The only area that the Empire is closer to Imperial Germany is that they have not fought and lost any significant naval battles with the Commonwealth.
At this point, in spite of attrition of personnel, the Empire has suffered significantly fewer losses than their German counterparts in both world wars but has managed to achieve similar to greater victories.
The current situation is a stalemate but the Empire will eventually be ground down by the superior economic resources of its combined enemies.
Note: While the full scope of the air war between the Empire and the Commonwealth is unclear, it seems to be of lower intensity than WWII. The Commonwealth does not appear to be strong enough to penetrate the Imperial air defence network in any meaningful way and cannot even carry out the nuisance raids the RAF could against Nazi Germany in the early part of WWII. It seems that the Empire is the one carrying out pinprick raids; but then, they are the side with the Mosquitoes.
- Of the Entente portion of the war:
This whole war started as a miscalculation by the Entente Alliance, that they could advance troops into Imperial Norden without triggering a response. Of course, this led to a declaration of war. The Empire then proceeding to invade the Entente Alliance in retaliation would, in hindsight, be a mistake as it expanded the war but, they were merely doing exactly what any other “great power” would do in a similar situation, the added desire to knock out the Northern portion of the Empire’s encirclement notwithstanding.
The sheer incompetence of the initial Entente advance notwithstanding, the subsequent fighting ability of the Entente Alliance suggests that, despite being a “second-class power”, they were strong enough to deter, but not defeat, a “great power”. In other words, they were strong enough that the Empire would normally find an invasion too costly for the benefits that it would bring; of course, an unprovoked attack on the Empire reverses the cost-benefit ratio. (Was Mussolini in charge? On second thoughts, Mussolini was sensible in comparison.)
The fall of the Entente Alliance borrows from the fall of Norway in 1940 where the Germans carried out an amphibious assault. However, unlike the Norwegian campaign in 1940, the Commonwealth Navy was not involved which meant that the Imperial Navy would not suffer the fighting losses that the Kriegsmarine did. The silencing of coastal defence batteries by the 203rd also meant that the sinking of the Blücher also did not occur.
The location of Osfjord differs between the light novel and the anime. The light novel appears to point to the general location of Trondheim while the anime suggests that it is the Oslofjord.
The occupied Entente territories seem to be playing a role similar to Napoleon’s “Spanish ulcer” with an ongoing insurgency supported by the Commonwealth and the Federation.
Side note: It is not relevant to the story but, the inability of the Entente Alliance to form a government in exile seems rather contrived.
- Of the Rhine Front:
The Republic’s response to the Empire invading the Entente Alliance was to carry out their contingency war plan. This was a valid war plan but it likely was intended only to be used if the Empire were to be the aggressor in a war against someone else. In retrospect, the Republic would have been better off (and would have been fully justified in) letting the Entente hang out to dry. This led to the kind of trench warfare seen on the Western Front in WWI.
The Republic would be driven out of Europe due to a manoeuvre that recreated the German offensive in the Ardennes in 1940. The Imperial army did exactly what the German army did: use mobile forces to encircle and then destroy the enemy force concentrated in the low countries.
Given the degree of success that kind of mobile warfare achieved and the period of trench warfare beforehand, counterparts of Guderian and Liddell Hart do not exist (unless you count Tanya).
The withdrawal of the Republic fleet to the colonies and the departure of General de Lugo is borrowed from the withdrawal of the French navy in 1940 and the departure of General de Gaulle. However, the Republic does not seem to have the same division between Vichy France and the Free French.
- Of the Dacian portion of the war:
The Dacian invasion in 1924 appears inspired by Romania’s entry into WWI. The allied side probably had the same hope as the Entente powers in WWI – this action would, by opening another front directed at Hungary, allow them to win the war. The Dacians probably would want Imperial Dacia (i.e. Hungary) in any post war settlement.
The Dacian army, like the Romanian army, was numerically large. However, the Dacian army appears to be far more poorly trained, equipped and led than the Romanian army was in WWI. The result, obviously, was a complete collapse.
Incidentally, Dacia, like Romania, has oil. These supplies are critical for the Empire.
- Of the “Southern continent”:
Borrows from the North African campaign of WWII but the fighting is limited to Algeria and Tunisia. (But General von Romel? Really?)
The Imperial general staff appear to regard this theatre as being strategically unimportant and are not keen on sending reinforcements. It probably is unimportant, especially after the onset of war with the Federation.
The Free Republic is going to keep on fighting but cannot win the war on their own – they have to depend on events elsewhere.
The Empire’s expeditionary force is being ground down and does not have secure supply lines.
Note: It is stated that the Commonwealth Navy will suffer some sort of catastrophic reverse at, or near, Dakar in the future. This probably is the city in Senegal. The context of this action is unknown.
- Of the war with the Federation:
Despite the Federation essentially being the USSR, the initial phase of the war is almost identical to WWI when the Imperial Russian army advanced into East Prussia.
Like the Russians in WWI, the Federation was able to achieve strategic surprise and was able to achieve some initial successes. Unlike Imperial Germany though, the Imperial army was not fighting on the Western Front and thus could concentrate on a single enemy.
The Empire needed to hold and relieve Tiegenhoff for exactly the same strategic reasons the Germans needed to hold Königsberg. In location, Tiegenhoff is Königsberg.
The Empire’s subsequent counterattack, and victory at the Battle of Trouncenberg, is patterned on the Battle of Tannenberg with the same overall result – it led to the ejection of enemy forces from East Prussia. The Empire appears to have succeeded in pushing farther eastwards than Imperial Germany did in 1914.
Interestingly, at the end of 1926, the Empire holds the territories ceded to Germany by the Russians in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
The Federation, like the USSR, has switched to nationalism to motivate people to defend the country. The creation of self-governing areas by the Empire is, in part, to subvert this.
The Federation is preparing for a renewed offensive but the objective remains unknown.
Note: Tanya seems to have blind spots when it comes to the Federation. Her prejudices against Communists seems to have made her forget that the USSR did appeal to Nationalism in WWII. It also has led her to underestimate the Federation, fortunately not to a fatal extent thus far. She is starting to correct for this. (While it does seem odd, given how well read she is, that Tanya would forget about events in the USSR during WWII, her personal prejudices do make it plausible. I choose to interpret this as good writing.)
- Of Ildoa:
Appears to be in the same position as Italy in both world wars – being notionally a “great power” but has severe economic and military weaknesses.
Definitely seeking to expand their interests at the expense of just about everyone else.
Probably seen to be as unscrupulous and as unpredictable as Italy before WWI.
Unclear if Ildoan adventure in North Africa is as economically costly as the Italian war there in 1911-1912.
The statement “better to have Italy as a partner than as a foe; but the margin of benefit was not great” also applies to Ildoa.
Ildoa notionally is an ally of the Empire but it is vague as to what that means. It is only clear that Ildoa is not currently a belligerent in the war.
Ildoa claims to be trying to broker peace but also is vaguely hinting that it might be willing to join one side or the other. This too is to extract concessions from everyone else.
- Of the war with the Commonwealth:
The bulk of the fighting thus far has been in the air.
The Commonwealth is clearly having problems with attrition of personnel and of equipment but is buying weapons from the Unified States.
The Commonwealth did provide some unofficial support to the Entente Alliance prior to the declaration of war but nowhere near the scale of the British support for Norway at the start of WWII.
The Commonwealth breaking the Empire’s ciphers is borrowed from the UK breaking German ciphers in both world wars.
The Commonwealth is keen on having the Unified States enter the war on their side – this is understandable given the economic and military resources the Unified States can bring to bear.
As an aside, the possibility of capturing Unified States citizens voluntarily serving in the armed forces of the Commonwealth was hinted at as being a potential problem. This makes no sense – just as long as they are properly treated as prisoners of war, and they are legal combatants entitled to such protections, there is no, and can be no, legal or political basis for the Unified States to protest or take any action whatsoever.
Also, the incident of a volunteer pilot with the Commonwealth being beaten to death by a mob is based on a real incident involving a Polish volunteer with the RAF.
- Of the Unified States:
Still notionally sitting on the sidelines but openly favouring the allies.
Is carrying out an arms buildup.
Domestically still undecided on openly entering the war but it is likely only a matter of time before they enter the war on the allied side. To their credit, the Empire is trying to avoid provoking the Unified States – they at least are trying (but probably will not succeed) in keeping the war from expanding further.
- Of Kampfgruppe Salamander:
Strength at first formation in June-1926 (disbanded 28-Sep-1926):
The 203rd mage battalion
1 infantry battalion (initially a 2nd line infantry battalion was to be assigned but Tanya managed to get a paratrooper battalion instead)
1 armoured company (presumably a tank company which might mean anything from 9 to 17 tanks at full strength; Tanya managed to exchange what sound suspiciously like Panzer IVDs for Panzer IVGs)
1 artillery company equipped with 15 cm guns (presumably this means 1 battery which would correspond to 4-8 tubes; Tanya’s efforts to turn this into an improvised mobile artillery battery is borrowed from a similar expedient in WWII)
1 additional mage company
1 pioneer detachment of some sort (which suggests that Imperial infantry battalions might not have any ‘organic’ pioneer units)
This formation can, very crudely, be regarded as being about brigade/regiment strength but it is at the low end of the scale.
Strength at second formation 16-Oct-1926:
The 203rd mage battalion (1 company is green)
2 infantry battalions (newly formed and very green)
1 tank battalion (has 24 tanks and therefore counts as a battalion, unclear if this is full strength but it probably isn’t)
1 artillery battalion (no information on composition but this implies a number of batteries, not just 1)
Assuming that pioneer, reconnaissance and other supporting elements have been assigned as well, this is a full brigade/regiment
- Of Tanya:
The light novel is not consistent but suggests that Tanya turned either 10 or 11 in 1923; that would make her birthday 24-Sep-1912 or 1913. It is Apr-1927 at the end of volume 6 which would make her 13 or 14.
By the end of volume 6, she is commanding Kampfgruppe Salamander which is of brigade/regiment strength. She is adapting rapidly to commanding a formation of this size. It likely won’t be long before she is commanding a division.
She appears to have underestimated the Federation due to her prejudice against communists – she had assumed that anyone who was communist (or from a communist country) could not be competent or adaptive. She also appears to have forgotten many details about the USSR in WWII. She is slowly overcoming these issues.
Guesses on the near future: - On the Eastern Front:
As of April-1927, the Federation is preparing for a major offensive. Given the parallels, this offensive will push into Ukraine. We are likely to see an equivalent to the Second Battle of Kharkov in which the Soviet army was encircled and destroyed.
The aftermath of this would see similarities to the WWII German offensive into the Caucasus, likely for the same strategic reasons – seizing industrial centres and oil supplies.
We’ll probably find ourselves watching a variant of the Battle of Stalingrad (maybe named Josefgrad?). Given the “similar but not quite” nature of events, we’re probably not going to see the equivalent of the destruction of the German Sixth army. We probably will, however, see the equivalent of the Third Battle of Kharkov and maybe even a variant of Operation Citadel and the Battle of Kursk.
- On the Federation:
They will receive increasing levels of economic support and supplies of necessary equipment from their allies. They will focus their domestic industry on building weapons; while they will build some of the supporting vehicles they need, much of what they need will be imported. This parallels the USSR in WWII.
Just like the USSR, they will find that their Political Officers are hindering combat efforts and will gradually decrease their powers.
Like the USSR, they will continue to use quantity as a substitute for quality.
Like the USSR, they will switch to a strategy of “trading space for time” after their upcoming offensive fails.
- On Ildoa:
It is almost a given that their attempt to broker peace will fail.
Their double-dealing will lead to them being sucked into the war in spite of their wishes otherwise. They will find their military and economic capabilities to be as limited as those of Italy in both world wars. (A known enemy is better than an uncertain ally and all that…)
Given the “almost but not quite WWI” theme, and Being X’s machinations, it is more likely that Ildoa will go to war against the Empire, their notional alliance notwithstanding. The Empire does have a contingency plan for this and we are likely going to see a variant of the Battle of Caporetto with the subsequent collapse of the Ildoan army.
- On the “Southern Continent”:
The Empire will seek to withdraw its expeditionary force but will instead find it necessary to send reinforcements due to the entry of Ildoa into the war.
Nonetheless, the Empire likely will not attempt anything as ambitious as trying to seize the Suez Canal or conquering Egypt and using it as a base for invading India. They know, or should know, that they do not have the resources for such actions. (If they try anything like that, they must have concluded their war with the Federation.)
- On the Commonwealth:
They will expand their commitments in North Africa first. Their objective is to secure North Africa with the view of then carrying out an offensive into Ildoa, likely starting by landing in Sicily and then advancing up the Italian peninsula. The Commonwealth PM (Churbull? Really?), like Churchill, sees that region as the enemy’s “soft underbelly”.
Operations in the European theatre likely will consist mainly of air battles with the odd naval engagement and coastal raid. It is likely, but not certain, that the Commonwealth will at some point start a strategic bombing campaign intentionally targeting the Empire’s cities like what the RAF did in WWII.
Given that the Empire has lost less of its fighting strength than Germany in WWII and still has a substantial fleet in existence, it is unlikely that the allies will attempt a variant of “Operation Overlord” anytime soon.
At some point, the Commonwealth 2nd squadron will be defeated in the “Dakar Incident” (probably referring the city in Senegal). This might be after the Empire realised that their ciphers had been compromised but the context for this action is not known.
- On the Unified States:
They are already preparing for war.
The Empire is seeking to avoid a confrontation with the Unified States but the Unified States will nonetheless find some pretext to declare war.
This entry into the war will prevent the Empire from defeating the Federation outright.
- On Kampfgruppe Salamander:
They are currently deployed for counter-insurgency operations in the occupied Entente Alliance. They will be redeployed to the Eastern front once, or shortly after, the Federation begins its offensive.
- On the insurgency in the Entente:
Likely, the joint Commonwealth-Federation force would also be recalled due to them being needed for the fighting in the Federation. This probably will be around the same time Kampfgruppe Salamander is recalled. The locals will not be sad to see them go.
Guesses on the long-term: - It is known that the Empire would lose the war but it is not yet stated how and it is unclear what the Empire will look like post-war. - It is my hope that Carlo Zen does not go down the route of the Empire making one last all-out offensive push to convince its enemies that defeating the Empire outright would be too costly and then sue for peace. These are the reasons:
1.) Historically, all such offensives have one thing in common: They fail.
2.) If you are strong enough to carry out such an offensive and succeed, you are still strong enough that you would not need to carry out such a risky move to begin with. You are still too strong for your enemies to defeat outright (or at least not without inordinate cost) unless you do something stupid. And taking the risk of an all-out offensive qualifies as “doing something stupid”. (Note: The kind of all-out offensive I’m talking about here is very different from continuing to carry out offensive operations.)
3.) After such an offensive inevitably fails, your enemy will know that you no longer have the military resources to inflict an unacceptable degree of damage to them and will know that you have, or will soon, run out of reserves. This will make them more likely to demand an unconditional surrender.
- My guess as to what happens towards the end the war:
The situation bogs down into a stalemate. The Empire is able to overcome the worst of its disadvantages in resources against its enemies but still is in a war it ultimately cannot win.
The allies will find that, despite their economic and numerical advantages, they are still expending troops and equipment at an unsustainable rate, to the point where they probably cannot win the war outright either.
Attempts by both sides to break the deadlock fail.
- My guess as to what triggers serious peace talks:
This likely will occur as everyone approaches complete exhaustion, not before.
What convinces everyone to agree to an armistice probably will be Tanya finally being able to prove the existence of Being X and proving that it was this entity’s actions that led to the war beginning in the first place.
- The Empire will agree to a conditional surrender:
The Empire’s greatest saving grace here is that they did not start the war. The people publicly blamed for starting the war will be the leadership of the Entente Alliance. The war expanding will be blamed on strategic miscalculations on both sides.
Allied armies were described as seizing Imperial army documents. This will be a cover story for the Empire providing evidence for the existence of Being X and providing related documents.
While the Empire will make significant concessions on paper, the Empire will only pay, at most, token reparations. The Empire will make “territorial concessions” that merely amount to the return to the “status quo ante bellum” (i.e. the situation before the war began).
Note: If the Empire did surrender unconditionally, the best Tanya could hope for is to live in hiding or under a false identity for the rest of her life. She would not be erased from history, as happened. She would instead carry a label like “The Butcher of Arene” and would live the rest of her life hunted as a war criminal if she wasn’t already executed as one. Her involvement in the events around Arene would be hard to hide and she would be subject to a “victor’s justice”. After all, the Republic’s citizens and Arene’s survivors would be out for blood. (The fact that the destruction of Arene was not a war crime would be conveniently ignored.)
- All details regarding Tanya, the 203rd and Being X are heavily classified by all sides:
This is part of the peace agreement.
The closing stages of the war involves all sides taking some sort of action against Being X resulting in the defeat/departure of that entity. The 203rd is likely heavily involved in this, thus the need for their existence to be made secret.
General agreement is that disclosing the existence of Being X and the fact that Being X was influencing events is counter-productive; that entity either no longer exists or is no longer able to influence events by the war’s official end.
- As regards to Tanya:
Her continued rise the Imperial army is guaranteed. She will be commanding steadily larger formations as time progresses though she still would be pulled away for special operations from time to time.
We are going to see her direct involvement in battle become less and less frequent. Her assignment to special operations would also become progressively less frequent due to her abilities as a field commander. She would only be assigned to commando-type operations for very high-risk/high-reward type situations and only if no one else can do the job.
It is only when she has advanced sufficiently in rank that she can start directing the Empire’s overall strategy and policies. At present, she does have the ear of key officers in the general staff but that alone will not allow her to make strategic-level decisions or influence government policy.
It is only when she reaches that point that she can act to bring some sort of conclusion to this war.
She is more likely to be promoted, due to her achievements, to the point where she can start making direct recommendations to the Imperial government and Imperial high command. While it is possible that she will carry out, or be a key figure in a military coup, the current trajectory of the war makes it unlikely that things will get so bad that she will feel the need to resort to that.
Note: Despite her personal beliefs, she could still decide that being part of a military coup is the most rational or least harmful way forward. This is an unfortunate part of the human condition. After all, Napoleon did not start out intending to be Emperor although he was more than willing to avail himself of the opportunities that presented themselves. Given the similarities in drive and ambition between Tanya and Napoleon, she could find herself in similar situations and she would not be shy about exploiting them.
Tanya likely does depart the scene at the war’s end. Likely she will do so in the context of defeating Being X.
If anyone actually read this, thanks for reading. Of course, I expect most to all of my predictions to be wrong but I had fun writing this.
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