I do not doubt that the defector’s claims are true, although they do not claim to know the timescale of this proposed operation, notably absent from the news report. I fear the report given about this defector sensationalises something which the Republic, the Federation, daresay all of us with open eyes and clear minds have known all along to be common knowledge.
Military planning and strategic conceptual hypothesises on the prosecution of armed conflicts, from full-scale invasion to foreign internal defence to counter-insurgency operations, are conceived all the time. Ninety percent of the time, they are never put into practice as there is no need for them, as they exist solely to develop and enhance existing doctrine and new stratagems. The Imperial Military assuredly subscribes to this method of learning that I know is common practice in the Federal, State, and Republic Armed Forces.
Ultimately, it is an unenviable position to be put in. Is it likely that the Ardishapur and Sarum circuit fleets are mobilising currently to launch an invasion of Molden Heath? I’d gamble on ‘no’. The Empire would face almost total if not universal condemnation across New Eden, and it’d trigger an Interstellar War the likes of which have not been seen for over a century. The mere act breaching CONCORD legislation needs not be said. Despite the Treaty of Pachanai promising non-intervention, would the Federation stand idly by and watch the Republic be invaded wholesale? I doubt it highly, if anything on moral grounds alone. The possibility of a cluster-wide cascade into open warfare should be enough of a deterrence.
But you cannot discount the possibility, as the Captain Marshal Sirdan xer Qosh has affirmed what we already know: the Empire is committed to the Reclaiming of the ‘Rebel Provinces’, an irredentist term which is a fundamental denial of the legitimacy of the Republic as a sovereign entity. Claims of peacefulness and legality aside, with the promulgation of the Peace of Two Swords doctrine, what constitutes legality in the Empire? Conformation to Imperial Law - which demands the furtherance of the Reclaiming.
As far as neighbours go, the Empire is one that you’d hope would respect the boundaries of one’s freehold. Hopeful desires considered, you never fail to have a plasma rifle out of arms reach just in case the day comes in which they commit a trespass.
I know little of the conflict between the Mandate and the Republic preceding YC105/FC220 - the Vindication Wars. Do you think it is possible that the plan, if at all put into motion, could be an attempt to draw the Republic into a low-intensity conflict?
I foresee that because of the above uncertainty caused, it will compel the Republic to have no choice but to bolster existing garrisons across the border with the Mandate. I hope that this increased commitment doesn’t lead to increased exposure on other fronts, to other threats that we are witnessing emerge from obscurity, such as Zarzakh and the Deathless.
If I subscribed to conspiracy theories and was willing to offer one, perhaps this is the intended outcome of this leak all along.