[Writing Contest] The Impossible Challenge: Minmatar Strategic Policy vs the Amarr Empire

From the Proceedings of the Institute for the Republic Fleet

By Captain Urikal Kodor, Republic Fleet

The Minmatar Republic has endured many threats since its establishment. The Angel Cartel. Sansha’s Nation. The Triglavian Collective. But the greatest challenge the Republic faces remains the original one: the Amarr Empire.

While the Amarr Empire has officially renounced its claim on the Minmatar Republic, revanchist attitudes remain common. More importantly, the core ideology of the Amarr faith – the belief that it is their sacred duty to compel others to submit to their faith – remains unchanged. Inevitably, the Amarr will seek to expand once more, and it is all but certain that the Minmatar will be their first target.

It is also impossible to ignore the moral duty of the Republic to liberate our brothers and sisters still held in bondage. While the liberation of slaves, both by state institutions like the Tribal Liberation Force and independent organizations like the Ushra’Khan Alliance, remains an ongoing effort, the task is simply too great. More slaves are born every day, and there is no sign that the total slave population of the Empire has begun to shrink. As long as our brethren are enslaved, there is no hope of peace between the Empire and the Republic. And from a purely strategic perspective, the Empire’s wealth is built in no small part upon the labor of Minmatar slaves. Freeing the slaves would reduce the threat posed by the Empire.

There are three possible scenarios that could bring about the liberation of our brethren and lead to peace with the Empire. Sadly, none of them are especially likely in the near future. But that does not mean there is no hope. All three must be pursued, no matter how long it takes.

SCENARIO 1: REFORM

The ideal scenario would be for the Amarr Empire to free the slaves voluntarily. There is indeed an abolitionist movement within the Empire that opposes slavery on moral grounds, but it remains small. There is, however, wider support for reform of the slavery system, with many opining that the system of generational slavery has failed and that those born of slaves should be freed. While far from ideal, such a reform would see the Minmatar within the Empire largely freed within a few generations.

Realistically, the voluntary abolition of slavery would have to occur as part of a wider series of reforms, many of which are also championed by the abolitionists and reformists. Another key reform would be the decoupling of religious law, eliminating the Theology Council’s role in the judiciary. Perhaps most transformative would be the establishment of some form of democracy in the Empire. There is precedent in history for monarchies to share some power with a legislature. Indeed, such assemblies often emerged as part of a power play by the ruling monarch to create a counterbalance to the power of the nobility.

While the Republic’s ability to encourage reform within the Empire is limited, we should do what we can. An important aspect of this would be restraining our own firebrands from turning operations aimed at freeing slaves into acts of retribution aimed at those not involved in the slave trade. If the Amarr believe that freeing the slaves will not protect them from our wrath, they will not do so.

SCENARIO 2: MILITARY VICTORY

The second scenario is perhaps the most obvious one: for the Republic to defeat the Empire in war and compel them to free the slaves as part of the peace negotiations. Unfortunately, the Republic is at a significant disadvantage in any conflict with the Amarr Empire. Simply put, we are outnumbered by a wide margin. The Imperial Navy is the largest fleet in New Eden, while the Republic Fleet is smaller than either the Caldari or Federal Navy.

The disparity is not so great that the Republic is in any danger of being overrun any time soon. It is a fundamental principle in war that the defender always enjoys an advantage. Were the Empire to launch another invasion, the Republic would wage total war to defend its lands, and we would only need inflict enough damage to make the political and economic cost of continuing the war too great. But all those advantages would be reversed were the Republic to launch an invasion of the Empire. As slavery is practiced in every corner of the Empire, a simple raid, even one like that carried out by the Elder Fleet, would be insufficient.

Of course, the equation would change if the Gallente Federation were to join us. It is likely that a combined Minmatar-Gallente campaign could bring the Empire to its knees. However, leaving aside the difficulty of persuading the Gallente to commit to an invasion of the Empire, such an operation would inevitably bring in the Caldari State in on the Amarr side, as they would not wish to see their ally laid low and face the prospect of being alone against the Minmatar-Gallente alliance.

The only way for the Republic to defeat the Empire alone would be if the Republic could obtain some technological edge that would act as a force multiplier. I am unaware of any possible developments that could provide this, but this does suggest that the Republic must not only seek to maintain technological parity with the other empires, but to outpace them. One intriguing possibility would be to acquire Jovian technology from the Angel Cartel, either through trade or, more likely, a major military expedition into Curse. Perhaps our own criminals may end up providing us with the sword needed to free our brethren.

SCENARIO 3: COLLAPSE

The third scenario would be the collapse of the Amarr Empire, either into a long civil war that leaves the Empire weakened, or into multiple successor states that are individually weaker than the Republic. This would allow the Amarr to be defeated in detail, including through political pressure.

There is, unfortunately, no immediate prospect of this happening. The Amarr system of succession provides a great disincentive as every royal family has a chance of claiming the throne. However, there are certain cracks that could be exploited.

The first is the existence of the two autonomous subject states of the Empire: the Khanid Kingdom and the Ammatar Mandate. While the Khanid Kingdom has reconciled with the Empire, it remains a contiguous political unit, and there are Khanid nationalists that favor total independence. If central authority began to collapse, it is likely that the Khanids would break away once more to protect themselves.

The Ammatar Mandate is a thornier problem. The actions of the Elder Fleet have largely left the Mandate under control of hardcore loyalists, as instead of the Mandate declaring its independence outright, we saw a brief Ammatar civil war and an exodus of rebel forces to the Republic. Still, it might be possible to peel our Nefantar brethren out of the Empire’s orbit, although the outcome might not be the annexation of Derelik, but an independent Mandate allied to the Republic.

There is also the free Amarr population to consider. Not only do they have no real voice in their government, but the Amarr class system creates barriers for advancement that even the Caldari would find objectionable. So far, the Holders have managed to keep the population in line, but if reformist voices continue to be ignored or even suppressed, the Amarr people may rise up against their leaders. In such a scenario, the Republic should immediately offer any support we can.

Finally, there is the succession system. While it does disincentivize succession wars, no system is perfect. Were the outcome of a succession trial to be disputed, the royal families might resort to warfare. In such a scenario, the Republic might offer military assistance to families willing to free their slaves.

In conclusion, as painful as it is to admit, there is little prospect of completing the Liberation within our lifetimes. But that does not mean we can shirk from the task. It took centuries for us to find the chance to be free from the Empire. Even if it takes us centuries more, we must not give up hope.

3 Likes

Very well written and insightful.

Obviously I course will be working against the second two topics ever happening, and of course and foreign influence on the first would be completely unwelcome.

But I certainly appreciate seek keen analysis.