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GA-League War

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Re: GA-League War
Post by tlb   » Mon May 04, 2020 4:43 pm

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GloriousRuse wrote:Fighting from the league side:

First step is that you make it diplomatically clear any strikes or invasion against the core will constitute an Eridani violation in your eyes, and that this will result in massive planet killing retaliation - justification only has to be good enough to fig leaf. Combine that with an information campaign about neo-barbs looking to dismantle the EE and old terra if need be. Bluntly, the SLN has enough ships to ensure frac C missiles hit planets and since they are the guarantors of the EE to begin with, you enter a MAD scenario with the GA. Ultimately neither of you want to go “nuclear” because it’s horrible for both of you...but if it does go that way, you have a lot more real estate to lose.

But really, it’s about the threat. The threat keeps the GA on the frontier, and you can recover from any frontier defeat.

The rest is just using neo-barb aggression and threat to seize even more power for your directorates, then convincing the mandarins and trans solars that each of them stand to gain from massive war spending and modernization.

Tell your admirals to avoid decisive battle, accept trades that keep the Manties honest, and above all don’t lose the fleet.

Let that play out for a few years, possibly offering a concessionary peace. Use the defeat to shock the rest of the politicos and population into accepting your spend plan, your dominance having so clearly been based on false assumption.

Come back in ten years and curb stomp the GA.

You seen to love the planet busting scenario, but there is no need for the GA to attack Core worlds. Just as in the books the GA withdraws the merchant marine, closes the junctions and works to peel off the Verge planets. That directly threatens the finances of the Solarian Navy and the SLN resorts to Case Buccaneer and the Parthian Shot, just as in the books.

No matter the propaganda advantage in Sol, this is a losing battle everywhere else; eventually even in the Core worlds.
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Re: GA-League War
Post by Potato   » Mon May 04, 2020 4:57 pm

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GloriousRuse wrote:On the contrary, that’s exactly how the Edict works. The SL is the enforcer of the edict, the hegemon in the system that essentially laid down space-international law. It did this, yes, to preserve civilian life, but also because as the hegemon it has a vested interest in preventing things that are

A) Destabilizing tactics that upset their position as the system leader.

B) Undercut it’s presumed size advantage by giving smaller powers the ability to inflict unacceptable costs on bigger ones.

The real world parallel is akin the the US or the P5 if you prefer. They are say, voraciously oppose nuclear and chemical proliferation because it can destabilize a region, helps negate their investment in conventional superiority, and allows regional players to potentially stand them off politically. Despite this, nuclear deterrence and defining what wars are acceptably on the fringe versus a nuclear commit national interest continues to be a cornerstone of policy between great powers.

Because, again, those powers wrote the law, they enforce the law, and between them the law only exists as an agreement of carefully balanced strategic interests.

The GA is no longer playing in the backwaters, which means that international law like the EE now only applies until it doesn’t. And if the SL says the core is its planet killing red line, that’s a very clear piece of policy. Red lines exactly like that are how you prevent real players in the game from escalating out of control. It’s why there isn’t a radioactive cobalt belt on the Sino-Korean border, why Angolan revolutionaries don’t cause WW3, and why when a real core interest is threatened they make movies about presidents defusing them. All in the formal name of humanity.

And who’s going to disagree? The public we’re told is well controlled by SL information operations? The core worlds who don’t have to watch their orbital infrastructure burn? The government of old terra, undoubtedly a prime target if the GA goes offensive? A western liberal democratic population who, if we use modern MIT studies from as late as 2019, is 59% in favor of using nuclear strikes killing 2M civilians versus losing 20k US troops in a completely fictional war with a regional power who couldn’t even threaten the homeland? The trans solars who stand to lose trillions of the core is a battleground?

So, if the SL says that the GA threatens the source of the EE and will cause vast human suffering as a result, while tied to real stakeholders who need that to be true, well...good enough. The academics will write papers about the legal points later.

The GA are playing for real now, and real war isn’t just fancy space broadsides.


Explain how you will somehow convince people that an attack which does not produce civilian megadeaths is an Eridani Edict violation. Making statements completely disconnected from reality a la Baghdad Bob is the quickest way to destroy your own credibility. The Edict is pretty tightly proscribed as a part of the League constitution (it is not an interstellar law or treaty). Its provisions are clearly laid out in infodumps, and simply conducting combat operations does not even begin to approach the threshold needed to retaliate with genocidal counterattacks. Such grossly disproportionate responses are the quickest way to form resistance both internally and externally (aka nuking Argentina).
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Re: GA-League War
Post by Potato   » Mon May 04, 2020 5:03 pm

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It is genuinely baffling that that the majority's opinion on this forum is that the first solution to any strategic situation is usually genocide.
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Re: GA-League War
Post by GloriousRuse   » Mon May 04, 2020 7:20 pm

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I suspect something along the lines of “the neo-barbs are coming to break the league and depose it’s government. With that, all of our cherished way of life will topple, including the one power capable of enforcing the Eridani Edict. An attack on the core worlds represents a direct attack on the Edict itself, placing the GA outside of its protection.”

Again, the line only has to be good enough. Because when it comes right down to it, the population and governments fundamentally want to not have the core attacked.

As to genocide, hardly. It’s the threat of genocide. You’re essentially saying “go fight in space Korea, Space Vietnam, Space Angola and Space Afghanistan out on the fringe with the barbs. Set up coups in Space Cambodia. That’s all the great game we play on the fringe. But don’t you dare attack the Core Worlds, cause that’s Space US/USSR homeland.”

And since that is more or less the position most major nuclear powers hold today...hardly unbelievable. Because it’s not biking Argentina over the Falklands. It’s finding out somehow Argentina built a blue water navy trumping the Royal Navy in a world where ground combat didn’t exist, and they very well might take a run at Scotland or even London. In that case, yes, people would get it.
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Re: GA-League War
Post by tlb   » Mon May 04, 2020 8:09 pm

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Potato wrote:It is genuinely baffling that that the majority's opinion on this forum is that the first solution to any strategic situation is usually genocide.

How did you arrive at that being a majority opinion?
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Re: GA-League War
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon May 04, 2020 9:51 pm

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GloriousRuse wrote:I suspect something along the lines of “the neo-barbs are coming to break the league and depose it’s government. With that, all of our cherished way of life will topple, including the one power capable of enforcing the Eridani Edict. An attack on the core worlds represents a direct attack on the Edict itself, placing the GA outside of its protection.”


Anyone not brainwashed will pick apart the contradictions in that. First, those who are coming are neobarbs, but they somehow have better war-fighting capability than the vaunted SLN. Second, to preserve the entity that can enforce the Eridani Edict, we'll threaten violating it.

Again, the line only has to be good enough. Because when it comes right down to it, the population and governments fundamentally want to not have the core attacked.


That might work in Sol, but it's unlikely it would beyond the Kuiper Belt. Especially since no attack actually happens. Such a tactic is likely to create a huge backlash at whoever proposed it.

Not to mention it can backfire. If it's a bluff and it's called, the SLN loses. If it's not a bluff, those neobarbs have the capabilities of retaliating in kind. The population will NOT want that.
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Re: GA-League War
Post by GloriousRuse   » Mon May 04, 2020 10:20 pm

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If no attack on the core happens, great. You win strategically even if you lose the first war on the fringe. Which is the whole point.

As to people wanting to pick apart contradictions - well, they have to want to, don’t they? Sure, some law of war scholars might be angry, but the stakeholders all have interest in backing this line. Keeping the war far away in East Nowhere, space.

As for the people...there are numerous studies from the 1940s to today that talk about the prevalence of the nuclear taboo. And the real answer is that even in calm survey settings, so long as the experiment audience is given even the flimsiest means of displacement of responsibility, the majority will support nuclear action for surprisingly low thresholds if they feel that they or the group they identify with is threatened. (Ironically, one of the more modern studies went in with the assumption it’d be Warhawk men...but women actually poll as higher in support of nuclear war.)

The fact that an argument can be picked apart by someone who doesn’t want to believe it is nearly irrelevant to the issue at hand. Which is can a scared populace who primarily identify as Sollies get behind a line that the powers in play have an interest in maintaining. And yep. Yep they can. Just like they can practice air raid drills at home and build bomb shelters while talking about not giving in to the iron curtain. Or they can hold mass rallies in Donbas. Or closer to home.

Assuming you live in a country that is a nuclear power, you yourself are party to a very similar policy right now and are markedly not overthrowing the government or even much caring. Yet I can assure you that your government has made its nuclear red lines known to other governments. And for reasons you personally have no stake in other than a theoretical ideological one and slight changes to your daily cost index.

Or “Flexible Deterrent Options”. Or a “no first use...unless it threatens the homeland” policies. Or “we reserve the right of first use to counter aggression” policies.

So, if we’re going to say that a known and so far proven throughout the history of weapons of mass destruction policy method is completely unrealistic because “only dumb people would buy that”, well...on one side we have magical thinking that people will suddenly turn on their government because it makes for a more exciting war.

On the other, we have the last 75 years of nuclear armed human history. I dare say one is the better predictor of policy and human behavior than the other.
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Re: GA-League War
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon May 04, 2020 10:41 pm

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GloriousRuse wrote:Or “Flexible Deterrent Options”. Or a “no first use...unless it threatens the homeland” policies. Or “we reserve the right of first use to counter aggression” policies.


That only works if the other side can't retaliate in kind. The example of the USA or USSR firing ICBMs from land or submarines is quite different, since very few countries have ICBMs. That's an effective deterrent.

The SLN doesn't have any particular capability to cause megadeaths that other navies don't. It's not an effective deterrent to take this position.

If the SL says "if you attack the Core, we'll send task forces to launch c-frac missiles at your homeworld", the attacking force might pre-deploy c-frac-launching forces before they attack. "If we detect a c-frac missile coming at our homeworld, we'll fire at 13 of the 30 largest Core worlds"
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Re: GA-League War
Post by GloriousRuse   » Mon May 04, 2020 10:57 pm

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But, just in case you don't believe me because - ironically, given we're talking about what people believe - it would suit you not to...well, here are some quotes from the most recent US Nuclear Posture Review. It's a public document.

"This review rests on a bedrock truth: nuclear weapons have and will continue to play a critical role in deterring nuclear attack and in preventing large-scale conventional warfare between nuclear-armed states for the foreseeable future. U.S. nuclear weapons not only defend our allies against conventional and nuclear threats, they also help them avoid the need to develop their own nuclear arsenals. This, in turn, furthers global security. "

Do you see riots in Chicago right now over the potential for starting a nuclear war to defend an ally against a conventional threat? Perhaps the members of NATO have sworn off the alliance because of this declaration that the US will go nuclear in a conventional war?

"U.S. nuclear capabilities cannot prevent all conflict, and should not be expected to do so. But, they contribute uniquely to the deterrence of both nuclear and non-nuclear aggression. They are essential for these purposes and will be so for the foreseeable future. Non-nuclear forces also play essential deterrence roles, but do not provide comparable deterrence effects--as is reflected by past, periodic, and catastrophic failures of conventional deterrence to prevent Great Power war before the advent of nuclear deterrence. In addition, conventional forces alone are inadequate to assure many allies
who rightly place enormous value on U.S. extended nuclear deterrence for their security, which correspondingly is also key to non-proliferation."

Looks familiar...

" However, deterring nuclear attack is not the sole purpose of nuclear weapons. Given the diverse threats and profound uncertainties of the current and future threat environment, U.S. nuclear forces play the following critical roles in U.S. national security strategy. They contribute to the:

› Deterrence of nuclear and non-nuclear attack;

› Assurance of allies and partners;

› Achievement of U.S. objectives if deterrence fails; and

› Capacity to hedge against an uncertain future.

These roles are complementary and interrelated, and the adequacy of U.S. nuclear forces must be assessed against each role and the strategy designed to fulfill it."

There it is again. Deterrence of non-nuclear attack. But how can this be when...

"The United States remains committed to its efforts in support of the ultimate global elimination of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons"

Turns out, that's for other people.

Also, the US promotes and is a signatory to the conventions that prohibit deliberate genocide, unnecessary suffering, indiscriminate targeting of civilians, and so forth. Indeed, it both backs and encourages that international order. And yet...

"China’s military modernization and pursuit of regional dominance have emerged as a major challenge to U.S. interests in Asia...

...The United States is prepared to respond decisively to Chinese non-nuclear or nuclear aggression. U.S. exercises in the Asia-Pacific region, among other objectives, demonstrate this preparedness, as will increasing the range of graduated nuclear response options available to the President."

Woah. We just admitted we would nuke China over matters of pacific territorial strategy. We who endorse the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, international law, and promote standards of human rights both in and outside of conflict.

Yet, somehow, I don't see allies jumping ship over the hypocrisy. Or riots in the street. Well, some of those, but mostly over quarantines.

Mind you China has 300+ nuclear weapons, at least some of which would get through and glass a good chunk of the western seaboard.

I mean, we could keep doing this, but once you're in the nuclear league - or for Honorverse, the league where the SL is not safeguarding you - the rules are whatever you say they are based on interests, fear, and calculation. And no, the moral outrage that would be expressed by a college freshman doesn't really matter.

------------

And as to "you c-frac us, we'll c-frac you", that's perfect. Because if both sides are terrified of being c-frac'd, then they fight a limited war. And so long as they fight a limited war, the SL can always spend it's way to victory in time.
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Re: GA-League War
Post by GloriousRuse   » Mon May 04, 2020 11:04 pm

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@ TLB. On the contrary. I'm against planet busting, and all for using the threat of planet busting to keep the war in the verge. Because it doesn't matter if you lose the verge war. You can always re-mobilize the core and come back later. For the GA to put you down long term, they need to come in to the core.

For everything else, I think it was Weber or one of his co-authors who said

"The rematch wouldn't be a war, it'd be a landslide."
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