And Rumours of War: The Chinese Question

A summary of this week’s events, with some thoughts on strategy. First, our Breton player quit and was replaced by another, who sold me southern England for the very reasonable price of 10000 ducats. This is purely due to the inherent reasonableness of the Norwegian position that these lands are historically and traditionally ours; the utter dominance of the Norwegian fleet over the two rowboats Brittany retained after its disastrous war with Georgia, and the consequent complete inability of Brittany to defend these lands against English guerrillas, much less against a Norwegian invasion, had nothing to do with it.

Second, the long-awaited Chinese storm broke; Italy and France have formed an alliance to halve the Han population controlled by the Beijing regime. That is, they intend to annex parts of the Chinese empire such that China’s population is reduced from 400 million to 200 million, dividing the spoils equally between the European nations – even the non-belligerents – as a more or less blatant incentive for nonintervention, and also in an attempt to avoid balance-of-power concerns being raised against themselves. In spite of this, Finland has declared for the Chinese and apparently intends to fight. The remaining Powers are neutral, with some scattered denunciations of aggression – that is, some people denounce Chinese aggression in blatantly resisting partition; some denounce Italian aggression in blatantly not giving the denouncer enough of the planned spoils; and some just denounce aggression without any particular aggressor. (The last is Norway’s position.) The initial fighting seems fairly even: French and Italian troops have seized Hainan and Macau and blockaded the Chinese coast, but have so far been unable to acquire any solid beachheads or destroy Chinese armies in the field. On the other hand the Chinese are quite unable to retake their islands, their fleet being tiny compared to the vast Italian one, or even the quite respectable French navy. Nor have they been able to destroy the invading armies, which simply retreat to their island fortresses any time the tactical situation turns against them. It is, however, early days, and the French certainly have more armies than they’ve used so far. (Whether Germany will be tempted by a denuded French border into reversing its recent losses is an interesting question, of course.)

As for Norway’s policy: Really, this is a sad situation for a dedicated ankle-biter. On the one hand, China helped me against Brittany, if not very effectively. On the other hand, entering any sort of serious fighting against Italy or France, breaking the long de facto truce with those nations, would have serious security repercussions for a century to come; if a credible garrison is needed for the Italian border, I can wave goodbye to thoughts of projecting power into Europe. (Against this, of course, if I Win Big against Italy, that’s all the more power to project.) On the third hand, territory in China is not very economically interesting or militarily defensible for me, and it seems I can get it without any actual fighting anyway. On the fourth hand (and I can already see I’m going to need some help from someone who occupies a Hindu part of India; Norse mythology runs to eight-legged horses but not many-handed gods, in fact Tyr only has one) control of, say, Texas could be economically very important starting around 1880. On the fifth hand, geographical Finland was anciently a fief of the Norwegian crown and still contains our oppressed ethnic brethren, not to mention timber and some sulphur. On the sixth hand Finland is very easily defensible and the Finnish army is large. Rushing to the aid of the victors is not a policy likely to garner large rewards, but do I have the power to create a victor? Who to stab, who to stab… Decisions, decisions…

Incidentally, here is a screenie of the aforementioned English guerrillas:

Britain, Yngling-2 timeline, 1820

Notice the complete lack of Breton troops, except for raising of regiments which, due to WE from the Georgian invasion, have build times of two years. Brittany (now renamed Transvaal) and Norway are not, of course, at war at this point. No, no! But Norway does have a certain sympathy for the legitimate aspirations of the English population of England-south-of-Thames. It is possible that some of our wealthier and more philanthropic citizens may have gone so far as supplying weapons and ammunition to these guerrillas; who, as is clear, are fighting in accordance with the laws of war on resistance in occupied areas, including uniforms and responsible officers. It is not as though we can control the private trade in weapons; after all many areas of Norwegian America are still wilderness, and there are even the occasional raids by hostile tribes! We cannot very well deny our citizens their ability to defend themselves, not to mention that our poorer citizens in Scandinavia often support themselves partly by hunting, which is their right by ancient custom. State interference in this market would clearly be impossible. As for border controls: well, really, if the Bretons (Transvaalites? What does one call a man from Transvaal, anyway?) cannot close their own borders, they really have no business claiming sovereignty over the area in question!

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