Moral Justification

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Some Easy Answers to Sticky Diplomatic Questions

By Alan Emrich

When in the course of gaming events it becomes necessary for one nation (in a multiplayer political game) to sever the ties that have hitherto bound it to peace or alliance with another, to affect a diplomatic coup or launch a surprise military strike against one's neighbor, or to take whatever action seems necessary to achieve that which is deemed best to secure the future one's own nation at the expense of another's; then it may become incumbent upon you to find some explanation for your actions, particularly when the victim, with some measure of indignation, asks that most feeble question of all political last resort, "Why?"

The victim, clearly having no grasp of political reality (for otherwise it would be assumed that an upstanding player like yourself would always be justified in your actions), has in his nearsighted and petty self-interest, demanded some sort of moral justification for your misunderstood actions that have incorrectly been deemed "overtly hostile." Should you ever be stuck for a suitable answer as to why your country is burying your opponent's country politically, or why you have given his nation a military enema, please consult the Moral Justification Chart below and choose whatever reason suits you and your situation best:
 

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"I consider this a pre-emptive measure. Do unto others before they do unto you and all that."

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"The people wanted a fight, and there you were..."

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"We have legitimate territorial claims here."

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"My actions are in your best interest. Please, allow me to complete them before judging."

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"This is merely a training exercise."

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"I was talked into it by ________ [his closest ally]."

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"The regime is currently changing theories and you're a fact that has to be changed."

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"This is all a big misunderstanding. . .  on your part."

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"Our desparate socio-economic structures make this conflict inevitable."

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"Consider this a subtle request for a favorable border adjustment."

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"I am attempting to liberate your oppressed peoples."

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"The omens were favorable and one can't deny the gods."

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"This is merely another example of Global Darwinism and you're about to evolve into extinction."

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"Your attempts at a political solution have failed miserably to resolve anything."

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"Oh, that? That was a just a border incident."

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"I am only trying to assist you in gaining allies through sympathy for your situation."

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"Posterity will be my judge. I'll answer to them."

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"Me!? You started it when you hit me back."

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"This is just a large reconnaissance-in-force."

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"It was decided that our borders would be more secure if they included your borders."

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"Trust is good; control is better."

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"Your so untrustworthy that the only way that I can be certain what our relations are is to simply stay in a permanent state of war with you. Now, at least, I know where we stand."

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"Be flattered. A person cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies."

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"Yours is not to question why; yours is but to die."

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"You put the 'stink' in 'extinction,' and I'm merely using the one to rid myself of the other."

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"What? You call 50,000 well-armed tourists an invasion!?"

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"We're just out there flying the flag. You know how it is."

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"Well, it has a lot to do with your breath."

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"You can read all about it after I win and write the history books."

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"Your looks are an insult, and I will not stand here and be insulted."

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"For the same reason that a dog licks himself between the legs: because he can."

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"I just looked up the word 'hegemony' and discovered that you weren't included in it."

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"It's a typo. Someone forgot the letter 'c' when I wrote that were to initiate covert hostile action toward you."

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"That's just some of my wacky generals demonstration their initiative again. Just ignore them; I do."

Alan Emrich is the former Strategy Games Editor at Computer Gaming World magazine, has written several computer game strategy guides, and has designed and developed several published board, card and computer games since the 1970s.