In relation to my previous review about Picking Up Plans in Palma here now is a guest post from blogger/writer Matthew Quinn! Let him take it away with a little treatise on World Domination!
Guest Post by Matthew W. Quinn
In fiction, whenever there’s an Evil Empire to be found, world domination is their goal. S.M. Stirling’s Draka believed their social system could not survive so long as there was any alternative and so sought self-preservation through world domination. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sauron called himself King of Men and Lord of the Earth. There’s plenty of real-life precedent — Hitler sought to dominate Europe and in his second book revealed he thought that a Nazified Europe’s last and greatest enemy would be the United States. The first Soviet leaders believed in World Revolution and even Stalin’s “socialism in one country” was not a permanent renunciation of that goal. Even Osama bin Laden, a pirate rather than a Dark Lord, demanded the United States convert to Islam.
In the Afrikanerverse, the world where “Coil Gun” and “Picking Up Plans In Palma” take place, there was no Nazism, this world’s version of WWII destroyed the USSR and its motley collection of “anti-imperialist” allies, and an early chastisement of the Wahabis left radical Islam a purely local phenomenon. Instead, the Evil Empire is the Afrikaner Confederation, a white supremacist (for a certain value of “white” that changes based on geography and political convenience) empire stretching from Cape Town to the southern fringes of the Sudan and from the Bight of Biafra across the Red Sea and southern Arabia into India and southeast Asia. Alongside a collection of traditionalist and authoritarian allies like the Hejaz, an enlarged Persia, a Sikh regime governing our world’s Pakistan, and the Kingdom of Thailand, the Afrikaners stand for what they view as traditional values and God-ordained hierarchies in the face of the corrosive Enlightenment liberalism characterizing the United States and its allies in the League of Democracies.
And unlike in our world, this Cold War ends with a bang rather than a whimper. “Coil Gun” takes place the opening night of WWIII, in which the Afrikaners use Australian backing for Indian nationalist rebels and refusal to submit to their vengeful demands as a casus belli to launch a nuclear first-strike on the United States.
What is the Afrikaners’ aim? Some Americans would claim this was the Confederation’s long-awaited bid for world domination, to impose their hierarchical social order and stern religion on all mankind. And it’s not like there wouldn’t be members of the Confederation’s ruling Theonomic Party eager “to bring the whole world into obedience to Christ.”
However, despite both sides’ lip service, the Confederation’s war aims are surprisingly limited for something that looks like a grab for all the marbles. They’re more interested in destroying all League members and allies on their immediate borders in Africa, Asia, and the Indian Ocean, either conquering them outright or reducing them to puppets. Returning Europe and the United States to the faith once for all delivered unto the saints, though a welcome thought, is not a realistic aim, and crippling the League of Democracies militarily and economically for a generation or more will work just as well. It’s true that history has seen conquerors try to take on everybody at once (most fail sooner or later, but some do well), but most conquerors have far more limited aims. Not only are the Afrikaners generally a prudent people, but picking a fight with the Chinese Empire (a neutral Great Power they’re sparred with before) at the same time they challenge this world’s NATO (spanning Europe, North America, and Japan) would daunt all but the most deranged.
Unfortunately (for the Afrikaners), as depicted in “Coil Gun,” things don’t work out. Always remember how no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. In this case, despite the Afrikaners shooting first, the League of Democracies’ orbital military infrastructure is able to not only withstand their attack and prevent significant damage to their respective homelands but totally devastates the Afrikaners and their allies. This is what happens when you don’t educate most of your population to the degree needed for them to reach their full potential and when you have to spend lots of resources on the instruments of war and repression rather than on science.