The Closest Passed Security Council Resolution in History
Written by Maowi
Link to Article in EBC
Proposed in October 2020, Condemn Raionitu holds the record of being the closest ever Security Council (SC) resolution to pass, scraping through with 50.3% of the vote. Raionitu is a senior member of The Black Hawks and the Condemnation sought to recognise their prolific raiding activity, mentioning their use of infiltration tactics to seize regions, their delegate toppling to prevent a Liberation proposal coming to vote, and their training of new members of The Black Hawks.
The vote was a nailbiter, with votes against the resolution leading the way for a significant stretch of the four-day voting period. In fact, delegate votes in favour never overtook delegate votes in opposition at any point - the balance was tipped by individual voters, who initially were extremely evenly split but gradually skewed in favour.
Credit: r3naissanc3r http://cerulean.nsr3n.info/wa_vote_records/world/sc/2020_10_12_condemn_raionitu.html
Europeia's Information For Voters recommended voting in favour, but Europeian citizens were evenly split (seven in favour, seven against, one for an abstention, and one present). Then-delegate Aexnidaral lodged their vote in favour 16 hours into the vote. Discussion on the Europeian forum thread revolved around what it means to be Condemned in the SC.
In recent years, the prevailing view has been that Condemnations for raiders are badges of honour, presented to the SC in outraged language to fit what some see as the "in-character" nature of military gameplay - i.e. the defenders are the heroes and the raiders are the villains. Historically, some defender regions even adopted the blanket policy of voting against raider Condemnations simply to deny them recognition and publicity. This tension was the cause of disagreement within Europeia - some thought it was perfectly suitable for Condemnations to serve as trophies for raiders, while others believed that this cheapened other, more serious Condemnations or made it seem as though the interregional community was directly denouncing raiding.
Meanwhile, in The North Pacific 24 citizens voiced support for the resolution, one voted present, and none expressed opposition; commenters seemed to view it as an uncontroversial recognition of a deserving nominee, in line with wider perceptions of the Condemnation function.
Discussion on the SC forum thread was also largely based on the view of Condemnations as badges of honour for raiders. A variety of subtleties were at play in the different opinions expressed. HumanSanity, who at the time was delegate of 10000 Islands, argued against what they viewed as the use of the SC as a raider hall of fame and contended that raider Condemnations incentivised raider activity. Others sought to refute this claim, bringing up the idea that while raiders do view Condemnations as something to strive towards, many in the wider NationStates world view them as truly condemning raiding and may be turned off from raider organisations because of the perception they have formed of them from SC resolutions.
Another perspective was offered by SherpDaWerp, an author in the SC and in the Issues scene. While they were not categorically opposed to raider Condemnations, they believed that the particular infiltration tactics used by Raionitu (such as their raid of Shadow Proclamation) were a dishonourable manipulation of communities that did not have the military gameplay experience to protect themselves, and were therefore not worthy of SC recognition. This opinion was reinforced by Daytime to Night, also known as Numero Capitan, who said that "the act of raider infiltration creates mistrust in founderless communities. Once a region can't allow new members to progress and contribute out of paranoia that becomes a rot that destroys the community anyway, whether or not the individual is personally responsible for destroying the region."
The resolution's author, A Bloodred Moon (sometimes known as joWhatup or Jo), disagreed with the claim that founderless communities are unaware of the threats posed to them by military gameplay and pointed out that most of the activities mentioned in the resolution did not result in permanent destruction of regions.
In contrast, Roavin, a prominent defender, stated their position in favour:
With one day left of voting, Tinhampton sent a campaign telegram to around 1800 nations who had voted against the Condemnation, urging them to change their vote. Around this time, non-delegate votes against dropped slightly and their growth rate plateaued, while an increase in the rate of non-delegate votes being cast in favour is noticeable. However, some delegates switched their votes from being in favour to against, and delegate votes for the resolution saw only slight changes, while towards the very end of the voting period delegate votes against grew significantly.
With under three hours left to go, Sarah - who was delegate of the Rejected Realms - cast her 200-or-so votes against the resolution, giving "against" the lead by nineteen votes. India's World Assembly delegate, who had previously been voting in favour, followed suit. Sarah told the EBC that she "tended to vote late as a delegate in general," but had to leave this one to the last minute particularly because citizens of The Rejected Realms were also tied in their vote for some time, and internal debate closely mirrored the arguments made in Europeia.
The resolution was finally saved by Mikeswill flipping their fifty votes from against to for, just allowing the resolution to pass - a particularly surprising move, given Mikeswill's initial post about the resolution on their Regional Message Board: "These Condemn & Commend Resolutions are mostly a popularity contest and a waste of the World Assembly's time. It is not the Business of the World Assembly to Honour Nations. The WA is not a Beauty Contest. We would ignore these Resolutions were it not for the ridiculous precedent these Resolutions present." In response to the EBC's request for an explanation, Mikeswill simply reasserted their anti-SC stance.
The EBC reached out to the resolution's author, Jo, for comment. While several factors combined to make this vote particularly tight, Jo does not see it as a unique case, pointing to Condemn Ever-Wandering Souls. This was passed directly before Condemn Raionitu and was a recognition of the nominee's contributions to a variety of raider organisations, most notably The Black Hawks; its author was also a raider at the time. According to Jo the resolution "was also contested for a good bit, both due to controversy around the nominee and the defender strength," although the vote was certainly more clear-cut throughout than Condemn Raionitu. This is part of a wider pattern, according to Jo, related to the view that SC Condemnations celebrate raiders. "Basically, modern defenders have mostly adopted a mentality that any recognition granted to raiders is a negative. You can see it in liberations especially - they used to be more extensive, now they take great pains to be bland, template-like and to under no circumstances explain who's doing what for fear of recognising raiders."
No raider Condemnations have passed in the SC since Condemn Raionitu; however, Condemn Minineenee by Xoriet, Condemn Dalimbar by Giovanniland, and Condemn Wickedly Evil People also by Giovanniland have found a slightly different niche for Condemning players for actions that can be viewed as somehow nefarious in character. Each of these successful Condemnations focus on the nominee's orchestration of coups and destabilisation in various regions, particularly game-created regions, but were similarly viewed as a rightful reward for years of hard work and skill in achieving these sinister ends. Unlike Condemn Raionitu, all three passed comfortably, with more than 80% of votes in favour.
There have however been attempts at passing raiding-related Condemnations since October 2020 - three of them reached vote (Condemn Scardino, Condemn Lily, and Condemn Suspicious), but were emphatically defeated. In all three cases, the main objection seemed to be the quality of the writing.
In addition, Pallaith - a former delegate of TNP - recently posted a draft proposal to repeal Condemn Reventus Koth. Pallaith alleges that the target resolution's primary argument is that Koth was associated with infamous raider organisations, and the resolution is therefore not sufficiently compelling. Most of the ensuing debate centred on the perception that the proposal is a move from TNP in retaliation against The Brotherhood of Malice's recent aggression towards Stargate. While it is impossible to predict vote outcomes with any kind of certainty, the repeal is likely to have a fighting chance of passing upon submission, especially with TNP's votes and political heft backing it. Defender regions such as The South Pacific, The Rejected Realms, and 10000 Islands, which are likely to come out in support, also have significant sway in the World Assembly. They have well over one thousand delegate votes in total and hold additional influence through the Partnership for Sovereignty (PfS) voting bloc.
However, they cannot make or break proposals alone - for example, Commend King HEM passed by a very comfortable margin despite PfS' organised opposition. Independent regions will be instrumental if Pallaith hopes to counter probable opposition by regions close to The Brotherhood of Malice.
Should the repeal be successful, its implications for the SC are uncertain. It could fuel similar attempts to strike yet more raider Condemnations from the books, escalating the conflict, or it could simply remain a one-off response from TNP to the specific circumstances of the time.
As well as defenders possibly showing particular opposition to SC recognition of raiders of late, Jo suggests a mix of factors may have caused the recent drought of raider Condemnations:
Then there's the question of who even to condemn - condemnations of raiders must clear a decently high bar, from the way I see it: raiding isn't so uncommon, most major regions engage in it, so to warrant a condemnation one must have truly left a mark to make them stand out from others - you'll have difficulty passing a raider condemnation without a solid reasoning as to what they did to earn it. Good nominees are not impossible to find, for sure, but they're also not as easy to pass as defender commendations are. You'd need a solid nominee, and you need to put in quite a bit of work to pass a raider condemn.
Personally, I hold the view that if one sees the World Assembly as a legitimate interregional assembly, then it only makes sense to pass condemnations as statements of disapproval of certain in-character tactics/beliefs/actions (coups, raids, griefing, etc.), clearly defining what the interregional community believes to be right and wrong and specifically who is on the "wrong" side of things. I think condemnations absolutely should fit in, but ultimately that's dependent on both the voters and the authors bringing such proposals to the floor. And plainly, the latter is not something all that common."
Cretox, TNP's minister of World Assembly Affairs at the time of Condemn Raionitu, thinks that the current climate of the SC would not necessarily be prohibitively hostile to a well-written raider Condemnation.
However, linking back to TNP's thought process on Condemn Raionitu, Cretox told the EBC that "while TNP's interregional alignment has since shifted, I still believe that the criteria we used to evaluate that proposal would hold up today. Now, I obviously can't see into alternate realities and I can't accurately guess on hypotheticals. Were this proposal or one like it to be brought forward today, could there be a reason for us to oppose it on the grounds of regional interest or interregional politics? Possibly. Could such a reason outweigh the proposal's merits or at least cause us to take a more critical view of its writing (to go back to the similar proposals sinking due to their execution point)? Possibly. As I did then, I have full confidence that TNP's leadership will make a good decision on the matter should such a proposal come up today."
Editor's Note: "The Closest Passed Security Council Resolution in History" was originally published prior to the passage of Repeal: Condemn Reventus Koth.