Pyotr Zaivanovsky's keynote address to the CNF Strategic Summit, 18 January 2019
33:43 mark onwards
"....and that's why Prekovy, for all its tanks and bombers, won't take an inch of CNF territory. But there's still two countries that can upend the international order. Both are in Crataea, and they're right next to each other. One is Questers, and I don't think they're the ones to be worried about, for reasons I spoke about earlier." Slide transition to Taihei flag. "The other is Taihei Tengoku, and just look at that flag! If any flag keeps you up at night, it ought to be that one, no offense to any Taiheis in the audience. Are there any?" No hands go up. "No? None?"
"Anyways, let's continue. Since there's nobody from Taihei Tengoku in the audience I can say this without offending anybody: the Commonwealth committed two serious, even fatal, mistakes in '97. One was not burning Heian to the ground. I'm no warmonger, I don't even own a gun, I even think that Archibald Bumpington-Smyth is a loon like every normal human being, but him and the nutso Tairendians are right on this one. The other was demanding they pay for the damages in gold. Now this was sort of inevitable, because Common Law sorts think about money in terms of gold. But the problem with demanding gold instead of currency or land is that the only people who deal in gold are them and Prekovy, and nobody trusts Prekovy." Audience laughs.
"If they did that, the Taiheis probably would've done something clever but ultimately self-defeating, like manipulating their currency so half their GDP is domestic investment and when it comes time to transition to a consumption-based economy they don't know what to do and the entire thing collapses. Instead they did something clever and absolutely diabolical: they looked at their factories, they looked at their people, and then they turned around to the Praetonians and North Pointers and said: 'they're all yours for a bar of gold.' They sold part of their economy to better management, and conned the Praetonians into paying their own debt. And that's the story of how TVs got cheap, how your shirt is the price of a sandwich, how Taihei Tengoku never missed a debt payment, and how they will become a superpower by the midcentury." Slide transitions to a line graph.
"Here's a graph of Taihei GDP over time. You can see flat, flat, flat, flat all the way up to 1997, then there's a dip, and after 1999 it's suddenly increasing. And it's increasing real fast, I mean 'doubles every decade' fast, and there's no sign of stopping. The bigwigs there think Taihei Tengoku is kind of like a machine, and what happened in 1997 was that the cabal of super-smart monks and bureaucrats that run the place took a long hard look at the machine. They saw that it was broken, and it needed to be fixed before the debt collector came to repossess it. What they did was hit up the debt collector's brother, the master mechanic, who saw the potential in the machine and offered to pay to fix it in exchange for a cut of the profits. They got him on their side and it's been a weird, wonderful partnership ever since." Transition to bar graphs and pie charts.
"Here's a comparison of Taihei real GDP to its rivals in 1998, along with the foreign ownership of its economy. You can see they're both very low. On the right is the same thing, except now it's last year. You can see they're both higher. Three years ago the Taihei economy overtook Tairendia for the first time since 1923. Last year it was bigger than Flamaguay for the first time ever. This year it will overtake the Hanin economy again, except this time it's a unified Hanseom that just picked up seventy million people. In 2021 they'll outstrip both Varnia and Dumanum, and in 2022 it'll leap ahead of Questers. In 2029--ten years from now--Taihei Tengoku will be the world's largest economy by a comfortable margin, unless you put the entire Commonwealth together, and in 2039--twenty years from now--Taihei Tengoku will be the world's largest economy even if you put the entire Commonwealth together. The average Taihei will make in 2040 what the average Embreano makes now, so a Taihei Tengoku that is halfway there to becoming a developed country will be stronger than any Great Power on the planet." Slide transitions to a picture of skyscrapers, fighter jets, crowd of Yamato people, with the text "WHAT THEN?"
"Now what happens when the most powerful man in the world is this guy?" Transition to stock photo of bald-headed monk. Audience laughs. "Things get...interesting. Songia and Tairendia are toast, obviously, along with a probable Hakara. The Taiheis don't think they're real countries anyways, and now they can face them on what the Taiheis consider even odds, which is ten versus one." Audience laughs. "Hanseom is next, obviously. If they're smart they see the writing on the wall and suddenly become very polite around mainlanders, if they're stupid they become three or four new commanderies." Transition to a map of Crataea, with arrows fanning out to the north of Taihei Tengoku. "That's their old empire, their flanks, secured. The obvious next target, and the last place anybody will be able to stop them, is Questers. They'll be in a world of hurt over there. The Taiheis hold the high ground and their tanks and fighter jets are getting better. An entire generation of Praetonians will die there, trying to stop this from happening." Slide transitions to a broken ring. "And if they lose, the Commonwealth, the Iron Oryontic, the Ring of Power, the center of the world, the key geopolitical reality, of the last hundred years is gone. If that happens it'll be anybody's game at that point, but it'll be played by Taihei rules." Slide transitions to a classical Yamato painting of an aeolipile.
"I know what you're thinking. 'Pyotr, you're insane! Only the most imaginative pessimist will think of such things! What evidence is there that this could ever happen?' Well, I think this because it almost happened. Behind me is a painting, a little over a thousand years old, of a Yamato steam engine. A thousand years ago the ten largest cities in the world were all in Yamatai, with banks, with coal, with gunpowder, and with a steam engine. In other words, the Yamato, the most powerful civilization in the world then, had everything they needed to launch the Industrial Revolution, eight hundred years early. What stopped them?" Transition to another painting, one of a battle. "Themselves. Emperor died, had no kids, the nephews fought each other for three hundred years, burned down the libraries, died of plague." Transition. "Ulans burned everything down again before taking over the show, and when the Yamato saw Wallaseans for the first time they decided they've had enough of novelties and seceded from the world for two hundred years, before the Wallaseans they tried so hard to ignore mugged them and left them to cope with opium." Transition to a slide of a Yamato classroom. The shot emphasizes the extensive library of thick volumes available to young children.
"The Taiheis operate according to Lanchester's Square Law, which if you aren't a strategic analyst means the power of the group is the square of the sum of its parts. If you can't do math, it means the more of them there are the stronger they get. Their culture is about optimizing the process of forming large groups, getting someone brilliant to lead it, and then doing big things. There's nothing worse in their culture than being beaten by an individual or by a 'smaller' people, and you can bet they remember their history. You can also bet that the countries around them remember theirs too." Transition to map of eastern Crataea. Countries around Taihei Tengoku are linked by lines of multiple colors, and flags of Dumanum, Flamaguay, and Praetonia. "Every time whoever's on that subcontinent gets their act together it's bad news for everyone around them, and every time they break apart they've come back stronger. If you're on the edge your only option is to bring in enough outside muscle that just maybe you could fight them to a standstill, because in 2019 that's the best you can hope for. And there you have it, folks, the two things that have prevented us from all speaking Yamato. Other Yamato, and literally the entire world. I think the Yamato have stopped tripping over themselves, and if we're not careful, we might remove ourselves. Thank you for your time."
Applause. Standing ovation. Pyotr Zaivanovsky thanks the crowd and smiles. Pyotr Zaivanovsky exists stage left.