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Author Topic: How To Decide Which Countries Are Playable  (Read 558 times)

bayonetbrant

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on: April 13, 2024, 08:45:13 AM
Interesting thoughts here from Clint Warren-Davey on how to decide whether or not a certain country should be "playable" at the scale of the game

https://twitter.com/Clint_Davey1/status/1779069500559905210




So that you don't have to click thru to the tweet, here's the text from it
Quote
I find the US military organisation of "Combatant Commands" extremely useful when thinking about geopolitics.

The US divides it's military between 6 geographical commands, leaving aside space, cyber and special forces.

Now, from the Congress of Vienna in 1814 to the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, there were numerous ways of categorising "great powers" - a real, legal term in international law. Great powers in 1814-1914 generally included Germany, Austria-Hungary, France, Russia and Britain. From 1918 onwards things get a bit contested. For example, is France still a great power after Dien Bien Phu? Is Russia still a great power after 1989? Is Japan a great power today, in 2024?

In today's world, I would define a great power as this: a country that could deploy and sustain at least a Division in 2 or more regions on the US military Combatant Command map.

Think about it. The Division is still the smallest unit which can affect strategic level outcomes. For a point of comparison- my own country, Australia, can deploy the equivalent of a single Division if we have to, and probably just in our own region (Asia-Pacific). We are a regional power, not a great power.

A country which can deploy and sustain a Division in, say the Middle East (USCENTCOM) and Europe (USEUCOM) is undoubtedly a great power. Russia fits this description.

By this definition, I would classify the following counties as great powers in the 2020s:
USA
Russia
China
France
India
Turkey
Japan

There are a few that might surprise you on this list. France is one. I know the French have debates about whether they are still a great power or not. But, France is the only European country which could deploy a Division to Europe, Africa or the Asia-Pacific if it really had to. For example, France maintains 5-7000 troops and a naval squadron in the South Pacific, in its former colonies. It has the ability to deploy and sustain a Division-sized force in this theatre. Germany couldn't. I don't even think the UK could.

Similarly, countries like Iran do not make the cut as great powers. Despite its large military and grand ambitions, Iran is limited to intervening in the Middle East, within the jurisdiction of USCENTCOM. Iran, by my definition, is a regional power.

So, what do you guys think of this definition? It's not just an observation about geopolitics, its a key consideration in my next wargame design where I want players primarily commanding great powers.

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bayonetbrant

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Reply #1 on: April 13, 2024, 08:48:38 AM
I'm not convinced Japan belongs on the list, but willing to be convinced

The main reason Turkey is on the list is b/c it happens to straddle 2 COCOM lines - EUCOM/CENTCOM
But interestingly, that same status is not applied to Egypt

In neither case, though, do I think they should actually be "great powers" just through the accident of fortuitous geography

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GaryMc

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Reply #2 on: April 13, 2024, 09:14:32 AM
Isn't India kind of in the same position?  Obviously they are in PACCOM, but it's hard to see them deploying outside of that other than CENTCOM.  They have the forces, but I didn't think they had the kind of logistics to deploy outside of their immediate neck of the woods.



bayonetbrant

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Reply #3 on: April 13, 2024, 09:51:59 AM
Isn't India kind of in the same position?  Obviously they are in PACCOM, but it's hard to see them deploying outside of that other than CENTCOM.  They have the forces, but I didn't think they had the kind of logistics to deploy outside of their immediate neck of the woods.

That's probably true, but they also have a MUCH bigger geo footprint than Turkey or Egypt, plus they're nuclear.

Just bc I was curious, I went a looked up some info on their overseas deployments

They do have a few bases outside their country
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overseas_military_bases_of_India
but most are listening/surveillance types


They've also got about 4500 troops deployed in Africa on various missions in support of the UN, plus another 1500 or so in the MidEast

So it seems like they can definitely do some brigade-level deployments, but could they ramp up to a sustained div-level one?  Maybe?

Like Japan, I think I'd be willing to be convinced either way.

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