One of the responsibilities of a state, under the international system, is to provide protection for its citizens. That’s particularly important for a nation like Badgeria, which has unconventional economics and politics – historically nations trapped in aggressive forms of capitalism or fascism attempt to destabilize and conquer nations attempting to offer a more humane alternative. It is an unfortunate reality, but it’s a reality and Badgerians are, above all, realistic.
“You can tell a great deal about the purpose of a nations’ military by how it’s structured; by its logistics” [stderr] The Badgerians realized early on that an offensive military is vastly more expensive than a defensive military, so they focused entirely on making Badgeria difficult to conquer, extremely painful to hold, and an undesirable target, besides. Badgeria has modest mineral wealth, fairly good farm-land, and the spectacular vineyards where Badgerian Black Wine grapes flourish. Yet, Badgeria’s greatest defense is due to its non-accumulative economy: there’s nothing in Badgeria that’s particularly worth taking or conquering, there are no military secrets, there are no great accumulations of gold or valuables – a foreign power that desired to conquer Badgeria would mostly end up with a lot of art and wine, in return for massive casualties and a decades-long insurgency.
You Don’t Want This
Badgeria lifted its military strategy from Switzerland’s: invest purely in defense and take advantage of interior logistics. The Badgerian Department of Defense invested a great deal of time and energy in plotting fields of fire throughout approaches into the country, as well as critical locations internally, and has set up mixtures of concealed firing positions that can be manned, as well as remote-controlled firing positions. The remote controlled firing positions include things like cratering charges, anti-personnel charges, and cluster munitions. This is all very nasty stuff, and the Badgerians consider it an unfortunate necessity given that there are world-level superpowers that occasionally flex their muscles.
Remember what happened to the US troops in Iraq, when insurgents began destroying their patrols with emplaced improvised explosive devices (IEDs)? Imagine how much worse it would be if a military power was trying to occupy a country that had professionally installed, military-grade, munitions emplaced where there was no need for insurgents to be up at night digging and hiding explosives? Any given road intersection might be under covering fire from 1-2km away, with a wire-guided anti-tank missile or two, and an antipersonnel cluster munition or two hidden in the sewer system. The sewer systems, and urban subways of Badgeria were designed in consultation with military engineers in order to facilitate troop movement in the event the country is attacked; they are also designed for area denial, with charges in some locations to collapse tunnels if necessary. Again, Badgerians consider this all to be an unfortunate necessity, and the civilian population are fairly sanguine about it; they already expect that if Badgeria were attacked by a superpower, they would be devastated as a matter of course. The weapons and emplacements would be revenge.
Revenge is an under-appreciated part of international diplomacy. Several decades ago, Badgeria formed a mutual defense alliance with a number of other small nations. This alliance, named the “Small Nations Alliance” is based on the premise that when superior powers attack small nations, their actions are always “terrorism” – the members of the alliance have stated that any nation which attacks one of them will be subject to unconventional warfare attacks in return. The United States of America “freaked out” when North Korea joined the SNA in 2021 though one of the member-states of the SNA had already declared that it had a bio-weapons capability it would deploy as retaliation against any nation attacking one of the members. The WMD strategy of the SNA is something that the SNA states have repeatedly explained is “very unfortunate but necessary, when confronted with superpowers that have massive nuclear arsenals.” Israel is pointed to as a state that successfully navigated non-proliferation and WMD treaties by following a policy of deliberate ambiguity; the SNA have openly stated that their entire effort is to remain “not worth the bother.”
Badgeria combines its militia, its police, and its search-and-rescue service into a single organization, the Hoplites. Within the Hoplites, some sub-specialize – some are primarily Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and others are part-time militia. The various units of Hoplites specialize, yet cross-train; every Hoplite is trained in basic battlefield emergency aid, can handle small arms, get old people’s housecats down from trees, drive service vehicles safely, respond to drug overdoses, and talk down a drunk. All Hoplites are trained in civil law and must pass an annual exam in order to maintain their certification as a Hoplite. They are expected to take seriously the Hoplite motto: “Do the Right Thing” and generally see themselves as servants of (and allies to) The People. Having been in the Hoplites is a good ‘resume stuffer’ and joining the Hoplites for a time is a fairly common starter-career for a young Badgerian.
Other units of Hoplites have additional training, such as explosives and demolition, heavy weapons/anti-tank weapons, long-range rifle-shooting, or hostage negotiation, crowd control, and handling domestic disturbances. Typically, Hoplite service is a full-time job, though there is a reserve component, in which a relatively small annual maintenance training requirement translates to an annual salary. Within the Human Resources Department, preference is given to staffing positions within the Hoplites from currently enrolled Hoplites, so it’s fairly common that someone might start off as a demolitions engineer and wind up switching to the Foot Patrol.
The Foot Patrol is the general service branch of the Hoplites, and are expected to be jacks-of-all-trades. Members of “The Footy” are proud of their creative approach to problem-solving and maintaining order; they’re the front-line interface between the government and The People and that usually means helping rescue cats from trees or pushing a stuck car out of a snowbank more than it does kicking in doors and arresting criminals. There are, naturally, criminals in Badgeria, and the Foot Patrol usually does not get involved in dealing with dangerous people; though they collar vandals, street thieves and venture capitalists – non-violent cases that can be handled non-violently. Since the Hoplites have a wide variety of service-members, there are virtually infinite response capabilities for their commanders; most Badgerian wrong-doers are perfectly aware that if they get violent with a Hoplite, they are only a radio-call away from a national-level response, so they prefer to avoid causing a ruckus so serious that it triggers a response of armed militia.
Since so many Badgerians have served in the Hoplites in one capacity or another, there is a built-in presence of a para-military discipline with a command hierarchy. Normally, Badgerians are suspicious of command authority and hierarchy, but they understand that – when an emergency is happening – sometimes someone has to stand up and start giving orders. Hoplites have limited authority to command citizens, though other Hoplites and ex-Hoplites will tend to answer the call if it’s loud enough. The function of Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Guard, and Highway Patrol are all rolled up in the Hoplite’s Foot Patrol – some units of the Foot Patrol are joking referred to as “The Bulldozer Patrol” because they have heavy equipment, fire equipment, and rescue equipment. A Foot Patrol Hoplite can, on their own authority, summon assistance ranging from a tow-truck to a backhoe and a unit of combat engineers. Hoplites are carefully indoctrinated to understand and appreciate the idea of “minimal use of resources” and any of them that appear to have difficulty understanding that concept are mustered out by their commanders. “Do the Right Thing!”
The command structure of the Hoplites appears like a mixture between a corporate management system, with different departments and department heads, and a military command hierarchy with rank. Rank is earned through performance and seniority, and there is an expectation that orders will be obeyed by lower ranks – unlike a 20th century military, however, the expectation that all orders will be followed does not hold; Hoplites are employees of the government but are not its indentured servants – they can quit if they are given an order that is illegal or abusive, and they can complain to Human Resources if they believe that an officer is abusing their authority. Such complaints are taken seriously whether from a corporate employee or a Hoplite; all are equal before the law.
There is a special form of crime in Badgeria that did not exist in 20th century civilizations: Abuse of Authority. The reasoning is thus: since The People (in the form of the collective) vest authority occasionally in an individual, an individual that abuses that authority has committed a serious crime against society as a whole. It is fairly rare for someone to be accused of Abuse of Authority, but if such an accusation is made and upheld, the guilty party invariably gets a free ride to the border. As you would expect, Hoplites are particularly careful not to abuse authority, especially the commanders – but the same applies to corporate executives. A corporate executive that attempted to sexually harass an employee under cover of authority would be risking not just their career, but their citizenship.
20th century countries like The United States of America did a bad job of deciding whether their justice system was retributive, redemptive, or deterrent. In Badgeria, there is basically no effort to exact retribution against a wrong-doer: they are either getting a free ride to the border, or they are going to be very careful in the future, and not make that mistake ever again. There are certain categories of crimes (violence, Abuse of Authority, Embezzlement) that are considered irredeemably anti-social, and apologies are not accepted.
[Edit: I neglected entirely to mention how external emergencies are handled. The default is for the Hoplites to deal with emergencies with an eye toward keeping the situation from falling apart until the legislative process can take over. There are relatively few emergency situations that would not be the Hoplites’ purview to deal with in the short term, though it would be clear that the Hoplites are never expected to be a long-term solution for anything.]
Jury duty is a paid career in Badgeria; if one wishes to be a juror, one can enter the jury pool by signing up at any Human Resources Department office. Jurors are well-paid for each case they serve on, for some people it is their full-time job. Jurors are subject to accusations of Abuse of Authority, and are generally very careful to be impartial and accurate. Jurors must pass a proficiency test on the law, annually, to maintain their juror certification.
The Badgerian judicial system de-emphasizes witness testimony in favor of circumstantial evidence. It is widely recognized that people “mis-remember” things frequently, and there has been a great deal of debate about replacing the jury system with an artificial intelligence. Usually, The People prefer the idea of replacing all the lawyers with AIs, though the technology for that is not quite “there” yet.
One of the big problems that the United States had in the 20th century was a state-based model in which Police, Fire/Emergency, Medical/Emergency, Federal law enforcement, and Military each had separate communications infrastructures. During Hurricane Katrina, for example, there were ad hoc command centers in which desks were covered with a collection of radios, and operators had to translate telephone tag-style between law enforcement and emergency response. Badgeria’s Hoplites have a completely common infrastructure since they’re all the same organization. This was a concern for some of The People who do not favor “militarized police” but the Hoplites and the government explained that it was less “militarized police” than it was “civil defense” In the end, it appears to have worked out pretty well, while saving a great deal of money.
(All Greek courtesy of Google Translate; mostly I am just trolling for classicists)
This completes the exercise. I have placed a full link-page on Badgeria [stderr] for posterity, or something. I feel like I’ve been kind of self-indulgent, here, since it’s easy to come up with hypothetical civilizations (politicians do this all the time!) but actually doing it is another matter, entirely. Especially in an international system that holds a monopoly on political violence and that allows nations to treat their citizens as property. A place such as Badgeria could never arise, will never arise, unless there is some sort of horribly disproportionate power-change (think: the Q bomb from The Mouse That Roared) or a collapse so severe that all human civilizations experienced a great reboot.
Thank you all for your comments and thoughts; it’s been interesting and fun.