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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Le Pix

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Hello everyone. Apparently people still play this game! I used to have a couple AARs around here like the ever-unfinished Deseret AAR and the multiplayer AAR where I was Germany fighting a super imperialist USA. If you remember me and those AARs that's pretty cool. Personally, I'd quite like to forget them - my old writing is hard to read. :p Not that my current writing is much easier...

Speaking of writing I have other writing projects going on, but I found myself with an itch left unscratched by the other projects. Apparently between a sci-fi novel, a fantasy worldbuilding project and a Renaissance forum game, something was missing. And this AAR is the result of me trying to fill that niche. As a result however I consider this a very backseat project, so don't expect updates to be frequent. Do expect them to be substantial though - if I come around to write for this it'll be when I'm in the zone and writing for a few hours straight. So maybe it'll even out.

As for the AAR itself. I'm going to be playing Heart of Darkness 3.03 with the New World Order mod, in the 1992 start date. Victoria 2 isn't a particularly great wargame, and my playstyle tends to focus on what the game is good at: economics and internal politics. That said there will be plenty of room for violence and conflict, so if you're into the war side of things don't worry friend I got you covered. Just not the main focus of the narrative however. The mod also has a 1946 start date, but as this is prior to decolonization, I would not be able to play in the seemingly hopeless situation that I want to. Besides, 1992 is a fairly interesting date to start - and we'll get to that in a moment.

Speaking of hopeless situation we are going to play as an African country - Burkina Faso, or 'land of the honest folk' in the Mossi tongue. The goal of this playthrough is not to conquer the world (or so much even take over any territory at all by force) but rather to thrive and prosper as an African country against all odds. And the goal of this first episode is to show you how challenging that is going to be.

Lastly one final note. The events in this AAR will not always reflect actual game mechanics or anything, you could call it roleplaying. There are somethings in the NWO mod I don't like as far as mechanics, or where I feel something is missing for the narrative. Just worth noting in case you read something and go "but le pix, that's not how x mechanic works" I probably know. Don't worry. : D

=====================================================================================================================

Chapter I: A New World Order
Wherein I set the scene and relate our starting situation
January 1st, 1992. The world has changed seemingly overnight. The USSR has fallen apart, leaving the United States as the sole superpower in the world, and capitalism in turn the world's dominant economic system. The Cold War that has ravaged the world is over - but the aftermath has not been totally bloodless.

Campoare, military dictator of Burkina Faso, has had a change of heart. An awakening. The end of the Cold War, and the dawn of the new year, has left him with a lot of time to think. The world is different now, and what does that mean for Africa, and for his country, his people, that he staged a coup 5 years ago in the interests of protecting? Or at least, that's what he tells them.

Campoare pours over the map of the world, just to take in what all has changed in seemingly so little time.

In Europe democracy has worked its way through the Eastern Bloc. Spain, Greece, and Portugal became republics not that long ago in the grand scheme of things. Meanwhile, the former soviet republics are trying to adjust to their new world, while Yugoslavia, once among them, has completely splintered into its constituent states, and war has broken out. Germany has united (again) and must work to bring the East half up to standard with the West, but nonetheless is the economic heart and foremost power of Europe. Most relevant to Burkina Faso is however France - who exerts a great deal over the country, its former colony. Some would call this neo-imperialism, but everyone knows that France loses great power status early in the game and in turn its sphere of influence. In Burkina Faso the language of business, education, administration, and the lingua franca between the various different cultures is French, carried over long ago from our former colonial overlords.

All of which is just a roundabout way of saying that we are in the French sphere of influence.



North America is home to the world's only superpower, the United States, and also home to the person writing this - or well, not quite just yet, but his parents are alive. Cuba is one of the remaining few countries that openly profess Communism, while recently a Communist party was peacefully elected to power in Nicaragua, only to be forced to fight an intervention against this from the United States. That war ended a couple years ago... and Nicaragua still elected the Sandinista Front that remains in power today. Venezuela pretends to be socialist, but mostly just sells oil. Speaking of oil, Mexico is a newly - and rapidly - industrializing country that is trying to reduce its dependence on oil exports, which have in turn caused crime and corruption to be rampant in the country. Oh and Canada is basically paradise.


East Asia welcomes several new countries to the scene, mostly in central Asia, largest among them Kazakhstan, that have risen from the ashes of the old USSR. Afghanistan has repelled, after many years, a Soviet invasion. India and Pakistan hate each other due to border disputes and age-old rivalries. Iran was a prosperous and rapidly growing and modernizing country until the Islamic Revolution and subsequent ten years of brutal war with its neighbor in Iraq. Vietnam has defeated imperialists and consolidated its influence as the strongest power of the Indochinese peninsula, while joining China and North Korea as among the last Communist countries on Earth. Japan meanwhile is a bulwark of western democracy alongside South Korea and to some extent Taiwan - all of which are high-tech economies churning out weird things like video games and microchips and robots and other electronics and of course those Chinese Cartoons.Taiwan however is a point of contention - and some fear that this tension may lead to war, or at least proxy war, between the United States and its nearest rival in China.


Now we're looking a little closer to home. Central and southern Africa. Oh boy where do I even start. Angola, Mozambique, and Somalia are embroiled in devastating civil wars that seemingly have no end. Zaire is pretty much universally hated except by a few who support the current government, and some think it's likely that war will break out that will kill millions in genocides and famines. At least, that's what the court shaman tells me in his divinations of the future. Namibia has diamonds and German restaurants. Botswana has AIDS. Zimbabwe has runaway inflation and Mugabe, but also the best education system in Africa. Zambia has copper. Everyone else is about as useless and irrelevant as we are. What in the world is a Gabon?


Home. Africa, the cradle of human civilization, motherland of the Black Diaspora, a continent of diamonds and gold. Do I make it sound beautiful? Don't worry, maybe it has some scenic landscapes but it's kind of terrible. And that's kind of an understatement maybe. This area of the world, from Saddam in Iraq, Gaddafi in Libya, Mubarak in Egypt, to Campoare himself, is dominated by military dictators of all sorts. Morocco and Algeria hate each other and fight over sand. (No, literally). Tunisia is cute. Libya is the most developed country in Africa, with the best infrastructure on the continent. Just ask them about their cool canal systems and highways. Egypt and Nigeria are the most populated in Africa, but Nigeria far more so - the relatively small country has more people than massive Russia. Sudan is a little too Islamic for our tastes. They also have a civil war and everyone hates their leader for being a little too Islamic for their tastes. Ethiopia just finished shooting the Eritreans, who wanted independence, and thinks Somalia should really just chill out okay? Ethiopia is also becoming the political center of Africa, as the headquarters of the African Union and all that jazz.

Maybe in the past the place was kinda nice. Burkina Faso's northern neighbor, Mali, is named so because the French gave them Timbuktu (sorry, heh, Tombouctou :^)) an ancient and historic city of the old Mali, a descendant of Ghana, where the University of Sankore (actually a madrassa - a mosque and a university), a world-class institution, once stood and collected books from all around the world. Niger is even worse off than we are but they're called that because they're on the Niger river - but so is Nigeria? The only difference is that Nigeriens speak French and Nigerians speak English. Ghana is called that because the kings of Wagadu used to call themselves Ghanas - and white folks seem to have this tendency of naming places after the king's title. Ever heard of Peru? Exactly.

But the heirs to the ancient and illustrious Ghana Empire are not in Mali, and not in Ghana. But here, in Burkina Faso. Our capital is Wagadugu (you know, "kings of Wagadu") though the French like to add as many vowels as possible, so they call it Ouagadougou. This city was once the center of that empire. It's also pretty much the only place in our country that matters. Figures.

(EDIT: Double-checking my research shows that this Wagadugu was not the capital of Ghana - it had a similar name that got rendered the same way by the French. Sorry friends! So unprofessional...)

While there are two other continents, South America and Australia, they don't matter to Campoare. He has come around and found home again, and now it's time to ZOOM AND ENHANCE! to see just what home means. First, what is our economy. Or at least the mess we like to call an economy.


It means cows: so beef and leather. Cotton is grown along the banks of the Volta near Wagadugu and gold is mined in the west. Our economy is predominantly agricultural - this is not much different from the case in our neighbors.


(looks better on pdn... will fix next time!)
The good news: we have a factory. The industrial revolution started with textile mills and fabrics and stuff, and the pattern repeats itself here. We turn the cotton we grow into fabric useful for making clothes. The thing is we don't actually ... make the clothes, we sell the fabric to other people to make clothes with and then buy those clothes. Other people are getting richer of Burkinab sweat than we are. The other problem is that while the factory is doing quite well (not nearly as well as those numbers indicate) we do not produce enough cotton to meet its demand. Therefore most of its cotton consumption must be imported from other countries, cutting our profitability. If nothing else however it guarantees our cotton farmers have someone to sell to, even if raw cotton suddenly loses a lot of demand on the world market. Speaking of which, our fabric factory is outpaced by other fabric producers in the world, and so if for whatever reason the demand for fabric goes way down (and it will) our factory, and thus our livelihood, will suffer. Because in that case, countries will just buy from the larger producers, and not need to come so far down as landlocked ol' Burkina Faso. Observe:

For reference we make about 1/3 to at most 1/2 of Italy.

We have a gold mine, but for some reason no one wants to work there. Our farmers and miners are mostly unemployed - either the infrastructure can't support them or the landowners can't afford to pay them. They seem to work almost seasonally, and switch jobs often.

We have a lot of cattle. They are useful for food, and it does seem like Burkina Faso is, at least, self-sufficient in regards to food. That's good news. The bad news is that we don't use the cattle for anything useful. We can change that if we build a clothes factory, to make use of the fabric we are producing from our cotton, and a footwear factory, to use the cows for their leather. Then we can make a luxury clothes and footwear factory. The factories will 'feed' each other and provide bonuses to each others' throughout, and what's more at least some of the raw materials can be bought right here in Burkina Faso rather than abroad. With a clothes factory, we will be able to A) supply our peoples' own clothes, and B) give our fabric factory a domestic market so that it will always have someone to sell to. It's a great idea! Let's go take a lo-



Oh. Heh. Right. These things cost... money. And Burkina Faso doesn't have... money. Heh. I'm almost dying of laughter. Let's see how we can resolve Burkina Faso's budget problems.


Hmm. Well first things first, let's be honest here, Burkina Faso doesn't need an army. We'll reduce military spending as much as is possible under our current administration. Next!
Ah, education. How are we doing in that regard...

... Eh. Shrug. Good enough for right now. Education funding will stay as is.

Speaking of current administration... what administration is there? There are in fact, zero Bureaucrats in Burkina Faso, reducing our research points, and reducing our administrative efficiency down to 65% - all of which is just because we have a few techs that give admin efficiency researched. We are paying more money than we have to for everything because we're so inefficient at administrating this damn country. While we wanted to cut funding to stuff to save up enough money to start building factories, we need to fund this - in the long term it will pay off, trust me! We'll even start encouraging some of that 1.4% higher-educated folks to start being bureaucrats. Alright, good start.

Except that hardly fixes our budget problems. Looks like we'll have to raise taxes as much as our administration will allow, and similarly, the tariffs. This sucks because tariffs raise the price of goods substantially in the country. It will make it harder for Burkinabs to buy the clothes other people make with our fabric. But perhaps more importantly, our fabric factory will have to spend more money to buy the cotton it doesn't get from our own plantations. The maxing out of our taxes will make this problem worse because now our people have less money to buy those more expensive needs with. Oh well. We gotta do what we gotta do. To a better future! We can fix this, don't worry.

You know, just what are those administrative policies that are restricting what we can do with our budget? Time to take a look.

Wew lad. What a nasty place to be. Let's start with the ruling party:
Free trade is good, awesome actually, but we're not in a good position right now to use it.
Interventionism is tolerable (especially in this mod, where the player can still build factories, they're just more expensive) and probably for the best.
Secularized religious policy is good. We don't want Sharia law in Burkina Faso!
Our Citizenship Policy is good. Most anyone can become a citizen in Burkina Faso. Most anyone. More on that later.
Our Pro-Military policy is not quite what I want. It makes it so we have a minimum requirement on our military spending.

The "African Democratic Rally" is hardly the only party in Burkina Faso. There are about half a dozen others, but many of them cannot be appointed as the ruling party by our dictator because they are opposition parties or are banned in Burkina Faso. Interestingly, the communist party can be appointed to rule. Perhaps we can let them have a free hand for a while until they are no longer needed. They can drive reform forward really fast.

Speaking of, Burkina Faso's laws are backwards. There is no voting - we want to fix that. Pronto. Press and media are censored by the dictator to favor the ruling party. Our justice system favors severe punishments in the hope of deterring crimes from happening in the first place. We all know how that goes. Minorities, also known as people who are not Mossi, are considered inferior until proven otherwise. Only the primary culture can vote on this level. Bleh. Although women were crucial to the success of the revolution that put Sankara, Capoare's predecessor, in charge, and while some concessions were made to favor women, including outlawing female circumcision, we have extreme difficulty enforcing these laws. Might have something to do with our zero bureaucrats. Our voting system is perfect - Proportional is my personal favorite in the game. We also officially recognize Islam as the religion of Burkina Faso, but this has almost no in-game effect besides people rallying to change it. If you're gay, you will probably be hung. Tough luck.

(OOC: I'm ignoring the migration laws, since in real life Burkinabs migrate all the time. Also, in the game, the "better" policies are nearly useless, and we only have so much time to fix our political screen, so we have to prioritize. Also, disclaimer: any perceived reluctance to advance the LGBT tolerance policies does not reflect my personal opinion - the reforms don't make much sense, reducing your population growth and increasing your mobilization size. So, aside from roleplaying, I will be slow to do those. Sorry pals.)

In Burkina Faso our fabric factory is allowed to dump its... cotton waste?... into the Volta river and contaminate our drinking water. But I'm sure people wash clothes in that river, might account for at least some of the cotton contamination right? There are no safety standards, but that's pretty normal for a country just beginning to industrialize. Wages and work hours are unregulated, healthcare is nearly non-existent, children have little to no support and may be forced to work, the old and unemployed have zero support whatsoever, and perhaps worst of all, our education system requires the family to finance it. This means if you can't afford uniforms, books, writing utensils, etc. then you don't go to school. And guess what? Most people can't afford those things. :)

We have a lot of work to do gents! And the people know it.

The goal of the country is to develop. But there are many difficulties facing a developing country: our factories are not as good as those in the first world, and are more expensive to build as we require foreign expertise. But at least our farms and mines make a bit more than usual. If we mobilize our population for war, which probably won't ever happen - it will hurt our fragile economy even more than usual.

Speaking of our population - as the driving force behind our economy and our politics, perhaps its time to take a look at them.

Most people are rural farmers and ranchers. They probably do this for subsistence rather than to sell to other people. That'll change once we want to make leather boots though. ; ) A large percentage of our farmers are unemployed.
A few people are miners, mostly in the east. They are migratory and only work occasionally. Perhaps a jewelry factory to use our gold might be a good investment in the future. A large percentage of laborers are unemployed.
Teachers are 2% of the population - this is a decent ratio but should be much better. Education funding is poor, so they're not being paid well. Shrug.
Our landowners are important, as they are the pops that run the RGOs (our cotton plantations and cattle ranches) and pay their workers. Our unemployment is high probably because the landowners can't afford to pay the workers. Unfortunately we have resorted to making goods more expensive in our country and reducing the value of our exports, while raising the tax rate, so this problem is going to be even worse for a little while. Shrug.
Workers and clerks are our industrial employees, most of whom live in our one city. Together they make up about 1.3% of the workforce.
Soldiers are almost useless and don't matter at the moment. (Don't tell them I said that though...)

The dominant religion, since the Fulani Jihads of more than a century ago, is Islam. Christianity is also strongly rooted in the country with the French missionaries that arrived and built churches and held mass with us for many years. The game does not represent traditional African religions but that really should be about 10% of the pie chart.

The dominant culture is the Mossi. They are who gave the name to the country - Burkina Faso, 'land of the honest folk'. In their tongue. They are the single largest ethnic group and the only one that would be allowed to vote and is favored in getting an education and stuff. We'll have to fix that soon enough my friends. Note that African Minor is made up of about seven different groups.

The dominant issue is Moralism - an absolutist approach to religious matters. That will change with like, literally the first election, though. You can see quite a few people don't want a state religion, and a few more are strongly in favor of free trade. This is good, as it will help keep the current party in power, if we want it to stay. We definitely want Free Trade to stay.

Most people are conservative. You know what that means. The Nationalists are Mossi that want the Mossi to stay top dog in Burkina Faso. They want to protect their own people and give themselves advantages. Big meanies, the lot of them. Traditionalists are reactionaries. Socialists and populists might be useful occasionally. Liberals will make our factories even more expensive, and in our case they're also Protectionist, the opposite of Free Trade, the opposite of good.

The good news is that a few of our smart people are capitalists. It's actually a pretty decent number of them - they will be able to help us industrialize by building railroads and factories with their own money, rather than using ours. You saw how little we actually have.

There is one major obstacle to all these notions of progress. Let me introduce you to... Burkina Faso's military.

Look. The truth is, Burkina Faso does not need an army. Yet, as is the case with many African countries, while everything else is beyond backwards, our military is relatively advanced. Despite that, it is not well-funded (especially now) and very small. It's basically a bunch of bored guys with AK47s, a handful of RPGs, maybe an RPK, and a truck or two. These bored guys are led by a strangely distinctly Portuguese-named fellow who is actually quite competent all things considered. But back to the point - the army is unnecessary. If you wanted to invade Burkina Faso, you'd win. No ifs, ands, or buts. Gg ez. And we don't have any territorial aspirations of our own, and even if we did, our neighbors are all (mostly) stronger than us or protected by someone abroad. All the army does for us is get in the way and use force to get what it wants and exploit our own people. You can even see those filthy officers up there, getting their luxury needs while the rest of the country barely has a stable job and a regular meal. (Vic2 UI reading tip: The full wine glass means they're getting all their luxury needs.)

Furthermore the military-industrial complex is our a academic administration. It gives a bonus to researching army and navy stuff but a penalty to culture and commerce. We have no use for army and navy stuff, and its penalty to things actually useful for us means the military-industrial complex is, in fact, hampering our development goals - not helping. We'll have to change that out as soon as possible.

Anyway, since this army is pointless, let's dismiss ol' Itamar and stop paying for pointless soldiers, right? Yeah, easy, I just gotta click a button...

Not surprisingly, it seems that General Itamar here doesn't want to "resign" just yet. And he's right, he can take us out of power any time he likes. Suppose we'll leave him be then. We may yet find another way to get rid of him...

The topic of the academic administration brings us to our last topic to explore today: SCIENCE! in Burkina Faso. Mainly, we have to look at things that will help our uhm... what's it called... the crop thing. Google doesn't exist yet and we don't have any bureaucrats to ans- AGRICULTURE. Right. So what are the latest developments in agriculture?


This is good. It would raise our cotton production, which will help our development goals. It also comes with two inventions that increase overall farming output. Start research immediately!

That will take a few years because we're a useless country, but we're eager to get going so what should we research after Agriculture? Maybe something in biology, that seems a relevant topic.



The next technology on the Agenda.

And now, is time for end, no more will I sang. TO BE CONTINUED
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Very informative first post. Most interesting.
 

Ab Ovo

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Spain, Greece, and Portugal became republics not that long ago in the grand scheme of things.
While I'll admit that, at game start, the Greek and Portuguese republics were relatively new (and I do mean relatively, as the Portuguese Republic was established in 1910); by 1992 it was over fifty years since the collapse of the Second Spanish Republic, and His Majesty King Juan Carlos was reigning as a still-quite-popular monarch -- having a good two decades until scandals and economic woes will finally overcome the people's goodwill and pave the way for Felipe VI.

Other than that? Marvellous stuff.
 

Le Pix

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Portugal became a republic in 1910, and then there was a coup that installed the Estado Novo in 1933. I mean, yeah, technically, in name, it was a republic, in the same way that Burkina Faso is a republic. But it was a repressive regime. Same can be said for Spain, though the Second Republic lasted like 5 years.

They had brief spurts of republic before, but it was in the 70s that they would actually remain in the form we know them today, with the Carnation Revolution in Portugal in 1974 and the death of Franco and Juan Carlos' constitution in 1975 for Spain. It's at this point that I would consider these countries free democracies. But I used the word republic. So of course you are right, and maybe I should have phrased it differently. I also know next to nothing about Greece's situation besides that they have a civil war in the 1946 start date, and I just added them because it sounded about right. You can chock that one up to ignorant Burkinab president I suppose :p

EDIT: Re-reading, I think I just didn't want to use the word democracy so soon after the last one.
 

Le Pix

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Chapter II: The Unemployment Crisis, New Constitution, Public Education, War in Zaire, Fall of France
Wherein Burkina Faso takes its first steps toward progress
Campoare's awakening has lead to him making a decision he never thought he would think to make. In January of 1992 he announced his intention before the national assembly to resign as President of Burkina Faso, in favor of the Socialist party, on the condition that the socialists would abdicate their power should fair and free elections choose to depose them. The socialists agreed, so the plan went into motion. However, Campoare wasn't leaving just yet. He would turn over power in December of 1992, to give him time to tie up some loose ends and figure out a way to convince the military to not intervene to crush his plans. In the meantime however he encouraged the country's political leaders and activists, even those who opposed him, to come together and draft a new constitution for Burkina Faso. They have a whole year to work it out, so it is hoped that they will be able to compromise effectively.

(OOC: Maybe this doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it's the only way I could think of to rationalize in-game events. As you will see however I try to have the country react in a way I think would make sense.



(except dissidents have been represented in the commission, and there has been no plebiscite yet. :))

The military did not openly oppose the resignation of Campoare, it turns out. They were quite upset with him for cutting their salary and paying only the minimum for the maintenance of their weapons, vehicles, and supplying of ammunition. General Itamar said nothing of it, as though the military didn't care. But behind closed doors, the president knew that they would meddle in the new constitution - attempt to make it so that it in some way favors them, or more likely simply force their way into the national palace in Ouaga when everything is finally done. Hopefully something comes to mind within the next year to deal with the army, or Burkina Faso may lose any progress it makes over the next year...

Meanwhile, China invades India to claim a section of near-useless Alpine territory in Tibet, joined by North Korea, apparently.


In mid-February, Campoare has a meeting with the leader of the socialist party. Monsieur Nonramogo is at first quite courteous, but he strikes Campoare as extremely odd as he begins to speak nonsense. He talks about building a wall to to keep Nigerien workers in bush taxis from passing through Burkina Faso on their way to work in the Ivory Coast. He rants on and on about how the ECOWAS is the worst trade deal, maybe ever. It becomes clear to Campoare that this guy is a lunatic. Is it really for the best to turn over power to this man and not General Itamar?

Almost immediately the national assembly begins to dislike Nonramogo. He means well, but everyone is just grateful that he'll only be around for a year. The rest of his own party doesn't even like him. Hardly an ideal situation to be in, but there's no other way.

In Europe France is losing great power status, joined in this decline by the United Kingdom. Experts think that they will be superseded by Ukraine and Pakistan within the next year or two.

(With a world ranking of 15, France will lose great power status in a year.)


The only one really relevant to Burkina Faso's concerns, and by extension those of the rest of the African continent, is France's decline. With France's loss of its status, it will no longer have Africa firmly in its sphere of influence. A wide swath of Africa is part of the Francophonie. Observe:

Obviously, within that sphere is Burkina Faso. Campoare and the national assembly are unsure what this means, but it is probably bad news. France's sphere provides a common market for Africa, a nearly guaranteed buyer for our cotton, gold, and fabric - if not France, than one of our neighbors. Soon that will go away.

But economic woes strike Burkina Faso well before any of this matters. Unemployment has suddenly skyrocketed, in part due to the tariffs and tax rate but mainly rapid price drop of raw cotton, leading plantations to be forced to lay off hundreds of workers. The cattle ranches are also affected, but the national assembly is unsure why this is the case.


The fabric factory is also impacted by this crisis, however the consequences are more minor. The fabric market throughout the world seems to have plummeted in production, while Burkina Faso's has gone down only slightly in comparison. Although cotton production has gone down in Burkina Faso, the factory has somewhat benefited from the overall price drop - and for the moment we are still in France's sphere of influence and able to buy cotton directly from our neighbors. Relative to the rest of the world, Burkina Faso's standing in the fabric industry, paradoxically enough, almost seems to have increased!

(While Italy has nearly doubled, we're about half of China. Can you believe that!? One small underdeveloped factory in an African country could account for just under half the Fabric output of China!)

This does little to alleviate the plight of the poor, however. Food riots erupt outside the national assembly house. The people demand food. Whatever the cause of it, sufficient food can no longer be bought domestically, forcing Burkinabs to import their needs. With unemployment skyrocketing, import tariffs put in place (unfortunately, Victoria II is not in-depth enough for me to -not- tariff basic foodstuffs like you would be able to do in reality :p), and high taxation, the common people cannot afford their own needs anymore.

The situation has not yet evolved into a complete famine, but in the long-term this could be the case. The more pressing issue, at least for the assembly, is the chanting outside, and the growing anger in their voices. Something must be done. The tax rate on the poor is reduced (you can see that in the image above) but both the ministers of the ADR (African Democratic Rally) and the socialists impose a minimum level on the new tax legislation, even though Campoare is almost certain that the government revenue would still be a surplus if the poor were completely exempt from it. To compromise, price controls on everyday foods like rice and millet are imposed, thanks to the help of Burkina Faso's new albeit tiny caste of bureaucrats.

Almost immediately this has some positive, albeit modest, effects. The percentage of the poor going without life needs drops from 55% to 30%, and the riots mostly die down. This is hardly a solution to the problem as long as tariffs remain high, but unfortunately the tariffs are needed. Burkina Faso needs the funds, and badly.

Unfortunately, beyond that, there is little more the government can do but wait it out. Hopefully the world economy stabilizes soon. We can at least take comfort that we're not the worst off in Africa. Angola petitions the UN for peacekeepers to come and help them deal with rebels, while war breaks out in central Africa as Rwanda, along with Burundi and Uganda and with the support of the French, invade Zaire to install the candidate for Zaire's president that they happen to support.




Burkina Faso is among the African countries asked to send peacekeepers. Campoare considers the request. It would be a nice way to get rid of General Itamar for a while. The problem is that he is likely to return soon, and given that Burkina Faso can barely afford to maintain its static army at home in its own capital, the expenses will be much higher when they are off on campaign in distant Angola. Itamar will not be pleased to return after months at war with barely any supply from home. And he'll gain experience, and the troops will grow in loyalty to him rather than in protecting the country.

Besides, its a logistical impossibility. Burkina Faso is landlocked and there isn't much infrastructure connecting Ouagadougou to Luanda by land. Campoare decides not to join the UN's efforts in Angola.

Although equally distant and equally inadvisable to get involved in, Burkina Faso watches the war in the jungles of the Congo with some interest. Some fear it may drag the rest of the continent into war... maybe Burkina Faso will need an army afterall? Thanks to the state's extensive control over the media, Campoare is able to get a team of war correspondents together to travel to Zaire and document through television the ongoing war. For purposes of intelligence but also to perhaps provide Burkinabs a picture of what things could be at home.

Speaking of the UN, an international commission charged with collecting evidence of climate change has sent a delegation to Burkina Faso to document the desertification happening here. The scientists leading the commission have proved that the advance of the Sahara southwards has been partly caused by our farmers's overgrazing, diminishing the topsoil and endangering the Sahel grass, and contributing to drought, agreeing with our own hypothesis. They tell us that we need to regulate our cattle grazing practices and better organize our agricultural infrastructure (mainly by actually having some, and actually having some way to organize it). Of course, with our ~40 bureaucrats it's hard to organize any such efforts just yet.


In the meantime, they tell us about a world-wide initiative to phase out the chemicals in hairsprays and other products that are causing the depletion of the ozone layer. As we Burkinabs are witnessing the negative effects of climate change right before our eyes, the national assembly agrees to put the regulations in place, despite the costs involved with doing so.



Soon enough, December approaches. The national assembly is restless as it awaits Campoare to declare his resignation. His decision to do so, once an open secret, is now public knowledge. The people are furious as he turns control over to the socialists, known as the Congress for Democracy and Progress. Burkina Faso's neighbors suddenly seem colder and more distant in diplomacy while France condemns their rise to power, however temporary it is claimed to be. The African Union denounces Burkina Faso, perceiving recent events as barely any better than a coup, as it is against the wishes of the Burkinabs. All of this was expected - perhaps foreign as well as internal pressure will be good motivations for the socialists to honor their agreement. A Protectionist party that supports an Atheist state will not last long. They must make as much progress as possible with their time or face plunging Burkina Faso into civil war - and it may well happen anyway!



Since Nonramogo demonstrated himself before the national assembly earlier this year, the CDP has reformed and appointed a new leader. Wendmi Soukare* steps up to the stage just after Campoare departs. He delivers his inauguration speech before the national assembly, broadcast on TV and radio throughout Burkina Faso. In it he spoke the words:

"We live in uncertain times. Desertification threatens our very existence. We saw this firsthand this year as our country descended into deep depression. Famine was only barely avoided. The scientific evidence points to these events, however, as being man-made, and that there is something we can do about it. We are not helpless.

However, my fellow Burkinabs, this is not a problem that can be solved with an AK47. It cannot even necessarily be cowed into submission with money. And even if it were, AK47s and money are things we so happen to lack. It is something that we can solve only through Man's greatest strength: his mind. But the minds of Burkina Faso are limited in scope, locked in blissful ignorance. We must enrich these minds and grow strong through Knowledge, or perish."



* = probably not Mossi naming convention

It is signed into law that all children between the ages of 7 and 17 must attend school. The education system, based on the French model, will not exclude anyone - Mossi or not. Taxes will now cover the costs that used to fall on the families themselves.

This reform is hardly perfect. There are too few teachers in Burkina Faso and too few schools. There is a lot more work to do. But it's a start.

Meanwhile, at the army base in Ouagadougou, General Itamar watches these events with great anticipation...

TO BE CONTINUED
 

Bullfilter

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I have subscribed - my first V2 AAR watched. I don't have the game yet, let alone this mod, but the AAR looks interesting, especially your choice of country and approach. I'm looking forward to an interesting story, best of luck.
 

Le Pix

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Pakistan makes sense. It's a nuclear power, and one that has stood toe-to-toe with India and succeeded (though to be fair the Indian Army is a lot less strong than its numbers might indicate) Ukraine I don't understand nearly as much, especially since they are apparently rated higher than Pakistan :p

Brazil is also in the running up, I forget if they took Ukraine's spot or not by now though (I'm a few months ahead of the AAR). Turkey isn't doing so bad either.
 

Bullfilter

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In this game, had Ukraine traded it's nukes away yet for those junk bond guarantees of Crimean sovereignty etc? Perhaps that boosts their status?
 

Le Pix

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I suppose in real life that doesn't happen until 1994, where Ukraine gives up "the 3rd largest nuclear stockpile in the world" which includes 46 ICBMs. They were also initially perceived as one of the better-off former Soviet republics but that was apparently a bad prediction as their GDP nearly collapsed in the 10 years that followed. This all according to Wikipedia of course.

I don't know if the mod has events for that or if it represents nukes at all (I've only played as third-world countries :D) but in the AAR we can assume Ukraine still has its nukes, I suppose, going by the 1994 date.
 

Bullfilter

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I suppose in real life that doesn't happen until 1994, where Ukraine gives up "the 3rd largest nuclear stockpile in the world" which includes 46 ICBMs. They were also initially perceived as one of the better-off former Soviet republics but that was apparently a bad prediction as their GDP nearly collapsed in the 10 years that followed. This all according to Wikipedia of course.

I don't know if the mod has events for that or if it represents nukes at all (I've only played as third-world countries :D) but in the AAR we can assume Ukraine still has its nukes, I suppose, going by the 1994 date.
Well here's hoping Burkina Faso doesn't need to contend with thermonuclear war - enough problems to be getting on with :eek:
 

stnylan

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When everything needs reform, almost any reform should so (hopefully). Education sounds like a good place to start.
 

Xenozis

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I'm really interested in a game without constant warfare, I try to do one with little fighting but I always end up bored :/
 

Le Pix

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Chapter III: Economic Woes, Food Security, and Army Mutiny
Wherein Burkina Faso must endure crisis
Also wherein there are fewer screenshots than usual​

The creation of a public school system in Burkina Faso is certainly good news. The reform is celebrated and enthusiasm for the future seems high, even if most people may detest the socialist party. It goes into effect January of the new year, 1993, and the national assembly congratulates Wendmi on his achievement.

But all is not as it seems. The education reform has, in actuality, changed very little. In cities like Ouagadougou and Bobo Dilasso most people were already sending their children to school and financing it themselves. The government taking on the costs of education has done little for these people besides save them a bit of money. Meanwhile, in the villages the typify the rest of the country, despite law requiring minors to attend school, attendance has not changed at all due to the fact that there simply are no schools to attend. Either that, or the rural setting makes it unreasonably difficult to get to school every-day: it is hardly ideal to send your child onto a bush taxi so often.

Worse yet, some new challenges have shown themselves. In the outlying slums of the cities school attendance has increased dramatically. While this sounds like good news, in some areas this means Burkina Faso’s woefully underpaid, undersupplied teachers are facing an average classroom size of 53.2 students to one instructor.

A picture of a school in a slum of Ouagadougou, illustrating the problem facing teachers

In an attempt to resolve the problem school districts have taken to re-zoning students to schools that are far away from the student’s home, ignoring the problem of transportation that every Burkinab faces. Where there are roads, there are few cars. Most Burkinabs are heavily reliant on “public” transportation, in the form of so-called ‘bush taxis’ that cram dozens of people onto at best a small bus, but more commonly a small van or pickup.

A perhaps extreme example of a bush taxi

Censorship of the media is technically still legal in Burkina Faso, but in recent times the government has taken a very lax stance towards doing it. The new constitution already demands freedom of the press, and though it has yet to be finished, let alone ratified, Wendmi is not eager to censor, as the increasingly-conscious Burkinab population would catch on the – very obvious – tailoring of the media to favor the CDP.

And so comes the critique. In the cities, television covers the effects of the reform as angry teachers and grateful parents are interviewed, and paint a poor picture of the reform’s aftermath. In the rest of the country, political radio shows are quick to discuss the reform and how most villagers don’t even know that such a thing has come to pass. The move is generally criticized as “all talk and no results.” The people insist that if you’re going to take one step in that direction, then you might as well go the extra mile and actually start paying your teachers a living wage and start building schools, otherwise nothing will actually come of it.

Despite the pressure, the ever so short-sighted national assembly is keen on using that money for building manufacturing centers and roads, arguing that students will need good jobs when they are done with education, and that if Burkina Faso’s abysmal infrastructure is not improved, then it won’t matter how well-supplied and numerous the teachers are.

To some extent, both sides are right. But the fact that a socialist spokesman for the CDP said it and not a conservative means the country has largely ignored these words and continues to critique the ruling party, perhaps overly harshly.

But this is not the only thing being ignored. While the focus of the country’s attention is on the education reform, most people are ignoring the economic recovery that the country has made – whether it’s CDP’s doing or not.

Unemployment in the cattle ranches and cotton plantations is still high – but somewhat less so. It will be some time until cattle herds recover from the desertification of last year, as although regulations have been put in place to fight overgrazing, grass will take quite some time to return across the Sahel. Cotton has risen in demand on the world market once again, and so the plantation owners have been able to hire more workers in response thanks to the income boost. Cotton production has in fact increased since prior to the unemployment crisis.

The most obvious symptom of recovery, however, is in the country’s emerging industrial complex. The fabric processing facilities of Ouagadougou can no longer take on additional workers – not due to a lack of money for hiring, but due to the factory no longer having any open positions. Now there are a few hundred potential industrial workers that will have to wait for an opening. The fact that the fabric factory is fully staffed helps our cotton plantations as well – it will increase demand for cotton in the country and by extension ensure that landowners are actually making money from their fields. Although some talk of expanding the fabric industry to accommodate the unemployed, the national assembly instead approves a plan to subsidize the factory, to ensure that fluctuations in the world fabric economy will not adversely affect (at least, to the same extent) the cotton growers. While this means that hundreds of workers will have to remain unemployed, it also means that –thousands- of farmers will –keep- their job. A sound move, it would seem.

One unexpected piece of good news is the announcement of a new rail line being constructed in the Wahiguya province. It will link Ouagadougou with Djenne in Mali, and in turn Bamako and by extension even Algeria.

Burkina Faso’s small caste of capitalists and business owners primarily focus their investments in expanding their empires in France and other European countries – so whenever they do actually turn their attention back home, it’s usually for film festivals and fashion shows. Until now. For whatever reason, perhaps the vague notion of progress in the country, they have been inclined to build something and invest in the country’s infrastructure. They request government support for their project, however the national assembly believes they’re doing just fine on their own.

Economic recovery has not benefitted everyone however – and in fact the economists might be speaking too soon. The price controls put in place to avoid famine has hurt the market at Ouagadougou – one of the largest in West Africa, and an important center of trade between Bamako, Niamey, and Bouake, in Mali, Niger, and the Ivory Coast, respectively. In one of the rare news segments that isn’t covering the War in Zaire or criticizing the education reform, the media has found another thing to complain about.

For a few months, the price controls kept the cost of food low enough in Burkina Faso that the people who didn’t provide their own (as many could no longer do, because of desertification) could afford to eat semi-regularly, despite being recorded as unemployed. (It’s likely they earned money in other ways). But now, vendors and food traders are complaining that they are forced to sell food at a deficit because of the strict regulations. As a result, fewer and fewer such people are setting up stalls in the markets of Ouagadougou, finding other sources of income instead. This was not totally unexpected – the price controls were only supposed to be a temporary measure.

On the other hand there is also pressure to keep the price controls in place, for obvious reasons. The national assembly fiercely debates what to do about this – keep the price controls in place, and people will starve. Get rid of them, and people will starve. There has to be another way. Some suggest subsidizing food producers and maintaining the price controls until the food situation recovers, but -

But the sharp report of a Kalashnikov rifle burst not far outside the assembly hall abruptly stops the arguing and debating. The statesmen look about, puzzled, as if in disbelief that they had just heard it. But before anyone could ask “did you hear that?” another, longer burst cuts across the air. The congressmen get up to peer through the window, to see more than a dozen soldiers firing off their rifles into the air.

At this point General Itamar stands up, the brushing of his clothes and the clapping of his boots against the tiled floor overpowering the silence that had taken over, and soon enough all eyes were on him.

“We can do this the easy way, and talk, or the hard way, and shoot,” Itamar says, gesturing to the gunfire outside.

“What do you want?” Wendmi took position in front of the others, who recoiled in fear.

“My soldiers go unpaid. They barely get rations anymore, and hardly enough ammunition for their weekly exercises. The conditions in the barracks are deplorable. Security at the arms depots is lacking.” Itamar raised a finger for each point. “Our equipment is decades old. My officers are being put on trial unjustly. So, I demand a set of guarantees for me and my troops. You will grant them, or I will make them myself.”

Wendmi sighed. “We have proper channels for this kind of thing.”

Itamar smiled. “And if I had used them, I would have been ignored.”

And so began the talks. Most of the national assembly was just relieved that Itamar had not decided to simply take them hostage and declare himself president in a coup. Apparently he was, quote, “Not interested in having to deal with an imminent famine,” and “The public relations nightmare.” That would result from it. But he had heard the complaints of his troops, and promised them that he would speak with the assembly about changing things.

Grudgingly, the assembly approved an expanded defense budget, allocating funds for the purchase of small arms and ammunition. The CDP was able to negotiate down the military’s requests for armoured vehicles, tanks, and attack helicopters – things that were superfluous and expensive. Multi-purpose trucks would continue to be bought from France’s ACMAT company, however. In exchange the salaries for officer as well as ranker were increased to generous levels – now one of the highest-paying jobs in Burkina Faso – in the hopes to keep the military complacent and satisfied.

Itamar expressed fears that the weapons caches for the army were lacking in security, and so insurgents in nearby countries might easily get their hands on Burkina Faso’s arsenal. Although the assembly argued that it was mostly Itamar’s job to take care of these things, Itamar claimed he cannot do this with his officers on trial for crimes he is “nearly sure they are innocent of.”

The assembly had not heard of this incident, but apparently some Burkinab captains have been charged with the murder of an armed villager who was caught trying to hijack a bush taxi. Itamar says that they were not the ones who fired the shots, only the commanders of those who did, and that it was in self-defense, as the villager had started to open fire once he saw the soldiers. Furthermore, since the victim of the shooting was a villager, a tribal court insisted on handling the affair, although the shooters should technically be charged under court martial. Itamar requests the federal court’s mediation of this case.

The assembly agrees to order a re-trial in Burkina Faso’s supreme court. Itamar is satisfied with this outcome, and applauds the proceedings, before finally taking his leave from the assembly hall. As he exits, television cameras swarm him and journalists eagerly press their microphones in his face, barraging him with a cacophony of questions. Itamar reportedly only said the words, “Acting President Wendmi is wise; he knows what he’s doing.” before walking off with his troops, who pushed the press away.

Although there are many pressing matters to deal with, it has been a rough few hours for the national assembly. The meeting is adjourned and everyone goes home, agreeing to meet again early in the morning.

The aftermath of Itamar's ultimatum

Chapter IIIb: Those inane things taking place in the rest of the world…
Wherein Burkina Faso is simply relieved not to be the subject​

---

End of the Ethiopian Civil War, Ogaden War, Eritrean Independence

One of the most iconic photographs of the war, as civilians walk through the streets in the aftermath of the 2nd Battle of Massawa. News sources referred to the tank in the image as a T-55, however it is actually a T-62.

20 years ago those guys over there started fighting to overthrow some king or something. The Soviets and USA supported opposite sides, as they usually did back in the day, the Eritreans declared independence, and the Somalians invaded. Was a great time. In fact, with all the cluster bombs used on civilian populations, you could even say it was a blast. Anyway In 1991 after more than 1.5 million deaths (2/3 of which was due to famine caused by the fighting) and many more fleeing the country, including the parents of a good friend of this authAAR, the former government was overthrown and replaced by some communist guys. They kept shooting Eritreans until just this year when the UN sponsored an independence referendum. It was pretty obvious that Eritrea would vote to leave. Now Ethiopia is landlocked… welcome to the club buddy. Meetings every Sunday, bring snacks. Oh and earplugs, unless you like Mongolian throat singing.


Balkan Wars

We in Burkina Faso are not too sure what’s going on here honestly. But we hear that everyone wants to split away from Yugoslavia and the Serbs want to keep everyone together so they can keep being mean to them. From what we can tell that’s exactly what’s going on, because the Serbs are still being mean to them – like Africa-tier war crimes mean. And because of that the war is drawing international attention and intervention.

For a minute it seemed like things died down when Croatia successfully broke away. Then literally like a week later the war started up again, and this time the Germans are involved.

India v China fight

The Chinese armies appear to have made some gains in Assam, while Indian troops are slowly being repelled from their foothold in the Tibetan Himalayas. Sure glad we’re not the ones fighting in such conditions. We hear some “battle” happened where the Indians mostly just froze to death.

First Congo War

Congolese troops – well I say troops, but then again these are probably militias, no African country is stupid enough to waste regulars on this kind of thing – have made headway by taking control of most of Rwanda. Rwandan soldiers are in the process of taking it back however, while the Congolese have had less luck in advancing through Burundi. Meanwhile, the Ugandans are having great success in advancing through the jungles of the northern Congo basin, in support of the army of the guy they want to install to rule Zaire. Seeing that Zaire is completely collapsing on the military side of things the long-repressed (and I mean like, going back to Belgian rule long) nations of the interior have risen in open revolt, most notable among them Katanga, because you see Zaire just isn’t collapsing nearly hard enough. Looks like the war is going to escalate!

Great powers screen

France's secondary power status:

The United Kingdom, which has managed to stay a Great Power, is influencing us!
 

stnylan

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I suppose some sort of move by the military was inevitable, but hopefully this will forestall them.