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ANN: Timeline with Richard Garrett
ANN Central Studios, Vancouver, North American Union
Richard Garrett- This is Sunday, January 3rd 2196 and welcome to the first program of the year. With us in the studio we have Lydia Mugabe from the University of Cambridge, UK, professor of military history and regular contributor to Forward, the Alliance premier military publication. From Helsinki we have with us Jakob Johansen, author of Colonial Commerce, and from ANN’s news desk on the Citadel, Amita Qasid. Welcome all to the program. Let’s start with you Lydia. What do you make of the increasing militarization of the human colonies in the Skillian Verge?
Lydia Mugabe- This is not an unexpected trend. Even before the Reaper Invasion the colonies have suffered from multiple attacks by pirates, merc bands, slavers and Collectors. Simply put the Alliance expanded farther than it could project power and the colonist suffered the consequences. Only those colonies that developed extensive organic defenses, such as Feros and Eden Prime have weathered these assaults well, if not without significant losses.
Richard Garrett- So Lydia, you agree with critics that current Alliance strategy is a failure?
Lydia Mugabe- The current doctrine works is adequate when dealing with conventional forces like the Turians at Shanxi, but against irregular units who use hit and run attacks, it is useless. If the Alliance is not willing to commit to stronger patrols like the Turians, then it will have to rely on strong planetary militias like the other races, such as the Asari and the Turians.
Richard Garrett- But the Alliance is in no position to protect every single colony, not after the destruction of so many ships at the hands of the Reapers?
Lydia Mugabe- Either we empower the colonies or we give them up.
Richard Garrett- Jakob, can we, humanity I mean, give up colonizing space, at least for the time being?
Jakob Johansen- Absolutely not! Earth is more dependent on extra solar resources than ever. The war devastated the planet’s infrastructure. Without critical shipments of grain from Benning, Earth’s recovery would stall if not collapse. We need the colonies.
Richard Garrett- Earth needs the colonies, but Amita, with a galaxy wide trade picking up; do the colonies need Earth and the Alliance?
Amita Qasid- Only if they want to trade with the rest of the galaxy. With the Asari still embroiled in their civil war and the Salarian still dealing with the aftermath of the post-war coup, power shifted to Human and Turian representatives. It was Commander Shepard, now Admiral Shepard, who united the galaxy against the Reapers and he still a Spectre which gives him significant clout with the Citadel races.
Richard Garrett- Yet the Council has a poor record when it comes to protecting Human interest, it could not even defend itself against Sovereign.
Amita Qasid- The Human and Turian councilor tend to speak as one these days. We need each other, at least for the foreseeable future.
Lydia Mugabe- Not surprising considering that Turian and Human fleets form the backbone of the Citadel forces.
Richard Garrett- What about concerns that militarization of the colonies also means the privatization of military power?
Jakob Johansen- Private capital financed human expansion, without it humanity would not have expanded as quickly as it did.
Lydia Mugabe- True, but we seen what private armies will do if motivated only by profit or worse ideology. Just look at Cerberus.
Jakob Johansen- We can not judge all corporations by Cerberus standards. Besides as you said, Lydia, if the Alliance can not protect the colonies then investors will look to other ways to protect their investment.
Lydia Mugabe- But without proper oversight we would end up with more criminals like the Blue Suns or Eclipse. We can not afford more criminals in the Verge.
Richard Garrett- So what is the solution?
Amita Qasid- Many in the Alliance Parliament are proposing expanding the Colonial Affairs Office to include a department of colonial security. Colonial Affairs has had great success in creating public-private partnerships for colonial settlement.
Lydia Mugabe- I doubt it will work without a serious investment in time and resources from the Alliance military.
Richard Garrett- Well on that optimistic note we close today’s program. If you want to know more about the topics discussed today or contact any of our guests, go to our extranet page under ANN-Timeline. Thank you for watching and we will see you next week.