Conflict Termination

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

The real fantasy of the Lord of the Rings movies, Jon Jeckell reminds us, is how cleanly the war ends. Star Wars isn’t much better. Robotech, on the other hand, deals with the challenges of conflict termination, reconciliation and demobilization:

The first half of the first saga fits the typical American preference, featuring a technological wonder-weapon manned by a maverick crew, single-handedly protecting the Earth from the relentless onslaught of an implacable and overwhelmingly powerful enemy against impossible odds. The humans win a stunning victory in a cataclysmic battle. They win in part through their unique talent, innate human traits and a daring strike on the enemy flagship that throws the enemy into disarray.

But instead of this resulting in the typical, jubilant, decisive happy ending we’ve all come to expect… wait… it’s just the middle of the first saga, not the end. Earth is devastated, with severe food and resource constraints for the shell-shocked survivors, including huge numbers of surviving sixty foot tall former enemy combatants who caused the devastation. Worse, these former enemy soldiers are genetically modified sixty-foot tall lab grown clones assembled into a completely martial society through implanted false memories of a glorious history of conquest and lacking skills for anything other than combat. Their Masters kept them utterly dependent on them by limiting their skills and aptitude toward fighting. They cannot even build or repair their own equipment. Moreover, their Masters kept them strictly segregated from the opposite sex and programmed them to be repulsed by the sight of them to monopolize their ability to reproduce.

While these demobilized enemy soldiers lack useful skills for reconstruction, their massive size imposes commensurately enormous resource requirements to survive. Even the ones amenable to starting a peaceful new life face hostility and resentment from xenophobic, traumatized and hungry humans. Difficulties integrating with human society and ready access to weapons littering the landscape in the wreckage of the last war resulted in fertile ground for a rogue enemy leader to rally un-reconciled elements to regain their imagined glory in combat. Many surviving civilians also blamed the military for the devastation and staged protests that prevented routine peace enforcement by the only means available to the government–the military and the weapons used in the war. Estranged from people outside the military hierarchy, they have little choice but to wait until things flare up and employ deadly force, rather than work toward reconciliation and socio-political union.

Leave a Reply