[BEGIN RADIO TRANSCRIPT]
WF: "Good afternoon, dear listeners! This is Waldemar Fiorarz. I am proud to announce to you that the WiL-Kuziel has decided to give us ten more minutes of broadcasting time. Therefore, the name of our programme will from now on be: 'The World in Fourty Minutes'. And, dear listeners, I am equally happy to tell you that our first guest in our new setup will be professor Onute Staniszkiene, director of the Institute for International Relations of the WiLASz. Welcome, professor, it has been a while, hasn't it?"
OS: "Indeed, Mr. Fiorarz, it has. And thank you very much. It's always a pleasure being in your show."
WF: "The pleasure is all mine, of course. Anyway, professor, you were one of those who signed the famous Letter of the Fourty-Nine, calling for the immediate withdrawal of our people from Southeast Florida. But as I remember, two years ago you actually defended Katarzyna Prowana and our occupation of the Zona. Why this change of mind?"
OS: "One thing to remember, Mr. Fiorarz, is that not all signees of the letter are against the occupation of Southeast Florida as such. Some of us were opposed to it from the very beginning, others – including myself – have supported the idea of a temporary occupation to help things get back on track over there. But we all agree that the situation has developed in such a direction that at present the only wise thing for us to do is leaving Florida altogether."
WF: "And why would that be?"
OS: "Our job in Florida was to restore order and help those people build up a genuine democracy. That task should have been accomplished a year ago! And after accomplishing it, we should have left Florida once and for good. But the truth is that things are only marginally better than when we arrived. Some things have actually deteriorated. We should simply face the painful conclusion that we failed."
WF: "We failed?"
OS: "Yes. Obviously, the Republic was totally unprepared for such a task. Our people over there have a very poor understanding of the local culture, you see. And instead of adapting, they simply try to impose ours. Such efforts are of course doomed to fail."
WF: "Well, they say..."
OS: "What also shouldn't be forgotten is that we ended up with the roughest, toughest part of old Florida-Caribbea, namely the regions around Miami, where any resistance would be strongest and resentment against foreigners would be most obvious! But even so, instead of being constantly fixed on all sorts of real and imaginary enemies, and instead of measuring our success by the number of arrests made in a week's time, we should have sought the active cooperation of reliable elements in Floridian society instead. Katarzyna Prowana indeed made some good efforts in that direction. But unfortunately, the bulk of our folks in Florida simply don't seem to trust anybody."
WF: "The government argues that it is Mrs. Prowana herself who failed. That's why they replaced her. Perhaps you and the government are on one line, after all!"
OS: "Not at all, they are only making it worse. Prowana was about the only person who had some deeper understanding of the specifics of Floridian society. That doesn't of course mean that she hasn't made mistakes as well."
WF: "Like what, for example?"
OS: "You know, the first thing we did after we arrived in Florida was renaming streets, removing statues and that sort of things. Veneds are hopelessly romantic people, with quite a strong sense for symbolism! Charming as that may be, it was not what the Floridians were waiting for. Of course, once those things were done we also made some genuine efforts of reorganising the whole country. But obviously, we weren't very good at that. All the time, the Republic has been hopelessly old-fashioned and paternalistic in its approach."
WF: Yes, but at least the new administration appears to be more active when it comes to cooperating with the locals."
OS: "Don't make me laugh, Mr. Fiorarz! I take it you are referring to those municipal elections they announed, yes? Well then, let me assure you that three months is way too early for such elections to take place. At the moment, Florida barely has a political infrastructure. There are some rudimentary political parties, but they are still extremely small, the lot of them. For elections to run properly, people need plenty of time to form parties, to find candidates, to write programs, to prepare a campaign... I'm afraid these elections are doomed to fail! Besides, have you heard about the provision made by Bambaryła? Each and every candidate needs the approval of his people first. Without that approval, they can't even participate. Now, Mr. Fiorarz, let me make a prediction: nine on every ten candidates won't be allowed to run in the elections at all!"
WF: "That is a bold statement, professor."
OS: "I know. But let me assure you that I am very worried about the recent developments in Florida indeed. The rhetorics used by this government to justify its actions in Florida are far from promising. They talk about it as if the Republic was predestined by God himself to rule over Florida. As if all threads in history were coming together in this one thing! Honestly, Mr. Fiorarz, I have a very strong feeling they are working towards incorporating Southeast Florida into the Republic, as some kind of overseas territory! They are not interested in building a democracy in Florida at all, just in finding Floridians who are ready to collaborate with them. All that in order to give it a democratic appearance, yet ...”
WF: "Aren't you exaggerating a bit? After all, the chancellor has said clearly…"
OS: "I think the facts speak for themselves! Why else would they have appointed a 'governor-general' in Southeast Florida? It is pretty clear that they are turning the Zona into a second Gambia. And that is an incredible mistake, because Florida is an entirely different can of worms!"
WF: "But the 'Wucz Florydzie' wrote last Saturday…"
OS: "The 'Wucz Florydzie' is a shame, really. They call it an independent quality paper, but it is under the tight control of the authorities. Almost every single word in there is propaganda of the worst kind! They make it appear as if the Floridians are all deeply, madly in love with their new masters!"
WF: "Yet, some argue that becoming a province or an overseas territory of the RTC wouldn't be such a bad solution for Florida at all. The only alternative would in their opinion be Irish, American or Castilian occupation. In that case, we might as well stay there."
OS: "Of course, and that is one of the reasons why I don't think it was a bad decision for us to be caretakers of Florida for a while. But incorporating it altogether? Mr. Fiorarz, have you thought of all the trouble we would get into, should Southeast Florida indeed become a province of some kind? Which of the two Crowns will it belong to? Gambia is part of Veneda. That's why the RTC doesn't have a minister of colonies; it's administered by the government of Veneda, which dóes have such a minister. Lithuania has nothing to do with it. But Florida, as for now, is administered directly by the central government, which is after all responsible for foreign policy. But once Florida will to be incorporated as an overseas territory, it must become part of either Veneda or Lithuania. Otherwise, it would de facto become a third Crown. How are we going to explain thát to the Ruthenians? They have been denied the right to have their own third Crown for almost sixty years now! Even without Florida, the situation is pretty tense in Galicia and Volhynia. Now, can you imagine their reaction if we keep telling them that they can't have what they want and at the same time create a third crown elsewhere?"
WF: "Well, the government…"
OS: "Besides, the international community will never accept it. Like I said, we failed miserably. In the beginning, we had quite some goodwill in the world, you know. They kind of thought of us like a neglected country on the world scene - always hiding back in the scenery and never given anything important to do. And now all of a sudden, we were given a chance to do something great that would take a lot of work and expertise we simply didn't have. And so, we ended up enjoying our powers over a vanquished nation a little too much and aren't quite able to wrest the reins of state from the disaffected natives. Let's face it, Mr. Fiorarz: we are on our own in Florida right now. The NAL, the Federated Kingdoms, Louisianne, Ireland… We have completely lost their confidence. You see, Mr. Fiorarz, everybody knows that the Irish are doing a much better job in their zone of occupation. The Floridian population hates us! People are crossing our borders by thousands, no matter what Bambaryła says about border control being extremely tight an all that. The refugee camps are already overfilled! While officially we are still on good terms with our neighbours, everybody knows that they have all kinds of scenarios for what will happen if we lose it. The NAL is already gathering its troops near the border. In Aldendorf's place I would worry about that. I would worry a lot!"
WF: "Are you saying they are planning an invasion?"
OS: "I don't think so. The NAL has been pretty clear about their intentions: they don't want any more of Florida than they already have. Yet, there are influential elements in society who think otherwise. And you know how easily things can turn around in a democracy. Especially a democracy like that…"
WF: "So you think it is just precaution, because they do not trust us... Do they fear we plan on invading the NAL?"
OS: "You better be careful, unless you want to give Mr. Aldendorf new ideas!"
OS: "Seriously, of course not! But it is a fact that our Allies don't trust us anymore. Do you think we will come out of this unscathed? Either the present administration will suffer from within or from without. One way or the other, there will be some kind of accounting."
WF: "With the government, you mean?"
OS: "Yes. And obviously, if it comes from the outside, that would a very bad thing for us. If we are to isolate ourselves even further from the rest of the world… Can you imagine the economic setback of that? Project Florida has ruined our national treasury pretty much already! We surely can't handle much more of that! On the other hand, if it comes from the inside, that might improve our standing with the rest of the world. But if would mean we'd have to act against our own democratically elected government!"
WF: "A quandary."
WF: "Hmmm... Well, let us return to what we started with, then. You have undoubtedly heard Żowan Sasomętany's speech to the Sejm on Monday. On behalf of the Inicjaciwa Czywiła he said that we should withdraw immediately from Southeast Florida. But how do you imagine that should be done, professor?"
OS: "Well, it is obvious that we can't just go pack our bags and leave. If we'd do that, we'd leave behind a devastated country, without any leadership, without an economy, without a polical infrastructure... That can clearly not be anyone's intention. It surely isn't mine! No, we should first investigate which options we have."
WF: "And those are, in your opinion?"
OS: "Sasomętany put it all in a nutshell. The easiest way is of course to hand over the Zona to another country. The most natural candidates for such a takeover would be the NAL, Ireland, the Federated Kingdoms, or Castile-Leon. But in all cases that would have huge disadvantages. The NAL, for example, would probably be willing to take over from us, but I personally wouldn't trust them too much with Florida either. They already incorporated their own zone of occupation! Officially, they say they are not interested in ours, but like I said already, there are forces at work there that might not be able to resist the temptation. Other countries wouldn't be happy with that either, because they fear the NAL would become far too powerful in the region."
WF: "And what if we simply return the Zona to the Scandinavians?"
OS: "During the very short period when they were in charge, they have made themselves pretty impossible in Florida. You know what they did, don't you? They emptied the musea, plundered the Banco Nacional, and they took Florida's entire gold stock with them. Scandinavia is clearly not an option. Besides, they have made it pretty clear that they don't want anything more to do with Florida."
WF: "And how about the other countries?"
OS: "Well, there's Castile-Leon. Two years ago it was said that they were the most natural candidate to take over Florida from a historical point of view. But they made it perfectly clear that they don't want anything to do with this. And even if they would, I very much doubt they would do any better than we. Then, there is Ireland to consider. Everybody, including the Floridians themselves, agrees that they have done a very fine job in their zone. But would they be able to handle Southeast Florida? Ireland is a small country, and their resources are limited. And let's face it: Southeast Florida is a lot harder to manage than Southwest Florida."
WF: "No other options?"
OS: "Well, sure there are, but none of them realistic. France has been mentioned, but they were remarkably silent during the war. Russia has expressed an interest in the region, but they are hardly able to manage themselves. Besides, nobody is waiting for a snorist Florida! Germany has been mentioned, too. Some argue that if Florida should be germanised, then Germany could play a guiding role in that process. However, ..."
WF: "Germanisation is a word that falls very often these days, professor. Do you agree with the Irish that germanisation would be the right thing to do in Florida?"
OS: "No, I don't. Germanisation would be a way of dealing with a conquered enemy. But my point is, we should stop looking at the Floridians as enemies. They have learned their lesson. And even if they would ever want to start another war, they simply don't even have the means for it! Besides, Florida is not Germany. You know, the Holy Roman Empire has always been like that to a degree. What happened after the Second Great War was just a return to the status quo of a century earlier. It could work in Germany because they had a tradition. Florida doesn't have such a tradition. And nobody in Florida really wants such a solution, anyway."
WF: "So you agree with Sasomętany that we should hand over Florida to the League of Nations?"
OS: "That is surely a very good option, Mr. Fiorarz. Another possibility, also mentioned by Sasomętany, is that we form an international consortium that would station a peacekeeping force in the Zona. All that on a temporary base, of course, and with the single purpose of organising free elections and handing over all power to a democratically elected government. In any case, the Floridians are through with foreign occupants, no matter from which country. If we linger on a little more like this, the idea of a revolution of the people against us become a lot more than a mirage. I don't know if you have heard..."
WF: "I'm sorry to interrupt you, professor, but we have to put an end to our discussion. It's time for the commercials. Thank you very much for your lucid comments. I hope you will be back with us soon!"