Grundhavn has long been known in Hesperida and throughout the entire International Democratic Union as a nation that prioritizes its economic well-being over almost everything else. “Quick to make a deal, slow to lend a hand,” goes the saying. Lord Mayor after Lord Mayor have sworn to defend the nation and to do what is best for its people, and for generations that has been to cultivate economic ties and to stay out of regional conflicts. Even during the Great War, Grundhavn remained steadfastly neutral. Now, it appears that the current Lord Mayor Bent Nielsen (Constitutional Liberal) may be ready to make a change to the historical foreign policy of the nation. This week, he announced that a Grundhavish convoy will make their way to the war-torn nation of Auria to offer humanitarian aid “with no aim of recompense.”
The nation of Auria has been in the midst of an incredibly disruptive civil war since June of 2021. Armed mobs stormed government buildings, car bombs exploded in the middle of the capital Lumiere, and various factions declared themselves to be the legitimate government of the nation. Since then, thousands of Aurians have died and more have fled to nations such as Eiria. A significant swathe of the south of the country is controlled by the Aurian government-in-exile and its Caxcanan allies, while former Aurian Parliament member Sarah Berenstein and her Xiomeran PMC allies hold the southeast of the country. These areas are relatively well off, at least behind the front lines, controlling resources and access to supplies, though they are certainly in need as well. However, the aid convoy is headed to the most deprived area of the nation: the hilly and more sparsely populated northwest.
The northwest is currently administered by former Aurian general Jean-Ćlaude Michelin. Michelin has struggled to protect his province against bandits and other warlords and to provide for the people of this traditionally underprivileged region. According to Nielsen, the decision to send aid to the northwest was based on its severe deprivation. “Although Grundhavn would love to aid all parties in the tragic Aurian conflict, we are but a small nation with only so many resources to spare. We have chosen to bring aid to the people of the northwest because they are the ones most in need.” According to international NGOs and media, malnutrition in the province is among the worst in Auria.
Staples such as flour, oil, sugar, and non-perishable foods such as legumes and dried fish from hardworking Grundhavish farmers and fishermen are expected to make up the bulk of aid, but medical supplies, clothing, and items such as portable kitchens and water purification kits will also be included. The Lord Mayor apparently leaned on his business contacts to obtain supplies at discounted rates, defending the course of action in front of the City Council as an acceptable compromise that both rewards Grundhavish businesses and preserves fiscal discipline. “It is possible to both provide aid and keep our taxpayers safe from the scourge of runaway spending, and we proved that today,” said Nielsen. It’s not known whether there was dissent within the governing coalition, especially from the Free Liberals and the Grundhavish Right, but the coalition held together and the vote passed 44-3, with the LPP, PNP, and Law & Liberty voting against and the Union Bloc abstaining, as they typically do on foreign policy votes.
Lord Mayor Nielsen highlighted the possibility of the aid mission changing the narrative around Grundhavn as a nation. “Too often has Grundhavn only been regarded as mercenary and self-serving, narrowly focused on economic issues. This is simply not true. Our faith and our values lead us to be kind to our neighbors, and we believe this aid will go a long way towards clearing up regional misconceptions.” Nielsen also acknowledged that Grundhavn will maintain a limited presence in northwest Auria. “Temporary, one-off, aid is not a solution to the many problems Auria faces. We require people on the ground to assess ongoing needs, ensure that aid is properly distributed, and offer information to the State and City Councils on how best to proceed.” Employees from NGOs and the State Offices of Education, Health, Social Services, and Charity and Foreign Affairs and Self-Defense will accompany the convoy, as well as medical students and instructors from the prestigious Mogensen Medical Academy.
Nielsen was quick to stress that the inclusion of government employees did not imply a preference for any side in the civil conflict. “Employees of our State Offices are there to oversee the aid and give us an on-the-ground perspective. Our wishes are for a swift and peaceful end to the conflict and we will offer aid and co-operation to any part of Auria requiring aid that is committed to the best interests of the Aurian people and the region.” Grundhavn needs to maintain its open trade relations with all nations, as international commerce is its lifeblood. Conflicts in Xiomera and Huenya, as well as Greater Acadia and Kerlile, make navigating regional politics a tightrope. Even nations that hold opposing values to Grundhavn, such as socialism, autocracy, or radical feminism can be vital trade partners.
Only time will tell if Lord Mayor Nielsen’s gambit will pay off in a more positive international reputation, an end to the war in Auria, or additional economic ties, or if critics’ predictions of foreign entanglements and stretched resources will prove more accurate. But one thing is for certain: Nielsen is changing Grundhavish foreign policy and establishing a historical precedent.