By Foreign Correspondent Lee Jun-seo
GEMINUS, EIRIA: As the election season nears, Leah Stende’s team is focused on one thing: how to win the union voters who are key to victory in the Caxcanan democracy. “Labor is an obsession of ours,” one staffer told the Times-Courier. “Simply put, if it won’t help win union votes, it won’t be said on the campaign trail. It’s that simple.”
That posturing has forced the Eirian government into positions increasingly in conflict with some of their closest allies. Hours after Haesan intimated that they would provide intelligence support for Lauchenoirian operations against the United Aurian Commune, Eirian forces intercepted their advance. After Monday’s leak from the Eirian consulate in Suyang, there is a growing sense that the two allies are not on the same page.
This unease has been most notable amongst business leaders. The head of Haesan’s Import/Export Bureau has called Eiria’s recent actions “erratic,” and has stated “there is a deep concern about future investment in Eiria if this is the chosen path.” CEO of Zenith Investments and thought leader in the finance sector Joshua Adams has called for caution when investing in Eiria, saying “Eirian money comes with chains attached now,” and that “we can no longer accept without risk that Eiria is safe for Haesanite business interests.” These statements are a stunning reversal of trends, considering it was just nine months ago that the two nations created the Haesan TechUp! initiative, which has so far been used to help 10 Haesanite tech start-ups access Eirian funding and expertise. However, now even some of TechUp’s staunchest supporters are now eerily silent on the future of Haesan-Eiria economic relations.
In an expected move, the Haesanite government has announced that they will stop sending intelligence support for Eirian operations in mainland Caxcana. However, Haesan has also stated that they are cancelling sales of missile defense systems to Eiria, a decision surprising to many geopolitical experts. Missile defense systems are some of Haesan’s most advanced, and most well guarded tech, and it is likely that this degradation of trust has made defense leaders concerned about sharing it with an increasingly fair-weather partner.
Back channel diplomacy is at work to try and repair relations, and for now, the damage seems to be done. However, Stende’s domestic politics-focused strategy has almost certainly left many in Hwagang rooting for her downfall this election season.