Imperial Rules of War

To mitigate most of the potentially disastrous aspects of armed conflict, the "rules of war" evolved as an accumulation of unwritten concepts, which were established on a case-by-case basis.  The rules of war were never officially codified, both to prevent them being seen as an Imperial endorsement of war and to keep formal precedent from preventing Imperial intervention whenever the Imperium deemed it necessary.

The main aim of the rules was maintaining the economic and military well-being of the realm.  They gave the Imperium the right to intervene only when local military action threatened this well-being.  The primary causes of instability, as viewed by Imperial analysts, have been long-term economic dislocation and excessive extraplanetary influence:
  1. Long-term social or economic dislocation is suffered when a region loses its ability to carry on at its prewar level of economic activity.
  2. Excessive extraplanetary influence is even more vague.  Historically, the Imperium has tolerated the use of force as a necessary outlet for built-up political and social pressures.  In such cases, a short war is deemed preferable to continuing tension, sabotage, political agitation, etc.  However, attempts by extraplanetary forces, such as offworld governments or large commercial interests, to seize control of a world's affairs are beyond the scope of the "safety valve" rationale.
"Assistance" is tolerated so long as it is deemed appropriate to the level of legitimate interest in the affairs of the world held by the extraplanetary organization.  For example, the Imperium has often tolerated the provision by megacorporations of training cadre, arms, equipment, etc.. on a limited scale, and even of training fully equipped striker units to local governments.  However, when it has appeared that the primary burden for the conduct of the war has been carried by an extraplanetary power, the Imperium has intervened, claiming the power is using the misfortune of a local dispute as a pretext for aggression.

Unlike the above rules, one prohibition is clear and firm throughout the Imperium: use or possession of nuclear weapons, if discovered, and regardless of size or type.

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