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“We've been through hell before: the World Wars, the War of Ages, the Great Tyranny War. No matter how dark things get, we will do what we did then - we will keep going. Always keep going.”
- - Address to the nation during the Battle for the Milky Way, June 2802
Laurene Maxime (born 2709, died 2802) was a Human author, stateswoman, politician, and President of France from 2794 to 2802 when she was killed during the parliamentary coup which overthrew the French Sixth Republic. Often categorized as one of France's greatest leaders, she oversaw the birth of the French Colonial Empire as an intergalactic superpower and is generally credited with its success militarily, economically, and politically until its defeat during the Great Xonexian Schism.
A highly controversial figure, she was known as a charismatic political icon during her term as well as a knowledgeable scholar in the field of foreign relations, having written several books on the subject. Her popularity reached its peak as she led France and a considerable coalition of allies in a confrontation against the Delpha Coalition of Planets. Despite her best efforts, the war turned against her and with it the confidence of the French people and of her own party. With DCP troops within striking distance of French territory, Maxime attempted to flee the capital, only to be accidentally shot down by elements of the Karone National Guard which were under command of the Parliamentarians.
Her death only compounded the shock of the French defeat, though very few openly grieved for her at the time. She was publicly reviled as a warmongering president, an opponent to human unification, and an abuser of executive power and of the virtues of democracy. In death, she bore the blame for spelling the ruin of the empire she had worked so hard to create.
Early life and political career Edit
Raised on the French core planet of Nouvelle Perséphonie, she started off her writing career in 2730 as political corespondent for a local news organization, cultivating a holoblog on the side.
In 2743, having garnered a thorough understanding of how the system worked, she was hired as deputy press secretary to Jean-Marie Bisset in his bid for Deputy to the National Assembly for the préfecture of Illus, and was then promoted to press secretary for his re-election campaign in 2747. During this time, she published numerous essays on political theory and foreign relations, including an internationally acclaimed book called POTATO: Proud America in the Modern World.
After three consecutive terms in the National Assembly, Jean-Marie Bisset ran for president in 2754. Maxime was appointed campaign manager and was rewarded for her efforts, loyalty, and skill with a position on Bisset's cabinet. She occupied the critical position of Minister of Foreign Affairs during the War of Ages from 2754 to 2764. Once Bisset's tenure as president was over, Maxime ran for the office of préfet of Illus and was voted in in 2769 after an unsuccessful campaign in 2765. She served three terms as préfet from 2769 to 2781. In 2784, she was appointed Prime Minister of France during Guillaume Pelissier's administration and served as such through the first years of the Dominatus War.
Early presidency (2794-2798) Edit
In 2794, she ran for president, promising to continue Pelissier's work and put an honorable end to the Dominatus War. When the votes came in, she was ushered into office by a landslide majority. Her first appointment was Alexandre I, a primising politician who commanded a lot of influence within the French Parliament––influence which she felt would be invaluable over the course of her term. Later that year, she proudly announced along with a number of other world leaders that the Dominatus had been defeated in their home galaxy of Mirus. 2795 saw the signing of the Franco-Tybusen Accords in the Élysée Palace which marked the success of a diplomatic policy of rapprochement with one of France's allies during the Dominatus War, the Tybusen Intergalactic Allied Federation. The treaty gave France access to the TIAF's hyperlane network, leading to the founding of extragalactic colonies like the Quadrant and Bunsen colonies.
- Visit to Andromeda
The Accords also led to an awkward reunion between French Andromeda, founded fifty years earlier, and its parent country. Though there was contention over the relationship of the Andromedan Colonies to France, Maxime and her cabinet journeyed to Andromeda to establish formal relations with resident powers, such as the Draconid Imperium.
In particular, Maxime's cohort met with Paragon Uriel Ultanos on Alcanti, and Maxime sat on his left as his guest of honor during that night's festivities. The two struck up a scholarly conversation which wandered from topic to topic until it flared into a heated debate over the role of the running of a state. The hall fell quiet, listening in as they made points and traded arguments. After roughly half an hour, they had modified each other's positions so much that they were able to come to a consensus and were able to leave the hall amicably, both highly impressed with the other. They kept contact and frequently wrote to one another informally about academic subjects, greatly facilitating relations between the Draconid Imperium and France. The height of their friendship was signified with Uriel offering the French president a personal guest room at the Alcanti Royal Palace. In recognition for his offer, Laurene revealed a commissioned villa for him on the French winemaking planet Arcon and invited him to taste the first wines produced on the grounds before they were bottled.
- East African Crisis
In 2796, she confronted the East African Crisis and thrust France to the forefront of events, leading coalition of nations in a diplomatic confrontation with the Imperial Ottoman Directorate. Near the end of the crisis, she ordered a military intervention in East Africa with several other human nations.
- End of first term and reelection
Maxime's first term ended in 2799 on an overwhelmingly positive note. Over the five years she had spent in office, she had greatly strengthened France's position in the Gigaquadrant, established it as a colonial and economic power in its own right and through organizations like GITO and the NTZO, and greatly improved relations with some of the Gigaquadrant's foremost powers. It was for these reasons that the French people voted overwhelmingly to grant her administration a second term. Barely had she assumed office that the Gigaquadrant's universal order began to collapse.
Gigaquadrantic Conflicts (2799-present) Edit
- Rising tensions
At the same time, she sent Alexandre Valéry to treat with the Draconid Imperium and the TIAF in order to sign a secret three-way defensive alliance that would ensure the participation of all three powers should the DCP provoke a war against one of them.
As France informally gathered other supporters and probed its many alliances, a new development occurred on the galactic scene in 2801. The New Cyrannian Republic and a host of other nations wishing to remain neutral in the Gigaquadrantic Conflicts had met on Mou'Cyran and formed an organization meant to maintain their neutrality. However, it was well known that the New Cyrannian Republic weighed heavily on the side of the DCP in the looming Xonexi-DCP conflict, which led Maxime to suspect that the organization was meant as a tool to influence those nations to fight for the status quo. She immediately called a meeting between Prime Minister Valéry, the newly-appointed Foreign Minister Ballatay and the rest of her cabinet to discuss the issue. The Accords' acquisition of several Andromedan nations proved that the New Cyrannian Republic could pose much more of a threat than originally anticipated, and great changes to French foreign policy were made during that meeting. However, none of the officials present could provide an adequate solution to the Mou'Cyran problem. After four hours of discussion, the cabinet adjourned.
The next morning, Maxime received an unexpected visit from Prime Minister Valéry and he set before her a bold solution to the geopolitical threat the Mou'Cyran Accords posed: a non-agression pact between France, its allies, and the Mou'Cyran Accords as an organization. Appreciating the merits of the offer, Maxime sent Ballatay immediately to seek approval first from TIAF Ambassador Ambrette Marseilles, and then from Paragon Uriel himself on Alcanti.
Once the proposed treaty was ratified by all three of France's allies, she delivered a rousing speech to the French Parliament announcing her intentions to make the offer in the name of peace––a speech which was then transmitted directly to Mou'Cyran.
The Mou'Cyrannian response was tentative but positive, turning down the proposed terms of Maxime's treaty. However, after some deliberation, they fronted an offer of their own. Their proposal was a non-aggression pact which added new sections dedicated to limiting the spread of the Xonexi-DCP conflict to the Xonexi Cluster. The ensuing talks resulted in the Treaty of Galactica, which ensured peace and good relations between the two factions.
Laurene Maxime is often considered to the icons of conservative and nationalist thought, characterized by cautious and intelligent pragmatism both at home and abroad. Her priority, above all else, was furthering the diplomatic, political, economic, and social interests of the French nation, marking her as an adherent of the realist school of international relations. At the same time, her approach to diplomacy was comprehensive, promoting France as a reliable ally, a determined foe, and a reasonable nation through effective use of the talents of the French Diplomatic Corps and her own abilities as an envoy. She forged friendships with many foreign dignitaries, most famously Uriel Ultanos, friendships which allowed her to communicate the human side of statecraft more effectively.
At home, she expanded the bounds of executive power in unprecedented ways, using the conservative stranglehold on Parliament and the talents of Prime Minister Valéry to bring about economic reform (reviving the French economy), immigration reform (lessening the requirements for citizenship in the French colonies), and expanding the French Armed Forces to meet the needs of France's growing empire. However, her conservative policies and expansion of power won her a great amount of political enemies in Parliament, leading to the consolidation of the leftist wing of the Socialist party into an organized liberal opposition against her. This made the splitting of the dominant Socialist Party into the Nationalist and Unificationist Parties inevitable, as happened during the founding of the French Seventh Republic.
Maxime was a great believer in military power as a necessary tool of statecraft, and she oversaw the growth of the French Armed Forces into a cutting-edge vessel of power projection which was used in many conflicts throughout her time in office. Even when French troops did not directly see combat, their implicit involvement was often crucial to Maxime's diplomatic efforts during such events as the Eldarisian Crisis, the Scramble for Mirus, among others.
Over the years, President Maxime cultivated an image as a well educated, capable, and courageous leader, taking harsh stances where others might compromise. Her portfolio as a writer and scholar on international relations was well known and was capitalized upon by her campaign. That, compounded with her years of experience as foreign minister and Préfet made for an impressive history which many argue was a deciding factor in ushering her into office.
While many were frustrated with her social stances or lack thereof (in some cases), Maxime enjoyed a very high approval rating in France during her term and was credited with the creation of the French intergalactic colonial empire and the upwards boom in the French economy. However, that changed dramatically after her death during the Great Xonexian Schism. She was reviled for entangling France in the conflict that ultimately ruined it. Her flight on June 21 was characterized by the liberal government that supplanted her as a cowardly attempt to save her own life. Her approval rating, polled secretly by the Gérard administration, hovered around three percent for several months after her death.
Maxime was an accomplished writer, having published numerous essays and books on various topics, including international relations, internal politics, and economics. Not all of these have received international acclaim and even fewer are widely known, but scholars agree that her work is well-researched and her conclusions often sound and insightful.
- POTATO: Proud America in the Modern World (2749) - Analyzes POTATO's place in contemporary politics and explores how it got there historically.
- European Unity (2756) - An analysis of the European Star Republic's emergent stance on human unification. Also touches upon European ideals of unity and politics between the previously independent states of Europe.
- 911 and the Julianne Disaster (2770) - Draws a comparison between the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, the recent Julianne Disaster in 2768, and the wars that followed both. She concludes the book cautioning against making the same mistakes that America made in the aftermath, though she underlines a fundamental difference in approach to occupation between 2000's America and contemporary France: France has a Foreign Legion, America did not.
- The State of Inter-Human Politics (2783) - A lengthy dissertation that analyses different nations and alliances in the Plazith Rim, the mechanisms that bind them together, the workings of the modern political scene, and growing alien influences. Acclaimed as by far her best work, it is required reading for aspiring diplomats and political scientist at several academies in France. However, it has been criticized by some foreign scholars as fronting a western point of view. Others have argued that it centers too closely around human history and politics and fails to acknowledge many of the contributions made by near-humans and other species.
- Gigaquadrantic Universal Order (2800) - While not officially counted among her works, this one was started and nearly finished by Jean Delonier before he perished in the Halcyon B explosion. It treats on numerous topics, notably the overarching systems of alliances that kept the Gigaquadrant at peace for so long, as well as the influences of individual nations. Most famously, it ranks each nation according to its political, economic, and military influence. After Delonier's death, Maxime took the manuscript, finished it, and published it under his name. It became known internationally for is thoroughness and objective analysis.
- Alexandre Valéry - He and I have a lot in common and he's served as a valuable ally within this administration. However, I fear he is becoming increasingly difficult to control.
- Uriel Ultanos - I am awed that he would take an interest in what I have to say. I value our friendship highly, not only for France's sake.
- Jean Delonier - We had some good times, you and I.
- Jean-Baptiste Teindas - Have you not done enough for us already, Marshal?
- Lucian Chartier - I sincerely hope he continues to do well. From the looks of things, Teindas is grooming him to replace him.
- Ballatay - His resumé speaks volumes to his ability. France needs his skill.
- Marton Gracuscae - He seems like a well-spoken and capable leader. I hope to pursue closer relations with his people.
- Adrianne Delacroix - The military and the state are separate for a reason.
- Aedanius Cretacea - We share a great many ideological differences, but I respect what he has done for the Gigaquadrant.
- Aidan Collins - He has a lot to learn about international politics, but his optimism and drive deserve respect.
- Wormulus II - I will not allow him to trample over what we have built like it is nothing.
By her Edit
“It takes men like him to remind us that we have responsibilities that transcend our own national interest. But I don't share his optimism, I am sorry to say. Humanity is too fractured, too different to act as a single, unified whole. Men like him often point to common human action during the Dominatus War as a sign that this is possible. It's a pleasant thought, but did we act out of hope for a better future then? I remember vividly: We acted out of fear.”
- - After meeting Aidan Collins
“Have we preserved peace, or made war inevitable?”
- - Signing of the Alcanti Triad Alliance
By others Edit
“I have met her, and I must say she is determined for France's progression.”
“She has established many of France's colonial territories which my people have communicated often with quite a lot. We hope to meet each other soon. Although I'm the better leader. I've got a swanky cowboy hat and all.”
- - Marton Gracuscae of Mardvaeli
“If you weren't part of the coalition trying to destroy the Tyranny, perhaps we could have engaged in discourse about your works. Personally, I've recommended The State of Inter-Human Politics for study at the Dominatus Academies as part of the Xenosociology Elective for the insights it gives on alliance systems. Your works on POTATO and the ESR also effectively chronicle the histories of both and provides subtle but superb analysis of their states. Sadly, the only ink we'll be using in our collaborations is your entrails as I spell your death out with them.”
- - Archon Wolframicht Stahl