Influence and Control

There are two kinds of man: the ones who make history and the ones who endure it.

- Camilo Jose Cela

One of the goals of Omniatlas is to try to provide an objective and timeless display of political power. To that end we have a check system to determine whether or not a given country is under another's influence or control.

In Omniatlas, a political entity is considered to be fully independent if it is self-governing, manages its own foreign relations, has complete rule over a territory, and is not under the authority of an outside power. If it fails in one of these points, it is considered to be under the influence of another power. If it fails in two or more, it is considered to be under another power's control.


Figure 1. The independence of Canada: In 1867, Canada became a self-governing dominion with its own armed forces. However Britain still retained control over its foreign policy and held legislative authority, so at this stage Canada is not considered independent. Following World War I, Canada asserted its independence by signing the 1919 Treaty of Versailles separately to Britain. From this point on, Canada was in charge of its foreign relations and thus had three of our four signs of sovereignty, marking it as an independent country under British influence. That last vestige of British influence, the ability to legislate for Canada, was abolished with the signing of the Statute of Westminster in 1931. Canada was now a fully independent country, albeit one that still held pro-British sympathies.

These four signs are based on the classical definition of a sovereign state, except that a sovereign state must have a permanent population and defined borders. By eliminating these last two conditions, we allow for a definition of sovereignty which covers not just states but factions, tribes, insurgents, and other independent political organizations.


Who is the government?

If representatives of an outside power occupy the highest levels of political power, a polity is considered to lack self-government.

A polity is self-governing if both of the following apply:

  • its representative is head of government
  • its representatives make up a majority of the members of the government

Foreign relations

Who signs treaties? Who determines war and peace?

If an outside power conducts or supervises its foreign relations, a polity is considered to lack control over its foreign relations.

A polity has control over its foreign relations if both of the following apply:

  • it can sign treaties with nation states without being supervised by another polity
  • another nation cannot declare war on its behalf

Territorial control

Who are the police?

If an outside power handles law enforcement, a polity is considered to lack territorial control.

A polity has territorial control if all of the following apply:

  • it commands its internal security and law enforcement
  • it commands its armed forces
  • its armed forces are superior to any foreign military presence in the country (NB: if the foreign military are superior in the center of government, the polity has effectively lost general territorial control; if the foreign military are superior elsewhere, the polity has only lost local territorial control)

Ultimate authority

Who is the real power?

If an outside power has either the legal right to or the unbroken precedent of writing laws and overriding governmental decisions, a polity lacks ultimate authority.

Ultimate authority is the most difficult area of influence to determine. A polity lacks ultimate authority if any of the following apply:

  • an outside power has the ability to interfere in government through legislation or fiscal control
  • an outside power has close to critical levels of influence in government, foreign relations, and territorial control
  • the removal of support of an outside power would (or did) cause the government to collapse
  • in cases of disagreements over policy, an outside power is expected to (or did) depose the government within a few days
  • the government is lending an outside power a significant portion of its armed forces to fight in a campaign not closely tied to its interests