Mobile Suit Gundam UC Unicorn
The ace pilot effectively in control of the Neo Zeon remnant group known as Sleeves, Full Frontal, reveals his long-term plan to fight the Earth Federation, though he’s still slippery on whether or not he’s actually Char Aznable.
Frontal’s plan, simplified, is to form an economic alliance between all the Spacenoid colonies, and then have them boycott the Earth. He explains that while the colonies are self-sufficient (they have to be, they’re in space) the Earth is not, and is incapable of producing enough food to feed its population.
To put it in modern terms, Full Frontal proposes to defeat the Earth through economic sanctions. It’s quite a shift for an organization that once employed colony drops (sending space colonies crashing to the Earth with the force of a meteor) as a favored stratagem.
These days, sanctions are seen as a more civilized weapon of war, a humane way to gently ‘encourage’ your enemy to see things your way. Of course, they’re an inherently unequal weapon. Any country can build a bomb, but only a rich nation can harm a poor nation through sanctions (North Korea leveling sanctions against Japan, for instance, would not even be noticed).
The other problem with them is that they are a collective punishment for a singular evil. Taking North Korea as an example again (wonder why), sanctions may have limited the money and resources of the country, but the hurt is not spread out. The small cabal in power simply takes a larger percentage of what remains, leaving the poor, who, if left to their own devices, would be neither interested in or capable of harming the rest of the world in any way, to suffer the brunt of the onslaught.
Mineva Lao Zabi makes this point in the episode; that the economic sanctions will only result in a generation of Earthings growing up in poverty, and growing to hate the Spacenoids as a result; all but ensuring an endless cycle of wars into the future.
So, is a fighting war preferable? At least it has a chance of being decisive, though as we’ve seen in this series, survivors of a bombing raid are just as capable of holding a grudge as sufferers of a sanction. Is the only way to end hostilities the total decimation of the enemy? No. Japan itself is an example of that; an aggressor in the second world war, who, in a very short period following, was not only able to form a lasting alliance with its former enemies, but become an economic powerhouse unto itself. But for that to happen, both sides had to want peace; they had to be willing to let go of their anger and desire for vengeance, which only seems to beget more violence (as it did post WW1, when economic sanctions leveled against Germany sowed the seeds for the rise of the Nazis).
With one episode left, Gundam UC (or Gundam Unicorn) continues to be a more insightful treatises on war then you’ll get out of most Hollywood films. Rather than patriotically dying for their countries, the characters in Gundam have the courage to stand up and ask, ‘why the f- are we fighting?’
Gundam Unicorn is available exclusively from RightStuf.