Featured image “Commander” by PURY (@puryartist)
By Ymir, World Affairs Editor
“How does she do it?” This is the unuttered question on the lips of heads of state, diplomats, and journalists across Europe as Arendelle becomes the new place of pilgrimage for great and small powers alike.
Even during Elsa’s reign, no one could have predicted the meteoric rise to global prominence the small Nordic kingdom would enjoy.
While Anna’s predecessor managed significant relationships with mighty realms like the Russian Empire and the Qing Dynasty, it’s Anna who has radically transformed Arendelle’s relationship with almost every great power – and set an example for middle and even smaller states to emulate.
On the home front, Anna’s prioritized the union of Northuldra and Arendelle, which will unite Arendelle’s experience in statecraft and foreign policy with Northuldra’s powerful magic and considerable natural resources. States seeking expansion should take note of the equitable approach of Anna as she approaches Yelena and the tribal elders with respect and a willingness to compromise. It’s also Anna’s not-too-subtle rebuke of colonialism as she tries to carve out an identity for Arendelle that is different to that of its great power neighbors.
Speaking of great power neighbors – Britain and France are flummoxed as Anna presses, with a degree of satisfaction, her diplomatic leverage on the two mighty sea empires. These are the two countries that abandoned Arendelle during the Russo-Arendellian War earlier this year, when Arendelle needed overseas allies the most to stop Katina Romanov’s full-scale land and sea invasion. Both the British and French, fearing the wrath of Katina but also eyeing the potential of carving up Arendelle, sat out the fight.
Instead, against the odds, Arendelle humbled Russia. With a repentant Katina now endorsing and recognizing Anna’s leadership and Arendelle’s independence, Britain and France’s foreign ministries are scrambling to placate Arendelle’s plenipotentiaries: a once-unheard of scenario. Anna has made clear that she wishes Lord Palmerston, British foreign secretary, will resign, calling him an “unreliable fool, more vulture than falcon.” This choice selection of venomous words was meant to be read by the British establishment, and published in papers across Europe to serve as a particularly deep and painful knife cutting into British pride. Queen Victoria, who is notably Anna’s friend, will make no such move to fire Lord Palmerston, and Anna knows this. However, the scrutinizing eye of the British queen will no doubt humiliate the British government further, a statement by Arendelle to the British: “If you’re to ever be our friend, actually be a friend.”
As for the French, Anna also had a choice rebuke in a recent interview with the Fjord Times: “If Napoleon couldn’t beat Katina’s family, no Frenchman ever will.”
It is said that the explosions of enraged French heads in the governing circles of Paris could be heard across the North Sea.
So much for European affairs. Anna’s reign has been distinguished for her global cosmopolitanism, and she has multiple theatres of diplomacy to manage, including her friendship with the Ottomans, a delicate peace treaty with former enemy Russia, and her kingdom’s considerable trade investments in the Far East, notably the Qing and British-ruled Hong Kong. It’s no secret that she returned from the Celestial Empire with a significant boon from the Chinese emperor and the shadowy personage known only as Yixin, an endorsement of sorts to effectively traverse the world in search of a great force that could make Arendelle even more powerful. Arendelle is also about to be even more invested politically in Asia, with Fujiwara Takako, grandee of the Shogunate, in our kingdom right now, discussing top secret deals with Her Majesty.
Anna shows no sign of slowing down, and with Elsa, Kristoff, Honeymaren, and other inner court members at her side, there’s every reason to believe that (as long as she watches her back and doesn’t fall into the same traps that her international peers have) her rise will continue.
We were once a pleasant but inconsequential corner of Scandinavia. We might not be a great power yet, but Arendelle’s extraordinary rise to middle power and now, core European power-broker, is already one for the history books. What will we do with this newfound prestige and responsibility? We look to our queen for guidance.