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We might be forced into a high profile intervention against them; it would hardly be a war as such because we're way ahead of them technologically, but we'd have to become an occupying force to control them, and that would mean a huge drain on our resources as well as morale; in the end, such an adventure would almost certainly be seen as a mistake, no matter the popular enthusiasm for it at the time. The people of the empire would lose by uniting against us instead of the corrupt regime which controls them, so putting the clock back a century or two, and we would lose by emulating those we despise; invaders, occupiers, hegemonists. -- Iain M. Banks, "The Player of Games"




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