Welcome one and all to today's game of Geopolitical UltraChess!
For a special treat, this round will be played in the world's newest nation, South Sudan. Let's take a look:
THE BOARD: South Sudan is an African nation that split from neighboring Sudan by 98% popular vote in 2011.
The vote itself resulted from a peace deal for a decades-long civil war that left 1.5 million people dead.
THE PLAYERS: South Sudan's president, Salva Kiir, accused his vice president, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup and fired him in December of 2013.
The two men hail from different ethnic groups with a history intermittent alliance and conflict.
The last year has been a bloody one for the already-hurting nation as political strife whipped anxious ethnic groups into renewed conflict that has displaced 1.5 million people.
THE TERRAIN: In case the situation was too simple for you, the board is also sticky with t hree and a half billion barrels of oil, weapons left over from the civil war, and a population almost half of whose members are under the age of fourteen .
THE OUTCOME: Please forward winning strategies to USDemocrazy, c/o The Internet.
South Sudan is complex, but not hopeless.
Peace talks between Kiir and Machar are set to resume on February 19th .
When they do, onlookers should remember that South Sudan gained independence just three years ago, in a peaceful process that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called
" far from inevitable ."
If South Sudan can weather this storm, democracy may yet take root.