Who holds the real power in our world? The man with the gun? The man with a message? The man with charisma? Any one of these by themselves can be enough to gain a following, and our history is littered with examples of people who managed to gain loyalty through one of those means. But the real power belongs to the man who can wield all three factors expertly.
Raul Menendez is the man who manages to wield that power and becomes the ‘Messiah Of The 99%’. Menendez becomes a worldwide celebrity, advocating a new world order and the destruction of the power the global superpowers hold over the common people. This is inspired from the current global situation of high unemployment among the public.
But why is Menendez so determined to bring this structure down? Well his motivation is similar to the of Makarov’s from the Modern Warfare series, a hatred of the West due to actions carried out by those governments. Menendez watched as US backed Contras carried out brutal campaigns in his home country of Nicaragua.
His hate was further fueled when his sister, Josefina, was a victim of first an American businessman who set his warehouse on fire for an insurance scam, in which she suffered burns, and then when she was killed as US forces tried to capture Menendez.
Of course this is all mentioned in the game but glossed over because you are an American soldier, and from that perspective Menendez is nothing more than a terrorist inciting a new global war. Menendez is evil and you’re the good guys trying to stop him from doing major damaging and spinning the world out of control.
But Menendez feels justified in his actions. He believes he is not doing anything different to what the global superpowers have done in the past. The only difference here is that he doesn’t represent a nation or government, but a generation. To him the West have done nothing but allow carnage and destruction to rule his life and home in their quest for more power, while those without power were expendable.
His message of a change which would allegedly fix things is welcomed by the disenfranchised groups around the world. After all Menendez is offering a hand to anyone who feels like they have suffered, or are suffering due to the global power structure. However, it’s also known that he carries out massive attacks against high profile targets, getting people killed in the process, which leads to an interesting look at the future society of Black Ops II.
How damaged is the structure of society that a man like Menendez, who is known for destruction, is able to still gain such a global following? We know his group, Cordis Die, isn’t just a small, vocal party but a group that has millions of followers in this world’s Youtube, and millions of video views. Millions are willing to grant allegiance to a man who would sacrifice lives to further his goals.
This has to go with the group’s founding years earlier which challenged and protested the status quo, and also tried to oppose North Korea. It started as a group that challenged everyone, so managed to gain followers from all sorts of ideologies. As this group grew, so did its influence. This was probably what Menendez planned, to have enough followers all around the world to create a true opposing force against those who had wronged him.
In Black Ops II, Cordis Die is more than an activist group. It’s an army, a political powerhouse, and a research power, all without belonging to one nation. It could be argued that Cordis Die is the world’s first true attempt at a one world government, tearing down borders to further advance society into a better future.
Imagine if Cordis Die and Menendez succeeded in their goal to cripple the US and China, two superpowers that up until then controlled how the world ran. If both factions were truly crippled, Cordis Die would find itself towards the top of the pile. A group not limited to a border or international treaties suddenly has the power to run things, and you have to wonder if that would be such a bad thing.
Of course Menendez takes the violent route, taking control of the US drones and raining down destruction upon American soil, while directing an invasion by Cordis Die. It’s an attack that would leave thousands dead, but for Menendez this is an acceptable sacrifice for the completion of his goals.
Already the US and China are seen as the enemy by millions who want something new, and to them this war is more than a power change. It’s also a perfect way to reverse the situation and make the superpowers expendable, instead of those without power.
Call Of Duty: Black Ops II is an alternate take on the current global situation where a young generation feels powerless against the larger, almost immortal governments and companies that run the world. It has taken this situation and shown a future where the problems that we face today were never truly addressed, allowing a charismatic, armed man to lead a major uprising.