For Anyone who's Ever Wanted to Invade Kuwait
1) There's so much to do!
I convinced China to give up it's nuclear weapons arsenal, but only after I instigated a capitalist revolution within Russia. I pestered Ethiopia to improve human rights, and eventually they responded by attempting to assassinate me, so I killed their leader in response. I stopped the Gulf War by turning Iraq into a free society. Then I annexed Kuwait for myself.
2) My wonderful allies
With more than twice the influence of any other country, when I did something, everyone else followed suit. When I launched a flurry of peace envoys, so did everyone else in the world, eventually. I dealt with human rights by focusing on the big offenders and eventually every country started promoting human rights and doing pretty well for their own citizenry.
3) The power to remold the world
If I gave it enough time and effort, I could change any society in the world, forever.
1) There's so much to do!
It was impossible to keep track of everything. The middle-eastern nations were at each other's throats, and it was all I could do to keep them from tearing into each other. Especially Iraq, which hated me more than Russia, and was the most common aggressor. In addition to all that, there were a dozen conflicts in Africa and Iraq was spending some serious money on nuclear research.
2) My eternal enemies
In spite of my vast influence, all the countries that started out enemies to me seemed to stay enemies eternally. No matter how hard I worked to improve diplomatic channels, they seemed to forever stay hating me.
3) The difficult of remolding the world.
It took a lot of effort. A dozen peace envoys doesn't do it. You've just made the society very peaceful, but it's fundamentally the same society - and if it didn't like you to begin with, it probably still doesn't. Try two dozen peace envoys. Now you've just spent a month making one country more peaceful. It's probably pretty ethical and unambitious by now. It still doesn't like you. Did I mention that a month is a long time in this game? Sure, you have the power to do all these things, but at an hour every other second or so, it takes a long time. Since you're constantly interrupted by events, speeding up the clock doesn't help that much. Also, the vast amounts of money demanded in foreign aid are worthless, they just go down the drain. As far as I could see, economies don't improve permanently, but temporarily. When the year ends, they ask for more money, and you're still sending what you sent the year before.
In other words, poor countries insisted on staying poor. Grr...
The Bottom Line
It's a semi-turn-based game of foreign policy. Sounds common, but it's not. You can try to dominate the world through military or economic might, you can encourage peace, you can try to remold the world into an egalitarian paradise. The one thing you can't do is improve the plight of the third world. Maybe, though, I simply didn't play long enough to do that. I suppose I'll give it a few more years in-game, and then that might happen too.