An invading state.
By free region I of course mean a stateless area, by definition not a country, hence the brackets
And don’t say that the free peoples (by definition more pesperous than the state) (and more motivated) will be unable to fend ff an invading nation.
That statement ignores the development societies have gone through since the era of Roman occupation of all of Europe (even including part of Britain, up to Hadrian’s wall).
Both social and technological development has left the developed world (the west) in a far better state to fend off statist attackers.
For instance, long-distance communication is now much easier, especially among communities which are not on a war-footing with each other, like the differing tribes were in the days of the Caesars, because those were essentially micro-states, with all the (micro-) negatives which that entails. In the centuries since then, societies/countries have learned to value cooperation over strife.
And hopefully even, in the post-state Europen continent (which is the example I’ll be going with in this post) enough people will be so fed up with memories of the (macro-) state that they will succesfully prevent the founding of any new micro-states. (Even if some will be tempted to found them¹).
One way that the invaders may try to invade/occupy a region, is by sending in ground-troops. These troops will likely get beyond decimated, because in the free region, guns are likely quite common (not made illegal by the occupying government), and the population will be armed to the teeth and also and angry at and quite motivated to fight off the invader. So unless the invader wishes to kill everyone on site to just acquire enough living/working space for their nation, then the invader will get slaughtered, quickly losing the support from the home front, which keeps losing its children to a useless and unnecessary war. Wen the nation-state wishes to get its mits on resources in the free region, it is much easier (and cheaper, safer and faster) to just buy them. The people will realize this, and will have to start repopulating the nation (at, say, 50 years of age) because an entire generation will be killed off (and unable to pay taxes), unless the despot is stopped.
Technological advances need not be an advantage against the rebels. Just because none of the rebels have jet fighters, and the state does, does not mean that they don’t stand a chance. In fact, it is most likely to be an advantage to not have fighter-aircraft. Because the countries that do, they’d get locked into,a silly-arms race (during WW2 it was a bonus to have the fastest aircraft, which led to the Messerschmitt 262 jet fighter, that did not do much more than dazzle RAF-pilots, but was ineffective against Spitfires and Hurricanes, because it was much too fast for them. So all they did was burn up Germany’s scarce fuel supply.
Similar will happen when a nation attacks a free region. Its jet fighters will be useless, that’s not counting that some anti-aircraft systems may be developed/bought/rented
by the free people.
Still: imagine sending F-16’s out to hunt for rogue citizens.
That would be woefully difficult because those things are designed to destroy tanks and other fighter jets, not small roving bands of citizens carrying guns.
Not only would those overkill-machines not work, but even if they would they’d still waste resources. If you have any idea of the fuel consumption of a fighter jet, you’d know that it is a desperately preposterous concept. Their use can only be financially justified, when the supplying nation state subsidizes their use in their offensive wars of choice. You know, in the kind of regime-change terrorism, that the leader of the free world specializes in.
For a regime to be changed, there must first be a regime. It is quite difficult to impose a regime where there is none. Far easier to just take over, have the central leadership of a coubtry surrender. By bombing the centre of a city that is about 20 kilometers (± 12.4miles) away from where the central leadership resides (the nazis broke Dutch military resistance bybonbing Rotterdam. Having bombed the heart ot of Rotterdam, the leadership in The Hague surrendered, causing the entirr coubtry to be overrun by nazis, young women (girls) to get raped, resistance fighters to get tortured, innocent civilians to get shot or deported for slave labor, etc.). That is essentially the same as the nazis bombing Marseille and the Norwegian government surrendering.
¹) One mechanism by which this may be stopped is by fear of reputation damage making it harder for aspiring despots to do business with vendors (of food, shelter, etc.)