Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
And it's worth noting that the Aldmeri would not have even sat down to negotiate the White Gold Concordat if they were in a position to crush the Empire through military means alone, so they were clearly hurting as well--their failure to take Hammerfell was probably down to the damage their forces took during the Cyrodiil campaign.

Titus Medes II was actually pretty smart to negotiate the Concordat. The parts of the Empire still under his control were almost entirely populated by Men, whereas the Aldmer are Elves--they live longer and breed slower than men do, so will recover slower from battle losses than the Empire does. Given a few decades the Empire can overrun Summerset--Medes is playing the long game here.
Which is why the Aldmeri are working to destabilize the other provinces. They want to break the unity of men and keep them at each others' throats for as long as possible. Whoever catches their breath first wins the war. They don't want either Skyrim or the Empire to win the civil war, they want it to keep going for as long as possible. Because even if Skyrim secedes and drives out the legions, when war against the Dominion starts over, it's a certainty that Skyrim will ally with the Empire against the elves.