The latest changes to improvement mechanics have further solidified one side of Orbis' treaty web hold on power even more securely and the formula for how is pretty simple:
The losing side of the latest conflict is INQ. Tomorrow it will be another side, but they serve as a good example for right now. Perfect example, in fact.
INQ lost arguably the most infrastructure in this last conflict and their upper tier was absolutely destroyed, creating months of work for their upper tier nations to get back on their feet.
The main reason INQ is at the disadvantage and Syndisphere/TKR and friends win again is simple: Syndi/TKR and friends' upper tier have the slots to mitigate the damage caused by the latest update, INQ and friends upper and mid-tier do not. It's that simple.
Lost a bunch of infra last war and you're now trying to get back to 115% commerce after these latest changes? Too bad, you still haven't even gotten back to your old slot allotment and you'll have to destroy even more improvements to accomplish that. Can't get 115% commerce, which is vital in rebuilding? Too bad, now the multi-month journey to rebuilding is going to take even longer.
Did you not take a lot of infra damage last war? Good, rebuilding will be even easier than it was before for you.
Essentially the gap of power has just widened deeper, and the timing of this rollout, whether intended to or not, definitely favors one side.
(Everyone is hurt by it, but some far more than others).
EDIT: Just to clarify before some people start getting defensive, I don't hold anything against one side or another, really, it's just a game. It's tough to call it a fun game or even a fair game, regardless of side one is on, when the ultimate referee to the game decides to change rules and move goalposts shortly after or even sometimes during conflicts (nod to the old Arrgh, who admittedly needed to be nerfed back in those days, but who so happened to get their nerf in the middle of a war).