FDR, arguable one of the best presidents of all time. Known for his program "The New Deal" and other such accomplishments, what is not not known is his many victories in battle against many different types of enemies. FDR possessed great power and technology as can be seen from his transforming wheel chair in which he slayed many foes.
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Get a print high quality print of this here--> [link]
Thomas Jefferson was never much of a warrior history tells us, but yet again history is wrong. This is an image of one of the many attempts by Jefferson to battle all the manliest animals on earth while trying to teach them the ways of America.
In 1752 before Ben Franklin invented Pizza, Gameboy, the iPad2 or Mexican food he was contemplating how to conquer electricity. Being the genius he was he decided go get it at its source, this being Zeus. Strapping himself to a kite, and equipping some homemade lightning claws he ascended through the clouds and into the realm of the Gods to battle it out with Zeus. This is a painting capturing the exact moment the battle started.
Another TL-191 scenario, based on the rumor that Turtledove originally intended to have the Central Powers lose the Great War and have Gordon McSweeny act as the Hitler analogue in North America.
In retrospect, the rise of the Central Powers of the Second Great War was an inevitable result of the Central Powers' defeat after the first Great War. The Treaty of Versailles blamed Germany and the United States for the war, despite that conflict having begun as an Austro-Russian conflict. That bitter desires for revenge would arise from this post-war order is predictable. In Germany, the Nazi Party under Adolf Hitler found popularity among those who saw victory as being within Germany's grasp by spinning a narrative that blamed the Jews (as they were a popular scapegoat) and the Italians (as they had joined the Entente in spite of their treaties with Germany). In the United States, Gordon McSweeny's Patriot Party promised to defeat the Confederacy and avenge the North's three defeats, and to do so with the help of the one true God. In Turkey, the pan-Turanist movement called for the return of the Ottoman Empire's golden days and the destruction of the Entente-created Republic of Turkey. These three defeated powers were joined by the Japanese, an Entente power that nonetheless felt snubbed by the racist Entente leaders, particularly Confederate president Woodrow Wilson, and sought to create an Asia for the Japanese.
The Second Great War began in 1941, when the Russian tsar died and the Germans took advantage of a renewed Bolshevik uprising to launch an invasion of Russia. This prompted a declaration of war from Britain and France, but the Germans anticipated this move and ensured that a good portion of the German Wehrmacht was ready to strike West. The Entente, expecting the Germans to establish a foothold in Russia before turning their forces against France, were caught by surprise by the Wehrmacht's blitzkrieg tactics, which took over France in a mere six weeks and destroyed the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk. Once secured, the Germans waged simultaneous campaigns against Russia and Italy, this time with the support of the new, modernized Panturanian Army. In the East, Japan launched attacks against France and Britain's colonial holdings, easily overrunning them before becoming bogged down in India.
In the meanwhile, the Americans joined their German allies by declaring war on the United Kingdom and Confederate States. Blitzkrieg tactics were used to drive down the Mississippi, splitting the Confederacy in two, while the U.S. Army moved to secure Canada. With the war in Germany a priority for London, Canada fell, leaving the Confederacy at the mercy of their industrially superior northern neighbor. Once the Americans began their strategic bombing campaign, the Confederacy was done for, and by 1944 the CSA was no more after the world's first superbomb was detonated in Richmond by American spies.
By 1945, only Britain and Russia continued the war against the Central Powers. The first German superbomb, dropped on Moscow, and the American invasion of Russia forced Russia out of the war in May of 1945. Britain remained, but German-American bombing campaigns and the destruction of the Royal Navy at the hands of its American counterpart meant defeat was inevitable. The second American superbomb was dropped over Glasgow, with a second German bomb dropped over London. On August of 1945, what remained of the British government unconditionally surrendered to the Central Powers, but resistance to German and American occupation continued until 1946.
The Central Powers divided the world amongst themselves, and quickly became rivals to one another. There was no room in the world for several global hegemons, after all. Two general blocs formed, between the Western (America and Germany) and Eastern (Turkey and Japan) Central powers. The massive armies of the Second Great War were not demobilized, but maintained to face off against each other and to secure the occupied territories. Radiological, biological and chemical weapons would be used against major areas of unrest. Massacres were commonplace against occupied populations, not to mention the genocide of Jews in Germany and Mormons in America.
It is the year 2010, and the world stands at the precipice of destruction. The Americans are the most powerful of the great powers. President McSweeny may have died in 1961, but his legacy lives on and his successors rule from the White House with an iron fist. Standing supreme over the entire Western Hemisphere, the Holy States of America spreads its message of Protestant theocracy all over its new empire. Catholics are heavily discriminated against, and in areas of major Catholic unrest entire villages may be lined up against a wall. Land is taken from Catholic families and given to Protestants. Those Confederates that are found to be insufficiently loyal are relocated to South America. Fortunately, the station of American blacks has been raised, as the Americans have found them eager enforcers of the Patriot Party's order in the former Confederacy. Many black families have taken over the assets of Confederates that had been relocated, and quite a few Patriot Party officials from the South are black. The American military is the largest in the world, possessing the largest navy and air force on the planet. The American military's force projection capabilities are unrivaled, and as it possesses half of the aircraft carriers in the world, its position as the new ruler of the waves is unchallenged.
Germany has not fared as well as America, as the power struggles after Hitler's death caused a great deal of instability. The French Revolts of the 1970s caused a three-year war that ended with Paris' superbombing and the relocation of a quarter of France's remaining population to the slave farms of the East. But the Greater German Empire survived that challenge and has since further secured its dominant position over Europe. The Nazis' racial policies have been law for generations, with Slavs and Italians slaving away under the leash of the SS. The Jews have been all but wiped out, although Jewish populations notably live on in Japan as Tokyo took German antisemitic propaganda as promoting Jewish capabilities in financial and political domination. The German space program is far ahead of any other nation's, and the Germans alone have raumfahrers in orbit at all times.
The Panturan Empire is a rather shaky entity, but one that has take advantage of its oil wealth to buy the loyalties of local leaders and to ensure that it has a modern army capable of fighting against the Wehrmacht. Much of Panturan's oil revenue comes from Germany, in spite of Berlin's constant attempts to gain energy independence, although their Japanese allies are equally dependent on Panturanian oil. By building infrastructure and promoting the interests of Turkish and/or secular groups, the Panturanians have managed to secure much of the territory they have gained after the Second Great War. But make no mistake, the Panturanians are just as eager to use the stick as they are the carrot, as the Kurds have learned. In the former Russian Empire, Istanbul promotes Islamic culture to oppose Russian Orthodox Christianity, although the danger of creating radicalized Islamist movements just as eager to fight Turkey is never explored by Turkish intelligence agencies.
In the East, the Japanese Empire struggles to hold onto its Asian empire. Challenged by the United States Navy and constant revolts in China and Southeast Asia, Japan is just as militarized as it was during the Second Great War. Garrison forces are still necessary in China, and even the firebombing of Peking after its takeover by the "New Boxers" has only led to more resistance in China. Granted, the modern Japanese military is far more advanced than the armies and fleets that won in 1945. Japan's fleets of unmanned drones, a technology that the other great powers are racing to emulate, have become a common sight in the skies over Asia, smiting any who oppose Tokyo. The Japanese space program is also rather advanced, with Japan having the second largest amount of stations in orbit.
!!! POTENTIAL FLAMEBAIT. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. !!!
Another -punk/paleofuture scenario, this time taking the most ridiculous and horrifying parts of 2000s (9/11 - Arab Spring) future predictions. That means Eurabia, full polar ice cap melt, China takes over the world, Jesusland, the works. Credit to Beedok and SRegan of AH.com, and YNot1989 of dA for giving me the tools necessary to make the base map.
DISCLAIMER: I do not actually believe this is what the future would be like. This scenario is not serious by any stretch of the imagination. Think of it as Fallout for the early 21st century. I don't want debates in the comments section over whether or not this is realistic or not, because I'm telling you now: it isn't.
September 11, 2001 is considered by most historians as the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. On that day, nineteen men attacked the most powerful nation on Earth and changed the world forever. The attack, conducted by the Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda, destroyed or severely damaged several targets, including the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and the United States Capitol.
The blow was painful for the United States. Thousands of people were dead, including hundreds of Congressmen. The United States immediately pursued a policy of stamping out terrorism throughout the world, the so-called War on Terror, which eventually led to wars against Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. The war was extremely divisive, with the left and right believing that the other is destroying the country.
In the meanwhile, the rest of the world was also changing. Mexico fell into chaos as drug cartels successfully muscled out government forces in the north and began their war against Mexican and American authorities. Western Europe experienced tensions between immigrants from the Islamic world and local Europeans who believed that their culture was being destroyed, leading to a wave of riots throughout major European cities. China ascended as the dominant economic power in the East, challenging the United States for control of the world.
The 2010s ushered in even more disasters. North Korea imploded in civil war in 2010, and the rogue state was absorbed into China. Sea levels continued to rise as the growing Chinese economy pumped even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The wars in the Middle East drained the United States of blood and treasure, with no end in sight. Russia successfully absorbed Belarus and Vladimir Putin declared himself the new Tsar of the Russian Union. The governments of the Arabian peninsula were overthrown by Islamist revolutionaries pouring in from Iraq and Iran, and founded the New Caliphate. The South American Union, under the leadership of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, was established as a counterbalance to American power in the west.
The Second Depression, the signs of which were present in 2008, hit hard in 2011. Unemployment in the United States and much of Europe skyrocketed to levels as high as 20%. Rioting broke out throughout the country along partisan lines: Republicans blamed Democrats and Democrats blamed Republicans. Neither presidents Hillary Clinton nor John McCain could stop the country from sliding further and further into chaos and destitution. Indeed, their attempts were rewarded with impeachment by the opposition. By 2013, American military assets had to be brought in from the Middle East to stop the rioting, but this only exacerbated partisan tensions and led to the establishment of armed paramilitaries throughout the country. In response, the government turned more and more of the assets developed to fight the War on Terror on domestic threats. By 2016, the United States was in a state of extreme political instability and violence.
The 2020s would be the worst in 21st century history. The bird flu and swine flu epidemics swept through the world, killing millions around the world. The invasion of Mexico by the American government, an attempt to both rid itself of the drug cartels and to galvanize the country under another opponent, became another endless guerrilla war. Attempts to unify the European Union only fragmented it, with the more religious eastern European portions believing that the west had been thoroughly “Islamicized.” The New Caliphate went on a jihad throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, quickly filling the vacuum left by departing American forces. The Caliphate and Russia became extremely rich as oil reserves ran dry throughout the world, allowing both nations to command extremely high prices. Indonesia and Malaysia turned to Islamic fundamentalism and united under the Nusantara sultanate. Sea levels continued to rise, creating a migration crisis the world over. While many coastal cities in the First World responded with levees and domes, those in the Third World sank beneath the waves.
The Second American Civil War began in 2025, when the Republican Party tried to pass an amendment to the Constitution which banned “extremist” religions such as Islam. The so-called “blue states” publicly declared that they would not uphold that law, and that they would attack any federal forces which tried to detain Muslims in their state to be shipped off to the Guantanamo Bay Prison Complex. A nuclear attack in Washington D.C, which killed the president, sent the country into outright martial law. When federal authorities attempted to arrest a group of six Muslims in Michigan, whom they suspected of conducting the attack, they were attacked and detained by state troopers. Washington responded by declaring Michigan a “state in rebellion” and sent in the military. Michigan, and its Democratic neighbors, responded with secession. One by one, blue states throughout the country seceded from the Union, forming the Democratic Republic of North America. The United States government did not recognize this new government, and instead declared war against the DRNA.
The Second American Civil War was contained for the first two years, but quickly spiraled out of control. As the federal government, which had become the new Christian States of America, looked to be victorious, the Chinese began backing the DRNA in order to ensure that the former United States would be divided. The eastern portions of Europe, under the urging of anti-Islamic immigrants, formed the European Alliance and declared a crusade against the now-majority Islamic European Union. This crusade, aided by the Russians and Americans loyal to the Christian States, dragged the New Caliphate in to defend the European Union. The Nusantara Sultanate invaded Australia in an attempt to gain land as their country was drowned by rising sea levels. World War III had begun.
World War III, fortunately, did not involve any nuclear weapons, as the combatants were afraid of a nuclear holocaust. However, the war, combined with plagues, nuclear terrorism and global warming, killed hundreds of millions around the world. Ultimately, the Chinese, the Caliphate and the DRNA would emerge victorious from the conflict, which ended in 2035. Both China and the Caliphate would remain the two dominant powers on Earth throughout the 21st century, as the remnants of the United States and the European Union busied themselves with rebuilding and coping with this new world. The global flooding, known by later generations as the Deluge, reached its peak after the war when the last of the world’s ice caps melted.
The world of 2101 is an amazing, yet horrifying place. Technology is both advanced and primitive. With petroleum gone, what is left of the developed world relies on solar, hydroelectric and wind power. Biotechnology and cybernetic enhancements allows people to live and stay fit up to 150, if they could afford it. The Internet is integrated into everything, even contact lenses, and neurological implants are commonplace. Robots are ubiquitous in rich communities, and most militaries are majority autonomous. However, most of the world lives in shantytowns built in response to the Deluge and WWIII, where the most advanced technology coexists with machinery a medieval peasant would be familiar with. Earth’s ruined industrial base means that most people, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America, are poor subsistence farmers who can afford little more than a horse and plough. Because of poor sanitation, plagues such as bird flu still occasionally ravage the Earth. The toxic environment does not help; the air is poisonous, and the seas are acidic, destroying possible food sources and causing medical disorders the world over.
The two American successor states are decidedly unpleasant places to live in. The Democratic Republic of North America, which united with Canada during WWIII, is a neo-Soviet dictatorship under the control of the various labor unions and academics who sided with the DRNA during the Second American Civil War. While the DRNA is officially secular, it does persecute Christians, which have become associated with the Christian States to the south. Like its neighbor, the DRNA is a highly militarized state, prepared for the inevitable war which would decide the fate of North America. The Christian States, on the other hand, is an outright theocracy. While it has come to accept Catholicism as a Christian religion because of political pragmatism, many Hispanics in the Christian States remain in a state of semi-slavery. This is a better lot than homosexuals and non-Christians, who are killed as soon as they are found. The Christian States despise the “heretics and sinners” of the north, and Christian States politicians always declare that the United States will be reunified under the Cross and Stripes.
The rest of the world fares little better. The New Caliphate is an authoritarian theocracy which has conducted a campaign of destroying anything deemed anti-Islamic or Western, and after the disappearance of oil, has regressed into reliance on slave labor augmented by the newest green technologies. The European Union, in reaction to WWIII, has become decidedly anti-Christian, and the damage suffered because of the Deluge and the war is a very poor dictatorship under the control of Islamic politicians. Russia and the European Alliance have turned to Christian theocracy and extreme racism in reaction, and in either state a person can be killed for owning “heretical texts.” China remains under the control of the Communist Party, which has entrenched its control during WWIII and brutally crushed any resistance. It has created and maintained its sphere of influence by controlling much of the world’s remaining industries, a head start it maintains through the practical enslavement of its massive population. Latin America is a more socialist dictatorship, and its attempts to rapidly industrialize like the Chinese have destroyed the environment it had left over from the Deluge.
With the remaining resources of the world running dry, the nations of the world prepare for World War IV. During WWIII, there were undertones of a resource war, but now a war for food and water may be the only choice some countries have. Such a war would be one for survival, not ideologies or politics, and the terrible weapons that were kept in the vaults during WWIII could finally be used.
My flight is delayed and I have to spend the next three hours stuck at an airport. Might as well send this time in a worthwhile fashion. So, without further ado, my communism world. Apologies to Eugene Byrne & Kim Newman, George Orwell and theseguys.
A spectre is haunting the world - the spectre of communism. By 2008, it is the dominant form of socio-economic organization on the planet, its strains myriad, diverse and at each others' throats. From Leningrad to Debs, D.C, the workers (or, more accurately, their "representatives") rule the various socialist and communist states that jockey for power against each other, and the paranoid and militarized British Empire.
It started in America and Russia, two of the largest countries in the world. Both nations fought alongside one another in the Entente, and both had fought in the war since 1914. Both suffered from terrible inequality, one that its leaders addressed only by shooting those who got too loud. It wasn't long before radicals took control of the opposition. Lenin in Russia, and Debs in the United States, first organized groups of workers and other laborers inspired by the writings of Karl Marx. As Russian and American society collapsed, the former through losses to Germany and the latter to economic collapse, Tsars and presidents resigned, to be replaced by weak men who could not suppress the coming revolution.
The civil wars in both countries were violent and merciless. The Romanovs fled to Britain, while the American government fled to Cuba. Warlords, remnants of the old order, looted and pillaged the country before they, too, were destroyed by the new order. The UASR and USSR were born, two twin nations forged in blood and fire. As economic ruin spread, the revolution spread. The Spartakists in Germany overthrew the Kaiser and his government, as did their comrades in France, Spain, and Italy. Only the British were successful in averting revolution, and that was simply due to luck. With the entire world red, the British isolated themselves, seeking to preserve their empire at all costs.
It wasn't long before the communists turned on themselves. Purges were orchestrated among the parties, and different factions rose to power in different nations. In America, the Christian faction under the leadership of Thomas J. Haggerty rose to power. Believing that Christ was the first communist, and that the workers' revolution will not succeed without God, Haggerty transformed the UASR from a secular republic into a theocratic dictatorship. Haggerty's brand of "compassionate, Christian communism" was not very compassionate. The irreligious and those that disagreed were believed to be foreign agents from rival communist states, and were unceremoniously shot. Haggerty's reign would continue until his death in the 1920s, when his disciple, Alphonse Capone, would continue Haggerty's policies and transform the UASR into an even more fanatical state. "Degenerates," such as those who practiced polyamorous relationships, drank alcohol, homosexuality and religions deemed to stray too far from Capone's vision of Christianity were arrested en masse and sent to work camps, at least if they were not powerful enough to avoid persecution. By Capone's own death in the late 1940s, the Communist Party of America was filled with fanatics, none of whom were willing to liberalize the country by any significant margin. In 2008, the UASR remains a theocracy, aligned with other powerful communist states. The Union of Arab Socialist Republics has merged Sharia law with old Soviet-style communism, while the Workers' Republic of Germany remains atheistic but is aligned with the UASR because they do believe in Satan: the Soviet Union.
In the Soviet Union, a similar story played out. Joseph Stalin rose to the top in Leningrad, and reformed the Soviet Union in his own image. The "Red Tsar" was perhaps the most brutal of his colleagues, invading Eastern Europe, the Middle East and India to further expand his empire. His successor, Lavrentiy Beria, expanded upon Stalin's ideas and created something new and terrible from them. Calling his new project "Neo-Bolshevism," Beria sought to successfully integrate a new form of nationalism into the Soviet Union's platform. Continuing Stalin's program of mass deportations, but to an extraordinary degree, Beria sought to destroy the old nationalisms in the Soviet Union and replace them with a pan-Soviet identity. Those populations that were particularly vocal in their opposition to the Soviet system were sent to the most inhospitable places. Those that turned their actions into words were enslaved, with entire generations living and growing up in the "gulag archipelago" deep in Siberia, knowing not of any life outside of these labor camps. Inspired by the old Russian Orthodox Church and his American rivals, Beria also created a program of iconography, elevating Lenin, Stalin and himself to virtual godhood. The Soviet Union's allies, being large unions of diverse ethnicities, also employed a system of Neo-Bolshevism. The People's Union of Africa used mass deportation in conjunction with state-sanctioned warlordism to exert its control over the country, while the People's Republic of India sought to destroy its non-Hindu population through population transfers and a reimplementation of a reformed caste system. Although unaligned with the Soviet Union, the Democratic People's Republic of Brazil practices a form of communism similar to Neo-Bolshevism, moving rowdy minorities deep into the Amazon, which is being systematically destroyed by the Party's insatiable demand for raw materials.
Opposing the Soviets and the Americans is the International Front. Unlike the Soviet and American blocs, the International Front is composed of more diverse communist nations united only in their hatred and fear of the UASR and USSR. Dominant among these is the Socialist Republic of China. Founded by Mao Zedong, who overthrew the Republic of China that had driven out the Japanese and later invaded Japan himself, the Socialist Republic of China is under the Maoist program. A fusion of Stalinism and Buddhism, Maoism's guiding principle is the obliteration of the self. The individual is nothing, his thoughts and actions but raindrops in the ocean that is the people's collective. Thus, each good Maoist is to destroy any thoughts of individual initiative within himself, instead obeying the commands of the state's leaders, who are the true guiding lights of the people.
The Union of European Communes is a little different. Blanquism, the UEC's form of communism, is closer to Neo-Bolshevism. It glorifies Europe's history and heritage, seeing communism as but the final stage in Europe's historical progression. Indeed, Blanquism holds European culture to be superior to those of the rest of the world, and that only Europeans can really practice communism. This has led to systematic racism in the UEC, where non-Europeans are treated as little more than slaves.
Standing apart from the communist world is the British Empire. Still under the Emergency Government, which has been in power since the failed revolution of 1921, the British Empire retains an iron grip on its colonies, which are retained with the aid of its remaining dominions. Autocratic and militaristic, the British Empire has isolated itself from the world, only doing business clandestinely through neutral communist states. The British occasionally threaten the world with nuclear annihilation, threats that are never taken very seriously as this would only end in the annihilation of the world's last non-communist states. Britain's allies are corrupt military dictatorships, the leftovers of either its own empire or those of its fallen member empires. South Africa and the other former British colonies in Africa have taken in a large group of European and American refugees, bolstering the white, anti-communist population and keeping the white supremacist system there alive and able to face off against the threat of communism.
After Apollo 11 and Apollo 12, NASA used the momentum of those triumphs to launch their proposal to develop several pieces of hardware, the Nuclear Ferry or Primary Propulsion Module, which could provide regular transportation to Geosynchronous orbit and the Moon, and the Standard Mission Module, which could serve as a planetary surface base or orbital station. These, combined with a Science Mission Module specific for the destination, could be combined to form Project Argosy spacecraft, capable of missions to Mars, Venus, asteroids and comets. For these deep=space missions, the Argosy spacecraft would launch from Earth orbit, with two PPMs boosting the main craft into its transfer orbit, then separating, to decelerate themselves to return to Earth orbit for reuse. The lone remaining PPM would provide power and propulsion for the rest of the mission. In this way, a robust compatible collection of manned craft would be available for standard missions, in a flexible architecture to meet varieties of mission needs. I've attached the name Argosy, or treasure fleet, to the project.
Here, the nuclear boosters have been joined with the mission spacecraft, and final check outs and adjustments are proceeding in Earth orbit. In 20 hours, the window will open for the Mars launch.
Modeled in Lightwave 10. I already had the Nuclear Ferry modeled, and I'm still working on the Science Module and Standard Mission Module. Thanks for taking a look!
Argosy 1 and 2 are accelerated into a Marsbound transfer orbit by their NERVA nuclear boosters. This burn adds 3.8 meters per second to the Earth's orbital speed around the sun, breaking the ships out of Earth orbit and injecting them on a long elleptical solar orbit. Most of the boost phase takes place in orbital night. Dawn comes as the combined ships rise in their outbound trajectory. They will be in continuous daylight from now until they enter orbit around Mars.
Rendered and modeled in Lightwave 10 and Photoshop CS 3
This is a beamliner. Beamliners are interstellar spacecraft propelled mainly by a large magnetic sail. Their name stems from their method of propulsion; by deflecting a tightly focused beam of charged smart-particles with a magnetic sail, or, in some cases, smaller momentum-exchange sails directed at the spacecraft from a beam projector station. The beamliner is accelerated out-system on such a beam up to its cruise velocity of 35% the speed of light (or .35c). It then coasts in interstellar space, before reactivating its magsail to start braking against the interstellar medium. Once in proximity to the destination system's beam station (about 200 AU), it then decelerates on that beam for about a year and docks with the station. Some designs have drive systems that allow them to drop into orbit around a specific planet after deceleration. Since beamliners require an active particle stream to brake on, they can only travel between systems advanced enough to host beam stations (although most do take advantage of passive braking techniques by using their magsails to shed velocity in the interstellar medium). Travel to an uninhabited or unexplored system requires a secondary deceleration method to slow down to orbital velocity, and is only done with robotic probes.
Before embarking on a beamliner en route to a settled exoplanet, passengers must spend several years undergoing extensive gene therapy in order to be placed under hibernation to survive the long journey through interstellar space. Although most trips take less than a century to complete, and particle streams are becoming capable of pushing beamliners to higher velocities, storing passengers in a state of suspended animation simply saves mass by eliminating the need for extensive life-support systems an active crew would require, such as providing and recycling consumables. Passengers only need to undertake this treatment once; so once augmented, they can safely undergo "coldsleep" again if they can obtain passage aboard another beamliner. The energy needed to push a spacecraft to even sub-relativistic velocities (< 0.5c) is quite substantial. Thus, the mass of interstellar spacecraft must be reduced as much as practically possible. Most of the craft’s mass comes from the magnetic sail itself. Although it is merely a series of very thin superconducting hoops, it is over 75 kilometers wide when fully deployed, and can total up to 40,000 kilograms. The next most massive part is the debris shield and crew modules. Such craft are often quite fragile in appearance, consisting largely of skeletal truss members made out of advanced lightweight composites. Even with such mass-saving designs, the raw energy need to accelerate interstellar spaceships to cruise velocity (or rather, the energy needed to power the particle stream to push the spacecraft) exceeds several tens of terawatts. Thus, beam projectors orbit close to the local star where solar power is cheap and abundant, using vast photovoltaic arrays to generate the monumental quantities of power necessary to push a ship across interstellar space. Obviously, orbiting close to a star presents its own unique technical problems, mainly shielding the station’s delicate components from the star’s intense heat and occasional stellar flares. Depending on the distance of the star system in question, most systems near Sol have enough beamliner traffic between them to service the system once every 4 or 5 years. Beamliners are spaced along their trajectories such that there is always one arriving every few years, even though an individual beamliner may take over a century to complete one route. Traffic volume can increase if a settled system develops into a terminus with multiple beam projector stations capable of handling multiple streams of traffic from different systems at the same time. Sol, being the first terminus system, was for a long time the hub of all outbound interstellar traffic, although it took several centuries to build up the infrastructure required to launch the first few missions. Although the network itself took nearly a millennium to reach its current size, today its growth has began to show dramatic increase as multiple star systems become advanced enough to start building their own beam stations and beamliner craft. It is expected that by the next millennium, the network will have expanded some 500 light years While the network is most known for manned interstellar spaceflight, it has also made robotic exploration of the cosmos much faster and cheaper. Since probes are far lighter than any manned spacecraft, and also do not carry a fragile living payload, they can withstand higher accelerations and also easily achieve faster velocities. Thus, as it always has been, the frontiers of space exploration are expanded by robotic emissaries, followed by human explorers and settlers many years later.
This is the most common and popular style of beamliner, although other styles do exist.
The Tsiolkovsky, the first manned interstellar spacecraft ever built, accelerates away from the Solar System with a crew of 100 frozen colonists. Using pulsed fusion propulsion, it powers it's way up to nearly 20% the speed of light. At such tremendous speeds, the diffuse gas and dust of the interstellar medium becomes a hail of deadly projectiles. To protect the the ship from the occasional collision with dust grains, a massive triple-layer impact shield absorbs the majority of impacts. By the time the Tsiolkovsky reaches it's target, the shield will be blasted and scarred with impact craters and radiation damage.
After it has achieved coasting velocity, the main engine is jettisoned. Once it is time to decelerate, a magnetic sail, a loop of superconducting wire many hundreds of kilometers wide is deployed, acting as a parachute by braking against it's destination's stellar wind. A smaller fusion-pulse engine then slows it into a capture orbit.
I made this model to accompany a blog post I'm writing for Icarus Interstellar.
ICAN-II was an idea for an antimatter powered manned spacecraft that was developed at Penn State University (a university I will be attending in the fall) in the 1990's. The original design was intended for manned travel to Mars, but calculations were performed for a round-trip voyage to Jupiter and a no-return mission out to Pluto. The flight time from Earth-orbit to Mars was just 30 days and required only 30 nanograms of antiprotons to initiate the reaction, as well as 362 metric tons of reaction mass, provided by a spherical shell of silicon carbide.
Following the ratification of the United Earth Constitution the various states, provinces, etc of the Earth were mandated to redraw their borders to comply with the minimum population requirements necessary for statehood, effectively dissolving most of the Earth's historic regions and eliminating what remained of national boundaries. In North America this happened surprisingly quickly, as many former US States promptly established themselves as some of the first States within the United Earth. Many speculate this is largely due to the internal divisions within most North American regions.
The United Federation of China was the culmination of a decade's of work by the Unity Society of Taiwan and the Social Democratic Alliance in the waning People's Republic, with a little help from American economic and military support to combat the Japanese during the last World War. Formally founded in 2058 the new China looked to have finally gotten over the millenia of cycles of growth, disparity, and revolution that had plagued Chinese civilization since its inception. The Federation shared in the prosperity of the post-war world, its economy bolstered by American investment and the return of its low lying coast-lands after the refreeze that let the Chinese rebuild their greatest cities. The flood had driven millions of Chinese inland, and driven a new kind of cultural revolution that spread the wealth and skills of the richer coastal areas to the poorer inland provinces. When the waters receded, and Shanghai was returned from the seas, the children of those pilgrims to the frontier returned to their parent's cities, and built an economic boom that returned China to its position as the economic heart of Asia, and the second largest economy on Earth.
The prosperity was short lived, as it was for every nation by the end of the 21st Century. The population crisis of the Americans could not compare to that of China. Where the United States began to feel the stings of an inflated workforce made redundant by advances in robotics and automation by the late 2070s, China had been reeling from economic depression for most of the decade. When the gates opened for a new wave of colonists to Mars in 2081, was it any wonder that the Chinese saw the largest transfer of citizens to the American space colonies? Over half a billion people from China flooded to the colonies in the space of 20 years, abandoning their homeland for the promise of a better life in space. For those that stayed behind, a power vacuum was left by the elites that had fled. By 2096, many Chinese leaders sought to adopt the Quantum Economic Model that had freed the colonies from economic disaster. After several pilot programs in Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Nanning, the government began to move forward with plans to be the first nation on Earth to implement the colonial model. Unfortunately for the Chinese, the Mex-American Cold War intervened.
China was America's strongest ally in Asia, and its military was often involved in proxy wars in South-east Asia and the Pacific to counter Mexican sponsored separatists. After the end of the Second Vietnam War, many Chinese soldiers returned home to not only find their economy still devoid of opportunities, but the Federalist government delaying pensions for veterans. The whole situation was a powder keg, and Mexico was quick to exploit it for their own benefit. After making contacts with local regionalists, Mexican operatives quickly established separatists movements from within local Chinese Army regiments. With a little social engineering, all of Southern China was quickly in open revolt against the Federalist government in Beijing. The revolts in the South eventually became a coup de tat that forced the Americans to invade and pacify the Chinese capital. After a short, but costly civil war, some order began to be restored by 2108 and a provisional republic governed from American-run Shanghai had been propped up. Taiwan and Manchuria were in open rebellion, but not by Mexican sponsored revolutionaries, but revolts from local governments who refused to submit to a government so incapable of keeping the country in one piece. As the Americans and Mexicans grapple for dominance, it is not yet clear how much of China will pay the price.
The collapse of Russia, the Labor Shortage, Climate Change. These are the great events that shaped the Blakanization in the first half of the 21st Century. With the end of the Little Cold War in 2023, the Eurasian Union, and ultimately Russia (the Union State) ceased to exist, fragmenting across ancient cultures long since forgotten by the world until that point. The Tartars, the Don Cossacks, and the Yakuts all found themselves independent for the first time in centuries, while the Finns retook their long lost Karelian territories, while the Visegrad Gruop poached numerous territories from Western Russia. Any semblance of order has taken a decade to emerge, made no easier by an endless effort to secure former Russian nuclear arms from upstart powers like the Samara Republic.
While Russia fragmented, China's economic troubles over the last ten years finally came to fruition in the Market Crash of 2027. While China had officially been in a state of recession for more than nine years, the Crash of 2027 made deep demographic problems in the Chinese, and ultimately the world economy apparent. With the loss of the south Greenland Ice Sheet in 2025, and the subsequent rise in global sea levels by 7 meters, China found themselves facing open revolt in much of the country, a revolt that cost them the territories on their western peripheries and made their northern border porous to foreign influence. To prevent the collapse of the world's third largest economy, the US, intervened directly, pumping over a trillion dollars into the Chinese economy and deploying US Naval detachments to provide relief to refugee flooded cities like Hangzhou. China's collapse also spelled the end for a number of Cold War era institutions like the World Bank, which was never able to secure any significant capital from cash strapped European powers, who were dealing with their own refugee crisis in the low countries. This is often seen as the direct precursor for the eventual dissolution of the United Nations, as American interests in China conflicted with those of Japan, a country desperate for labor to supplement its demographic crisis of an aging population and a xenophobic culture.
As the developing world's coastal cities drowned, across the globe, only the wealthiest cities managed to save themselves from falling beneath the waves by hastily constructed sea walls. Tokyo, Washington DC, New York, and London all found themselves fighting to survive against the seven meter rise in global sea levels. CO2 production had finally stymied by the 2030s with the Electric Vehicle revolution, but the demand for energy put ever greater strain on the global economy, even with Helium-3 shipments from Luna and new improvements in Solar energy. All of this was ultimately secondary in the global zeitgeist when compared to the Population Crisis that drove the Recession of 2027. The election of 2028 saw a new administration that made several attempts to save the global economy with economic theories left over from the Reagan and Obama administrations, but to no success. This led to the election of Dylan James Price to the Presidency. President Price pushed for an aggressive immigration incentive program to attract skilled immigrants to the US to close the labor gap met by an aging population and increased global demand for high tech goods and services. This is where a silver lining to the rising tide became apparent; as more urban centers found themselves underwater, the displaced populations could fill the labor shortage in the developed world, taking advantage of the new immigration incentives, none more aggressive than those of the United States and Canada (though with the first people's more aggressive calls for independence, Canada was still far behind the US in incentives). Millions of Burmese, Thai, Vietnamese, Nigerian, Chinese, Indian, and Bengali immigrants flooded into North America as their home countries drowned, driving the United States population to 400 million citizens.
While the United States took an incentive approach to solving its demographic problem, the Turks and Japanese took a more direct approach. With the fall of Russia, and China in such a weakened state, the Japanese and Turks took more aggressive military action to secure their regional interests, and export industry to surrounding territories to supplement their population problems. Turkey was aided by ancient ethnic ties to neighboring states and a grateful US, who supported their effort to stabilize the Middle East, while Japan exploited the power vacuum in Eastern Pacific Rim to secure national interests. It was in these years that the seeds for a new global conflict were sewn.
I’m doing some concept work on this video game project.
Wanna help get it made?
The DeadCoats are Coming
In Halloween, 2011 Neo-Pangea hatched the idea to create the world’s first Flash First Person Shooter, and they called it - DeadCoats. Built as an experiment in under three weeks, it was unleashed to the world. The game instantly received rave reviews and legions of fans demanded more, and it’s not hard to see why.Who wouldn’t want to relive the great American Revolution as founding-father Ben Franklin with a lightning-powered musket, zapping the heads off of DeadCoat zombies?
Now the Neo Pangea crew is trying to take it to the next level,and they’d like your help.
Completing my Red Alert collection here we have a map for the third game. However unlike the total craziness that was Red Alert 3, my map takes place in the same universe as the first two games. Ive combined their timelines to set up what happens in RA3. Here is a breakdown of the major A brief history of each power up to 1990.
The Former Soviet Union
After the Third World War, the Allies would not allow the CPSU to survive. Nor will the United States and European Alliance allow the Russians to reclaim their former Soviet Republics which began breaking away in the final weeks of the war. While the major cities and military infrastructure is occupied a new government is created for the Russian people. Incorporating elements of socialism but with a democratic state (much in the shape of European socialism) the new government finds itself faced with a tough task managing the chaos from leaving communism behind.
Russias armed forces are a much reduced shadow of themselves. While large they no longer pose a threat to its neighbors. Much of the new Russian Army is deployed internally to keep order. The Russians are fearful of territorial grabs by the new nations that boarder it along with Imperial Japan in the east. However Allied assistance both economic and military helps keep Russia stable.
By the mid 1980s the huge natural resources of Siberia (oil and mineral) begin to be tapped. These bring huge influxes of money which Moscow can use. The Russian peoples lives begin to improve as more of the natural resources revenue is spent on improving the infrastructure, environment, and government. By 1983 the last Allied troops have departed and Russia has full sovereignty.
Ukraine and Belarus succeeded from the USSR as the Allies advanced on Moscow. As the CPSU collapsed the two nations sought the chance to break free. Following the war they formed new governments and made strong ties to the European Alliance. By the 1990s both nations have acceptable relationships with Moscow and are attempting to join the European Alliance. (Their borders are different from OTL due to the lost of territory to Poland following Red Alert) In central Asia the former Soviet Republics form new Islamic based governments. Unlike the men Tehran, the Islamic Union has peaceful relations with its neighbors and the Allies. The IU however does not have good relations with Iran. powers.
Of all the nations that fought World War III the Europeans benefited the most. While America suffered from the Soviet invasion and then the USSR from the Allied counteroffensive, Europe for the most part came out unscathed. Her defense industries made huge profits from supplying the USA with weapons during the first year of the war then had the added bonus of equipping their own nations when the Alliance declared war on the Soviet Union. The European militaries performed well in the Mediterranean theater, Middle East, and the invasion of European Russia.
The occupation and rebuilding of Russia was not popular among the masses in Europe but the effort did employ thousands and aided the economy. Excellent ties were established with the former Soviet Republics and the Alliance was expanded. Turkey, Finland, and Baltic States all join the European Alliance in the early 1980s. The Alliance uses these new partners to establish economic contracts with the new Russian government. These contacts eventually lead to the agreement to build several new natural gas and oil pipelines from Russia to Europe. With a friendly government in Moscow, the European leaders see these pipelines as a stable supply of energy. Based on events in the Middle East, the oil flow from that region is too unstable. The pipelines begin construction in 1985 and are nearly complete by 1990.
One area in which the Europeans do downgrade is their military. With a secure border to the east and a partner in the Russian government much of the military industrial complex build to defend against the Soviet Union is cut back. While still maintain impressive militaries the power projection and size of the European Alliances forces are much reduced. Responding to a large scale crisis outside Europe is no longer possible by the Alliance without American assistance.
United States, Central America, and South America
For the first time since the War of 1812 a foreign army had occupied parts of the continental United States. The war against the Soviets saw damage to many parts of the country including the nuclear attack on Chicago. Much of the internal focus of Washington following the Third World War is on rebuilding. A huge campaign larger than FDRs New Deal begins and starts reconstruction. On top of the internal rebuilding the USA is also helping Cuba and Mexico form new governments. It takes much of the 1980s for the U.S. to get back on its feet.
Despite having to spend huge sums of money internally, Americans are keen to keep a strong military as well. While some cuts in the armed forces occur, the U.S. still retains strong power projection and strike abilities. Now that the Russians are out of the world domination business much of the Defense Departments planning focuses on the Empire of Japan. Additional fighter squadrons, air bases, and naval patrols are established in the Pacific. The U.S. also assists the Philippines in strengthening their own armed forces.
Mexico makes a smoother transition from communist government to democratic system. The short lived communist regime gained little love from the Mexican people. Most of the problems in the country stem from war damage and economic troubles. The USA and Europeans help out but Mexico still has problems, including a growing drug problem by the 1990s. Cuba has more trouble in trying to recover from the legacy of Fidel. It takes several years for a stable government to take hold. In Central America the former communist states created in the wave of revolution during the 1960s fail sometimes peacefully other times violently. Communist or fascist guerrillas continue to be a problem into the 1990s.
South America benefited from the war. Agricultural products and supplies of raw materials were sent to both the USA and Europeans. Various nations used new the investment to deal with social and infrastructure problems. Argentina and Britain work out a deal over the Falkland Islands that will see them returned to Argentinean their sovereignty following the Millennium. Venezuela however begins to become a problem in the region. Following a military take over the country buys surplus Soviet weapons and equipment. It also makes threatening moves against Columbia. Attempting to cut back the power of the drug lord, Columbia seeks U.S. assistance to counter Venezuelan threats. America responds by training Columbian troops and providing new equipment for the Columbian military. Venezuela turns to unfriendly nations to further its own power in the region.
The Middle East / Africa
With the lost of the World Socialist Alliance, Iraq, Syria, and other Soviet allies are lose a major support of arms and money. Some of these states like Syria move to have more acceptable ties with the Western powers, others like Iraq don’t. A war breaks out between Iraq and Iran in 1983. It lasts two years with neither side able to defeat the other. Iraq retains a number of advance Soviet weapon systems while Iran has a manpower advantage and receives covert assistance from the Japanese Empire. Eventually the war escalates and super-tankers fall under attack by Iraqi and Iranian forces. Saudi Arabia requests American/European intervention. Working under a UN mandate the EA/USA naval force in the Gulf protects the tankers and hits the Iranians and Iraqis with punitive air strikes. Iraq remains a problem along with Iran who is allied with the Empire of Japan. Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states are pushed deeper into the American/European sphere of influence. New U.S bases are built in Saudi, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait.
Africa remains stable. Libya and Algeria have new governments. Both WSA members were attacked and invaded during the Third World War. Following the peace new governments were established. By the mid 1980s they had stabilized and the majority of European forces had pulled out. Egypt establishes good relations with the two former enemies. Under increasing international pressure South African apartheid comes to an end. New elections and a government take hold in Pretoria.
India and Pakistani go to war in 1980 following the collapse of the World Socialist Alliance. Hoping to use the lost of its major supporter the Indian Army attempts to take the Kashmir region. Several weeks of conventional conflict ends in a UN mediated ceasefire. The Islamic Union attempts to bring Pakistan into their alliance but as of 1990 the talks are slow. Southeast Asia continues to develop building upon its maritime trade routes and ability to offer cheap labor. Malaysia and Thailand work on building up their militaries and modernizing them. Australia too strengthens its armed forces with American and European equipments in response to the Empire of Japan.
China after years of internal turmoil and recovery begins an economic revolution in the late 1980s. A stable democratic system is finally in place at the same time after years of corrupt regimes and military coups. China forms strong ties with both Southeast Asia and the Russian Republic. Former Soviet designers and weapon bureaus offset their limited contracts by selling arms to China. By the 1990s the first of these higher tech weapons begin to enter service with the ROCA.
The Empire of Japan
Japan under Emperor Yoshiro wishes to be a true superpower on par with that of the United States and European Alliance. At the very least Yoshiro believes that it is Japan’s destiny to have domination over the entire Pacific. Continued expansion by Japan occurs in the 80s with the Empire absorbing Mongolia following the Soviet state’s collapse. This latest expansion of Japanese territory following the absorbing of the former French Indo-China and Dutch East Indies in the 1960s, is frowned upon in Washington. Combined with Japanese neutrality during the Third World War the Empire is not on Washington’s friends list.
During the 1980s the United States begins making security agreements with various Asian nations. Particular attention is paid to China, Australia, and the Philippines. Each is valued for their strategic locations and resources. While China turns to Russia for military assistance, Australia and the Philippines value U.S. military experience and technology. American advisors and arms sales increase in both countries. In response the Empire continues to expand and improves its own bases and equipment.
Japan begins modernization programs in its naval and ground forces. The number of big gunned ships begins to be withdrawn from service replaced by new missile cruisers and other guided missile ships which had proved their ability in the Allied and Soviet navies during World War III (the Shogun battleships are kept as fleet command vessels and upgraded). The Imperial Army also receives new equipment incorporating the lessons of the last World War. IJA trains in new combined arms warfare tactics especially using armor formations.
The new Japanese training and doctrine comes from a renewed interest in Siberia. Ever since the 1940s and the Second World War, the Empire had eyes on Russia’s Far East. New discoveries of oil and other resources in the tundra and forests cause many inside the Japanese government and the Emperor to consider what it would take to secure these resources. As a result the Kutwang Army in Mongolia begins a restructuring with new armored and mechanized formations. Air bases and rail lines are also constructed in the northern parts of the Empire and Mongolia. Russia and the United States watch these new deployments with interest. It leads to secret talks between the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Pentagon about security in the Far East.
Japan’s search for more resources leads to new alliances in the Middle East. Members of the Imperial military begin making contacts with the Iranian armed forces. In exchange for high technology weapons and investments in the country, the Japanese receive Iranian oil. This new long trade route to the Middle East leads to an increased Japanese naval presence in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. It is not unsual for the aircraft carriers of the Combined Fleet to be in Indian Ocean training and engaging in playful activity with the USN Indian Ocean groups.
Okay this came about as a result of playing too much Frontlines: Fuels of War, EndWar, and Battlefield. Its of a world in the 2030s that is running out of energy. Some alternatives have appeared but not enough to take oil out of world politics. Here's a short break down on how each of the areas came about.
The US continues to play its role as superpower. Due to increasing energy prices a variety of new ideas are used in the country. Cars with hybrid engines or alternate power are in use. Mexico manages to contain rising violence with criminal factions but a large US border wall is up. Canada is pretty much unchanged. It has improved its economy due to its energy assets.
Continued anti-Americanism led by Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez had seen the Americas breaking away from US influence. Chavez had become the 'resident for life' in Venezuela. In 2020 he cuts off oil supplies to the United States which nearly results in a war. The US however finds itself committed in the Middle East and doesn't seek a military solution. In order to prevent a future US attack, Chavez forms the Brotherhood of Nations with Cuba and Ecuador, and Panama.
This alliance pushes Columbia further into the US camp with some American military units basing themselves in country. Brazil, Chile, and Argentina form the SAJA. It works as a check on US ambitions in South America and the Brotherhood. The SAJA also combines their economic and energy assets.
The EU continues to expand. As energy prices rise and Russia becomes more resurgent, Eastern Europe and Britain join. Due to the need for oil and natural gas the EU signs off on American occupation of certain parts of the Middle East in exchange for a share of the oil. New pipelines are laid from Turkey to Iran to counteract Russian control over Europe's energy needs. When the Ukraine joins in 2025 it almost results in a Russian intervention. Tensions have been cold between the EU and Asian Confederation ever since.
The Middle East
Iraq continues to develop despite attacks from rebels and terrorists. US forces are mostly gone from the country by 2015. Advisors and some combat troops remain to help the Iraqis with security. Iraq befits from new European gas and oil pipelines to Turkey. Tensions exist with Iran.
Iran develops nuclear weapons. This leads to the Isreali public announcement they have their own nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Tension between both powers will exist till the deployment of US and Asian Confederation ABM systems. Iran made many economic and security deals with India, which resulted in Iranian involvement in the Final Indian-Pakistani War. Iran continues to be a partner with India and a major player do to its remaining oil and gas reserves most of which goes to India and Asian Confederation.
Saudi Arabia began to buckle under internal pressures throughout 2010-2020. Dissatisfaction with the Royal family caused more chaos and terrorism. Conflicts between radical Islamists, democratic groups, and loyalist plunges the country's major cities into civil war. Unwilling to risk the lost of the oil refineries, the US moves in and occupies the oil fields. Iraqi and other Middle East troops take part along with some European forces. Saudi Arabia today is torn by rival factions controlling different cities. US and Allied forces continue to hold onto the oil fields.
Israel and its neighbors continue to exist. Many accept de-facto peace with Israel in exchange for economic and energy cooperation. A Palestinian state is created in 2018. The IDF expanded its missile and air forces to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat but scaled back these programs once Israel was brought under the US-European ABM system. Israel still has a large number of tactical nuclear weapons.
Afghanistan requires large numbers of NATO and US troops till the Final Pakistani-Indian War of 2021. With the support base for the Taliban gone, the country sees the first real peace in nearly a century. US and NATO troops remain in place but in smaller numbers. Drug production is a major problem in the country.
India and Pakistan tensions degraded through 2010-2020. Taliban and radical Islamic movements in the north of the country caused more chaos inside Pakistan. The civilian government is replaced once again in 2015. Pakistani Army generals try and crush the radical movements but it only caused further dissident and brings attacks into the major cities. India nervous over Pakistan's deterioration, moved more troops along the frontiers. Pakistan doubles efforts in Kashmir. By 2021 a full scale civil war breaks out in Pakistan. India fears that Islamabad will lose control of its nukes and decides to mount a first strike.
Indian missiles catch many of Pakistan's weapons on the ground. Some Pakistani weapons retaliate. India destroys Pakistani targets and civilian centers in response. Iran as part of a secret agreement with India, launches attacks along its border. Two more weeks of conventional combat occurs till India controls most of Pakistan. Although condemned for their actions, India is too economically connected to the western powers for them to take serious action. The war weakens India due to the physical destruction, fallout, and now the cost of controlling the remaining habitable sections of Pakistan.
More ASB craziness. The world of Red Alert, prior to the outbreak of World War III. The year is 1975.
Changes between this map and the first include more nations. As with the OTL (our time line) Word War II, Red Alert's version would see the ending of colonial empires. Hence nations all over Africa, and the freedom of Vietnam, India, and the creation of Pakistan and other nations.
India and Pakistan don't like each other. China is a weaker state than OTL. It's controlled by the Nationalist since Mao cannot receive aide from the Soviet Union after its defeat in 1950. Japan and China fight for years after WWII, with the Japanese withdrawing from coastal China like the US did from Vietnam in OTL. They have however hold onto the northern region and moved into the former Dutch East Indies, taking advantage of the post war independence chaos.
Iran becomes an Islamic Republic in a revolution similar to the one in 1979, however much earlier. This leaves them at odds with Europe, America, the Middle East, and Soviet Union. Iraq becomes a WSA member due to Iran's revolution.
The Soviet Union's defeat in the first game leads to the lost of the Baltic States and Sahkalin Island to Japan. However in the post war period the USSR regains control of the Central Asian states and the Ukraine. A new Soviet alliance has sprung up around the globe. Most recently in Central America, paving the way for the invasion of the USA in the game.
Europe is more united then ever. Poland's borders have been slightly readjusted with land taken from the USSR after World War II. US and European relations are poor. Both are competing as Superpowers so their own rivaly helps the Soviet Union rebuild its power base.
A note, even if a country is labeled as an American ally, it still has its own independence. Other countries not labeled as US or European allies but independently can also be considered allies.
Hokay, this map is for FieldMarshallPatton’s [link] “Post-Apocalyptic Axis Victory World”, which is inspired by Kornbluth’s “Two Dooms”, the Anime So Ra No Wo To, and one of my maps. It’s a somewhat ASB setup in which Germany and Japan win WWII thanks to an ultra-isolationist US, and win WWIII with a German nuclear first strike in the 1960s, only for Germany to turn on their allies and nuke them in 2033 ( in a serious display of overkill, but might as well get rid of the Chinese too while we’re at it, no?). Global warming, resource depletion, and massive corruption at the center led to crisis by the late 21st century, and finally in 2087 an SS revolt with nukes on plunged the Nazi empire into chaos, and a world-wide breakdown of the economy, government, trade, etc. took place. The Chaos Years, an era of civil wars, famines, wacky religions, socialistic dictatorships, mass population movements, and other fun stuff followed. A peace of exhaustion eventually ensued, a dark age with global communications and interchange almost extinct. Technology stagnated, and progress long came to a standstill.
Only now, a couple centuries later, have things returned to something resembling a global economy. South America and South Africa, areas largely left out of the Nazi civil war, are the most developed parts of the globe. Scandinavia is almost as developed: Europe and North America more backwards, the rest of the world a mess. Sea levels have risen sharply (there is little left of the Netherlands) and global warming related desertification has battered much of the globe, especially the Middle East. World population is a bit over a billion. Siberia between the Urals and the formerly Japanese Far East was formerly a Slavic “reservation”, backwards and brutalized: largely untouched by the wars (it was hardly worth wasting missiles on) it has begged, borrowed or stolen the technology needed to modernize and now plans revenge on its former tormentors.
The New Confederacy (one of the states into which the Nazis broke up the defeated US) is no more: having attempted to make it through the Chaos years on the backs of their black population (after paring them down to a more manageable number) the local whites were quite surprised that the sneaky negroes had been preparing for some sort of showdown for decades (they knew damn well what had happened to the American Jews). India passed out of British hands only to end up in German and Japanese ones, and brutal they were: Indian “independence” arrived amid civil war and famine and the general collapse of the chaos years, and with no functional Party of Independence (aside from a bunch of angry guys plotting in cellars) collapsed into a multitude of states, currently 16 not including former Nepal and Afganistan (the former high was over 30). Several groups want reunification, but the democrats of Maharastah, the Naziesque Hindu nationalists, the socialistic regimes, the Sikhs, and that one weird state of Kali cultists can’t really agree on terms (and that’s not counting the Muslim states). With the Monsoon having become unreliable, some parts of India have become depopulated, while others still suffer from severe droughts and famine (Maharastah’s “we could feed ourselves if we all worked together” message is so far ignored).
The west coast of North America is…different. The Nazis killed most of the population of east Asia (and killed a couple hundred million more world-wide due to nuclear winter crop failures), but over two centuries there has been some recovery, although their separation from the wider world by the more radioactive coastlines has hampered the development of the warlord states of the interior. Japanese America (where the Japanese had settled a lot of their Asian subjects to divide the population, encourage whites to move east, and strengthen their hold) was hit more lightly, as not to irradiate their North American puppets too badly. A rising by the non-Japanese majority forced the Japanese to retreat to whatever enclaves they could fight to with whatever minorities still retained some loyalty. The Happy Shiny Multiracial state of Pacifica, alas, didn’t last: the Germans refused to trade with such a “mongrel” people, the three US descendants and Canada plotted to swallow them, and the west coast whites automatically assumed that with the Japanese mostly gone, they got to be in charge again…and then there came the Collapse. Nowadays, Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics run the fragmented “helot” states (as white fascistic  nations contemptuously call them) and WASPs had best be married to someone of color or be gone. (Indeed, an inland white “rump California” is currently a Japanese Golden Mountain ally). The “helot” states are also one of the very few places on earth where it is safe to be an acknowledged Jew.
The Third Reich has broken into three major pieces, but people speak of the “two Germanies”: the hellhole of former European Russia is considered Warlord territory by most countries (partly due to German pressure: neither German state wants the eastern states to gain recognition that could interfere with their eventual reincorporation into a reunited Reich).
The Pope currently lives in Mantua (Rome having been vaporized by a Japanese multi-mega-tonner in a lucky shot), under the protection of that rather grotesque and baroque German-Italian hybrid, the new Holy Roman Empire. A lot of people have emigrated from the areas hit by warming: there are a lot of Muslims in South America, as many proportionally as in OTL 2012 France (and there are of course some right-wing pundits warning of an impending Caliphate. ) There are a lot Indians in South Africa, where along with other Asians they form an intermediate caste between the whites and blacks. (There are also rather more whites, proportionally: beside the birth control chemicals in the African’s drinking waters, relatively untouched South Africa welcomed a _lot_ of immigrants from the North during the chaos years.)
The South Americans and South Africans are quite influential in Europe: indeed, Spain and Portugal (what’s left of them) are respectively Argentine and Brazilian puppets, and Ireland is quite close to Argentina if not quite an official ally. Both the Frances and the Germanys are to some extent in South Americas pocket economically speaking, and there is considerable popular resentment over this fact.
Scandinavia is expanding into the wilds of northern Russia: they are beginning to get a bit nervous re the Holy Slavs, which have started a serious thrust into the territories of their nearest “German Warlord” state after some careful initial nibbling to make sure the German regimes would not react too hastily (the German states have most of the world’s remaining nuclear warheads, but nobody is sure if any of them still work after all this time: it’s not like they’ve used one in a long while. What they do have which _does_ work unpleasantly is a lot of radioactive waste with long lives that can be dumped from zeppelins onto cities: also, a large arsenal of chemical weapons and a crapload of anthrax spores.)
Perhaps the world’s oddest state is the state of Helvetia, in the Alps. After the destruction of Japan and the conquest of Australia and New Zealand, there were still some millions of Japanese to dispose of, and the west coast of North America was descending into chaos (not that they cared what happened to the Japanese, but it might put German ships at risk). Some were sent to South Africa or South America or settled in parts of German Africa where it was almost impossible to recruit German settlers to go save by force: but in a moment of dictator whimsy, Fuhrer Rennicke, a lover of oriental kitsch, settled quite a few in rump French-speaking Switzerland and the German Alps, visions of quaint Japan-towns dancing in his head. And then the waters of the Collapse close over the scene…
…and when they retreat, a very odd new “Switzerland” has emerged, the Helvetian Confederation, consisting of French Cantons, German cantons rather unwilling to join either German state or the HRE, and cantons where a weird fusion culture dominates, people who speak a Japanese heavily larded with German and French, follow the Shinto faith but cheerfully attend mass with Catholic neighbors, and whose currency, the Helvetian Yen, has become the dominant currency of the new Confederation. (The new Confederation, although its form of government is essentially a republic, also has a hereditary Archduke whose grandfather they dug up from somewhere, along with his supposed noble genealogy. Some of the founders decided that having a noble family would be useful in diplomatic dealings with states like the HRE). With clever tactics, the use of their mountains, and salvaged and repurposed old German technology from before the Collapse, they have so far held their own against efforts by the Holy Romans to expand into their territory.
The world’s technology is…odd. Much old knowledge is maintained, but the infrastructure and international scientific community to build certain technologies does not exist. Brazil has a sophisticated biofuels industry, but no computers beyond some hulking vacuum-tube monsters. Plenty is still known about nuclear technology, but no nation currently has the depth of technological skill to build and run a nuclear power plant (the last of which ceased to function a century and more back. Many melted down, with varying levels of damage and often little reaction: in the post-chaos dark age, most people were willing to accent very high rates of cancer to hold onto, for instance, good farmland). The oil is long run out, and power comes from wind, biofuels, solar power of the old-fashioned sort (big mirrors and boilers for turbines), hydro power, and coal (the effects of burning which are well known, but what are you gonna do? At least with the much reduced population, not too much is being burned).
Shipping is by sail mixed with steam (coal or biofuels), transport by rail: civilian automobiles are steam or electric, and are a luxury or military only item outside the richest nations. Building heavier-than-air craft, with their fuel demands and challenging engineering, is largely a lost art, although the Chileans are fiddling with some designs: zeppelins and blimps are still around. Telephone and radio are also a luxury item in most countries. On the other hand, there is a lot of leftover tech from before the Collapse – and unlike nuclear warheads, some of it still works. There are a lot of still functional battle machines, although some must be rebuilt so they can be propelled by steam or biofuels rather than by petrol. And then there are old computers with still functional databases, if one can power them up: bioweapons, still deadly bacterial spores: combat robots: and waiting, buried in the Antarctic Ice, what was never used, for the last German Fuhrer, in perhaps the one decent action of a life of gratified appetites, refused to use to take the world down with him…
Nobody knows how exactly the warhead made its way from China to the hands of the Iraqi resistance. Rumors that it had been transported by a US nuclear submarine that had somehow remained on the loose for over fifteen years were later dismissed by the Soviets as paranoid fantasy.  However, it is known that it made its way to Moscow as part of a consignment of supposedly illegal drugs destined for high (and frequently “high”) Politburo members, with plentiful bribes and authentic-looking documentation on hand and cushioned in bags of the finest Afghan opium. Negotiations for the transfer of said narcotics were actually under way in downtown Moscow that afternoon of September, 2003, when the warhead went off, taking out a sizeable chunk of the city including the Kremlin and most of the Soviet leadership, the Politburo being in full session at the time. Central authority temporarily collapsed, and rebellion broke out all over Eastern Europe.
(The world did not burn in nuclear fire, since - unlike a couple decades earlier - there was no immediately obvious suspect, and soviet nuclear arsenals were not on hair-trigger alert. Still, the first few hours were pretty white-knuckle-ish)
Turmoil also broke out in the USSR proper, as several different people claimed that they represented the proper line of succession, and nationalist revolt broke out in the Baltic States, Iraq, Kurdistan and the Trans-Caucuses. (The careful and corrupt leadership of the Central Asian states carefully stayed immobile, as did the Mongolians – unpleasant neighbors, you know). There was still no recognized government some weeks later when radiological scientists reported that judging from the fallout product, the weapon was most likely of Chinese origin: this did not prevent Mendeleev’s Leningrad regime from making use of the missile bases under its control to blow up several of China’s remaining cities, in spite of loud protestations by the government that it must have come from the Maoist Fundamentalist faction (still holding on in Qinghai and Sichuan). Pro-Soviet puppet regimes in America and Eastern Europe collapsed like a house of cards in most cases, although the hard man the Soviets had given the nod to replace Ceausescu managed to stay in power for a while through savage measures.
The Leningrad regime did not long survive, nor did the Kiev faction: by early 2004 an army-KGB alliance had taken control of the big cities and set about a flurry of purges. The absence of the head of the KGB at the time of the disaster has led to a great deal of paranoid theorizing, but Chairman Putin has always been a survivor.
The highly centralized economy pretty much collapsed with the destruction of the Moscow “head”, and only food aid from the European Community prevented large-scale famine as distribution systems fell into disarray (ugly rumors remain about deliberate starvation policies directed at rebelling Georgians and Azeris). Restoring the economy to some sort of functioning level took nearly two years, and large parts of the Soviet Empire were forced to work on an improvised barter system for lengthy periods. In the end, the pragmatic new leadership decided that a policy of “nuke the US and Eastern Europe until they let us occupy them again” would be more trouble than it was worth, especially since it gave them no incentive to avoid doing something like 9/7/03 again…
In 2012, the Soviet Union is still the dominant global power, but by necessity has been forced to diminish the scope of its planetary empire. It still has a wide constellation of allies, but a lot of them are principally Soviet aid black holes, and after fourteen years of economic reforms (with a two year time out for emergency measures) the Soviet economy is looking capitalist enough that it feels a bit silly to be supporting such determinedly old-fashioned Stalinists as the Koreans and the Indonesians. The increased dissonance between ideology and practice threatens to undermine social stability, and the government has been working hard to promote a “Soviet nationalism” to combat the attractions of local ethnicity. The government is presently located in Leningrad: supposedly it will return to Moscow when the rebuilding is done and the fallout dies back a bit more.
The economy is finally growing at a clip better than anything seen since the early 70s, in spite of the fact that the Europeans are no longer importing any gas or oil to speak of: Soviet industrial combines increasingly work like international corporations, seeking market share abroad (and quite often essentially control the economies of many Soviet allies, which is an increasing cause of resentment in Africa and Latin America). Government censorship has been relaxed, allowing for a bit of a cultural and entertainment efflorescence, but anything that looks like separatism or rebellion is brutally repressed.
Although Soviet global dominance is less open than it used to be, and weak nations no longer feel the need to loudly trumpet their socialist credentials, there are very definite limits: with the exception of the EC and India (which have few anyway) nobody is allowed to have nuclear weapons. The government has made it quite clear that any nuke-building will immediately be followed by a visit from Comrade Missile, and perhaps as an example, the Soviets are in the habit of ever now and then lobbing (non-nuclear, but quite ouchie) missiles at any suspicious Chinese structures the spy satellites spot. Space programs other than the EC’s are forbidden (satellite launch capacity = ICBM capacity) except in “partnership” with the USSR, which essentially means you pony up the money and a satellite and they launch it for you.
China remains a Problem. After the government got back on its feet, there was an effort to overthrow the Chinese government in retaliation for the bombing (which the Chinese still insisted they had nothing to do with) but after a limited penetration into what turned out to be a pretty nasty wasp’s nest the Soviets established a new depopulated border zone and stood pat: there was talk of nuking China into oblivion, but besides looking bad in front of the Joneses by this point Chinese population and industry was so dispersed (and often underground) that bombing them back to the stone age would require so many bombs as to radioactively poison half the USSR and possibly bring on a nuclear winter (Soviet scientists had studies Sagan’s work with interest). So essentially China was let be, and used for occasional target practice. Contact with the outside world is limited, but from what is known the Chinese state is an insanely regulated totalitarianism designed for survival at all costs, and with an army comprising perhaps ten percent of the entire population.
Japan, where a more “pragmatic” political coalition replaced (with much Soviet prodding) the “enthusiasts” of the early post-US years, has mutated into an odd blend of state as corporation and Socialist dictatorship, with lots of patriotic singing and marching and everything planned by computer to maximize productivity (and robots). What somewhat worries the Soviets is that the Japanese system seems genuinely competitive – the economy is now growing rather faster than the USSR. Of course, it’s possible they are just faking the numbers.
The Middle East is pretty much a wash for the Soviets, although they have retained much of their oil muscle with harsh measures. Afghanistan is actually fairly quiet nowadays, and has slowly made it out of the Middle Ages into the bright lights of, say, 1930s Turkey. Speaking of which, although the Soviet Union has not used force to restore a pro-USSR government in Turkey, the Straits are still under Soviet control.
EUROPES The European Community is now 100% powered by local coal, solar and nuclear power (in spite of that unfortunate little incident in Italy). Cars are all electric. It’s poorer than our Europe, but quite egalitarian, and somewhat smug about how civilized they are compared to the thuggish Soviets or the revanchist, perpetually pissed Americans. This to some extent covers a deep, nagging feeling of insecurity and a sense of shame at having survived by carefully kissing up to their neighbor to the east for years. Now there is little chance of the Red Army storming west, but a certain cringe remains. Many Europeans bombastically call for a New Europe, a Europe that Can Say No, a Europe capable of standing up to Leningrad. Other Europeans ponder the limited number of European nukes capable of hitting the USSR and the still huge Soviet arsenal and shudder and shake their heads in disbelief at the idiot. Economic ties with North America and Eastern Europe continue to grow.
The UK, always more geographically protected from Soviet non-nuclear forces, has taken a sharp turn to the right, and Margaret Thatcher has been “rehabilitated” to the point of getting a statue in Parliament.  Germany was officially united at last in 2006, after the EC (Germany most of all) paid some truly massive bribes (“recovery aid”) to the USSR (it had “informally” been united shortly after the nuking of Moscow, when the East German government collapsed like a bad soufflé).
However, the Soviets have nixed any expansion of the EC further east, so although the former Warsaw pact nations are now trading vigorously with the west (and sending loads of immigrants thataway) they remain politically nonaligned. Under Polish leadership they have formed an alliance of their own, the Prague Pact, including governments varying from the quite democratic Czecho-Slovak Union to the Greek Junta. Of the former enlarged Warsaw Pact nations Yugoslavia is an exception: the USSR having supported its challenge to Croatia re Bosnian borders when Poland, etc. would not, the Serbs have rediscovered their love for their fellow Orthodox Slavs.
REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD The non-Soviet East European troops mostly joined the rebels or deserted when the news from home came in, and those from east of Poland mostly withdrew to their bases. The situation had not improved from 1997: although many Americans were willing to go along with the notion of trading national unity for normal economic and political conditions, such views were poorly represented among the actual rebels, which flocked to the new “Heartland Republic” in hopes of spoiling the new initiative. In spite of optimistic reports by local officials (“if we fight them in the Heartland, we won’t have to fight them in California”), the movement of large numbers of troops from elsewhere led to the embarrassing takeover of Boise and the declaration of the “free republic of Idaho.” The 2001 nuking of the city temporarily dampened the rebellion, but pretty much blew any remaining legitimacy for collaborating governments, none of which lasted through the winter of ‘03.
In 2012, the United States is once again a nation. The Deep South and Texas rejoined “with conditions”, retaining certain local autonomies and the right of legal secession if the damn Yankees ever get pestiferous again: Hawaii has its own special arrangements. Total population is rather lower than OTL, immigration to the US being understandably lower during the occupation years, and children more expensive: the current total is about 267 million.
Relations with Cuba are even worse than OTL: Puerto Rico is Unredeemed Territory.
Living standards have grown rapidly with rapid post-unification growth as the US once again became an integrated economy. (In fact, Soviet statisticians have noted that US living standards once again exceed Soviet ones, something that is not reported to the general Soviet public). With the traditional political parties somewhat tainted by collaboration in the early years of the Occupation, there are now New Democrats, Truman Republicans, and five other political parties to confuse voters at the polls. Said politics remain turbulent, as people point fingers and try to prove their credentials as the most anti-Commie, resistance-fightingest, super-patriot ever. (Ironically, the economy is by OTL standards rather socialist: the reconstruction of the country and its infrastructure and the need to keep people employed means that the government does a lot of social spending, and employs rather more of the population than OTL).
New York City, having been governed separately from the rest of the NE Occupation Zone, decided afterwards it didn’t want to rejoin a state whose government took more in taxes from them than they ever received in government benefits (and then told them to drop dead when they had a financial crisis) and formed its own state out of the Five Boroughs and a large chunk of Long Island. The now largely rural rest of the state is currently feuding with them over the name.
The US is forbidden by the USSR from developing nuclear weapons or space capacity, and the Soviets have made it clear that any efforts to, say, embargo the USSR would be seen as a hostile act; indeed, the Soviets are currently trying to pressure the US into paying off a huge debt the Soviets claim they owe for reparations due to losses when the occupation collapsed! Americans grumble, and curse, and some of them, in hidden places and in European labs, carry on with certain projects…
OTHER NATIONS To the south of China, most of SE Asia sticks close to the USSR for fear of the Chinese. The Singapore Pact nations are a small island of moderately successful capitalism in a Socialist sea, and trade vigorously with Europe and the few other functional Capitalisms. They have been trying to get Thailand to join up, but the Vietnamese have been rather cold to the idea. Burma/Myanmar is depressingly similar to OTL.
In Arabia, Rabi’ Bin Laden, inspired by his cousin Osama’s heroic death in Afghanistan, became one of the leaders of the rebellion, initially based in breakaway N. Yemen, that overthrew the House of Saud, seen as compromised by kowtowing to the Soviets. The Islamic Union after the Soviets sliced away the Shi’a regions still has enough oil to pull it out of dirt-poor status, although the large proportion of dirt-poor Yemenis who have come north in search of jobs since unification are a source of internal stresses. So far, this world considers political Islam as more of a nuisance than a severe threat.
The Israelis have indignantly denied rumors of having developed a vast chemical and biological arsenal, and it’s true there is no serious evidence: but nobody knows just how deep down those tunnels under Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities go… (There are less than 3% Arabs within the borders of the shrunken Israeli state. The rest have been energetically encouraged to move to “their” country, unpleasant as many of them have found the one-party regime that rules it. Given their parlous situation, the only Jews who live in Israel are the, shall we say, highly dedicated ones).
South Africa continues to bleed. Africa is generally as screwed up as OTL, although some of the Soviet-backed Red regimes at least offer a bit more stability and more actual nation-building than the historical kleptocracies: unfortunately, Africa seems likely to actually fall behind ours as the globalization-aided boom that many African countries OTL have experienced in recent years is not being duplicated in this poorer, more socialistic world. The AIDS epidemic is also as ghastly as OTL, not helped by the fact that the poorer first world of this TL took nearly a decade longer to develop effective medications. At least in this TL there aren’t any international corporations trying to sue the makers of generics.
(The AIDS plague outside Africa is actually a bit more controlled: China due to relative isolation has avoided it entirely, and the Soviet medical establishment has done a better job of keeping it under control than the post-Soviet states of OTL).
Latin America is divided into a still “red” and pro-Soviet block and a more capitalistic (if still often a bit socialistic) block of nations edging towards closer ties with the market economies of the US, Canada, and Europe. The Soviet-aligned nations face difficult choices in terms of economic reform and often political turmoil: the dream of a unified socialist Latin America does not really reach beyond the political control of Havana, and people wonder if Castro’s brother and other political leaders can really keep the show on the road once Castro (currently on some good drugs) finally goes the way of all flesh.
Technology is generally more backwards in this world than OTL: the US, Japan and other places have of course contributed less to progress since 1987, and a Soviet science establishment superior to that OTL post-1991 Russia does not make up for that. The Soviets have kept Mir in orbit and enlarged and modernized it, but with nothing to prove to anyone haven’t bothered to do any manned travel beyond Earth Orbit. They have developed a space shuttle, in fact a better designed one and a more reliable one than the OTL US one, but haven’t really done too much with it: Heavy Dumb Boosters remain the basis for putting stuff into orbit, and the satellite business is dominated by Soviet launchers, with a smaller EC effort ongoing. Computer science is also more backwards, as are consumer electronics: only in the last few years have European parents started to grumble about how much time their children are spending on the “network.”
The future still looks pretty Grimdark, and most people doubt the Soviets will ever allow a serious challenger to arise to their Top Dog position, but at least, most people say, we’re not going to have a nuclear war, right? The Soviets will never tolerate a new arms race…
 Even more absurd were the rumors as to the identity of the “mystery sub”: after all, rather than return the stolen ship, the Americans had blown it up and sunk it. They had even shown the wreckage to Soviet divers, who reported that it was indeed the Red October.
 Yes, I know this was OTL…
EPILOGUE: 2016 June 17, an unusually large “science package” was launched into orbit from French Guyana. A high orbit, and a geostationary orbit. One that put it in line-of-sight of all but the northernmost parts of the USSR.
This was unprecedented: various agreements between the EC and the USSR meant that each informed the other, in advance, about exactly what they were going to do with those ICBM-type things used to launch objects into space. The Soviets grumbled loudly, and turning telescopes on the science package and finding it unidentifiable, made noises about shooting it down.
The tiny folded piece of paper covered with tiny scribbles made its way by various hands through the Soviet Union, from there to East Germany, and eventually to Western Europe. It arrived in America in February, 1987: too late, for those into whose hands it was finally delivered neither understood it nor believed its brief appeal. By the time it came to those who could confirm its reality, time had run out. Despairing, the original author of the note committed suicide.
The US ambassador to the USSR at this point delivered certain papers to the Soviet government. Papers, he explained, relevant to the current situation.
The scribbles were soon copied more legibly. A small group of scientists in San Francisco studied them. Later a British businessman carried a copy of the paper and their additions back to Europe, where further work would be done. After 2005, the main area of activity would return to America, where the scattered biological components of what had been Sandia Labs returned to the looted shell of what had been one of the world’s primary research institutions. Stark Industries, a highly successful new high-tech startup, would prove a vital technological partner.
By 2015, the only thing needed was a means to put a large payload into orbit. Certain behind the scenes negotiations began.
Soviet scientists examined the papers with care and increasing alarm. An emergency session of the Politburo was called.
European and American scientists had substantially improved upon Ivan Vanko’s 1987 design: any Soviet missile launch would lead to the USSR being knocked back to the 19th century. For better or for worse, MAD was back.
OK: this is basically an ASB scenario, but its got a map, too...
May 17, 1987: what appeared to be a new Soviet space station in the works (a few large modules had been bolted together) was passing a few hundred miles above the US, when it suddenly vanished in a flare of light more brilliant than the sun.
Those noting the light and the almost immediate and messy deaths of televisions, radios, etc. might well have been forgiven for assuming an EM attack through atomic weapon, presumably a precursor to a Soviet full launch.
Nonetheless, they would have been wrong.
An EM pulse would not affect NORAD, buried under a mountain. It would not affect the ICBMs buried in their silos. Given that, plus the continued survival of nuclear missile submarines at sea, an EM pulse attack on the US would be just as suicidal as any other form of first strike strategy during the 1980s.
It was not an EM pulse.
The Sakharov-Vanko Device (named after its original developers, Ivan Vanko and Andrei Sakharov, who committed suicide after its use that day in May) was originally meant to be a means of tapping into zero-point energy. In the end, it proved ineffective as a power source, since the energy released in the form of incredibly intense electromagnetic energy could not be safely controlled on earth. In orbit, pointing downwards, on the other hand…
A few seconds of time later it became rather clear that whatever it was, it was not a nuclear explosion: it just kept on happening. The eye-searing point of light in the sky remained visible for over an hour, as it crossed the width of the United states and began to sweep across the Pacific, before the massive protective shield melted away entirely and destroyed the zero-point field generator (to the relief of Soviet observers, which had been worried that the predicted breakdown might not happen until after the edge of the radiation front had reached the eastern USSR). During that hour, not only did every piece of electronic equipment in operation in the US fry, but huge amounts of electrical equipment _not_ in use met a messy end as huge charges built up in any sort of lengthy piece of metal. NORAD was rendered blind and dumb. Pipelines exploded and factories burned. Planes fell from the sky. Power distribution networks flared and collapsed, leading to nation-wide blackout. Massive electrical discharges flared between the earth and sky. Thousands were killed by lightning strikes and tens of thousands were blinded by looking too long at the sky. Millions would later contract cancers.
Confusion reigned. Was this the Soviets? Was it a natural phenomenon? With the breakdown in communication, several ICBMS were hastily launched from their bunkers in the direction of the USSR: none survived, warheads exploding prematurely once they left the protective blanket of the atmosphere and were exposed to the full radiation flux. There remained the US forces in Europe and a few subs at sea (the Soviet espionage and spy satellite network had been instrumental in picking the best time to strike): with not a single incoming missile on radar, they waited for orders while making the necessary preparations for Armageddon.
“I address the people of America. I address the American forces in Europe and the submarines at sea. I address all surviving US nuclear forces.” “As of this morning, a new weapon system was deployed. Unlike the capitalist Neutron Bomb, which saves property but kills human beings, this one destroys technology but does not kill human beings.” “Your national defense system is in ruins. Your country is now in a state of collapse. There is not a functional piece of electrical equipment between Boston and San Francisco. However, comparatively few Americans have died. Whether that remains the case is up to you.” “This weapon also acts as a defensive system. None of the missiles that were fired from US soil in blind anger at the Soviet Union survived.” “I am currently in communication with the President of the United States, and I am negotiating the surrender of all US military forces at home and abroad. Any attack on the Soviet Union will be ineffectual, and will lead to the total destruction of Western Europe and what remains of the United States.” “Think carefully before you take any precipitate action.”
In those areas where the broadcast was repeated on television, the man with the large birthmark on his forehead no longer looked friendly at all.
Ten years have passed.
With the US brought to its knees, the Soviets have become the global hegemon. Not the rulers of the world: with barely 1/20 of the world’s population even after expansion, and more than half of that of somewhat dubious loyalty, the Soviets were hardly in a position to occupy or police the globe.
There was always the option of “do what we say or we nuke you” of course, but in most situations it was a bit of a 50-ton steam hammer for swatting flies: either the threat becomes degraded through too much repetition, or you have to carry out regular “examples”, which may bring obedience out of fear, but which will inspire universal hatred, and undermine rule at home: the average Soviet in the street (or for that matter, in the Academy or collective farm or whatever) would be repulsed by the notion of the regular use of mass murder to, say, persuade the inhabitants of third-world countries to sell the Soviet Union cacao beans at below market prices. After all, since 1953, certain limits on state oppression, and correspondingly a certain level of concern about what people thought, had come into existence to protect both elites and masses.
Nuking China had been acceptable because the Chinese had been building up their nuclear arsenal in defiance of post-87’ Soviet pressures (and the fundamental problems in using the Sakharov-Vanko device against a nation overlapping a number of Soviet time zones): using as a regular means of control like some sort of evil genocidal victorious Nazi Empire? (Some of the Soviet leadership were big enough assholes to go for the idea, but consensus prevailed against them).
The United Nations no longer exists as a meaningful organization, since China and the US were taken off the Security Council and the UN regulations re-written to reflect the Soviet global hegemony. A number of nations have quit in protest at the changes: those which are left and disagree with UN policy can at best register protest votes in an organization dominated by the USSR, its puppets and allies and kiss-ups. (The UK and France have lost their veto power). One of the most controversial changes has been the Soviet use of the UN as a fig leaf for military operations: supposedly the Soviet occupation of the US ended three years ago, replaced by a UN force meant to “suppress terrorism and maintain peace and good order”, but which is in fact composed almost entirely of troops from the Warsaw Pact and close Soviet allies (including a fair number of Greater Cubans).
In essence, although the Soviet sphere of direct influence has been greatly expanded, and several new SSRs have been added to the Soviet Union proper, most of the globe has been “Finlandized” rather than directly puppetized. The Soviet Union has extended its borders to the Persian Gulf, and gained a stranglehold on the majority of the world’s oil supply and thereby a non-nuclear method of putting pressure on the industrial nations outside its direct control. Manchuria has also been incorporated, after the majority of its Chinese population was killed or expelled. (Certain historically disputed areas of Manchuria have been granted to Korea, which is just as ghastly a place as you would imagine, if so far with no unintentional famines).
China is a radioactive mess, but there are still hundreds of millions of (very pissed off) Chinese, and most of the country is now under the control of a wacky nationalist  regime whose principal activities currently involve fighting an even crazier nationalist rival and building a nation-wide underground bunker system that makes OTL N. Korean efforts look like the scratching of a six-years-old trying to dig to, well, China. Occupying the place would be lunacy, and some in the Soviet leadership are talking about finishing the job of ’89: on the other hand, the fallout in central Asia and Siberia from the previous effort was bad enough, and the following year was a particularly cold and gloomy one…
Japan, given a lack of local nukes or allies and with an object lesson settling into their rice paddies and bones, have become effectively a Soviet satellite state, and an oddball coalition of the left led by a revived Japanese Communist party have set about dismantling the old LDP system (with the implied backing of a sizeable local Soviet and Korean military presence) with such enthusiasm that the economy has shrunk two years in a row, which rather annoys the Soviets, who hoped to see heavy Japanese investment and technology exchange stimulating the eastern parts of the Soviet sphere.
EC Europe, despite what Americans may moan and groan about, are still relatively free: they had their own nukes, and using the Device would have fried parts of the western Soviet Union. Also, the conquest of Europe would eliminate the only functional center of Capitalist finance and production on the planet: as it was, the defeat of the United State, the massive damage to its infrastructure and the occupation by Soviet and later “UN” forces, followed by its breakup into multiple economically no longer integrated zones, had pretty much collapsed the global economy. Raw materials prices collapsed, and the Soviets no longer had anything anyone wanted to buy, until their move to the Persian Gulf gave them something everyone had to have: and even then, “tribute” in the form of food had to be levied on US farmers whose foreign markets had collapsed.
Although none of them would admit it, most Soviet leaders were too aware of the truth behind an old joke: “What happens when the Soviet Union conquers the Sahara desert? “First fifty years? Nothing much. Then the Sahara runs out of sand.” By the 1980s, foreign loans, foreign investment, foreign markets, duplication of foreign technology, etc. had all become terribly important to the USSR. Could the Soviet Union’s already sluggish economy  continue to grow, much less return to early 70s levels of growth, if the capitalist world was essentially eliminated by fiat?
These considerations were important in determining the continued independence of Western Europe, and (to a lesser degree) Canada and Australia, combined with the uncertainty whether military threats and brinksmanship alone would be enough to bring Europe to a total surrender. As one Politburo member reportedly said, why kill the cow when we can milk it for years? Such considerations were made somewhat more politically palatable by the fact that Europeans responded to the global depression following the US surrender with a variety of “lefty” government interventions (the worship of Lord Austerity, Son of Mammon, had not yet become prevailing opinion in 1987) made the continued independence of the European Community more ideologically palatable. The UK remained a bit of an exception, but generally “fell in line” after 1988, continued economic difficulties and the Soviet refusal to deal with any UK government under her leadership led to Margaret Thatcher’s fall from power.
Although still relatively free, no matter what grumpy Americans might say, the European Community has become increasingly “Finlandized” over the years (as has Finland), increasingly a source of low-interest loans and investment to the Soviets with no real recourse if a profit fails to appear, dependent on the Soviets for oil and gas, and pressured into cuts in their nuclear arsenals under the excuse of maintaining “balance” with the USSR (which has indeed made cuts itself to save costs, now that the US is no threat and China doesn’t appear to be one). Civilian nuclear power is even more extensive than OTL, as Europeans work to free themselves from dependence on Soviet-controlled oil. On the other hand, as US productivity shrinks, food imports from the EC are becoming more important to the Soviets.
Under various Soviet-developed international “anti-terrorism” laws, the Europeans cooperate with the Soviets in catching for deportation anti-Communist “terrorists” on their soil, whether from the US, the Middle East, or Eastern Europe. There is some migration from the US to Europe, but it is hard to get a passport to get out of the occupied US even if your dossier is spotless. A fair amount of people-smuggling occurs through Canada from the US: in spite of Soviet efforts, it’s still extremely hard to guard a border that long.
Eastern Europe remains restless: the defeat of the US has ironically made some members of the resistance bolder, rather than less, since they no longer worry about struggle in their countries bringing about WWIII. Of course, the Soviets could just nuke East European rebels, but what legitimacy would any pro-Soviet government have after that? Yugoslavia melted down in the early 90s, and the Soviets took advantage to bring the fragments of the country into the Warsaw pact (there was some talk of keeping it united, but in the end the need for even more troops to keep rebellion from flaring up again led to Catholic/Orthodox division). Albania, at least from outside, looks like OTL North Korea on a bad day, and the skeletal nature of the locals occasionally seen tangled in the many layers of barbed wire along the borders creeps out even the Soviets: some talk about intervention.
Pursuing a anti-colonial, anti-fascist Agenda at least in part as a genuine belief as well as propaganda, the Soviets worked to overthrow various “reactionary governments” (those which didn’t simply change their flags and propaganda, anyway), and aided a variety of “progressive” groups. The bloodiest such case was South Africa, where African armies aided by Soviet advisors and massive amounts of Soviet hardware joined with local revolutionaries to overthrow the Apartheid government in 1994. Unfortunately, the new Socialist Republic of Southern Africa is to say the least a mess (Nelson Mandela was shot to death in his cell in this world), as is much of Red Africa. After a brief flurry of activism in which the Soviets tried to prove the superiority of a Soviet-led world to a US-led one through progressive intervention, the Soviet leadership has largely given up on direct intervention, and as long as the tropical products and minerals still flow north, are willing to let much of the continent go to heck: the rat-holes of Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, and Guinea are enough of a drain on the Kremlin’s purse, and the European and Latin American press are actually so bold as to talk about “Soviet Neo-Colonialism!”
The recent coup in Indonesia seems headed for its own sort of disaster, and the Palestinians are still whining over the fact that the Soviets didn’t exterminate the Jews outright. (The crazy Israelis that have stayed in their rump state are currently apparently in a contest with the Chinese as to how deeply they can dig themselves in). And the loonies in Peru have cut themselves off entirely from Soviet aid on the basis of ideological differences: headlines such as “a new Albania?” appear in the newspapers.
Chinese ally Pakistan got caught up in the war, where India joined in on the Soviet side (after the USSR had wiped out the Chinese nuclear arsenal) to get ahold of some disputed border areas. In the end, Pakistan has been broken to bits: the remaining Punjabi core is isolated, dirt poor, and somewhat on the lines of what an independent north Nigeria would be. India is doing alright: it hasn’t instituted many of the reforms of OTL, neo-liberalism being almost extinct as a form of thought in this world, but it isn’t much worse off than it was OTL 1997, something that cannot be said for a lot of countries in this world. A large presence of Chinese troops and a disinterest on the part of India in marching across a 15,000 foot high plateau has meant that Tibet remains under China’s tender mercies, but Bhutan remains pretty much as OTL: really, nobody cares what they get up to.
Latin America varies from lefty to far lefty: under a moderate regime, Brazil has shown some fair economic growth lately as the global economy has moved from depression to mere deepn recession, much to the annoyance of their more leftist-orthodox Argentine neighbors, now in deep economic crisis. Bolivia is actually doing a bit better than OTL 1997 (finally having a coastline back has helped). The new revolutionary government of Guatemala is considerably nastier than the Sandinistas, and has no interest in joining their Federation: but at least the Maya get a fair shake for a change. The PRI remains firmly in charge in Mexico, it’s revolutionary credentials carefully buffed and polished and the rhetoric well to the left of where it was in 1987.
Castro reigns as the Grand Old Man of Latin American Socialism, and with Soviet help Cuba has assimilated Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, while corralling the rest of the Caribbean into a Cuban-dominated Socialist Federation (he had dreamed of unifying all of Spanish-speaking America, but the mainland countries weren’t buying and the Soviets weren’t going to give him that much help). Diplomats from the USSR always get the best beaches.
The US has been divided into a dozen occupation zones, with limited inter-zone travel to help prevent any coordinated resistance. Three cities have been set up as showcase “international cities” of Socialist brotherhood and progress, and of course are more heavily policed than anywhere else. Ten years later much of the damage from the Electromagnetic Event remains unrepaired, and quite a few areas off the main drag lack reliable electricity, and TVs and radios are in shortened supply. Some in the Soviet leadership called for leaving the US largely independent and milking it for all it was worth, but in the end fears of a US revival prevailed, and a policy of strict suppression and state-backed looting was implemented. In the end, the Soviets managed to thoroughly wreck the US economy without doing much for their own: the fine factory machinery shipped back to the Soviet Union has often broken down and not been repaired for lack of local support networks, and in any event ended up being used by those famous workers pretending to work while the government pretends to pay them.
As inputs of heavy machinery, fertilizer, etc. have declined, US food production has dropped, and farming has become increasingly unpopular as a form of employment as the farmers have become impoverished. Nor are they happy with the fact that a large share of the food they produce is leaving the country for the Soviet bloc without their getting a penny from that exchange. Various laws have been passed making it harder for farmers to leave their jobs, leading to violent protests and cries of “serfdom!” Quotas are met with sullen defiance and inaction, and local authorities lack the resources to properly collectivize the farmers –which would probably make things worse anyway. Hunger, which returned briefly but savagely in the immediate aftermath of the Event, has now crept back. Increasingly savage regulations try to keep people from moving en masse from the harder-hit areas: legitimacy of local governments is near zero wherever they try to enforce Soviet-required rules, but if they fail to do so, they will soon be replaced by a new set of collaborators. The Soviets have taken advantage of the massive unemployment prevalent in some parts of the country to set up recruitment bureaus, where people with useful skills and their families get the opportunity to move to the USSR and help build atomic power plants in Kurdistan or whatever. (Moving back is harder).
Rebellion – initially weakened by shock and the chaotic aftermath of the Event, and by bland Soviet assurances of an only temporary occupation and a swift return to “normal life” once the remaining US nuclear arsenal had been dismantled – has grown worse over the years. The Soviet leadership is growing nervous as the local collaborating governments founder, and violence and terrorism rise. It was never practically possible to get rid of _all_ the weapons in a country as full of guns as the US, and after a number of destroyed towns and massacres of hostages and other embarrassing incidents it became unofficial policy to let local authorities handle such things, and not to check too closely to see if a thorough disarmament took place: as long as the US population remained too battered and stunned and struggling with just getting through the day to rebel in masse, a certain amount of live-and-let-live could take place. But now that Soviet exactions increasingly bite, after a decade of economic decay, a cycle of violence, retaliation and counter-retaliation is beginning.
Violent resistance never quite stopped in the Rockies and the Appalachians, and now is increasingly prevalent in the north plains, the backwoods of New England, and beyond. Withdrawal from any activity that aids the occupation and Good Solider Schweik-ism are common everywhere.
The new Big Idea is to break the US into a set of separate nations, weak enough to be more easily kept in line, but economically productive and stable enough to be an asset to the Soviet system rather than the alarming mega-West-Bank (to use an OTL analogy) they threaten to become. US states will regain a good deal of sovereignty in exchange for losing their unity: Soviet propagandists are already working on finding ways to encourage localism and mutual xenophobia (they have high hopes for turning the South Central region into Greater Texas, for instance). Given that the alternative is “nuke them till they play nice, or, if that don’t work, until they’re no longer a threat” , the local Soviet officials on the ground, many of which have become quite fond of America and the Americans, are desperate to see this work. But first, the feeble shadow government of the US as a whole needs to be eliminated. A largely powerless Congress and Senate still meet: having them blown to fragments by “US terrorists” attacking “collaborators” will work well: after all, it’s not like a lot of US rebel groups don’t loudly condemn the Washington government as collaborators anyway…
The initial “test case” will be the new nation of “Heartland” (they did a consumer survey and everything): it is hoped that as a free nation able to set its own prices for goods and sell its grain and other products on the open international market, it will be a lot more productive than now. The Soviet Union has dominated the globe for a decade, and little good it has done anyone: the spike in national income from oil, from extorted loans and investment, from unfair trade deals and the looting of the US for industrial equipment and raw materials is flattening, and the unpleasant notion arises that by wrecking the economy of so much of the world they have cut off their nose to spite their face. Still headed by the ruthless and treacherous Gorbachev, who has outmaneuvered and destroyed all those who arose to threaten him (with no need to make nice for foreign reporters anymore, Yeltsin is currently occupying one of the lower levels of a peat bog), the Soviet leadership has no intention of relinquishing global leadership: however, some sort of real Perestroika, for the Soviet Union and for the majority of the global population it dominates in one way or another, will have to be implemented.
 Half true: if you set the device off over your nation, it sure as shit will blow up any incoming missiles above the atmosphere, but will fry your own nation in the process…
 Bloodthirsty xenophobes, not the guys on Taiwan
 The Soviet economy in this TL was doing a bit better: this world’s Gorbachev, being an Evil Schemer, didn’t put through the half-assed reforms that did more harm than good, and anyway the Soviet economy was always more productive in Paranoiaworld than OTL.
 The Soviet leadership is pretty certain that if the US goes into full-blown rebellion mode, the expenditure on troops and resources needed to crush it and keep it crushed will be economically crippling: after all, the best stuff has already been looted…
Alright, here's one of my really old ones for your enjoyment. Herman Kahn and anthony J. Weiner's "The Year 2000: A Framework for Speculation on the Next Thirty-Three Years." is quite a goldmine for map ideas. The scenario I picked is one of his eroded democracy ideas where renewed communist expansion and de-legitimization of normal democratic processes create a crapsack world.
The divergence? Oswald's shot misses and Vice President Johnson is the man who dies. The changes begin to mount as Kennedy picks close personal friend and works out a relatively short-lived compromise peace in Vietnam. The peace lasts six months before northern troops are in Saigon and a massive revolt happens in 1967, after the third failure to pass a civil rights bill. Following the unrest, the "Kennedy doctrine" is formulated wherein America will focus on cleaning up it's own domestic affairs and dealing with the reds at home. Things go downhill from there with Europe choosin to disengage from the US. Besides Europe's beginning a new policy of detente, the communist powers quickly move to take advantage of America's move towards isolation and internal recriminations. During the period of 1967 to 1990, much of the third world fell to some form of communism, or if they were lucky ended up a neutral nation. Whether it's Castroism-Guevarism, Afro-Socialism, Maoism-Third Worldism(a modified form of Maoism formulated in the 1970s after a different leader wins the post-mao struggles) or orthodox communism, the international communist movement enjoys a renaissance. This renaissance is further aided by increasing cooperation among the parties in the formation of the "Joint Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Oppressed Nations", to act as a new comintern. This has impacts on Israel's wars, which led to the nation being a shrunken remnant of it's former self. India and the nations of Europe responded to these developments by forming a new group of their own of more democratic states. When America re-emerged from it's hermit kingdom foreign policy, it reentered a very different world.
The world's current events are defined by the non-communist powers slowly reconciling and coordinating their activities. The "Non-aligned movement", Japan, The United Arab Republic, The Islamic Republic of Iran and even the United States are cooperating to attempt a rollback of the communist gains. Interventions to expel the reds from part of Malaysia, half of Nigeria and Colombia have succeeded. Only massive nuclear saber-rattling has prevented further large-scale liberation attempts. Most experts agree that there is a real possibility of a large-scale war within the next five years between communists and capitalists.
Around the world, there are certain commonalities that evolved after the divergence. The first commonality is the prevelance of brutalist and other austere architectural styles. This is caused by a worse world economy combined with a much larger communist block. The old democratic principles of representatives voting on legislation have eroded, with large-scale protests setting public policy in many nations. This conributes to making democracies more unstable, and allowing domestic radicals of the left within the west to point to 'stable' and 'orderly' communist regimes as a good example. The relative lack of civil liberites worldwide is another example of responses to unrest; there are security cameras everywhere and many ostensibly 'democratic' nations have political police whose goal to make sure elections are 'fair'. Economic policies tend to favor statism, even in capitalist nations where the main difference is that the state aids large companies. This is a world of large state-run combines and megacorporations. The worse economic policies, combined with no boom in international trade have hurt economic development along with investments in technology. This means that technology on average is 5-10 years behind and anywhere from 3 to 4 times more expensive than it would be at the real world's equivilant technical level. Ideologies of national liberation have proven more important than in the real world with Hawai'i, Puerto Rico, Quebec, French Polynesia and Okinawa all being independent.
America, 47 years after the death of President Johnson is a very different place from 1963 America, or even the nation of the real world. America never opened immigration back up and is white, poorer and much more protestant. America is currently in a religious phase with fire-breathing evangelicals enjoying unquestioned majorities of public support. This shows in many of the social policies such as draconian anti-crime policies, a federal ban on abortion, enforcement of sodomy laws, mandatory school prayer, banning teaching evolution, etc. It's allies consist of right-wing dictatorships, Australia and an Israel that barely survived the war of 1973. Other notable American allies are Legitimist Spanish and Portuguese dictatorships that survive in their African colonies. Due to Johnson's death, the civil rights movement didn't have the stroke of good luck it enjoyed 1964-66. Sadly, this means that the question of whether blacks are people or not is still an open and bitterly divisive political question. Most presidents since 1960 have been Democrats with the only republican serving a term in 1985-1989. The Democrat party that emerged in the wake of the Kennedy and Smathers administrations was a quite conservative party that opted to purge it's left in a reversal of the post-1968 expulsion of the wallacites. The twin ineffective oppositions are the Republicans who act as a moderate quasi-libertarian party and a highly radical Progressive party born after Martin Luther King Jr.'s successful merger of the black liberation and peace movements.
Life in the communist countries follows the traditional pattern of red regimes. The one difference, is that with large resource rich areas newly acquired for the communist sphere, the standard of living is better and they are actually able to (sometimes) feed themselves. There has been limited economic reforms in the early 2000s, after the economic gains from adding large portions of asia, latin america and Africa to the sphere and favorable trade terms with "Non-aligned nations" began stalling out. The types of reforms that are allowed are anemic, weak and kept limited due to the party having more true believer than in the OTL 1980s soviet union. However, not all communist nations have joined the Joint Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Oppressed Nations; Yugoslavia struck out on it's own and North Korea decided that siding with India's proposed 'non aligned movement' was a better deal for the house of kim than being either a Soviet or Chinese vassal.
Europe is poorer, less militarized and more left-wing than in the real world. Communist, social democratic, labor and green parties tend to have strong roles in governing coalition with important effects such as foreign policy. The European Union is rather closer to federalism than in the real world because of there being fewer members to oppose it, combined with a smaller germany meaning more equal population numbers across the European union.
India and the rest of the non-aligned movement tends to be more lefty than in the real world. This ranges from left-leaning multiparty democracies like India or Quebec to open communist nations like North Korea or Yugoslavia that for whatever reason don't want to side with more 'orthodox' communist states. Alot of these nations tend to be "democracies" where one party consistently wins.
I've seen people do detailed scenarios for cyberpunk-flavored worlds, but the other type of prediction from the 1980s: that of a status quo, business as usual type environment with a tepid cold war well into the 21st century is something I haven't seen done as much.
The POD can be dated to Andropov doing two things in the late 70s: adopting a much healthier lifestyle as well as befriending an at the time middle rank KGB agent named Vladimir Putin. As a result, Andropov is *still* alive, even if he passed on the reigns to his chosen successor, a certain KGB agent in the early 1990s. As a result, Andropov's particular style of reformism(focusing on economics while keeping the party firmly in charge) gets to play out.
As a result, when Eastern europe starts seeing a wave of protests and rioting in the late 1980s, a more vigorous soviet union is able to quash the protests. On the advice of his younger ally, Andropov 'suggests' to the eastern european nations that it'd be a good idea to do economic reforms. A smarter Andropov is able to negotiate allowing certain pro-democracy people leave, along with allowing a limited opening of the warsaw pact's internal market and of course massive amounts of danegeld from the west.
As a result, the survival of the soviet union translates into the 1990s looking more like the 1980s in some ways than OTL's 1990s. First and most obviously, the rise of the internet sets this decade apart from the past decade, but without the cold war's end isn't enough to create the same 'feel' as our 1990s. Second, the soviet-OPEC reapproachment and the beginning of the ongoing "energy squeeze". Then thirdly, we have the 'sino-soviet reapproachment' where Moscow and Beijing started working together again. All three of these trends have defined the past generation's history. As a side effect, there is more cultural continuity for the late 80s and the 1990s overall, along with the same for the altered 1990s and the 2000s. For the differences between say 1986 and 2012, in terms of level of divergence think more 1989 to 1996-level shifts than the sharper cultural changes we've seen since then.
The USSR is alive, and if not doing well at least it's gotten over the worst of it and the economy is growing again, even if it is quite slow growth. It's overall economic performance is on par with say OTL russia, which for the residents of backwater regions like central asia or the caucus is a visible improvement over OTL. Demographically, the USSR has avoided OTL's demographic collapse by a mix of better conditions, somewhat higher public health and starting in the 1990s the beginnings of a wave of immigration of chinese, 'surplus' noth koreans, pro-soviet third worlders into both the. General Secretary Putin has already called in the army a few times to deal with nativist 'protests' with the only concession he's made being the extensive efforts to culturally and linguistically russify the immigrants(and the same to non-russians in the USSR). This russification is part of an overall ideological shift for the USSR, which is de-emphasizing marxism in favor of slavic nationalism.
The second pillar of the communist world is the People's Republic of China. Less trade with the US combined with post-1989 trends towards increased militarization means that China's economy is about a decade and a half behind OTL's in terms of level of development. Outside of being poorer and thus lower technology, China isn't so different from OTL. It's still a fascist state, but unlike OTL's PRC is more willin to deploy communist symbolism and propaganda.
Following Andropov's 'suggestions', the warsaw pact engaged in economic reform with mixed results. Czechslovakia and Hungary have liberalized to the extent of 1970s Yugoslavia and by now have roughly OTL Romanian standards of living. Romania and Albania are... poor and nowadays under more soviet-line governments. East Germany is somewhere in between the soviet union and Hungary in standards of living and political freedom. Mongolia is roughly as OTL. Besides economic reform's beneficial side effects, the eastern european diaspora that has emerged since the refugee waves of 1989-90 fled west sends money back home, which helps along with eastern europe's share of tribute from Europe(called 'development aid') being put in. Thanks to Putin's pushes, eastern europe has visible immigration from the same sources that the USSR recieves.
Afghanistan is a left-wing dictatorship faced with islamic terror and warlordism, which isn't so different from OTL's situation except for the fact that it's more secular and the government is a bit more secure than our afghanistan. There are still russian troops, but at least the problems of mutiny and 'accidental' deaths of officers aren't as bad as in the 80s -- the fact that China is doing part of the military effort probably helps.
North Korea isn'tthat different from OTL, except for having more money for Kim Jong Il(still (barely) alive, thanks to more money for medicine) to blow on military spending, a lavish lifestyle and grandiose projects. Soviet aid and limited trade have delayed famine by a decade compared to OTL and thanks to this aid, the problems are relatively limited so far. This aid of course means that North Korea can field a more impressive military than OTL, and by now even has 5-10 nukes of their own. Butterflies have ensured that Kim Jong Nam didn't do his OTL embarrassments and thus remains the heir apparent for the aging leader.
Cuba is doing well compared to OTL thanks to the continuation of soviet subsidies and starting in 2005 with Fidel Castro's retirement the introduction of market reforms. The continuation of the USSR's being a trade partner and source of subsidies means that cuba's economy is 50% larger than OTL. Most of this extra wealth is put into a bigger military, a larger welfare state and the world's largest cigar collection for Fidel Castro.
Red Nicaragua is disappointingly similar to our world's version of the same country.
Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia all roughly resemble their equivelants here in our world for the most part, except for the American tourists being replaced by rich soviets or Chinese mandarins. Recent news from the region include a coup against Vietnam's leadership by the KGB.
The various portions of africa which were soviet-aligned continue this alignment. Somalia is under a crapsacky communist government, but at least it's less violent than the current OTL situation of anarchy. The People's Republic of Congo is disturbingly similar to OTL's Republic of congo in government(i.e. kleptocracy). Benin is of course still under an incompetent regime, which locals snarkily refer to as "laxism-leninism". Ethiopia is a largely failed state and de-facto chinese protectorate which still includes a rebellious eritrea. Both Angola and Mozambique are still communist and happen to be even poorer than OTL, if with higher literacy rates. Red africa has even more chinese involvement and usage of chinese labor than OTL, with Benin, Ethiopia, Angola and The People's Republic of Congo being more or less de facto chinese protectorates.
South Yemen is just like OTL's Yemen, except with a different flag.
Burma's government is slightly less psychotic and more willing to engage with the outside world than OTL's Myanmar. Part of the way Burma gets capital is by pretty much de facto selling the women who are members of disliked minorities as mail order brides to chinese men; this gets burma capital while demographically weakening 'undesirables'.
Thanks to arrangements made early on in Putin's reign, the fact that the communist nations get better deals on purchasing OPEC oil than say the nations of the capitalist west further helps these nations keep their economies growing
The reaction of the eastern block to the rise of the internet has been twofold: Firstly access for eastern block citizens is controlled and strictly censored. Secondly, for non-eastern block citizens the red block encourages and supports media piracy. The fact that opposition to intellectual property laws has been taken up as a cause by the eastern block makes it more popular with western left types in OTL.
*************************************************************** THE FREE WORLD
With the communist world continuing to be a problem, there are more voices than OTL calling for increased integration of at least the developed portions of the "free world" but not much has come out of it except for passport-less travel between the US and Canada, reduction of ID requirements for americans and canadian travellers to europe and expanded exchange student programs. The free world does have a common issue in that OPEC is squeezing them quite hard.
America remains the leader of the "free world" and is exceedingly culturally similar to OTL. The military-industrial complex is larger than OTL, with corrosponding economic effects on places like California or the rustbelt -- both have benefitted. tHe lucky places aside, overall economic growth has been less than OTL, even despite faster technological progress, as a result America is a bit poorer and more unequal than OTL. The welfare state in the 90s and '00s was cut even deeper than OTL with the partial privatization of social security, shuttering of medicare and medicaid as federal programs(only a couple of states on the coasts have anything as extensive as old medicare/medicaid thee days) and of course even more drastic cuts to other social welfare programs. On a social level, the United States is roughly about the same on most issues as OTL with a more conservative 1990s being made up for with no post-9/11 temporary backlash. However, the splits on social issues are even more generationally-based than OTL; there is more annoying youth activism than OTL(Think OWS or "the people united" but on a larger scale and willing to throw molotovs).
Canada doesn't have bilingualism anymore and is somewhat more conservative, but is still recognizable to someone from OTL. Quebec is the fourth member of NAFTA these days and isn't very happy with the fact that an independent Quebec of 12 million people has a smaller budget to protect the french language than Quebec as part of canada did.
The European Union is rather more different from it's OTL self than the US. It is more leftist than OTL(old left sense, rather than new left) and militarized than OTL. The OTL late 20th century trend of reducing conscription has been reversed and young men from portugal to germany all spend multiple years in uniform. Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia and Cape Verde are all European Union member states with Senegal and Gabon as potential candidates for "associated status". Belgium split back in 2006.
Japan still crashed in the early 1990s but the twin factors of a US more willing to look the other way combined with reduced investment in china have enabled Japan to avoid a lost decade on par with OTL and merely downshift to 1-2% average growth rates. The less severe economic troubles means "Japan takes over the world" stories remained credible in print SF, movies and gaming into the early 2000s. Japanese popular culture is even more influential than in our world -- the manga boom was mid 90s instead of late 90s and early 00s.
The "little dragons" of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea are roughly similar to OTL except all are on the upper tier of first world status instead of ranging from low to middle tier. Taiwan is largely as OTL, except for the fact that it's now officially recognized following a different resolution to the 1996 Taiwan straits crisis. South Korea has the bomb to counter the North Korean nuclear program.
South Africa is America's little buddy in the region and the apartheid regime is still around even if it does have problems with urban guerillas. Of course, the price of getting to retain the old order has been a few largely symbolic concessions such as allowing high ranking black veterans of the police or security forces citizenship. United States pressure has managed to achieve international recognition for Transkei, Ciskei and Venda.
Latin America outside of Cuba and Sandanista Nicaragua remains a collection of American client states. The region is more prosperous but more prone to juntas or PRI-style one party states than OTL's 2012 latin america. The only upside is that these juntas have been able to push together economic reforms and avoid some of OTL's economic mistakes like Chavez's "populism". Nowadays, there are increasing problems with rainforest tribes doing terrorism against pro-western governments or companies working in the amazon.
The middle east is roughly the same as OTL's middle east pre-2011, with the exception that Saddam wasn't overthrown. Soviet economic aid and trade are keeping the dictators in power and more popular than OTL. Forget about any sort of "Arab Spring" happening anytime soon.
Yugoslavia endures, and is able to use it's position as a go-between for east and west to grow it's economy to by now roughly OTL Romanian levels. It's more democratic than it was pre-milosevic but is still rather more authoritarian than singapore. The leaders of Yugoslavia are able to keep violence down to the level of the Irish Troubles by pointing out the potential for eventual membership in Europe if they can stay stable, as well as granting extensive local autonomy. The fact that Vojvodina and Kosovo both got equal autonomy to the other republics, despite objections from certain Serb bitter-enders shows that the central government is willing to at least try making Yugoslavia a Serb-led federation instead of a Serbian Emprie.
Israel is even more internationally isolated than OTL. With a continued cold war to make supporting Israel a potential liability combined with a lack of a war on terror certain ongoing shifts away from zionism being the prevailing consensus in the US began a couple of election cycles earlier. An Israeli PM was just assasinated by the Mossad for suggesting that withdrawing from the west bank might be reasonable.
With both powers around to keep an eye on it, to make sure the deal was honored Mugabe hasn't gotten to do large-scale expropriations or steal the country's entire wealth. Ironically, having a government that's not a failed state means Mugabe makes more money off of his corruption than from his OTL mass expropriations, but he's still not overly happy. As a result, Zimbabwe is merely low-tier third world instead of OTL's situation of slowly turning into mad max with an all-black cast.
Most of the rest of africa largely resembles OTL. Medical technology's being a couple years ahead of OTL means that the world is now only a decade or two away from an AIDS vaccine which doesn't help people who already have it. There are more african governments with the same structures as OTL that retain old cold war-era names like "the people's republic" or "the democratic republic of" or "Zaire" than OTL.
India is pretty similar, even if it is about a decade behind OTL in economic development due to less western investment, more hostility from the US. Another factor slowing economic development in India is the need for increased militarization to deal with a better-armed Pakistan. Adding more problems is the fact that the Naxalite insurgency in northeast india has lots of soviet and chinese money and weaponry.
Pakistan is doing better than OTL thanks to increased US strategic needs translating into more money from Washington ending up in Pakistan. With increased force, the government is better able to maintain order and reduce warlordism.
Islamism is a much weaker undercurrent in muslim nations such as Malaysia, Turkey, Pakistan or others. This has some political effects such as opposition movements tending to either be democratic or left-wing but the main effect has been cultural. The late 20th century return to wearing hijab in various arab or other muslim nations hasn't gone as far as OTL and Turkey's government still has headscarves banned in public to name a few change. Also, women and religious minorities in muslim nations are doing better than in OTL.
Iran is mostly recognizable compared to OTL, but there are a few major differences. Firstly, the Soviet Union's presence as an existential threat has made Iran's leadership decide to be tactful at least part of the time when doing diplomacy. Second, there's the fact that Iran is slightly more secular without the post-9/11 threat from western neocons pushing Iranians to back more hardline leaders.
Science and technology overall have benefitted from the 1945-1991 force draft push for technological advancement continuing onwards for another generation At first differences were minimal with technology by the year 2000 averaging out to be 1-2 years ahead overall depending on the particular field. As of 2012, the difference has become more like 6 to 8 years(aerospace, computer networking, fuel cells and other spinoffs from military technologies) ahead of OTL in some fields, with the overall average being 2 to 4 years ahead of OTL depending on the field for other fields. A secondary and more specific reason for boosts of certain technology has been the ongoing energy squeeze which started in the early 1990s and has boosted investment in energy efficiency, alternate energy sources. Besides a continual forced push for spending on new technology, the fact that the "Free World" has competition in the form of a re-emerging soviet-red chinese alliance provides more reason to invest in science money and trust scientists.
THe militaries of this world are roughly a decade ahead in capability overall and much larger. Think a world with 1986 levels of militarization extrapolated for another 26 years. This is most evident with the United States's military which, as of 2012 is now only 10 years away from completing a repeatedly delayed SDI system and has orbital weaponry(both kinetic energy and laser sats) in the planning stages. The soviet military clearly can't keep up, but thcey are making a valient effort of trying, which has started to become more apparent as the fruits of economic reform are beginning to allow for a so far minor increase in resources for their military. Yet another player is the People's Republic of China which is more militarized than in OTL.
Besides military technology, another area that has benefitted from the continuation of a tepid cold war into the new tens is space-related science. Private efforts at space travel are doing better than OTL due to the higher needs for defense or prestige. As a result, the wave of (so far) successful private orbital or other ventures that appeared in the 2000s instead happened in the 1990s and is by now chugging along, albeit with less success than originally hoped. Yes, launch costs are by now half of OTL, a joint Virgin Galactic-Hilton orbital hotel for the ultra-wealthy has just been opened and solar power sattelites are in the early planning stages but it's still less than promised. Besides these private efforts, there of course the efforts of the superpowers which are more extensive than OTL. This has had side effects such as advancing OTL's recent discovery of extrasolar planets by a decade(Even finding a twin earth in Epsilon Indi), providing more information about extrasolar planets in general and advancing space science. The successful soviet moon landing in 2007 has prompted calls in the United States for either setting up a lunar base or a mars mission or both to one-up the soviets.
Culturally, removing the end of the cold war doesn't change that much. The biggest change that comes out of it is removing the idealism and the triumphalism of the 1990s. Another side effect is to mute 1980s nostalgia since the 80s in this world were merely just another decade and not the end of the cold war. Ronald Reagan and Thatcher aren't worshipped as in OTL in this world. Conversely, with less of a positive reputation for both, the left spends less energy demonizing both.
Tom Clancy is even richer than OTL. A couple of authors who in OTL ended up writing MilSF for Baen books ended up going into the thriller business. Tom Kratman and David Weber are the up and coming big names in anti-communist right wing thriller fiction.
President list 1981-1989 Ronald Reagan/George H.W. Bush (republican) 1989-1997 George H.W. Bush/Dan Quayle(republican) 1997-2001 Al Gore/Bill Bradley(democratic) 2001-2008 John McCain/Mitt Romney(republican) 2008-present Mitt Romney/Tom Ridge (republican)
Now for another reuploaded scenario. Presenting an adaption and continuation of one of Scott Palter's scenarios from the old Yahoo alternate history group from 1999.
In it, the divergence is LBJ deciding to not run for VP. As a result, the democratic party has an internal breakup in the convention of 1960. The left goes for Humphrey, the center Kennedy and dixie Wallace-- this leads to a Wallace run siphoning off votes from the solid south 8 years early. Since the solid south is more important to the democrats in 1960 than in 1968, Wallace does more damage to the Kennedy campaign than he did to Humphrey in 1968.
The nixon years tend to be reasonably quiet and are more of a continuation of the 1950s than were OTL's 60s. The Vietnam war never happens, but the United States squishes a leftist rebellion in Cuba. The nixon-wallace-reagan realignment begins 8 years early as ongoing race riots push much of the white vote GOP and the Democrats embrace the civil rights and lifestyle 'new left' a bit early. Nixon of course gets to go to china.
The 1970s avoid our world's economic slump, but see visible geopolitical change. The first is the end of NATO as Western Europe moves further left than OTL, and becomes 'neutralized' thanks to more tactful diplomacy and soviet plans for gradual withdrawel. American troops are out of europe by 1980 and soviet troops mostly leave 1985 to 2000. After all, in this world without a cuban crisis Khrustchev gets to remain in charge and put more diplomatically... pragmatic successors; detente begins in the early 1960s and continues albeit with occasional periods of harder cold war. These soviet leaders take advantage of the 12 days war in 1969 to engineer radical coups in much of the middle east -- by 1980, the only truly pro-American areas in the region are Turkey, Morocco, Iran and the United Arab Emirates(now including both Bahrain and Qatar!).
Recent years have seen a partial shift in favor of the "free world" as of the early and middle portion of the 2000s with the solidification of the Sino-American military alliance which has been expressed with the Second Korean and Indochinese wars. This has been accompanied with coups in Nigeria and Kenya along with the final defeat of the MPLA in Angola. Yes, one or two nations may change sides but the trendline of the last few decades has been towards the crystalization of the cold war -- everyone backs rebels of any sort against their foes and globalization as we know it has not ocurred.
However, despite recent shifts the cold war continues onwards as ever. After all, the wary diplomatic dancing between east and west has been going on for over six and a half decades without that much change in the balance of power. At least nowadays it's largely tepid.
********************************************** THE FREE WORLD
With the communist world continuing to be a problem, there are more voices than OTL calling for increased integration of at least the developed portions of the "free world". They have had limited successes, in the form of passport-less travel between developed members of the Core Economic Zone, lesser visa requirements for other CEZ/pro-american states along with more expansive exchange student programs.
America remains the leader of the free world. It's a more clean-cut, nationalist, socially conservative, homogenous and conformist nation than our 2012 America. Gay marriage isn't on the agenda yet, sexual harassment laws are nonexistent, gun control simply doesn't exist, nonwhite immigration never got started. Oddly, enough despite it's more conservative social views, it's a more secular nation with the Evangelical right never being stirred into action. America may be socially conservative but it's not static, as the following examples of gradual social evolution show: Fewer states have sodomy laws than before the supreme court abolished them in OTL, abortion laws are as liberal as OTL by now, drug policy is shifting in a direction of treatment as opposed to imprisonment. Black people got the right to vote and civil liberties along with equal funding for their neighborhoods in a gradual process of reform 1960 to 1978, which saw more give and take. This has side effects such as 1/3 of the black voting base voting for Republicans. Economically, America has universal healthcare, actually enforces anti-trust laws and has actual banking regulation but isn't that different from OTL, except for the fact that there is a smaller regulatory burden in most areas of the economy.There is more political participation and activism because of the supreme court's being weaker -- the congressional deadlock matters to more people. The political parties have similar coalitions except for the fact that Democrats don't have the demographic advantages they do in OTL thanks to immigration. There have been fewer democratic presidents since 1960 than OTL because of this reason. Puerto Rico, and the pacific trust territories under the name of Isola are both states so the US flag has 52 stars. Isola has statehood due to cold war reasons leading to more military settlement along with increased transpacific trade
America's near abroad in Central America and the greater Carib is more closely tied to the imperial core in Washington than in OTL. The flip side of this, is that It's more capitalist, less democratic and wealthier. Cuba, Costa Rica, The West Indies Federation, the dominican Republic are all fully developed with the rest being middle income and on the way up. With it being harder to get visas to enter Europe, Havana has replaced Amsterdam as America's favorite place to indulge in vices illegal at home.
The British have lost their empire decades ago, but still lead a small commonwealth of Canada, Australia, west indies, guyana, malaysia, singapore and Belize. Britain is more egalitarian, nationalist and militarized than OTL. Yes, they are more anti-Europe, particularly France than our world.
Korea is recovering from the strain of digesting the former north, but it's economy is growing rapidly once again and birthrates revived once . It's still very militarized because of the Soviet Union being to the north.
Japan's economy never crashed, in part due to it avoiding the bubble. There are 30 million more Japanese than OTL, most of whom live in areas which in OTL have started to empty out or settled Japan's north. A more conservative western world hasn't imported much Japanese culture so anime and manga remain the domain of the Japanese, western fansubbers and scanlators. However, even though the culture doesn't sell some elements of the political right in the west are looking to Japan's nationalism, capitalism, public order and social solidarity for inspiration in recent years.
Taiwan smoothed out it's diplomatic issues with China and settled into a "two chinas" status quo and is now fully developed and less militarized. It's also richer than OTL, thanks to the massive market of mandarin speakers in the People's Republic of China that a diplomatically secure Taiwan feels safe trading with.
Much of Latin America are military dictatorships under American protection that have aligned themselves against the European-Soviet alliance. The economic policies of these regimes resembles Pinochet's Chile but with more protectionism. There is of course more United States investment than OTL.
South Africa and Rhodesia remain segregated even now. The anti-apartheid movement is slightly less relevant than our world's free Tibet movement.
The People's Republic of China is a fascist dictatorship like OTL. The difference is that in this world, the chinese are on America's side against the soviet union so they enjoy better public relations. The economy is a decade behind OTL's China economically thanks to the fact that there's 1) more military commitments 2.) extensive space commitments 3) more protectionist western governments. THe demographic situation is better, since China avoided the 'one child policy' and resulting demographic wall. Birthrates declined and there are only 250 million chinese more than OTL. Unfortunately, the environmental outlook isn't much better than OTL in China because orbital industry is something that's only affordable for the richer portions of the capital world.
China has a few puppet states in the form of Burma, north Vietnam, Laos and most recently Bhutan. All of these are poorly run military regimes. The only upside is that of late, Beijing is pushing it's puppets to adopt capitalism.
THE EASTERN BLOCK
The Soviet Union is an ethnic slavic military dictatorship now shambling towards capitalism. Besides nationalism at home as an ideological glue, the Soviet Union uses protectonist economics and anti-colonialism abroad to promote unity and solidarity. The long period of detente combined with the military industrial complex not being allowed to run at a seige pace, gave the system a decade and a half longer before real problems hit. This, at least meant that the gerontocracy was dead before real reform was needed which allowed the system to survive. The rulers of the Soviet Union are hard men who understand the secrets of power and what is to be done to maintain control. This includes 'managed freedom' for economics, even more extensive efforts at internet censorship and lots of military parades. Soviet birthrates have declined, and the solution has been to turn the Soviet Union into a nation of immigrants. Since 1990, populations of Afro-soviets, indo-soviets, sino-soviets and arabo-soviets have grown in the big cities. Those that don't embrace Soviet culture, including the Russian language in enough time get deported.
The Soviet Union has quite a few allies in the third world who are attracted to it's anti-colonial message. Incidently, it also has troops in places like Afghanistan or Punjab. A few, like Egypt, Mongolia, South Vietnam or Peru are even willing allies!
The only three Eastern European regimes to remain fully under soviet control are Bulgaria, Albania and Romania. These nations have been economically reformed and serve as labs for testing out new ideas -- Bulgaria was where they tried out the new filtering systems.
The other pole of the Eastern Block, is the European Community. It's more left-wing, authoritarian and militarized than our western Europe. Incidently, environmental politics is a bigger part of the unifying glue. As a result, Europe leads the world in alternative energy, non-human related biotechnology and energy efficiency technology. This "feasible and sustainable socialism" uses the specter of environmental disaster and resource-related collapse to justify opposition to capitalism and rally the masses. Besides providing capital and helping in joint research projects, Europe serves as a safety valve for soviet dissidents. There are those who argue for a Europe that can say no, a right-wing Europe that removes soviet influence from eastern Europe. These people were fringe cranks, but are starting to look more credible as of late -- after all, the USSR has taken trillions of marks in "development aid" without living up to promises of liberalization. However, the faction to watch are certain strains of the left, which argue that the USSR is just fascism in red pajamas and the US is just capitalistic and that Europe needs to stand on it's own.
Much of Eastern Europe has mostly democratized and are now E.C. associated states. Yugoslavia and Czechslovakia are both full democracies while Poland and Hungary are dominated by left-wing coalition governments. Even the fully democratic states have to allow their communist parties a say in foreign policy, along with being in government coalitions.
Finland remains finlandized, of course.
India is an economic basketcast and more than a generation behind OTL economically. It destroyed Pakistan in 1971 and is even more hated by muslim nations than OTL's Israel. This has been noted by American strategic planners, who use this knowledge to stir up the middle east's rebels who oppose the pro-soviet regimes. Like the european Union, India notices the USSR's not living up to commitments to liberalize and there are undercurrents of people who'd like to work with western europe to oppose the soviets.
Besides the free world and the eastern block, there are the disputed regions of the world. Sri Lanka, andean south america, Cambodia, etc. These are all mad max lands. Advisors, mercenaries and special forces from the two blocs constantly clash. As the cold war crystalized, this zone of chaos has slowly shrunk over time -- Sendero Luminoso took over Peru, Nigeria was de facto partitioned, etc. In fact, there are ongoing negotiations regarding the split of Sri Lanka into Indian and American occupied zones.
Israel is very well-armed and doesn't much like anybody. They build very deep underground these days.
There are of course a few irrelevant neutrals like Oman and Nepal but like the chaos zones, the number of truly neutral states has declined. Afghanistan fell to the soviets in the 1980s and the Swiss were pressured to become an associate E.C. member in 1994 to name a few examples of states choosing sides.
Liechtenstein is still independent of the EC and still a tax haven.
Without the slump of the 1970s, combined with cold war-related investment, combined with somewhat different atittudes towards risky technology has advanced even faster than OTL. As of 2012, the difference has become more like 15 to 20 years(aerospace, computer networking, fuel cells and other spinoffs from military/aerospace technologies) ahead of OTL in some fields, with the overall average being 7 to 12 years ahead of OTL depending on the field for other fields. The internet's emerging in the 1980s and becoming big in the middle of the 1990s is merely the biggest and most obvious ripple effect. As a result of the radical coups in the middle east in 1970, there has been largescale pushes for energy efficiency, nuclear power, orbital solar, asteroid mining, alternate energy and other related fields. This is spurred on by increased military spending by each individual member of the two giant blocs -- The nations of the world from from Portugal to Paraguay to Poland and beyond all spend rather more on arms production.
A differing intellectual environment in 1960-80 leads to eugenics being rather more respectable which has the effect of 1) increasing the range of permissible avenues of research 2) decreasing potential opposition to biotechnology 3) certain changes in cultural politics(weaker anti-abortion movement 4) ensuring increased budgets for biotechnology. This is a world with "drain-cleaner" pills for heart disease, cures for Diabetes and "magic potion" productivity-enhancement drugs that enhance memory or concentration are now starting to get approval from agencies like the FDA.
Both the "free world" and the "eastern block" have large space programs including lunar, L-5, asteroid bases along with multiple manned missions to the moon, mars, etc. Both have major kinetic energy weapons, orbital lasers and both have effective ABM systems in orbit -- the militarization of space is truly a reality. On the economic side of things, both have sizable orbital solar power, asteroid mining and do considerable space manufacturing making major use of asteroidal, lunar and near earth asteroidal materials. The fact that industry is starting to move to space has made earth a cleaner planet, especially in the third world, soviet union, Japan and China.
Globalization is less of a factor than OTL. After all, the two big economic giants of the United States and European Community have a great deal of suspicion and distrust. More people in developed nations have technical backgrounds and work in factories than in OTL -- instead of moving industrial production to the third world they have chosen to continue employing firstworlders making capital goods and advanced electronics. That said, within the two big blocs, there is much interinvestment and economic cooperation.
There is a sizeable European and ex-soviet refugee population in the CEZ countries along with a sizeable US, UK, Chinese, Latin american one in the eastern bloc. This began with trading Castro and company for gulag prisoners in the early 1960s following the suppression of communism in Cuba and has only continued.
This is a more prosperous world. Spinoffs of space technology combined with slowly decreasing costs for resources and avoiding certain OTL errors relating to trusting the financial sector have created more prosperity than OTL. Standards of living in developed nations are one to two decades ahead of OTL. This includes there being rather less inflation. Normal economic growth rates in developed nations are more like 4-6% as the norm with the United States tending to the higher end and the less economically efficient states of Western Europe the low end. Part of this shows up in increased consumer spending but a good chunk of it is taken up in leisure time, investment/savings, reinvestment of capital, environmental cleanup, etc. There are recessions, but the overall economic picture is better than OTL for the man on the street.
Culturally, this world is altered -- it's a mix of the old combined with the different. Nationalism, along with at least the forms of traditionalism remain more viable in western nations. This of course has the downside of increased racism, but at at least there is more civic pride, belief in public order and social solidarity. A visible side effect is that birthrates in developed nations don't fall as fast or anywhere nearly as much as OTL. Even without mass nonwhite immigration, Europe and the United States have as many people as OTL. Religion declines in both the United States and Western Europe after 1960, but not quite as much as OTL and there is mo]re public observance of the forms(this is why gay marriage isn't yet on the radar, but at least sodomy laws are gone, minor drug use is more tolerated(granted, without examples of major drug use or hippie subcultures this is easier) and a few european nations have civil unions). Yes, there has been social change but it's been evolutionary and not revolutionary with lots of compromise.
Another unexpected side effect of increased social solidarity is a more outgoing culture in western nations. Malls, arcades and even despite the rise of the internet and even more format changes than OTL video stores are all doing better than OTL. A secondary effect of lesser cocooning is bookstores managing to thrive in an environment where ebooks exist, instead of OTL's case of amazon.com and the kindle doing severe damage. A society that's less cocooned isn't a fertile niche for "social networking". At this point "social networking" as we know is regarded as an 80s to 90s SF cliche and the attempts to start it up have failed.
This has produced a bit of different popular culture. Classical music and jazz have both benefitted from this environment of more gradual cultural evolution. There have even been two big revival of big band swing in the 1970s and 2000s. Rock music took longer to shift from it's 1950s roots and remained clean-cut for longer. Rap and Punk both never really got off the ground, but Ska and a form of "Jazzcore" are big. Science fiction and in particular near-future frontier stories involving settling mars or the belt is quite popular. Oddly enough, this boost is confined to hard SF only; alternate history, time travel, fantasy, transhumanism and other more 'out there' stuff is actually a bit _less_ popular and respectable than OTL.
Even intellectual history has been changed by this world. Firstly, you have the Old Left remaining stronger in western nations. Then there is the weakened state of the "New Left". There is more rationalism and faith in science than our world, which is part of why there is more funding for science.This has ripple effects even outside of the west with the extreme reduction in political islamist sentiments compared to our middle east.