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The year 2003, in real life, was relatively stable as far as world oil production. However, in an alternate universe, far, far away and not so long ago, the dreaded phenomenon Peak Oil is not only real, but occurs. This horrible occurrence began in late 2003, with suddenly the supplies of oil dropping. The price of oil soared, and this problem continued for the rest of the year and well into 2004. Due to the massive oil crisis which is destroying the economy, George W. Bush proposes using the military to seize more oil during his reelection campaign. This idea is popular among Americans, and leads to Bush being reelected in a landslide over Democratic challenger Howard Dean.
In 2005, the oil crisis continues. Saudi Arabia runs out of oil to give to the United States, and tells the US so. The US believes that Saudi Arabia is hoarding its oil, and stopped production to hurt the US even more. Bush launches an invasion of Saudi Arabia. Russia, China and the EU all invade the Middle East as well, due to an increased desperation for oil which is destroying modern society. Although initially these four powers work together to bring down the Arab nations that united to protect their region from the invaders, they turn on each other by June. This results in a third world war, which turns nuclear within months, and reduces humanity to a mere three million survivors, mostly in areas unaffected by the war.