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|French Trafalgar, British Waterloo|
|Nations and Geopolitics|
|People, Culture and Other|
The World in BalanceWith the collapse of Brazil and her allies in the aftermath of the Venezuelan War, the so-called "Tri-Powers Conflict" became the "Dual Powers Conflict. Sorelist France, under the strong handed leadership of Prime Minister Charles de Gaulle, the real power in the French Empire, and the democratic United States of America, currently led by President Edward Kennedy, who was elected in 1976 after the 11 year presidency of Edward R. Morrow.
However, the alliances represented by the Juneau Pact and the European Defensive Alliance still struggled to try to gain the upper hand among the undecided nations of the world. And since the US and her allies had "won" the Venezuelan War and the California Revolt, and had tied France in the Quebec-Scottish Missile Crisis, many assumed that the Democracy's were in the lead in the "Cold War." France, though with the worlds most powerful military and largest economy, had yet to ultimately challenge America, the California Revolt and British Isles War notwithstanding.
Changing of the GuardsIn the spring of 1979, the moderate Prime Minister Charles de Gaulle died of a burst blood vessel in the neck, and a new primer was needed. Ultimately, his protege Jacques Chirac took power, and instituted a new program to win the "victory" over America, and to emerge as the strongest nation in the world. A plan to modernize and re-equip the army, as well as expanding it, was put into place. New tanks and aircraft that outclassed everything that America or her allies had at the time were designed and rolled off the assembly line. Recently elected President Kennedy, who campaigned on bringing a "New Socialist" knew that America was in a weaker position: an economic slump in the later years of the Morrow Administration had nearly shuddered the American economy, and the effects of the California Revolt were still being felt throughout the nation: the high casualty's, the massive military involvement, civilian protests and riots due to the unpopular draft and the terrorist attacks even outside California, including the devastating New Years Eve Bombings that shook New York, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia minutes before Midnight in 1979 by former, disgruntled members of the California Liberation Movement, that killed nearly 650 and injured 2300 more.
Middle Eastern TroublesDespite the success elsewhere in the world, the Middle East remained a tense hot spot, with Persia and Egypt and their respective allies engaging in a deadly game of brinkmanship. Over ten years before it broke out in the First Middle Eastern War, also known as the Week Long War due to the length of time that it took for Persia and Palestine to defeat Turkey, Arabia and Egypt. However, with French help, the later two were able to rebuild their armies really quickly, with weapons that outclassed the American and Russian supplied Palestine and Persia. Arabia had been literally "bought off" by Russia in the mid 70's, who provided much needed resources and capital to develop the nation, on the promise that they would leave Palestine and Persia alone. With OSN pushing, both Palestine and Persia withdrew from the territories they occupied, and Peacekeepers from around the world were stationed on the border between the two nations.
In April of 1982, Turkey and Egypt came together and signed the Pact of Cairo, binding the two into a loose confederation. Moreso, it would provide a combined military structure able to confront their opponents, who's training and superior morale had overcome the massed conscript armies of Turkey and Egypt. But as a secret part of the treaty, the two nations also agreed to support "whomever will fight the Persian and Zionist invaders in our lands." At the same time, Arab's who supported the Palestinian state (which was the vast majority, but a very vocal minority opposed it) were also considered nothing better than "Zionist pigs."One of these groups, Hezbollah, primarily targeted the Jewish population, trying to kill as many of them as possible, even if simply to force a change in the government. In June, as founds started pouring in to the Jihadsist group, they ratcheted up their attacks on Palestine and Persia, causing immense damage to the economy of the effected regions. The Palestinian Defense Agency, the secret service of the beleaguered nation, knew that Egypt and Turkey had been supplying the rebels. And a massive raid by police and army forces in September found caches of material and Egyptian and Turkish supplies. Palestine demanded that the two nations withdraw support and help hunt down the terrorists, but both nations, realizing that as soon as they said "no" would mean that Palestine, and possibly Persia, would attack. So they elected for a pre-emptive strike for October 8, 1982.
Second Middle Eastern WarTurkish and Egyptian forces fired upon the massed Palestinian troops along their respective borders, and sent their new air-forces to destroy what they could in Palestine, a plan very much similar to the operation Palestine and Persia executed in the last war. However, they decided not to attack Persian airplanes, as they thought that they could perhaps defeat Palestine without bringing the much larger empire into the conflict.
The airstrikes, however, where met with determined counterattacks within a few hours of the first planes lifting off, and intense air battles raged for three days. And since the airplanes were busy battling each other, they were unable to attack more than a few of their ground targets. The armies sent over the border simply drove past the peacekeepers, who where powerless to stop them, and made contact with the Palestinian Army. The Palestinians were forced to retreat with heavy casualties, but the Northern Army managed to regroup and counterattack outside of Hims, halting the Turkish advance.In the south, the initial attack killed the primary commander of the Palestinian Armies, and the second-in-command was out of radio contact due to communications failures for a full three days. The army either way managed an orderly, fighting retreat against a bitter Egyptian attack. The Egyptians, however, had not organized their supply lines to stretch as far as they did, expecting the Palestinian army to surrender instead of continue to fall back. The Egyptians had nearly reached the outskirts of Jerusalem when they finally had to stop outside of Bethlehem. However, the Palestinians were in no shape to counter attack on either front, so a modern version of Second Global War trenches with dug in tanks and armored personal carriers became the new front line.
In the first three weeks of the war, nearly 50,000 casualties on all sides were reported, though Egyptian and Turkish estimates were assumed to be way off, so figures almost approaching 100,000 were considered more accurate. As well, the air forces of all three nations were devastated; the veteran pilots of Palestine flying in older but well maintained aircraft managed to fight toe to toe with the more modern planes of their enemies. The navies of all three nations, which had little effect in previous conflicts, also fought an indecisive battle near the coast of Cyprus, though all sides claimed victory.
Persian and Superpower ResponsePersia watched in shock as their ally was mercilessly attacked by their sworn enemies. Due to their close relations, Persia immediately mobilized its army, and warned Turkey and Egypt to back down. Neither side replied to the ultimatum, and Persia declared war on October 29, sending its air force and army against Turkey in a plan to force them from the war quickly, then turn on Egypt. However they were forced against a well equipped defensive line built in secret by the Turks with French help. A plan failed within a week, resulting in over 25,000 casualties by the Persians, and only a tenth of that by the Turks. The air force, still the most powerful wing of the army, managed to achieve success in the air, driving the exhausted Turkish airplanes from the sky. Most of this force was later turned against the Egyptians, allowing the batted Palestinians time to rest and recuperate after nearly a month of constant battles with little down time. However, Persian help eventually did help push the Egyptians back toward the Giza peninsula, at which time the battle hardened troops of the south were transferred to the Turkish border, and a bloody battle to drive back the invaders followed suit, and both armies were soon within 20 miles of the border. France was not told of the planned attack before hand, and Prime Minister Chirac was at first surprised, but then tried to do his best to resolve the crisis. With the high tensions with America and Russia, he did not want to see this war escalate any further. Personal meetings with the Juneau Pact leader Ambassadors were held within days of the war breaking out, and Chirac stating flatly that he had nothing to do with the planning and execution of this war.
President Kennedy of the US and Gorbachev of Russia agreed with the French PM, and the OSN was at last empowered to do something before the conflict got out of control. The organization set up negotiations in New Delhi, India to try to resolve the issues. Palestine and Persia where ready to end the conflict, but it took a stern call by Chirac where all support would be cut to Egypt and Turkey if they did not sign a cease-fire finally forced their hand, and negotiations began. Since Turkey and Egypt were definitely the aggressors in the conflict, they were the ones forced to give reparations to Palestine (Persia announced they did not seek punishment, only a return to the status uo). Egypt and Turkey's confederation was also rendered null and void, though the leaderships of both nations escaped major punishment, though France would not be lending them new war materials for years after.
Chinese RevolutionAt the end of the Third Global War, the nation of China was divided into three: a Japanese controlled North based on Manchuria, a French dominated south, and an American/Russian sponsored central section. However, the government controlled by Chiang Kai-shek in the Central part of the nation was likened to a dictatorship, with his Liberation Party violently suppressing anyone who opposes him. But the Chinese Communist Party, led by Mao Zedong since it was founded in 1924, was marginalized in the aftermath of the war and the end of the Chinese Civil War that followed, and continued to try to bring down Chiang's government and put a Marxist government in its place. The continued guerrilla campaign put continued pressure on the Liberation Party to try to restore order: however, America and Russia continued to exert pressure on them to restrain themselves, leading to half-hearted measures in order to continue skimming off a large portion of the foreign aid they received.
The death of the Marxist leader in 1975 led to a change in leadership under Mao's chosen successor Hua Guofeng, and an even more intense series of attacks, while at the same time doing their best to provide the people, was launched. The tottering government of China was under pressure when Chiang died the same year as Mao, and a series of ineffectual leaders took his place. By 1978, the Marxist's had dominated the majority of China, and in 1979 overthrew the remaining government in Shanghai, ending the Liberation Party's rule of central China, which resulted in the massacre of those that supported the Liberation Party in the "Week of Revenge", in which upwards to 250,000 people, many of whom were accused of nothing more than being associated with those that were in power, or had been associated with the regime.
However, Guofeng, instituted as the new leader of China, knew it would be best to continue good relations with America and Russia, as France and Japan were considered a more series and immediate threat. The Chinese opened their border's to trade, and, in contrast with Marxist doctrine, became a more capitalist nation in order to rebuild the shattered economy. In a decade, China quickly grew from one of the most backward nations economically to a rival of India, Ethiopia and other "developing" nations.
The "Decade of Progress"
The 1980's, despite political actions and the constant fear of a nuclear exchange that continued to threaten the security of the world, was considered one of the greatest economic and cultural times. Huge international corporations started springing up, encouraged by tax incentives, which helped propel the economies of India and Ethiopia into the modern era, and lifting millions out of poverty by "enlightened" government action. The Organization of Sovereign Nations also helped, granting loans to nations to upgrade crumbling infrastructure.
The French Empire also experienced a resurgence, driven by the effects of the Revolution of 1973. Massive projects to rebuild the cities of the empire into modern centers of trade and commerce were developed. New ideas in architecture were also tested, leading to blocks of rundown and barren areas transformed into chic and stylish high rises, beautifully landscaped green areas and modern transportation systems, including expansions of the famous Paris Metro and light rail systems in Berlin and Turin. As well, a more liberal attitude toward the occupied countries encouraged more economic growth, and the inclusion of Willy Brandt, a German who preached allegiance to Paris during the Revolution, into Prime Minister Chirac's Inner Circle as the Minister for the East symbolized a turn in the relations between French and German, although tensions remained.
North American Revival
After stagnation under President Morrow in the seventies and the early presidency of Edward Kennedy, the mid Eighties was when the American economy at last managed to turn the corner and started growing exponentially. Many factors had been sighted: Kennedy's social welfare programs and some make work projects similar to the Socialist programs of the 1930's after the Great Depression. Others have cited the Nationalist majority in Congress, which passed from Socialist to Nationalist control in the 1980 election, though the president won in a huge landslide. The Nationalist's started dismantling the regulation structures that previous president's had put in place, and though Kennedy tried to veto them, Congress would often pass the law over the veto. Later, Kennedy would compromise on economic issues so that he could pass further civil rights laws that had been tackled (but often times failed) before.The 1984 Election of Micheal Dukakis on the Socialist ticket was considered a shoe in for him, coming on the tails of the still very popular President Kennedy, and the Socialist party managed to retake the Senate. However, Dukakis wasn't able to use his support effectively enough, and was dominated by the Nationalist controlled House, who continued to use Neo-Liberalism ideals as a guideline for reforming America. Under the leadership of Senator Barry Salder, the Nationalist Party experienced a huge surge in support, while the Socialist Party continued to struggle to find its voice, Dukakis being isolated politically by the 1986 mid-term elections, considered the last chance that the Socialists could challenge the power of the Nationalists. However, lackluster campaigning and several scandals destroyed what little chance they had, and Dukakis would spend the remainder of his term as a "lame-duck" president.
South American Resurgence
The end of the Venezuelan War had left the strongest nations in South America, most notably Brazil and Colombia, in chaos. This also left the Brazilian superpower in ruins, and ultimately a puppet of France, while Colombia became American aligned. However, the economies of both nations had virtually collapsed during the war, the prosperous nations reduced to chaos, with a wildly fluctuating currencies and the stagnation of its export driven economy.
But, by 1985, the first signs of rebounding were taking place. French francs flowed into Brazil, allowing much needed infrastructure improvements, while American dollars sent to Colombia helped to restore peace and order, and rebuild factories and such that allowed the nation to revive. Other South American nations, like Chile and Peru-Bolivian Confederation soon experienced the ripple effects of the revival of the stronger nations, and their own economies rapidly grew.
The Descent to ChaosDespite what many would say, the 1980's and 1990's were not as peaceful as the leaders would have you believe. A series of minor crisis, most of which were either covered up or relegated to the back pages of newspapers and the last minutes of television newscasts, continued unabated, if not happened with increasing regularity. Tensions between the allied groups, and even within the faction's, rose to a crescendo. Only the fears of what would happen if their alliance broke apart or the devastating, hypothetical effects of full scale, world wide nuclear warfare prevented most of these crises from breaking out. In the 1988 US election, Micheal Dukakis found himself fighting for his life. The Nationalist candidate, Barry Salder, was easily able to sweep the polls, and captured the White House on his promises of continued de-regulation of the economy and standing up to Sorelist France. Within months of being swore into the Presidency, Sadler and the Nationalist controlled Congress passed as series of new defense laws, where old equipment that had not been upgraded since President Edward Morrow would be scrapped or sold off, and newer weapons would be put into service. As well, the Navy would be modernized, with newer systems and more effective armaments being put on ships, as well as overhauls that had been long put off due to budget cuts. These military modernization programs were mostly paid for by cuts to the welfare system and minor tax increases, as well as efforts to streamline the various federal bureaucracies.
In France, Prime Minister Jacques Chirac was confident in his power. The Imperial economy was booming, and the military had some of the best weapons in the world, and newer, technologically advanced designs were already on the board. But he was nervous of American resurgence, especially after the economic decline of the late 1970's and early 80's that had left France alone. And with America increasing in power, that could only mean the Juneau Pact was also getting stronger, especially Russia under President Mikhail Gorbachev. And with nations like Scotland, Poland and Greece perched on the outer edges of Europe, and allied with America, Chirac knew they had a very strong foothold in the continent. In comparison, he had only the Gulf States Confederation and Quebec to threaten America, but they were at the end of a long supply route that the superior American Navy could block easily. Therefore, Chirac believed that only by trying to get Poland and Greece to join the Sorelist Community could France be safe from America and Russia.
Secret Affairs of the Powers
However, along with the American military build up came a more bellicose stance with France and Japan. Covert operations by the United States Foreign Intelligence Service (USFIS, or more often the FIS) were ratcheted up with Salder's order that "Anyone that opposes Sorelism and what they stand for deserves our help to fight them." Weapons and know-how flooded to different groups around the world that were fighting against their oppressive governments around the world, with the help of the Russians and the Persians as well, who established secret training camps in the remote areas of their lands. These were well used in the various French colonies and the weaker puppet states, especially Brazil and Arabia to create a bloody and never-ending partisan movement.At the same time, the French also ratcheted up their secret services, hoping to undermine Juneau Pact allies. Focus was especially placed on nations like Ethiopia, Nigeria, the Bantu Confederation and Ghana, all of which were developing economies in Africa with close ties to America, as well as Greece and Poland. The African nations were still very undeveloped (most having been former British colonies), and discontent was rife among the populations, which France was quick to foster and support. Many of their efforts led to multiple insurrections throughout the 1970's and 80's, though they were all beaten back. They did, however, showcase the weakness of these states, and only help from America (in the form of air power and the various "Rapid Response Teams" each branch of the military had) made sure that they still stood, and led to increasingly paranoid and drastic measures to be taken.
Tremor's in the Middle East
The rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Arabia and other Muslim nations around the Middle East in the aftermath of the First Middle Eastern War had eventually forced the Russian backed Arabian government of Abul Ala Maududi to try to rein in the protests, but the Fundamentalists, with an agenda of opposition to both the Juneau Pact and the European Defensive Alliance, continued attacks on the civilian population and oil fields. The outpouring of hatred worried not only neighboring Persia, which the Russians had sought to protect by giving massive amounts of aid to the poor Arabia, but also the Great Powers, as they say the threat of instability and terrorism in Arabia as the start to yet another Middle Eastern War, and less than ten years after the last one.
Siege of American Embassy in MeccaFrance decided the only way that the oil crisis could be resolved was to subvert Arabia. However, subtle pressure from Russia and America kept forcing Prime Minister Chirac to postpone the day of attack.
However, what little American trust was left in Arabia was soon destroyed, with riotous crowds storming the American Embassy in Mecca on January 12, 1988 and isolates the diplomats and staff inside, including Ambassador Charlton Heston. President Dukakis, running for re-election that Fall, and wishing to show a strong foreign policy stance that he has had problems showing before, announces that a "line in the sand" has been drawn, and that, if Arabia continues to aggravate America, Arabia will face the full wrath of American arms.
However Maududi, realizing that Arabia was pushing both superpowers to conflict with Arabia, decides it would be best to try to back track, and step down from his bellicose stance. But Arabia had already gone to far, and the mob surrounding the American Embassy starts to riot when they find out, whipped up by extreme mullah's and religious leaders, believing that their leader was falling to the Western Powers. A daring rescue attempt by Persia and Palestine is only partially successful, with Ambassador Heston and about half of the 235 staff are successfully evacuated, with a couple helicopters crashing in the desert on their way to Jerusalem, and the mob storming the facility and seizing 25 hostages.
The "United Response"
Once the result of the American Embassy stand off becomes known in the West after a couple days of silence, President Dukakis announces that Arabia had "done the unthinkable." France, their own embassy also having been evacuated that week, raises the issue, and the appropriate response at a meeting of the Organization of Sovereign Nations in St. Petersburg, Russia. Both Russia and the United States agree that the nation must be dealt with, and a OSN negotiation team, composed of the representatives of China, Mexico and Australasia, embark to Turkey to try to resolve the dispute.But now Maududi was up against the wall. Arabia was on the verge of violent outbursts, with those that are part of the Modernization and the Isolationism crowd trying to seize control. When he leaves for Constantinople to meet the OSN reps, Maududi is overthrown in a coup by Army colonel Osama bin Laden, who is the leader of the extreme Islamic sect in the Arabian Army. Bin Laden and his supporters begin rounding up opponents, and deposes those that believe that Arabia needs to adopt more Western Ideals. He also announces that he he will give the hostages back to America, if the US will give them arms and money. President Kennedy, although wary of negotiating with bin Laden, is prepared to make the deal, which would still end up being a victory, with him rescuing the hostages. But France realizes their one attempt to secure an oil source is vanishing rapidly, so accelerates operations with the resistance in Arabia, and supplies them with arms, resources and advice to attack the bin Laden regime in the making.
Arabian's that wish to modernize and open up to the rest of the world assume the title of "Arabian National League" and mounts attacks on convoys, military bases and oil wells in a "Day of Resurrection" on February 1, 1988. Bin Laden, though originally stunned by the attack, brutally cracks down. Prime Minister Chirac in France uses this excuse to say that Bin Laden could not be trusted, and advocated an immediate response.
Operation CrusaderFrench military officials at last now have the excuse needed to go into Arabia. On February 14, the first airplanes start flying from North African fields to Arabia, striking at military installations and bases. The campaign continues for a week, which is then followed by the first landings of French soldiers. By the end of the month, Mecca and Medina, the two major cities, were in French control, although Bin Laden and his higher council managed to escape.
However, despite easily defeating the Arabian army, which was divided due to the internal strife that had rocked Arabia for months, the French was soon up against the Arabian people. The Arabian National League, although they had taken control, the Sorelist members of the alliance soon managed to come out on top, driving the moderates out of power and installing a hardliner Sorelist dictatorship, which was immediately recognized by France and her allies. It took until 1994, and many casualties that have never been publicly revealed by the French, until Arabia was considered pacified, and the majority of combat troops returned home, leaving a permanent force behind.
AftermathAmerica and Russia were shocked that they had basically allowed France a major foothold in the Middle East. Despite protests, however, both President Dukakis and President Gorbachev knew that they couldn't effectively respond, as they had given France carte-blanche in dealing with Arabia. This foreign policy disaster, along with the tanking economy, resulted in the US President's defeat in 1988 to Senator Barry Salder.
But France knew they had achieved a great coup: not only had they secured a source of oil and an ally in the Middle East to counter American and Russian allied Persia. Also, France started to believe that the Democracies were pushover's: so long as they were given a reason, Imperial France could achieve whatever they want. Primer Chirac decided that it was time to prod American defenses even more than Charles de Gaulle had.
The Crisis of 1991
All of these different events led to increasingly tense relations between the major powers, especially the invasion of Arabia, as America and Russia knew that France and Japan were behind some of the "incident's" that affected their allies, and vice versa. They all knew that these little proxy conflicts would not result in nuclear war, but they also knew that they would lead to increasingly hostile tensions, making a direct conflict a much more serious event.
On June 4, 1991, the first direct confrontation between the powers since the Quebec-Scottish Missile crisis flared up over the defection of French General François Mitterrand to Russia, who claimed that the Empire was planning to attack Poland and Greece if covert operations did not succeed in sparking a coup to overthrow the said nations. Prime Minster Chirac denied the "rubbish" when it was leaked to the media on the 6, but President Sadler, a day later in a speech to military personal, said that "...America will not tolerate any attack on any peaceful, free nation," and even went so far to say that "...actions might have to be undertaken to ensure this does not happen." The French were furious at both announcements, and on June 8 demanded that Russia return General Mitterrand to France, which President Gorbachev refused.On the 10th, an American naval group, with two of the newest and most powerful aircraft carriers, the USS Abraham Lincoln and USS George Custer, composing the core of the force, entered the Mediterranean and conducted drills as they sailed past the east of Spain toward Greece. The French, already nervous of what President Sadler had said, demanded that the US fleet leave or cease drills, but Admiral George Bush claimed they were in International waters, so they did not have to comply. The next day, the French flew warplanes over the fleet for most of the day, and held "live" ammunition that could be launched if they became "hostile." When one missile armed cruiser, the USS New York turned northward toward France, one French pilot saw cruise missiles being prepared to launch. He took this as a "hostile" action and fired his weapons on the New York, and though the majority were shot down, one missile did slam into the side of the ship, piercing it bellow the waterline and crippling the ship. News quickly raced through both the American and French commands, and both took the action to mean that were prepared to attack. President Sadler ordered the military to DEFCON 3, having been a stage lower since the 5th. Prime Minister Chirac ordered similar measures throughout the Empire, and both escalations soon were followed by other nations around the world.
The Organization of Sovereign Nations sprung into action on June 7, and raced to try to stop the rapidly escalating conflict. However, despite frantic negotiations between the French and Americans in three different locations (including the OSN building in St Petersburg, as well as in Sydney, Australasia and Constantinople, Turkey), no one knew if they had the authority by their respective governments to negotiate, so all was for naught.
As the crisis in the Mediterranean was spiraling out of control, other crisis were breaking out around the world; tense standoffs between forces on either side of the "Cotton Line" in the divided Confederate States, as well as the borders of Poland and Greece and their French associated neighbors were kept in check by fearful commanders on both sides. However, on the border between Russia and Japanese "allied" Manchukuo this restraint was not evident. Regular infantry on both sides traded shots across the border on June 10, and no one knew who was responsible for the first shot. Soon tanks and artillery also started firing, causing casualties on both sides, and fear paralyzed both military high commands.
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone decided that the Japanese nuclear arsenal, the forth largest in the world, was to be put on the highest possible alert for launched on an instance notice, the first of the major nations to do so, on June 12. Russia responded by ordering her arsenal to also be prepared a few hours later, and the US followed suit the next day, with France, Persia and Brazil following shortly after. DEFCON 2 stage was set by President Sadler, who was evacuating to Fort Defense in Colorado, where North American Strategic Defense Command (NASDC) was located. TV Networks around the globe were ordered to prepare to cease operations and switch to emergency alert services. Some networks in the US took this as the instruction to do so, many cutting in around 6:32 PM Eastern Standard Time and activating the Emergency Broadcast Alert Service. This had the effect of causing panic in some areas, and leading to schools, hospitals and other major public areas being closed and evacuated.
The US Navy decided to halt the Abraham Lincoln and George Custer battle group where it was, while the Army mobilized the reserves and prepared to move the front line units to their jump off points for the overarching military plan to be put in place, Case "Velvet", which detailed a rapid thrust into the Gulf States Confederation (South Confederacy) and Quebec to offset French forces in the Americas, as well as Air strikes on targets in Cuba, Hispaniola, Brazil and Argentina.
By the 12, the world was standing over the abyss; Nuclear weapons around the world were poised to launch, and all it was believed needed was one slip up, one wrong step, and the world would be destroyed by radioactive fire. At this point, both President Sadler and Prime Minister Chirac were nearly resigned to nuclear war. The American President was reported to be on the verge of mental breakdown, and was contemplating suicide to avoid having to "bathe the world in radiation."
Their fears were realized when a Russian early detection system started to warn of incoming Japanese and French missiles toward the city of Volgograd and other centers. The officer in command, Colonel Stanislav Petrov believed it to be a computer glitch as it was only targeted a few cities, and Moscow, St Petersburg or Vladivostok were not among them (he reasoned that if the three most important cities of Russia are not the targets of a minor strike, then it must be false.) He then ordered a call to another early detection site to confirm if they reported incoming missiles (an unusual step, as it is assumed that if one site saw the missiles, they all would). However, they reported nothing, so General Petrov did not notify Moscow, which would most likely have led the world to be obliterated.
Resolution and Aftermath
On the 13, after the near crisis that was not reported in Russia, both President Sadler and Prime Minister Chirac ordered their ambassadors to the OSN to meet and relay their intent to back down. They both agreed, and by 6 PM Greenwich Mean Time, the nuclear forces of America and France were told to stand down, and DEFCON 3 was reinstated. Russia and Japan followed suit, with the rest of the world withdrawing by June 14. The Crisis of 1991 was over.
On June 23, news of what had happened in Russia was reported, and the world gasped in shock. Colonel Petrov was recognized as a hero around the world, and President Gorbachev personally thanked him, making him a Hero of the Russian People. As well, many other nations around the world would honor him, including the United States, France and Japan. He would later resign from the military and run for the Duma, winning his Moscow seat easily.
On July 1, President Sadler announced he would not be running for re-election in 1992, citing his failure to contain the crisis and his subsequent mental breakdown as factors. Almost immediately after the announcement, the Nationalist Party had to scramble to try to find a candidate that would be able to replace the still popular Sadler.
Fall of Jacques Chirac
Prime Minister Chirac in France was determined to keep his post, in comparison to his counterpart in America. But the French army, nearly led to the brink of nuclear war by his efforts to outmaneuver the US, refused to accept this, and Field Marshall Édouard Balladur led a military coup on Paris on July 5, capturing Prime Minister Chirac and forcing him to announce his resignation. He was then flown by military aircraft to exile in Algeria, and Balladur was instituted as the temporary Prime Minister of France until the aging Emperor, Louis II, who had long be marginalized by his Prime Ministers in French affairs, could name a replacement.
The United States was mostly silent about the change of government, mostly because no one knew exactly what was going to happen. A minority suggested that the Sorelist Dictatorship would be overthrown; on the opposite spectrum, it was believed that those that supported a hardliner stance in France would come to power. Most experts believed that a more moderate government, focused on much needed reforms, would be put in place. But everyone was surprised when Field Marshal Balladur suggested the young Nicholas Sarkozy, only 36 years old, be named the new Prime Minister of France. Emperor Louis II agreed, and the rapidly rising star of the French Imperial Government was named the leader of one of the most powerful nations on Earth.
Sarkozy in Power
In comparison to his predecessor, Sarkozy was the definition of moderation. Within weeks of coming to power, he had already meet with the Ambassador to the US and suggested that maybe the time had come to begin the re-unification of the divided Confederate States, as well as working to decommission nuclear weapons on all sides. President Salder was stunned at the suddenness of such proposals, but decided it would be for the best to pursue these goals.
By the end of 1993, the first Nuclear Exchange Weapons Demobilization Treaty (NEWDT) was signed in Washington, calling for half of France, the US, Russia and Japan's ICBM strength be destroyed. Efforts to cut down on Medium and Short Range missiles, however, where constantly blocked by Japan and America, so little progress was made for these weapons.
Prime Minister Sarkozy, despite his quick foreign triumphs, was soon bogged down in domestic affairs. Throughout the rest of the 1990's, he struggled to try to keep the French economy going while much needed government reforms were pushed. The global economic slowdown starting in 1992 had its greatest effects in the French Empire, as the rising cost of oil once again starting playing havoc in the nation like it had almost 20 years before, as Arabia was soon discovered to not have as many oil reserves as originally estimated. Libya and the North Sea were looked towards to help resolve Europe's oil problems, but it would take much longer than thought to bring them online. With the rise in oil prices also came the rise in other prices, including food and electricity, which the government tried to handle.
The "Perot Era"In America, the good times of the 1980's continued into the 1990's, despite a minor blip in the early part of the decade that, though effecting France very hard, only caused minor unemployment that was quickly dealt with. Since President Barry Salder was not running for re-election due to the crisis in 1991, instead the Nationalist Party named Ross Perot as their candidate, easily defeating the current Vice-President Robert Ballard in the forth ballot. The Socialists tried to regain their foot and named Robert Byrd, a well known and popular Senator from Virginia, to be their candidate. Despite a fierce election, Perot was able to come out on top, and Sadler's legacy seemed to be ensured.
Almost from the moment that he was sworn in, however, Perot did his best to become his own man. He became a much more open and compromising leader, working with the divided Congress to pass laws that continued to de-emphasize the government in the economy, but also working to expand welfare programs like affordable housing and free healthcare.
Rise of the Technology IndustryThe Sadler and Perot presidencies had the honor of also being the start of the new technological revolution: computer's soon became cheap and popular for the home market, and the new "Internet", and Hundreds of thousands of "portals" (also called websites) were created in-between 1994 and 1995 alone, allowing the sharing of information and technology much easier than ever before. Video games, formerly restricted to video arcades soon exploded into the home market: consoles for Televisions and Compact Files (CF's) for computers.
With the rise of Technology, mostly in California (long neglected and suffering due to the background of the California Independence Movement that continued to sputter along), also came the rise of new companies that tried to squeeze into the profitable field. Big names like Microsoft, Horizon Enterprises (HE) and California Computing soon rose to the top of their fields, in software programming and operating systems; hardware development and assembly (including the famous GameStation system; and computer building respectively. Dozens of other companies also tried to make their way into the massive and expanding market.
The "Tech Boom" soon turned to bust, and in 1997 the first signs of over saturation and overpriced stocks appeared when dozens of smaller companies had their portfolio's tested and subsequently their stock price reduced. Within weeks, billions of dollars had been wiped out, shattering the tech business for years.
The "Eastern Tiger's"The nations of Asia had been bitterly divided between both sides of the Cold War; nations like Japan having allied with France, and with areas like Southern China, Vietnam, the East Indies and Formosa under direct French Imperial rule, while the communist nations of India and China, as well as the sprawling power of Persia, remained allies of America and Russia. The French dominated areas of South-East Asia remained backward after the Third Global War, and was neglected by both de Gaulle and Chirac. Sarkozy, on the other hand, decided that it was time for the people of these areas to experience the fruits of prosperity. Massive loans were made available to Imperial businesses that wished to open shop in Asia, and by 1995 the GDP of the area doubled, and by 1998 would double again. Not only did the boost in the local economy help the natives, but it also indirectly helped France by making the people of the area at least tolerate French rule, instead of the former indifference or downright hostility to it. China and India, both Marxist states, had embraced limited capitalism in the 1980's, soon American and Russian businesses set up shop in their countries to begin the drive for outsourcing, where the cheaper labor markets of China would produce the goods that the more expensive American labor markets would then sell. Though this led to many factories shutting its doors in the United States, it also led to a more commercially-driven economy that rapidly grew in wealth and prosperity.
Japan also was at the cusp of this new wave: new laws passed by a more moderate government opened the Empire of the Sun to new markets and sources of investment, which also helped the economies of the other Asian countries to also rise higher. The dream for a "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" was being realized, not by force, but by economics.
The Unification of the Confederate States
In the aftermath of the Third Global War, the Confederate States of America had been divided in half: a US dominated northern half called the Democratic Confederate States, and a Brazilian (later French) dominated Gulf States Confederation, called North and South CSA respectively. People on both sides of the "Cotton Line" desired to re-unify, but America and France refused, knowing that if they both joined, it would fall under the sway of one power or the other.
With the naming of Nicholas Sarkozy to the premiership of France after Jacques Chirac was forced from office, however, it suddenly became possible for the two halves to join together again. Sarkozy admitted that he didn't care if it would remain allied with France or not, which basically guaranteed that it would be an American ally.An election was held in later 1995 to see if both sides would agree to re-unification, and an overwhelming 86% said yes on both sides. The government's of the North and South then started to work on a treaty of unification, with the support and backing of France and the United States. On June 15, 1997, the 139th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the Gulf States Confederation and the Democratic Confederate States ceased to exist, being replaced by a new Confederate States of America, and headed by North CSA President Bill Clinton. The joy of having re-united the long divided people was then replaced with determination to bring the neglected and backward South CSA up to standards with its northern Neighbor. And despite efforts by the CSA, they could not convince Mexico to allow Texas to decide to join the new Confederacy.
A new era seemed to have dawned. The unification of the CSA, the rise of the Asian economy and American technological dominance seemed to guarantee that the next millennium would be a better, peaceful world. But not all was well: French and American agents continued to battle for the African nations, while South America and the rising powers of Asian rivals, and counting the bitter and angry people of Europe dominated by France, It was feared by only a few that the Crisis of 1991, while nearly bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war, was just a little incident compared to what could happen. To some, the years after 2000 would be the time of reckoning, when the people's of the world may at last bring about the truth of German physicist Albert Einstein, who said "I know not what the weapons of the Forth Global War will be fought with, but I can assure you the Fifth Global War will be fought with sticks and stones."