Alternate History

Geopolitics (Arrival)

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The global politics of the modern day strongly revolve around the welfare of 800 million Aash'n that inhabit North Africa. Since their arrival much animosity between nations has been frozen as trillions of euros, dollars and commus have been invested into the upkeep of the AAAZ and the development of Project ASCENSION, though underlying conflict between capitalist and socialist nations still occur.

It is commonly accepted that, below the UN, two major superpowers exist: the United States of America, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Four other major powers also exist: the People's Republic of Asia, India, the Confederated Communities of Europe, and (though not a true nation) the Maghreb. The USSR and PRA operate under socialist principles and both use Commus as their main currency, whilst the other four are capitalist. All of these powers possess nuclear weapons but most of these are extremely old, with an estimate of only 2,000 nuclear devices having been constructed worldwide since Braking Day and only 4,000 still exist worldwide, the rest having been scrapped or inducted into Project ASCENSION .

The Socialist Bloc

Flag of the Soviet Union

Flag of the Soviet Union, primary member of the Soviet Bloc

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the People's Republic of Asia, and a handful of other nations operate under socialism. The two nations once held a fair degree of antagonism for their differentiating communist and market socialist economies, but since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact the two have grown closer out of the desire to preserve socialism. This bloc was formed after the Second World War, when the Soviet Union installed a number of puppet governments amongst the Eastern European nations, establishing a communist government in the area. In the 1950s the success of Mao Zedung and the stalemate in Korea furthered communism there; by the time of Braking Day further communist insurgencies were growing in Indochina, most notably the war in Vietnam. But, as with everywhere else, Braking Day put the issue into perspective. North and South Vietnam, and foreign troops stationed there,
Flag of the People's Republic of China

Flag of the People's Republic of Asia, the second most powerful member of the Soviet Bloc

agreed to a ceasefire on the weeks leading up to Braking Day and into the months beyond; by 1964 most antagonism had subsided and the two sides met to discuss a permanent peace treaty was declared. Though this was a mutually-agreed draw by both sides it was seen by communist forces in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand as a victory, increasing their morale and subsequent power. In spite of the global shroud of peace insurgents in these areas eventually managed to overthrow their governments and establish communist systems. This left South Vietnam isolated on the Indochina peninsula, an escape route for those fearing communism. However, its sovereignty was not long-lasting; in 1971 Chinese forces invaded Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and North Vietnam in a reflection of the Cuban Missile Crisis, in order to pacify pro-Soviet sentiment and ensure that the country was not pinned down. The PRC subsequently reformed as the People's Republic of Asia, and in 1978 invited South Vietnam to join the nation.

An image from the Vietnam War. The war ended with a declaration of status quo ante bellum, but lack of support for South Vietnam by the US in later years led to its joining of the PRA.

The people of South Vietnam, which was strangling under the dictatorship of Thieu and was plunging into economic depression, decided that it would receive more attention from a powerful socialist nation rather than its supposed ally the USA, which was far more interested in the Aash'n than an unimportant Asian state. Unfortunately Theiu refused to step down and brutally set down several protests; eventually, the PRA decided that the job could be done far more easily if the government was quickly forced into submission. A rapid helicopter raid on Saigon in September 1978 captured Thieu and forced him into stepping down; just a week later South Vietnam was reunited with its northern twin as it was absorbed into the PRA.

The entire issue of China invading its loyal Indochinese states greatly angered the Soviet Union. For a protracted period after 1971 the two countries bordered on full-scale war several times; all that kept them from actual aggression was the strength of the UN, mutual antagonism of the West, and pleas from the Aash'n. Only in 1982 did cordial relationships resume with the full initiation of Project ASCENSION. Soviet troops stationed on the border remained constantly at invasion-levels of preparation until 1987 and the glasnost reforms of Gorbachev.

Thankfully the two nations resolved most of their differences, with the only major issue between them the PRA's usage of market socialism rather than the truer socialism of the USSR. The majority of sparring between the two nations came almost entirely from their sports teams and their cultural sectors, as well as battling for every new contract in Project ASCENSION. In 1994 the two nations decided to accept the commu as legal tender in both countries, greatly easing trade and having hugely beneficial effects for the economy of the midway of Mongolia, which managed to double the size of its economy in just five years thanks to the massive trade passing through the country. Unfortunately the commu was not as readily accepted in the Warsaw Pact countries, which in 1995 finally decided to pull away from decades of Soviet control and embrace the CCE and its free economy. This move stunted the growth of the commu greatly, but the currency recovered and by 1996 was back to its former strength. In a way the Soviet Union was glad to be free of the Warsaw Pact as it carried the baggage of four decades of pre-glasnost Soviet interventionism, though was sorry to see states which could have benefited greatly from the growth of the commu turn away. The move, however, was for the best, as it made the USSR realise that its policy of trade only to other communist nations could not sustain itself - the Warsaw Pact had delivered much of its agricultural power, particularly in later years - and subsequently the country sidled towards PRA-style market socialism as it opened up trade to the world market.

The Socialist bloc invests a major portion of its industry in Project ASCENSION, and often boasts that thanks to its centralised economies its member nations have never been late on their contracts. Nonetheless, they are still looked upon with disdain by the west for their relatively authoritarian governments, though this is more stereotype than reality, given that all the Communist states are, in fact, well on their way to free democracy.

The Western Bloc


The Confederated Communities of Europe in 2003. The CCE is an unquestionably powerful industrial force.

The majority of the world operates under a capitalist economy. Unlike the Socialist bloc, however, the definition of the countries within the Western bloc since Braking Day has changed drastically, partially because of the dissolution of the 'East vs. West' dichotomy of the Cold War, but also because of the changing face of European politics that came about in the 1960s-70s. The Western bloc grew out of the Allies which faced off against the Axis in World War Two, sans the USSR and its satellite states established in the late 40s. For the most part it was primarily composed of NATO, which united its leading power, the USA, with the Canada and the European countries which were its strongest members, but this is not representative of the large number of non-democratic but US-aligned states scattered across the world. These African and South American states are for the most part forgotten today, the main reason being that they no longer have or need alignment with NATO.

The Western Bloc was able to carry a significant amount of control over the events of Braking Day and the weeks following it. Europe, being without question the most industrially developed area on the planet, was able to use that merit as a bargaining chip in the negotiations as to where the Aash'n would land, pointing out that if reconstruction needing heavy industry was required there was no better place than right next to Mediterranean. This brought some antagonism from the East, and from Africa, which had just thrown off imperialism and didn't want the Europe walking over it again, but global consensus agreed with the members of the EEC.

Soon after the landing of the Aash'n ships a new sense of unity was brought about in the European peoples. As money was wrenched away from the military and into the support of the Aash'n towns and the infrastructure of the Maghreb, members of the various economic agreements since the creation of the ECSC found themselves flourishing. Britain rushed to join the EEC in 1965, and brought with it Austria and Ireland in 1966, Italy in 1967, and Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland in 1968. These countries soon experienced a massive economic boom and a resurgence of industry as prefab towns were erected around the Aash'nite vessels and Maghreb found itself transformed by the influx of scientists and engineers into the area.

It was soon realised that the countries of the EEC were doing themselves injustice by slowing transactions with multiple currencies. It was soon proposed that the members of the EEC adopt a single currency, the euro, to cheapen transactions and capitalise on the growth of industry. This caused hesitancy - the members of the EEC were all for unlimited expansion, but could they surrender a historic and vital part of their national identity? The first quarter of 1970 saw for the first time in five years the growth rate actually fall, though only by a tiny margin. Apprehension grew. A leap of faith was required.

Thankfully, one was made. The Low Countries had always been the most enthusiastic over adopting a common currency, so when word arrived in March 1970 that West Germany would adopt the Euro along with the Low Countries it suddenly became almost certain that a full switchover would take place. In weeks the other members of the EEC decided they would take up the euro too, and on June 21st the entirety of the EEC converted to the euro. It was the beginning of the end for nationalism in Europe. Analysts noted within months that the combined economy was 30% stronger than it had beforehand, and without the cost of exchanging companies could afford to spread themselves across Europe without inhibition.

The economic golden age that followed saw a change in the politics of the Free World. Suddenly Europe was just as strong as America, and in many places was outproducing it. With its engineers and scientists so close to the Aash'n African Administrative Zone it was most often European businessmen who were the first to patent the products produced from the Aash'nite ships. The hegemony of the USA started to crumble with a resurgent Europe, causing the third-world dictators to be unsure of where to place their allegiances and the collapse of the traditional power structure. After the induction of Portugal, Spain, Greece and Iceland Europe's economy exploded again. For the first time since the World War One animosity started to grow between the USA and EEC, tempered only by the prospect of a socialist assault.

But like the situation in the East the wounds were healed with the creation of Project ASCENSION. The powerful economies of the now NATO-only Western bloc could be redirected towards the construction of the new Aash'nite spaceships, and the technologies acquired from their starships and held as patents by European bussinessmen were finally returned, slightly evening their long-held technological advantage. With the glasnost reforms thousands flocked to the West, and with the Fall of the Wall Eastern Europe suddenly reopened, cementing the foundations of the later CCE. Meanwhile the wealth of Europe began to overflow, spilling first into the Maghreb and the AAAZ, later India, and finally into Africa and South America. The industries established there soon created strong competition with Europe, and it seemed that, after thirty years of growth, Europe might just fall back into a more measured stride.

But the commu changed that. Not wanting to be pressured into accepting yet more Soviet diktat the nations of Eastern Europe one by one fled from their socialist overlords and into the arms of the EEC, in the process many of them removing their socialist governments or installing market socialist systems. The Eurozone grew again. The agrarian heartland of central and eastern Europe welcomed new entrepeneurs trying to reap the benefits of recovered Aash'nite genetic engineering technology. The EEC was paying dividends once again, but now calls were being made to take its interdependence one step higher, and collectivise into a single economic superstate.

Flag of the United States

The flag of the USA. The United States remains the premium military power of the West with over half its nuclear capacity, but economically it has dwindled slightly in competition with the CCE.

Again there was hesitancy, but the death of nationalism and the upgrowth of federalism since the adoption of the euro greatly eased the transition process. Nonetheless it took three years for the dozens of referenda on language, law, taxation, nationalised services, and other such infrastructure to be completed in one of, if not the most complex political restructuring in history. But eventually the creases were ironed out and following a preliminary election of the European Parliament the new superstate, the Confederated Communities of Europe, was inaugurated on January 1st 1999, sending stock markets globally soaring.

Relationships in the Western bloc are warm and friendly, and unlike in the Eastern bloc where there is competition between the systems of its two superpower states there are no such disputes or troubles of allegiances. Nations in the Western bloc hold some the highest standards of living worldwide, and maintain this through sheer economic strength. Indeed, commentators have noted that the economic strength of the CCE and the USA are so powerful that no other nation could dare challenge them without facing immediate economic collapse. Western bloc companies involved in Project ASCENSION are some of the highest-paying and highest-earning corporations in the world.



Flag of India

The flag of India.

India was one of the more unlikely benefactors from Braking Day. In 1963 the country was still developing, and indeed would remain that way for a long time, remaining a primarily agricultural power that could not compete with the booming West and the self-sufficient East. It remained a valuable cultural heartland and its goods were still bought, keeping it from economic collapse, but mass immigration and low-quality products kept it from making a significant mark on the world.

But after the turbulence of the 1960s and 1970s the country found itself in a position of power. It had been one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961 and had maintained a position of power amongst the less-noticed fringe states of the world. For the past two decades it had been working to consolidate the strength of itself and the fellow members of the NAM, and though it could offer little in the way of investment it offered counseling and advice to West African, Arabian and Indonesian states as to how they could maintain their economies in the face of foreign expansion.

As the stability of the 1980s began India and its huge capacity for growth became a target for Western businessmen. Manufacturing was established, bringing in increased living quality and the development of the services industry for the nation. However India did not wish to be dominated by foreign industry. After opening up to foreign development the huge returns were soon pumped into establishing a world-class education system. Within years the returns were being seen: foreign investors were flocking to make use of the educated workforce, and a new generation of homegrown entrepreneurs were sidling up to challenge them and expand into the global market, principally through the NAM.

This paid dividends worldwide. In many third-world countries Hindi became as popular as English to entice investors from the Indian subcontinent. For brief periods at the beginning of the 1990s India's GDP began to come close to that of the EEC, and its HDI was putting it on par with most Western nations. There remained sizable gulfs, issues of overpopulation, and human rights abuses in the countless factories where local inspectors had been bribed or had never visited, but ultimately India was growing to become a sizable world power, with a developing military and important trade links across the Indian Ocean. A trade incentive between itself and Australia issued in 1996 brought large levels of immigration between the two countries and businesses shuffled and grew between one and the other.

Currently India remains one of the main meeting points between the West and East. The most powerful state of the NAM, India commands considerable respect from nations around the Indian Ocean and in the Middle East, and its businessmen are seen as good omens from the central savanna to the skyscraper complexes of Mumbai and New Delhi. The return of manufacturing and the development of advanced sciences in the West and East leaves India as the world's service industry leader.

The Maghreb

Cairo Outskirts

One of the Aash'n vessels at rest on the outskirts of Cairo. The Nile can be seen at the top of the photo, and the pyramid complex of Giza is present close to the ship's bow.

The decision to land the Aash'nite ships in the Maghreb was contentious. Some countries were jealous of the chance to have their economies bolstered by the presence of the Aash'n; others feared disaster and destruction if they played hosts to the vessels. The call by Europe to have the vessels landed in North Africa was met by fierce debate, but eventually convenience and exhaustion prevailed, with the seventeen vessels set to land principally in Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Egypt. Two vessels, tragically, failed to land with the death of millions, and an additional one targeted to land in Libya overshot and ended up crashing four km out into the Mediterranean. Fortunately the remaining ships all touched down safely, though one came to rest a stone's throw from the Pyramids of Giza.

Immediately the UN set to work in establishing a comprehensive transport link between the ships. By the end of 1963 thousands of miles of road and rail had been stretched between the landing sites and dozens of runways built. Prefabricated buildings were sent in and constructed around the Aash'nite ships, built with cheap local labour. The countries of the Maghreb saw huge foreign investments to ensure they could support the influx of 480 million additional extraterrestrials. With the institution of the Aash'n African Administrative Zone in 1971 billions of dollars, euros, rubles and yen flowed into the region. Most of this ended up constructing the hundreds of settlements and irrigating huge tracts of land for the Aash'n, but some managed to remain in the possession of the governments of the Maghreb's countries. Seeing how foreign interest in the region had exploded the four nations, along with Mauritania and the Western Sahara, formed the Maghreb Union, aiming to provide a common market and an investiture in the workforce to make it a more appealing investment for foreign businessmen. Their work took time, but in the late 70s it paid off, with foreign industry flocking to the region.

The presence of the Aash'n greatly affected local culture. Whereas prior to their arrival reasonably fundamentalist Islamic law had been in place the huge influx from dozens of different cultures had pressured governments into being more liberal, and as the Aash'n took to leaving their compounds and exploring the local region the area was forced into extreme tolerance. Throughout the 1980s many older laws were swept away turning the region into an unusually tolerant and equal society, despite the ever-present polarisation of wealth. Education was opened to the masses, though social mobility was a long way behind. It was not until the 90s that true social movement came about and locally-created business began to flourish in the place of foreign companies.


Artificial lakes used in the early stages of pushing back the deserts in the Maghreb.

Today the Maghreb's economy revolves primarily around tourism, agriculture, and construction. In recent years many companies have turned to hiring Aash'n as part of their workforce, and with reportedly excellent results. The liberal and stable governments of the region make it a magnet for local and foreign business and travelers. Indeed it is estimated nearly that 11% of the world's businesses operate, or have operations within, the Maghreb, making it pivotal for the global economy; what happens there rapidly affects what happens globally. Because of this Maghrebi governments are often presented with the only option of becoming more liberal, less they limit foreign trade and greatly damage the economy of the region. Nonetheless this is positive, having set precedents for the employment of Aash'n workers and the reduced strength of fundamentalist religious law across the world. It is also a strong military power, though much of its efforts are devoted to internal security and cooperation with foreign governments in counter-terrorist operations - the hosts of the Aash'n, unfortunately, have had to take up the mantle of being their defenders against the numerous anti-Aash'n groups operating worldwide. Regardless the area is strong, stable and according to some analysts on the verge of an economic boom.

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