One mistake can change the course of human history, as the world learned during the months and weeks leading up to April 26, 2006. What began as the untimely death of Kim Jong Il in North Korea and what seemed to be a quick and easy end of North Korea after a hardline general took power and ignited a second war on the peninsula, though not in the Cold War as many had said it would. Misgivings, false-flags, and unfortunate events transpired between the United States and China over disputes in the Korean peninsula, eventually dragging in other powers: The US and her NATO allies, and Russia as a counterbalance, though less so out of any love for China.
On August 2, 2005, the North Korean autocrat Kim Jong-Il passed away of health issues, though the exact causes were never determined. What is known is that though his son was meant to take power after his death, one of his top generals, O Kuk-ryol, took power in a power struggle that lasted for 3 weeks after his death. Kuk-ryol, in an attempt to validate his position and enforce it within' the still restless North Korean commanding circles, ignited an attack on South Korea after using several days of skirmishes as a pre-empt to attack South Korea on September 12. Though Seoul was heavily damaged and thousands lost their lives, the South Korean military was easily able to throw back the North Koreans, especially with the U.S. help that arrived 2 weeks later. China also launched an incursion into North Korea to prevent U.S. and South Korean forces from establishing a presence right on its border. Though South Korea protested when China annexed the regions it secured, the Korean War officially ended with the capitulation of the North Korean government on December 3, 2005. O Kuk-ryol went into hiding and as of 2013, has still yet to be found.
Months of skirmishes between these forces followed. False-flag operations are proven to have happened multiple times by either side. Eventually, conflict began to brew. Though both sides tried to keep peace publicly, they also began to ready their nuclear aresenals, each side silently hoping they would never have to be used. But on April 26, 2005, the unthinkable happened. A Chinese military observer mistook a U.S. strategic bombing wing as part of a pre-emptive strike on Beijing, Shanghai, and Nanjing. The Chinese fired their missiles, while the U.S. fired their's. Other sides that had been in the conflict, such as Russia, NATO, and even minor U.S. and Chinese co-belligrents, were hit, both out of paranoia and pragmatism. By April 27, 2005, large population centers across the world were hit and hundreds of millions at least were dead. But civilization was not extinguished: because stockpiles were massively down from their cold war height levels, it continued. Some places, such as Europe, Canada and Oceania, probably got off better in this exchange than they would have during any potential nuclear war during the Cold War era, though they too were hard-hit. The main losers had become China, the United States, and Russia, the main participants in the conflict.
By the end of the year, however, it had become clear that a new balance of power had come into play.