Afterwar: Year 0
A colloquial name for World War III. A play on the second ‘Cold War’ that lead to the outbreak of hostilities. Below is a timeline of the run up to the war and the war’s major events.
The Road to War:
Some crisis appear from the beginning of this year but they will be forgotten when this year becomes a turning point on September 11th. On that day, Almost 5,000 are killed in attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City, The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and in Washington D.C. after American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 crash into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City, American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93 crashes into the U.S. Capitol Building.
The world is astonished and hold its breath but the crisis continues when anthrax attacks are launched through contaminated letters, and small cells of terrorists cause chaos, confusion, and panic as they make small targeted ‘sniper’ (US Military snipers object to the terminology, but are outvoted in the court of public opinion) attacks on random people and infrastructure like neighborhood power transformers, traffic light controls, and emergency services crews and equipment.
On October 7th, The United States invades Afghanistan, with participation from other NATO and allied nations participating in Operation Enduring Freedom. Taliban forces abandon Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, ahead of advancing Afghan Northern Alliance troops, who take the city on November 14th. Finally, on December 22nd, Hamid Karzai is sworn in as head of the interim government in Afghanistan.
Public opinion turns sour in the U.S. and on October 10th, U.S. President George W. Bush presents a list of 22 most wanted terrorists world-wide.
On October 26th, U.S. president George W. Bush signs the USA PATRIOT Act into law.
On December 13th, U.S. President George W. Bush announces the United States’ withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
Euro notes and coins are issued in France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Finland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Austria, Ireland and in the Netherlands. Camp Delta is established at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The UN Security Council unanimously establishes an arms embargo and freezes the assets of Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.
In September, U.S. President George W. Bush addresses the U.N., and challenges its members to confront the “grave and gathering danger” of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, collectively referred to as the “Axis of Evil”, or stand aside as the United States and like minded nations act.
On December 7th, as required by the recently passed U.N. resolution, Iraq files a 12,000 page weapons declaration with the U.N. Security Council.
On May 23rd, the U.S. State Department releases a report naming states state sponsors of terrorism: Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.
On October 2nd, The Congress of the United States passes a joint resolution, which authorizes the President to use the United States Armed Forces as he deems necessary and appropriate, against Iraq. A month later, the U.S. Republican Party maintains control of the House of Representatives and gains control of the United States Senate.
On November 27th, U.S. President George W. Bush signs the Homeland Security Act into law, establishing the Department of Homeland Security, in the largest U.S. government reorganization since the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947.
Elsewhere in the world, FARC kidnaps Ingrid Betancourt in Colombia while she campaigns for the presidency.
On September 19th, a civil war starts in Cote d’Ivoire.
On November 7th, Iran bans the advertising of United States products.
The year starts with growing fear about a new war in Iraq. This is opposed by several countries including China, France, Germany, and Russia. Nevertheless, the USA are going on with the project and, on February 5th, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell addresses the UN Security Council on Iraq. On February 15th, there are global protests against the Iraq war: More than 10 million people protest in over 600 cities worldwide, the largest war protest to take place before the war occurs.
On March 1st, The Turkish parliament vetoes U.S. troop access to airbases in Turkey in order to attack Iraq from the north. The Bush administration starts working on Plan B, namely attacking Iraq from the south, through the Persian Gulf.
On March 12th, British prime minister Tony Blair proposes an amendment to the possible 18th U.N. resolution, which would call for Iraq to meet certain benchmarks to prove that it was disarming. The amendment is immediately rejected by France, who promises to veto any new resolution.
On March 16th, the leaders of the United States, Britain, Portugal, and Spain meet at a summit in the Azores Islands. U.S. President Bush calls March 17th the “moment of truth”, meaning that the “coalition of the willing” will make its final effort to extract a resolution from the UN Security Council, giving Iraq an ultimatum to disarm immediately or be disarmed by force. This path of action changes on the next day when U.S. President George W. Bush gives an ultimatum: Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his sons must either leave Iraq, or face military action at a time of the U.S.’s choosing.
Finally, on March 18th, the Parliament of the United Kingdom votes in favour of a motion understood as giving the government final authority to join the invasion of Iraq.
On March 19th, The first American bombs drop on Baghdad after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his sons do not comply with U.S. President George W. Bush’s 48-hour mandate demanding their exit from Iraq. The next day, Land troops from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, and Poland invade Iraq.
On April 9th, U.S. forces seize control of Baghdad, ending the regime of Saddam Hussein.
On May 1st, U. S. president George W. Bush lands on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, where he gives a speech announcing the end of major combat in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. A banner behind him declares “Mission Accomplished”.
On December 13th, Saddam Hussein, former President of Iraq, is captured in Tikrit by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division.
On March 23rd, as the world is turned toward Iraq, a new Chechen constitution is passed in a controversial referendum which international observers describes as deeply flawed. It goes into force on April 2nd and on that same day the Russian army launches a major offensive on the Chechen separatist. This ends in major bloodshed for civilians and partisans alike, but fails to attract the world attention except for France and Sweden. As a result, in these two countries, several batches of excess equipment is stored rather than being scrapped, as originally planned.
In August, the UN authorizes an international peacekeeping force for Liberia and NATO takes over command of the peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, marking its first major operation outside Europe in its 54-year-history.
On November 23th, The Georgian Rose Revolution ends with overwhelming victory and president Eduard Shevardnadze resigns following weeks of mass protests over fraudulent elections. He will be replaced by Mikhail Sakkachvili.
On February 26th, An American businessman is admitted to the Vietnam France Hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam with the first identified case of SARS.
On July 5th, SARS is declared to be contained by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In the Middle East, the guerrilla war continues in Iraq. Conservatives win a majority in the Iranian parliament election. In April, Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse in Iraq is revealed on the television show 60 Minutes II. Only the transnational left and the ‘Arab street’ cares.
In the USA, CIA admits that no biological or nuclear weapons have been found, although limited stocks of chemical agents have been secured and neutralized. U.S. President George W. Bush defeats Senator John Kerry. Republicans make gains in the House and Senate. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell submits his resignation. He is replaced by Condoleezza Rice.
In Europe, the French National Assembly votes to pass a law banning religious items and clothing from schools. Simultaneous explosions on rush hour trains in Madrid kill 190 people and increase the fear over terrorism. Pogrom-like organized violence breaks out over 2 days in Kosovo. Nineteen people are killed, 139 Serbian homes burned, schools and businesses vandalized, and over 30 Orthodox monasteries and churches burned and destroyed. The largest expansion to date of the European Union takes place, extending the Union by 10 member-states: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Malta and Cyprus.
In Russia, Vladimir Putin easily wins a second term. In June, serious tensions begin to rise as the Georgian authorities strengthen their efforts to bring South Ossetia back under Tbilisi rule. Sporadic fighting occurs with Russian troops on both sides of the ill marked border. Moscow, claiming that it is facing terrorism launches a number of air strikes on Georgia. The Western world condemns this move and most NATO members halt arms reduction plans when events in Georgia prove that Russia is slowly rebuilding its military with higher quality standards in equipment and training.
In Cote d’Ivoire, National Army bombings kill 9 people, including French UN soldiers. French UN forces retaliate by destroying the National Army’s air force.
On December 26th, one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history hits Southeast Asia when the strongest earthquake in 40 years hits the entire Indian Ocean region. The massive 9.3 magnitude earthquake, epicentered just off the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, generates enormous tsunami waves that crash into the coastal areas of a number of nations including Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. The official death toll stands at 186,983 while more than 40,000 people are still missing.
In Europe, UK, the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2005 is given Royal Assent after one of the longest ever sittings by the House of Lords. A French referendum on the European Constitution resoundingly rejects the proposed document; this rejection is shortly copied by the Dutch, British, Portuguese, and Irish. Four explosions – 3 on the London Underground and 1 on a bus – rock the transport network in London, killing 56 and injuring over 700. France experiences several days of civil unrest as the banlieues of several of her major cities burn in an orgy of rioting.
In the USA, At least 1,836 are killed, and severe damage is caused along the U.S. Gulf Coast, as Hurricane Katrina strikes coastal areas from Louisiana to Alabama, and travels up the entire state of Mississippi (flooding coast 31 feet/10 m), affecting most of eastern North America. The disaster reveals severe problems with State and Federal disaster response, as well as the massive unpreparedness and lack of initiative on the part of inner city urban populations and governments. Little is done about this.
On October 26th, the U.S. death toll in Iraq reaches 2,000.
In the Middle East, Mahmoud Abbas is elected to succeed Yasser Arafat as Palestinian Authority President. A massive suicide bomb blast in central Beirut kills the former Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafik Hariri and at least 15 other people. At least 135 other people are also hurt. After this, facing international pressure, Syria withdraws the last of its 14,000 troop military garrison in Lebanon, ending its 29 year military domination of that country. King Fahd of Saudi Arabia dies, succeeded by his half-brother Abdullah of Saudi Arabia; the reigning family is weakened.
In Asia, North Korea announces that it possesses nuclear weapons as a protection against the hostility it feels from the United States but agrees to stop building nuclear weapons in exchange for aid and cooperation. The People’s Republic of China ratifies an anti-secession law, aimed at preventing Taiwan from declaring independence. Peace Mission 2005, the first joint China-Russia military exercise, begins its 8-day training on the Shandong peninsula.
The Pakistan Army opens fire on insurgents in Baluchistan, in the first armed uprising since General Rahimuddin Khan’s stabilization of the province in 1978.
The Kyoto Protocol goes into effect, without the support of the United States and Australia. The United Nations warns that about 90 million Africans could be infected with HIV in the future, without further action against the spread of the disease. Pope Benedict XVI (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) succeeds Pope John Paul II, becoming the 265th pope.
In the Middle East, Hamas wins the majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is removed from office after four months in a coma. The President of Iran confirms that Iran has successfully produced a few grams of low-grade enriched uranium and Iran successfully test-fires 3 new models of sea missiles in a show of force to assert its military capacities in the Gulf. Israeli troops invade Lebanon in response to Hezbollah kidnapping two Israeli soldiers and killing 3. Hezbollah declares open war against Israel 2 days later. 33 days later, the conflict ends with a first true defeat for the IDF.
On December 30th, Saddam Hussein, former Iraq president, is executed in Baghdad.
In Asia, A state of emergency is declared in the Philippines, after an alleged coup d’etat against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is foiled. North Korea claims to have conducted its first ever nuclear test.
In the USA, President Bush announces a major military expansion aimed at restoring the USAs ability to project force in the midst of two major ongoing regional contingencies, plans to extend his signature tax cute are shelved, and a small entry tariff is introduced. The two remaining Iowa-class battleships, along with several smaller ships awaiting scrapping, are now undergoing refit and the Army is expanding again, from 10 to 14 active duty divisions, while at the same time increasing the number of brigades in each from 3 to 4. The population reaches 300 million based on a United States Census Bureau projection. Democrats win control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1994. In an unprecedented move in modern US history, eight retired generals and admirals call for Rumsfeld to resign in early 2006 in what is called the “Generals Revolt,” accusing him of “abysmal” military planning and lack of strategic competence. On November 1st, President Bush states that he would stand by Rumsfeld as defense secretary for the length of his term and the U.S. Defense Secretary is confirmed. Later it will be revealed that he wrote a resignation letter that was refused by President Bush.
In the Caucasus, the former Soviet republic of South Ossetia holds a referendum on independence from Georgia. This is widely condemned by the western world but Moscow and several of the former soviet republics recognize the new country. Putin latches on to the seeming hypocracy of the West on the matters of UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) and declares that the West is only in favor of freedom, democracy, and self-determination when the results favor the West and harm the East. Observers on the ground who report that ethnic Georgians are kept from the polls by militias of armed Russians, some wearing Russian uniforms, are largely ignored by world meida.
In South America, Bolivian President Evo Morales nationalizes his nation’s gas fields. President Alvaro Uribe Velez is re-elected in Colombia for a second term and becomes the first president in over a century to serve consecutive terms. Alan Garcia, leader of the APRA (Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana), a left wing Peruvian political party, becomes president of Peru. Hugo Chavez is re-elected President of Venezuela.
In Europe, Romania joins the European Union but a crisis strikes Bulgaria. President Georgi Parvanov was not reelected, and the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) assumes full control under the rule of a new President: a young political figure raised in Moscow. As a result, Bulgaria resigns from NATO, turns back to Russia and starts building up its military again, starting the first of what are now known as the European crises. Britain expels four Russian diplomats in response to a refusal by the Russians to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, suspected to be behind the murder of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko in London. British troops were to withdraw from the Basra region of Iraq but this action is canceled and reinforcements are sent instead.
On December 13th, European leaders sign the Treaty of Lisbon in order to reach agreement on the modification of the EU institutions. Despite what was promised, NATO has kept growing over the year and plans are now made to incorporate Georgia and Ukraine. This is too much for Russia and the presidency issues a decree by which the country withdraws from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and several units are deployed to the west again. Moreover, the Prime Minister of Russia issues a statement, revealing that Russia is to resume the flight exercises of its Strategic bombers in remote areas. The flights were suspended in 1991 after the Collapse of the Soviet Union. Finally, On September 11th, Russia unveils the FOAB (Father of All Bombs), a high power conventional bomb with a blast of 44 tons TNT, while several other new weapons designs are put into production.
In Asia, China successfully tests a ground-based ballistic missile capable of destroying satellites in orbit, drawing criticisms from other countries. North Korea refuses to shut down its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon and turns away from all negotiation, turning again to Russia and receiving an energy aid equivalent to 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil.
In the USA, in Spring, the U.S. President announces a plan to station 21,500 additional troops in Iraq. Then, following the events involving Korea and Russia, he addresses the nation toward the end of the year and states that “The Free World is facing a new challenge as Russia is initiating a new arm race. We need to stand up again as the treacherous forces of the world are revealing themselves to all.” The President decides to unilaterally roll out the new strategic ballistic missile defense system worldwide, including launchers and radar installations in Poland, Israel, and Japan.
Russia and China are furious and lodge protests in all major international forums, while entering into serious ongoing bilateral military cooperation agreements for the first time. Vladimir Putin publicly brings Aleksandr Dugin, noted Eurasianist and Nationalist Bolshevik thinker, into his cabinet. Nationalist Bolshevik and Eurasianist parties join Putin’s coalition in the Federal Assembly.
The first wave of sub-prime variable interest rate mortgages reset to higher interest rates, leading to a spike in delinquencies, foreclosures, and short-sales, which in turn reveals a financial house of cards as the U.S. Housing sector tanks, dragging the overall economy with it. Several of the U.S.’s large investment and merchant trading banks either fail or require bailouts to prevent from failing. For a brief moment consumer and corporate short term credit dries up entirely, revealing the fragility of modern finance and credit markets. This is only the beginning.
In Pakistan, Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated, and at least 20 others are killed by a bomb blast at an election rally in Rawalpindi.
In Latin America, the Sandinistas are back in power. The Venezuelan National Assembly gives the President the power to rule by decree for 18 months. Almost at the same moment, the Venezuelian President calls for a regional conference attended by most leaders of Latin America with the notable exception of those from Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. The conference ends a regional agreement and with the creation of the Latin Socialist Union, an organization including only part of those who attended and intended to promote economical and technical collaboration among its members: Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela.
In January, the price of petroleum hits $100 per barrel for the first time. Stock markets around the world plunge amid growing fears of a U.S. recession, fueled by the 2007 collapse in sub-prime mortgages and the collateralized debt obligations created to hedge against the risks of debtor default. The western world slowly enters a major economical crisis fueled by a global shortage in liquidity and short term credit. Large waves of ‘hot’ money from loose monetary policy and sovereign wealth funds criss-cross the world seeking high rates of return and low risk. Credit and asset bubbles inflate and pop with increasing speed, leading to rampant speculation in commodities markets. Rising food and fuel prices trigger riots and unrest in the Third World.
In Africa, a peace deal ends the Kivu conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but peace doesn’t last and rebellions grow again in the eastern part of the country. The UN commits more than 20,000 troops to the region but fails to resolve the conflict. Meanwhile, piracy increases constantly in the Gulf of Aden and Mauritania falls to a military coup.
In Pakistan, on August 18th, Pervez Musharraf resigns from the post of President of Pakistan under impeachment pressure from the coalition government. a moderate is elected in his place but many already regrets Musharraf’s regime. The country is increasingly unstable and the numerous air strike conducted by U.S. over the tribal regions are worsening the situation further. Moreover, toward the end of the year, a massive terrorist attack is launched in Bombay and tensions between India and Pakistan are revived.
In Latin America, PDVSA, a state oil company in Venezuela, suspends sales of crude oil to ExxonMobil. Fidel Castro announces his resignation as President of Cuba, effective on February 24th and a young leader of the party is unanimously elected as President of Cuba by the National Assembly. Venezuela and Ecuador move troops to the Colombian border following a Colombian raid against FARC guerrillas inside Ecuador’s national territory in which senior commander Rafael Reyes was killed. In July, an attempt is made at rescuing several hostages from the FARC but that fails and all hostages are killed by Colombian security forces. This results in a local crisis that forces Washington to increase its military support to that country.
In Asia, Demonstrations by Tibetan separatists turn violent as rioters target government and Han Chinese-owned buildings. The Chinese repression in response is condemned by all western countries but the Chinese hosted Olympic games are not boycotted. However, several political leaders, including the French and American presidents refuse to attend the opening ceremonies and conduct negotiations with the Dalai Lama. This is taken as an insult by the Chinese President and by a majority of the Chinese people. Following, the end of the games, there is an increase in military enrollment and China starts its own military built up, increasing its collaboration with Russia. Moreover, on the opening day of the Olympic Games at Beijing, August 7th, the South Ossetia War begins as Georgia launches an offensive inside that separatist region. Russia reacts with brutal force and the world slowly slips toward global conflict.
On August 12th, the Russian President said that he had ordered an end to military operations in Georgia. On the same day, he approved a six-point peace plan brokered by the President-in-Office of the European Union in Moscow; both sides were to sign it by the 17th. Everyone starts to think that the crisis was over but that was far from the truth. The USA and the EU had shown wide based support for Georgia, Russia grew tired of this and, on August 26th, it unilaterally recognizes the independence of the other Georgian breakaway republic of Abkhazia. In addition, at the beginning of September, Russia receives support from several former soviet republics: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kirgizhistan, Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
On September 9th, the President-in-Office of the EU is again at Moscow where he receives word that the Russians will have withdrawn all their troops by mid-October. However, when October 15th come, the Russian troops remain in place and Syria also recognizes the republic’s independence, getting military support from the Kremlin in return.
In Europe, early in the year, Kosovo formally declares independence from Serbia, with support from EU but opposition from others. As a result, after the Georgian crisis, the Serbian President signs a Mutual Defense Treaty with Russia. Ireland votes to reject the Treaty of Lisbon, in the only referendum to be held by a European Union member state on the treaty and starts the Second European Crisis. Meanwhile, Russia stages the largest naval exercise since the fall of the Soviet Union in the Bay of Biscay. The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, along with 11 support vessels and 47 long-range bomber aircraft, practices strike tactics off the coast of France and Spain, and test-launched nuclear-capable missiles on foreign waters.
The financial and economical crisis accelerate toward fall and the stock markets plunged even more than in the Spring. In the U.S. the public plans designed to save the financial world seem not to be working entirely and several banks are facing bankruptcy. In mid-November, the crisis moves to the large industries and unemployment grows more quickly. In Europe the financial plan proposed by Nicolas Sarkozy is refused by a large part of the EU members and that starts the Third European Crisis. Christmas time doesn’t change anything and the people’s consumption goes down tremendously. Moreover, throughout fall, as oil prices are going down again, the OPEP reduces its production while Russia switches part of its exports to China, in return for a fixed price.
In November, the world forgets the crisis for a time as it turns its attention to the American presidential elections that are comfortably won by a Democrat candidate who gather all the hope on his shoulders. In early December, President-Elect Barrack Hussein Obama announces that he will replace Donald Rumsfeld (Secretary of Defense) and the Secretary of State. Both of the new secretaries are Republicans and the President explains that in the face of the current crisis keeping continuity appeared to him as the wisest choice. In the meantime, multiple actions are still taking place at the diplomatic level: France joins NATO integrated command again and a special U.S. ambassador addresses the UN after the terrorist attack that stroke Bombay in late November.
In front of the assembly, the U.S. ambassador states the following: “Again you are witnessing what terrorism is all about. Nevertheless, many still refuse to trust what is right for the people of the world. I’ll add that if people facing an oppressive regime have the right to self determination, democracies are a shield to oppression and democracies’ territorial integrity has to be respected under all circumstances. Anyone opposing democracy with the force of arms is a terrorist. Sadly, UN has often given its support to terrorists”. Several countries, including China and Russia, are outraged and the world starts to worry. Before New Year’s Eve, the stock market goes down even more, the dollar loses value in favor of the Euro, and oil prices start to rise again.
When the new President gets into office, on January 20th, he is facing a major crisis. U.S. Car makers are going into bankruptcy, the Japanese are closing their factories all over the country and unemployment is now skyrocketing (peaking at 23%). Washington tries to soften the crisis by taking over part of the car industry but GDP is falling fast. As a result, debt grows to unprecedented levels, China gets more and more U.S. state bonds, and even Russia lends money to U.S. administration.
In Europe, the situation is not much better. Portugal, Ireland, Iceland, Greece, and Spain (PIIGS) are all going bankrupt despite help from the IMF. Various industries are suffering and overall unemployment soon reaches 15% of the population but the general situation remains more stable than in the U.S. as no major actor goes to bankruptcy, at the cost of shockingly high (55%) youth unemployment and increasingly out of control budgetary deficits. However, at the political level, the EU is more and more divided and it fails to take any cohesive action.
on February 22nd, Russian leaders from Crimea declare their independence from Ukraine and ask for Russia’s protection. A few days later, on the 24th, a number of Russian units enter Crimea but no fighting takes place. On the next day, Ukraine calls for NATO assistance but the west is divided and concentrating on their own problems. Nevertheless, U.S. President calls for the Russian troops to leave Crimea but this call is ignored by the Kremlin which, in addition to sending troops, shuts down all gas export to Ukraine, and points beyond.
On March 10th, after more than a month of negotiation, both the USA and the EU embargo all exports to Russia and sequester Russian funds in their respective banking systems. This was expected to end the crisis but it only increases it as Russia turns to China. A new commercial agreement is quickly signed between the two giants, resulting in China increasing its exports to Russia and reducing its exports to the West. As a result, by the end of June, inflation in the Western Industrialized economies is averaging 10% annually, and shortages in raw materials (rare earths forex), components, and sub-assemblies rock the industries of the West, and oil rises to 180$ a barrel.
Over time, the crisis is putting more and more strain to the ongoing military efforts of the U.S. and NATO in Iraq and Afghanistan. Washington is unable to send the planned reinforcement and, looking for support, the U.S. President, in agreement with the Iraqi government in Baghdad, asks for more autonomy for Kurdish areas. Moreover, he strongly warns Turkey against any incursions into Iraqi Kurdistan. This infuriates the Turkish President, Turkey resigns from NATO and it closes the Bosphorus to all NATO military shipping.
On August 4th, in the middle of increasing tensions Russia and its allies meet at Astrakhan. On August 9th, the Chinese and Russian Presidents announce the creation of the Eurasian Security Pact, also referred to as the Astrakhan Alliance, the Second Pact, and most simply, The Pact. This military alliance is signed primarily between Russia and China but it includes also several other countries: Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakstan, Kirghizistan, Mongolia, North Korea, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
Immediately, they forbid NATO to supply its forces in Afghanistan through their territories. In addition to this, a growing instability starts to shake Pakistan and, as a result, NATO high command is facing increasing difficulties and casualties in that country. On December 11th, despite what was said by the U.S. President a year earlier, U.S, forces withdraw from Afghanistan and Hamid Karzai regime is left to its own devices.
Another move from the countries in the Eurasian Pact is to accelerate their rearmament programs. In Russia and China the most recent design are coming off the production lines at an increased rate: Type 99 MBT, T-95 ‘Black Eagle’ MBT, BMP-3, BTR-90, Su-34, Su-30MK, J-10, Borey-class…
All countries in the Pact are receiving this new equipment and much of their inventories of Cold War vintage relics are being refitted at newly reopened and re-tooled factories. In addition, China transfers the aircraft carrier Varyag to the Russian Pacific Fleet while Russia starts building a two other aircraft carriers: the “Orel” and “Ulyanovsk”. Meanwhile Russia is sending teams of specialists in order to help the Chinese refit the Kiev and the Minsk.
In the West, all leaders are well aware of the danger, but the reactions are largely different from one country to another. Everywhere, equipment that was to be scrapped is instead being stored. Germany and the countries of eastern Europe, not as touched by the ongoing economic crisis, are increasing their arm production and expending their armed forces. France suspends plans to reduce its armed forces further and a sister ship to the Charles de Gaulle begins construction,while the Foch is pulled out moth balls. The United Kingdom and Spain, more weakened than other EU members, have limited choices but the UK accelerates their work on the already ordered carrier and purchases additional equipment from abroad.
In the USA, the financial and economical doom that country is facing forces the U.S. administration to refuse any major spending or new big ticket items. Nevertheless, the President launches a major naval refitting program and all ships that still can be refitted are to be put in reserve, as well as pushing the Army to bring the new M25 “Punisher” Grenade Rifle, M250 PMG (formerly the Mk 48 in Navy and SOCOM service) into full rate production. Taking these decisions, he forces the various shipyards and arsenals to draw on the people that had lost their jobs in the car industry.
This is a year of ever growing tensions. The USA are not yet recovering from the so called “Great Recession” and the GDP growth rate is largely negative in real terms and businesses continue to go bankrupt. However, the refitting program launched for the navy has limited the unemployment growth and wages are more stable. Nevertheless, the U.S. President still has to slow down various military programs and the Joint Strike Fighter project is postponed. The sole exceptions are quietly reacquiring/restoring to service the small nuclear warheads made to be fitted on Tomahawk cruise missiles, and the ABM shield deployed in eastern Europe and in the USA, despite vociferous Russian protest. In addition, plans are made to quickly expand the Army and the Air Force in case of need. Pulling out of Iraq has proved impossible, however, and U.S. forces remain overstretched there while continuous operations there are costing all of the available discretionary budget.
The EU, on the other hand, is if anything, worse off. A second wave of banking crises cascade across the Union, revealing Europe’s exposure to sub-prime residential and commercial real estate losses worldwide, and resulting in the utter collapse of Greece’s bond markets. Desperate, many EU countries attempt to staunch the bleeding by expanding their armed forces, if slowly. The Eurofighter and the Rafale continue to come out off production lines and older aircraft are undergoing refit, allowing for a quick increase in various Air Forces. France launches a third aircraft carrier, modeled on the British design, to be named Clemenceau and the Foch achieves refit. However, the UK puts on hold again the work on their new aircraft carrier program and launches more Type 45 destroyers.
Most European countries expends their military budget and old units are slowly reactivated while new equipment are being built everywhere. As this is happening there are riots in all major European cities against austerity measures, as well as many public sector strikes and other labor actions. This period sees a rebirth of old hard line left organizations and even red brigades as Russian oil money buys increased political radicalization against the “capitalist fat cats”.
With the increase in the rearming of Western Europe, the members of the Eurasian Pact increase their cooperation and many former Soviet republics form the “Union of Sovereign Socialist Republics” giving rebirth to the leviathan bear that everyone in the West thought died in 1991. Moreover, the modernization of military equipment is quickly accelerating and this allows for the reactivation of several units restoring force levels to something approximating the massively overstrength Cold War figures. In China, the Kiev and the Minsk (renamed Beijing and Shanghai) are achieving their refit while brand new Yak-141s are received from Russia. The West discovers that the North Korean army has received a fair amount of modern equipments when an American U-2 is shot down by a Nork Su-30.
In Georgia and Ukraine, occasional skirmishes occur between Russians and forces of these two countries but the situation doesn’t degenerate. Also, in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan joins with NATO and its claims on Nagorno-Karabakh are met with increasing support from the West. This is much to the dismay of Armenia and policy makers in Yervan who join with the Eurasian Pact out of desperation. Nevertheless, Armenia is surrounded and, in case of conflict, it can only hope for a quick push by Pact forces to escape annihilation. NATO is well aware of this and it increases the sending of advisers and equipments to both Azerbaijan and Georgia while U.S. and NATO forces in Iraq are increased again as the Iraqi government finally agrees to a Status of Forces agreement. This is taken as a a threat by Iran and the President declares his country in favor of the Second Pact. Nevertheless, Iran doesn’t join the Pact as a full fledged member and consequently receives more limited help than Syria.
As an answer to this move by Iran, Egypt and Morocco are confirmed as major non-NATO allies in the Mediterranean, each receiving substantial funding from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as arms shipments from the US and NATO powers.
In Afghanistan, the country is again in a stage of civil war and Hamid Karzai government falls in May. Fighting among the various tribes continue and this civil war quickly spread to Pakistan. That country, has experienced numerous unrest and riots since Musharaff resigned and chaos only stops in October when a new military coup is staged by several generals. The army is moving everywhere but fighting continue in the tribal regions with Taliban backed groups and in the southern Baluchi’s region with “Jundallah” (the Sword of Allah). The first is backed by Iran and China but the second receives help from the U.S. as it is seen by U.S. administration as a major actor in the planned destabilization of Iran.
In Latin America, the Latin Social Union (L.S.U.) goes from word to action when all members reduce their exportation of oil and raw materials to the West. As a result, oil market rises above 200$, a level it had never reached so far. Moreover, Russian troops (Division “Latin America”) are sent to Venezuela, a major naval base is being built outside Maracaibo, and all countries in the Union are receiving equipment from Russia. As an answer to this new threat, the U.S. reinforces its positions in Panama, reactivates the bases that had been closed in Honduras, and slightly increases again its military aid to Colombia. However, the 4th U.S. Fleet, reformed in mid-2008, remains largely understrength and receives only token reinforcements.
With the world economic crisis still growing all year long, instability rises even more in the third world and insurgent movements that had been quiet for some times are becoming active again. This is especially true for Africa where most countries are experiencing some kind of unrest while the Second Congo War is heating up again. This results in the slow disengagement of the UN and, by year’s end, several other countries and regions are experiencing various level of civil war: Angola, eastern Sahara, Guinea, the Horn of Africa, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Moreover, the African Union dissolves on Christmas Day.
In South America, the various guerillas are active again with the support from one side or another : the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Union, the EZLN in Chiapas and the FARC in Colombia (Eurasian Pact and Latin Socialist Union) on one side; the Nuevo Contras and White Hand in Central America and a new (Christian rather than Maoist) Shinning Path in Peru on the other side.
In the Middle East, NATO backs the PKK in Kurdistan and the Baluchis in both Iran and Pakistan (Jundallah) while Russia is supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as the Iraqi Sjia resistance. In Asia, however, none of the two blocks are directly involved but several insurgencies are gaining strength again: the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, the Moro in the Philippines, Kachin Independent Army in Burma and some growing unrest in Indonesia. Even India, slowly becoming very wealthy, does not escape from this growing instability and it faces a growing terrorist threat from the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (North East) and from the Communist Party of India (Maoist), as well as Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu sectarian violence all over the country.
On December 17, Grocery vendor Mohammed Bouazizi who on the previous day was arrested and had his cart confiscated sets himself on fire after being ignored by the Tunisian authorities when complaining about police brutality.
From the beginning of the year, the global economy shows a few signs of recovering as the various policies engaged by the western countries are bringing their first positive effects. Heavier controls are put on all branches of the economy, new nuclear reactors come on line, low consumption engines are becoming the rule and some countries (among them Canada and USA) start to massively exploit oil shale and previously unreachable deposits of oil and natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, new deep boring, and horizontal drilling techniques.
On January 4, As the death of Mohammed Bouazizi is announced, over 5000 people take to the streets in his home town of Sidi Bouazid, the demonstrators demand better living conditions and a stop to police brutality and corruption in Tunisia. After weeks of demonstrations and clashes Tunisian president Zine el-Abidinde Ben Ali steps down and flees to Saudi Arabia. Witnessing the departure of Ben Ali demonstrators take to the streets in Egypt chanting; “Ben Ali, tell Mubarak there is a plane waiting for him too”. Speculation amongst scholars and politicians was
widespread, during and after the fall of Ben Ali, concerning contagious effects of the ousting of Ben Ali, specifically naming Algeria, Jordan, Syria and Egypt.
On January 25, In what has been known as “the day of rage” tens of thousands of Egyptians take to the streets demanding the end of the regime of Hosni Mubarak in place since 1981. The initiative that started as
a Facebook group enjoyed widespread support in all tiers of Egyptian society. Further the Muslim Brotherhood, a long since banned oppositional group in Egypt (due to that organization’s role in the assignation of former Egyptian President Anwar al Sadat) announced its support for the day of rage marches, as did former head of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Mohammed El Barardei, who returned to Egypt from his home in Vienna. The protesters march to the central Tahrir Square, where they set camp. The Square became a symbolic stronghold of the protesters throughout the struggle against Mubarak.
On February 11, 2011, After weeks of protests and numerous deaths due to clashes between protesters and pro-Mubarak elements, Mubarak announced that he would step down as Egyptian President. There had also throughout the process been significant international pressure on Mubarak, with e.g. the U.S. making several statements alluding to the resignation of Mubarak (Widely seen as weakness by Eurasian Pact observers). Mubarak handed power to the military upon his resignation, and was flown into exile in France along with his family. Most Western political observers breathed a sigh of relief, as the Egyptian Army was both very popular with the Egyptian people, and its hierarchy was solidly pro-Western, having been themselves trained and equipped by Western armies. A few dissenting voices pointed out that ranks of the junior officers were from a generation that did not grow up in the Cold War world and would be vulnerable to the appeal of populist Islamic voices like the Brotherhood. They were ignored.
The situation is not very different when one looks at the rest of the third world. In these regions the situation is far from improving and the various unrest that evolved toward insurgency continue to grow. Food riots appear again in many countries and the various insurgent movements are quickly getting stronger, putting a heavy weight on most governments. Drug cartels are also increasingly powerful and put more weight on the authorities trying to fight them. In early fall, a nasty civil war erupts in Nigeria, involving both religious and ethnic issues, and the country’s oil exportation almost come to a stop (the oil price rises above 200$ again). Ethnic wars are also taking place in Central Africa and northern Cameroon while Asia isn’t spared with fighting in south-western Myanmar. Protests and riots break out across the Islamic world, reaching even into China’s far Western districts. Most of these ‘Arab Spring’ protests are at first brutally repressed, especially in Yemen, Syria, and China.
On February 24th, Libyan rebels announce that they are in complete control of the Eastern city Tobruk, located close to the Egyptian border. A few days later the Rebels announce the formation of a National Transitional Council, headed by former minister of Justice, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, who in the preceding week defected from the government, allegedly in protest over the level of violence used against the protesters. Gaddafi continues his relentless campaign against the rebels. France recognizes the NTC as Libya’s legitimate government on March 10th, many other European states follow suit. A little of a week later, the U.N. Security council approves Resolution 1973, declaring a No-Fly-Zone over Libyan air-space, thereby disabling Gaddafi’s airforce. The decision was reached after intense debate; the vote was not unanimous, ten were in favour, while five abstained (Brazil, China, Germany, India and the U.S.S.R.).
Immediately NATO forces lead by a coalition of British, French, and Italian forces with American logistical and operational support begins enforcing the U.N. Mandate. When the NATO force reinterprets the mandate to a Duty to Protect the Rebel sympathetic civilians who are being deliberately targeted by Gaddafi’s forces and begin striking ground targets, especially air-defense, artillery, and armor, Russia and China accuse the NATO alliance of naked aggression and breaking diplomatic promises. Germany withdraws her support from the security force. Eurasian Pact complaints through U.N. are able to force coalition forces into self limiting the number sorties flown and clearing ground targets past a committee that includes Pact observers. NATO ground strike effectiveness suddenly drops. At this time many question American leadership in the world and her desire and ability to project her forces.
In April and May that year Syria slips from protests and civil unrest to outright civil war. As military force is unleashed on the political opposition, many in the West openly talk about a NATO lead force to protect the people of Syria. The Eurasian Pact reacts with furor, declaring that any violation of Syria’s sovereignty will be treated as an act of war by the other Pact members. In response economic sanctions are enacted against Syria, and when the Pact responds with embargoes on all trade with the West, trade barriers slam down between East and West once more. By June Syrian forces are using scorched earth and reprisals against the rebels creating a massive humanitarian crisis as enormous streams of refugees flee towards Turkey.
In June France and Britain are forced to admit to supplying weapons to rebels on the ground in Libya and Syria after damning evidence is leaked to the press, which strains relations between NATO and the Pact to the breaking point. As the political crisis deepens and harsh words are exchanged on all sides, both sides begin activating reserves and taking steps to increase military readiness. In July the U.S. follows France’s lead and recognizes Libya’s NTC as her legitimate government, releasing frozen governmental funds to NTC representatives.
On September 29th, Libyan rebels loyal to the NTC, with NATO air support and British SAS ground support have gained complete control of Tripoli, the capital of Libya and in the final phase of the rebel campaign begin advancing towards the final stronghold of Gaddafi loyalists, Sirte.
On October 12th, Syrian government forces use chemical weapons to wipe out several rebel held towns, and at least one refugee camp. Three days later representatives of the various rebel factions meet in Egypt, from where they announce the creation of the Syrian National Council. Within three weeks, France, Britain, the United States, and several other NATO allies have recognized the SNC as the legitimate government of Syria.
On October 20th, Sirte has fallen and Muammar Gaddafi, former President For Life of Libya, is shot while resisting arrest. Pact diplomats and media claim that NATO has overthrown a legitimate government and executed its leader in cold blood. In Western media, evidence is presented of official Pact support for the Gaddafi regime, including captured U.S.S.R. Advisers.
In November an emergency summit is held regarding the ongoing crisis in Syria. NATO, Pact, and Arab League representatives spend nearly two months in acrimonious debate with many week-long recesses until admitting deadlock and lack of consensus in January of the next year.
As the new year begins many world wide cling to hope that cooler heads and better angles will prevail as rumors and leaks about secret negotiations between Pact and NATO representatives are eagerly reported by the media.
In February Iran test fires a new ballistic missile design under the cover of testing a ‘satellite launcher’. The U.S. Immediately announces new sanctions followed by the rest of NATO. Russia and China immediately break off all remaining back channel negotiations and begin further mobilization moves. U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-moon arranges a last ditch emergency summit in Vienna the following month.
On March 28h, announcing “peace in our time!”, representatives sign a deal recognizing spheres of influence for each of the alliances, NATO powers retract their recognition on the Syrian rebels while Pact powers agree to recognize the new Libyan government and NATO’s intervention there.
On April 24th, several Ukrainian Brigades, responding to increased and violent violations of their border and lead by hardline nationalists, launches an attack on a Russian Border Battalion in Crimea. The Russians are taken by surprise and no one survives. Three days later, it is revealed that all Russians taken prisoner had been shot and buried in mass graves, and that attack becomes known as the “Easter Massacre”. The Russians are outraged and the army move more units to the Ukrainian border. Claiming that Russia’s occupation of Crimea is illegal, Ukraine launches an offensive on May 3rd. For a week the attack is successful and the siege of Sevastopol is even laid.
On May 20th, U.S.S.R. troops launch a counter-offensive along the entire Ukrainian border and, within 5 days, the Ukrainians are retreating from all positions except in Crimea.
On June 1st, most of the Ukrainian navy has been sunk, their air force has suffered heavy losses and Russian tanks are closing on the Capital at Kiev. the Ukrainian President (who remained in office despite accusation of corruption in the elections of 2010), claims that his actions were justified by the Ukrainian right to defend its territorial integrity and turns to its NATO partners for assistance. This desperate plea receives support from many of the former Soviet Satellite countries of Eastern Europe and a number of troops (Czech, Lithuanians, Poles, Romanians and Slovaks) cross the frontier into Ukraine.
From the very beginning, this is a “come as you are” war; neither side is adequately prepared. Eastern European NATO powers have just finished a period of very rapid growth and rebuilding, many of their units being equipped with old Cold War era Warsaw Pact tanks and vehicles which have sat idle in warehouses for four or five years. The Socialist Union and Eurasian Pact forces are at the end of several years of very massive but uncoordinated and often blatantly corrupt (paper units, substandard equipment, and other fraud, waste, and abuse), as well as having the cream of the Russian Federation forces out of position in Chechnya, ready for hostilities to break out over Iran and Syria. The Crimeans are supported by the three light Russian divisions still stationed in Sevastapol as part of the Eurasian Pact joint command, but are still outnumbered by the Eastern Europeans who seem to have had for warning of Ukraine’s move and achieve strategic if not tactical surprise. What tips the balance against them is the entry of the Belorussian Army in the war on the side of the Eurasian Pact.
Within a week, Albania, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, and Slovenia demand that these troops withdraw to their start line and (when these demands have no effect) withdraw from NATO in protest. British, German, and U.S. forces, however, cross the border to Poland with the stated goal of “Preserving the territorial integrity and security of NATO members and prevent the further spread of hostilities” but immediately they are themselves drawn into the fighting as full belligerents.
Kaliningrad falls by the end of the month. At that point, the other member countries are still partners in NATO but not party to the war.
In the Caucasus, Russian troops make a bid for quick victory in Azerbaijan and Georgia. This meet with tremendous success and they link with Armenian forces within three days. NATO advisers chose not to surrender and they enter Turkish Kurdistan despite protest by Turkey.
A similar attempt is made in the far north and Russian forces enter northern Norway. Nevertheless, the troops available are unable to break through to the paratroopers and marines landed in NATO’s rear areas. As crack British commandos, French Foreign Legion and U.S. Marines join the battle, the front line moves east again toward the Russian naval facilities on the Kola Peninsula. Many elite Russian paratroopers and marines are isolated and destroyed while NATO troops are pushing toward Murmansk. They are only stopped 60 miles away from the city by a massive counter-attack conducted with Russian’s third line troops, swamping quality with quantity.
At sea, the Russian Northern Fleet sorties and attempts to break through the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom Gap into the north Atlantic. For three weeks the opposing fleets hammer each other, and the Russian fleet performs well to western military specialist amazement. The Russians supports their fleet with bombers that prove capable of swarming two U.S. aircraft carriers with a large number of surface skimming missiles. One of the carriers is sunk when its magazine explodes while the other is put ashore on the Norwegian coast. The Russians also use most of their submarine fleet (including all the Delta-class SSBN) in an offensive role. These ships are equipped with a new type of anti-ship missile and they are responsible for the loss of several NATO vessels, including the HMS Illustrious and the Foch.
Finally, receiving reinforcements, the western fleets come out on top, badly bloodied but victorious. Sixty percent of the Russian northern fleet tonnage rests on the bottom of the Norwegian and North seas, the Ulianovsk and the Nakhimov are sunk but the Kuznetsov, the Orel, and the Piotr Velikiy rally at Murmansk. These ships have suffered extensive damages but they may be repaired and continue to represent a serious threat to NATO control over the Atlantic. All Typhoon-class SSBN (but one) and all the new Borey-class SSBN as well as scattered commerce raiders break out, however, and by year’s end the raiders are wreaking havoc on the NATO convoys bringing reinforcements, ammunition, and equipment across the Atlantic.
On December 21st, 2012, President Obama delivers a speech to both houses of Congress assembled, revealing the almost disastrous losses at sea and characterizes the battle as a ’surprise attack". He requests the first formal declaration of war in those words since the Second World War and legislative authorization to place the American economy on war footing and assume emergency war powers. His speech is met with thunderous applause and the requested legislation is approved within a matter of hours.
In the Baltic sea, while most NATO vessels are fighting off the coast of Norway, various raids are launched against the depleted German and Polish harbors. These attacks are essentially conducted by commandos coming by sea and by air, using fast assault boats, helicopters, and hovercrafts. Most attacks are highly successful and NATO ports are badly damaged while many of the remaining ships, though minor vessels, are sunk.
In the Balkans, when Romanian police shoot and kill a man crossing the border between Hungary and Romania, the Hungarian government suspends diplomatic relations. The Romanians claim he was a smuggler, bringing arms to anti-government forces. Three days later, a Romanian railway station in Cluj is blown up and the Romanians conduct mass arrests of Magyars throughout Romania. However, police sweeps are met with armed resistance and, within a week, a secessionist Magyar government declares independence from Romania. As what little remains of Romanian troops move north to crush the rebellion, the Hungarian government protests, is ignored, and then declares war. This conflict remains local, however, and a cease fire is signed within two weeks, Romanian troops withdraw and Hungarian units enter the secessionist region as peacekeepers.
As Hungarian troops enter Romania, Serbia joins the Second Pact and, within 24 hours, a Serbian expeditionary corps crosses into Romania, strengthening the front that had already been opened by Bulgaria. That second front is a real threat to Romania and Greece is charged with breaking the will to fight of the Bulgarians but the modernized Bulgarian army fights well and the Greeks are stuck on the southern mountain range making only marginal gains in the south-east. As the situation slowly evolves toward stalemate, NATO offers full membership to Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, which accept. They launch their own offensive and, despite fierce resistance by the Serbs, they are quickly advancing toward Belgrade but, when several Russian units are shipped to Bulgaria, the balance is tipped again.
In Italy, the government’s decision against NATO results in a major political crisis as huge peace demonstrations take place in the south, countered by pro NATO demonstrations in the North, and clashing demonstrations supporting both sides in Rome itself. After two months of unrest sliding into civil war, a large portion of the Army, and smaller factions of the Navy and Air Forces moves in on behalf of the Lega Nord (LN) led by a young man named Stephano Rossi. Together they establishes the Republic of Padania over the industrial north with a capital at Ravenna. This Padanian rump is immediately granted full NATO membership. In Rome order is restored under an initiative from Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church takes over the Lazio and Sardegna, composing a much wider Vatican state. Over the southern part of the peninsula, including Sicily, multi-sided fighting breaks out between Fascist, Socialist, Communist, Mafia, Immigrant, and Vatican forces, although most of the factions, save the Catholics, agree that the Northerners need to die.
In Latin America, over July, a revived and strengthened Sendaro Luminoso (Shining Path) guerillas, claiming that all socialists have betrayed the holy spirit, turns to U.S. for support and make a bid for control of Peru (it is rumored that U.S. special forces were involved). They fail to overthrow the government but they end up controlling about half of the country, however.
With the new year the entire global war seems to pause for breath as all the major and minor powers find themselves completely unprepared for the scale of the conflict. All powers have yet to even come close to restoring force structures to anything like the high levels maintained during the Cold War. Everything is in short supply; beans, bullets, band-aides, and even soldiers. Even the Americans and Russians are forced to pause as each had cut their active force components to the bone in the years since the wall fell. All the fronts seem to fall into static positional warfare out of some agreed upon plan, but what seems coordinated is simply mutual exhaustion. In other times this might have lead to the break out of peace, but all powers realized that if they stopped mobilization plans but their enemies continued apace, their armies would be swept from the field.
Everywhere reserves are activated and new units are raised, filled with eager young volunteers and draftees. New weapons designs are rushed into production, and old dirty heavy industrial plants are restored to mass production. Cold War era plans and prototypes are dusted off and exotic gear like load bearing exoskeletons, environmentally sealed armor, meta-material therm-optic camouflage, caseless ammunition, scramjet fighter-bombers, Tokamak (Russian) and Polywell (American) fusion reactors, and more are hastily put into limited series production but little reaches the fronts and production is soon diverted to standard gear.
In January, the space war briefly goes hot, as American and Russian killer satellites stalk each other. But as soon as the SIGINT boffins at GCHQ and NSA track the control signals of the Russian BATSATS and vector the tireless pilots of the top secret VF-171 ‘Aurora’ squadron out of Nellis AFB to intercept, long quietly held just for this need. Desperate, the Russians resort to pulling their store of ‘mini-Buran’ vehicles out of museums and storage and launching them on top off Soyuz rockets with several boosters strapped on. The ‘battle of LEO’ lasts only about two weeks, but the United States is left with a decisive advantage in orbit.
In March, Germany and the U.S. have finished activating their reserves and readying heavy units for transportation via rail to the front. They begin arriving in force in April, just in time to move into meeting engagements with their counterparts from Russia.
The whole world holds its breath in earnest this time, as the fighting in Ukraine and Belarus see-saws back and forth in huge mobile armoured thrusts, parries, and ripostes, like two colossal fencers, evenly matched. To the relief of all the conflict remains conventional, for the time being, as neither side seems willing to let the nuclear genie out of the bottle. The affair almost seems gentlemanly, ignoring the purely conventional horrible burning deaths suffered by armored crews. Meanwhile the air war is just as stalemated, as the Allies have better aircraft, radar, and command and control, but the Pact has more of everything. The same old story of quantity having a quality of its own.
That summer the Balkans front sees frontal attritional warfare like a bad remake of the Great War or the Iran-Iraq conflict. Both sides make liberal use of chemical weapons, but the major powers pretend not to notice, and both sides have enough protective gear that the gas by itself is hardly decisive. Soon, Sunni Jihadists are rushing into the war zone, some flocking to the banners of Bosnia or Kosovo, others to Albania, most simply running to the sound of the guns seeking war, religion, and profit.
Also that summer sees major peace demonstrations and even anti-draft riots throughout Western Europe, Canada, and the US. The anti-war groups find common cause with the already angry anti-austerity protesters of the labor and student movements. Intelligence agencies throughout the West leak what they can trace of those group’s funding via Russian and Chinese sources, giving the governments of the West public support to crush the protests as impediments to the war effort. While the movements are mostly suppressed for the time being, they remain strong in parts of the US, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and even Germany.
It is unknown, but probable that Russia and China and the other Pact countries experienced similar movements.
In Italy the brewing civil war finally reaches a rolling boil as the various factions in South Italy come together to form the Neapolitan Socialist Republic which seeks membership in, and is immediately accepted to, the Eurasian Pact. Italy’s small military is essentially split 50/50 between the two factions, and the fighting is soon reduced to gangs of political militias counter massacring each other while leaving the professionals to pretend to fight each other.
That fall both NATO and Pact forces experience their first major fuel shortages as ready reserves are depleted, Western supplies must be shipped through contested sea lanes, and Russian supply lines are under strategic bombardment. This will become a major enduring theme of the war as each side attempts to adapt, overcome, and work around shortages in critical supplies, especially liquid fuels and lubricants.
In a second ‘October Revolution’ The President of the Russian Federation and the Union of Sovereign Socialist Republics officially joins the Communist party, making it the official party of both organizations. In return the President is made the Chairman of the Party. The Chinese Communist Party applauds the revolutionary spirit and doctrinal correctness of their Western counter parts.
On December 24-25th, both sides observe a Christmas truce, the last such enjoyed in a long war.
In February, the Greeks appears increasingly tired of the war and they start to blame Turkey for their army’s lack of success. Anti-Turk demonstrations are held all over the country and in Cyprus. On the island, the Cypriot national guard fires at Turkish units and Ankara reacts by sending reinforcements while Greece dispatches military advisers and diverts a number of combat aircraft to support the island national guard. More fighting occurs and Turkey declares war on Greece, attacking in Cyprus and launching a large offensive in Thrace and East Macedonia. The Turks are quickly progressing in the Greek rear areas toward Thessaloniki and several units are taken out of the Bulgarian front to face this new threat.
In late March, Macedonia, Albania, and Russia concludes a defense pact with Turkey. While both countries are not obligated by the pact to enter the Greco-Turkish war, both governments declare the war to be a regional conflict unrelated to the more general war raging over Europe, promising to intervene on Turkey’s side if NATO tried to tip the balance in Greece’s favor. Within a week, Turkey declared a naval blockade against Greece and warns the world’s shipping that the Aegean is now considered a war zone.
In an attempt to take advantage of the situation, Russian, Bulgarian, and Serbian troops return to the offensive on the entire front. They make some significant gains when Latvia, Lithuania, and Kaliningrad fall to their advancing forces. With the coming of spring, however, and with more reinforcement coming in (Belgium, Canada, France, and the Netherlands are sending troops), the Eurasian Pact offensive comes to an halt and, in April, the first NATO troops cross the frontier into Belarus. By June 17th, Riga is within gun range, Minsk is surrounded, and Belarus army units as well as the citizens of the city prepare for a siege.
By late spring, NATO’s Atlantic fleet has hunted down the last of the Russian commerce raiders. Attack carriers and missile cruisers move again to northern waters in order to face the continuous threat of the surviving Russian capital units. The NATO drive in the north has been pushed back in and bogged down on the banks of the Tana River, but the Northern Front commander plans on a bold move to destroy the Russian naval and ground power there. While ground units attempt a rapid outflanking move through northern Finland, the NATO Atlantic Fleet close in on Murmansk and Severomorsk. subjecting the Neo-Soviet fleet anchorages and air bases to massive bombardments.
On June 7th the ground offensive is launched and the fleet closes in on the Kola Peninsula shortly thereafter. Finland had been expected to offer token resistance to the violation of its territory; instead the Finnish Army fights tenaciously, forcing the flanking move to abort. At sea the plan fares even worse, as coastal missile boats and the remnants of Northern Fleet supported by what was left of the shore-based naval aviation cripple the NATO fleet. By mid June, the Russian capital ships have finally been destroyed but NATO losses are tremendous and, at that moment, two major naval fleet in the world have been shattered.
In the south, the fronts in the Balkans stabilize and enter another period of attritional warfare but as Turkey pressure the Greek left flank in Thrace builds, it becomes clear that, without aid, the Greek Army will have to fall back or be defeated. On June 27th, a NATO convoy, accompanied by a strong covering force, attempts the run to the Greek port of Thessaloniki with badly needed ammunition and equipment. Fleet elements of the Russian and Turkish Navy intercept the convoy and, in a confused night action off Thessaloniki, inflict substantial losses and escape virtually unharmed. Two days later, NATO retaliates with air strikes on Russian and Turkish naval bases.
On July 1st, Turkey declares war against NATO while Macedonia and Albania, in compliance with their treaty obligations, follow suit on the 2nd. Macedonian and Albanian units slowly push toward Thessaloniki while the newly established Neapolitan Socialist Republic has had Neo-Soviet advisers and a crack Russian Armored Airmobile Regiment join her fight against the Padanian Rump. While Austrian troops are entering the fight along side Padanian troops, a move showing the desperation of the Northern League, as Austrian troops have not entered Italy since the Great War.
With the coming of the fall season, it becomes obvious to the Russian central command that the recovering industrial machine of the western countries will soon tip the balance in favor of NATO. Despite the stalemate in the Balkans and in the Arctic, and continuing successes in Ukraine, Moscow will certainly have to commit more troops to the war effort. If victory is not coming quickly, it may even have to draw on mobilization-only divisions that are still largely leg mobile and poorly stiffened with a sprinkling of obsolete tanks and armored personnel carriers. Its own industry is already working at its best but more equipment will quickly be needed and, by late November, a call is made on China for fresh equipment. Beijing, more than happy to remain outside of the conflict comply and Chinese-made weapons are sent in large quantities across the Transsiberian railroad.
When the U.S. citizens get word of Chinese equipments being sent to Russia, they are outraged and the U.S. President sends an ultimatum to Beijing, leaving two days for the Chinese President to resign from the Eurasian Pact. On the following, day, two major offensive are launched in Asia and Russian troops are landing in Hokkaido (Japan) while Chinese and North Korean troops cross the 38th parallel into South Korea.
The Pact is highly successful in Korea, destroying the South Korean air force, sinking its navy before it can sortie to the open sea, and conquering most of country except for a small area covering 50 miles around Pusan. However, the operations in Japan are an entirely different matter as the Russians fail to take the JSDF by surprise. After, limited initial success, the landing forces is expelled and the retreating troops are shipped back to Vladivostok, which itself is nearly destroyed by Japanese air attack.
In February, the U.S. Navy has gathered an large invasion fleet in the Pacific and launches a joint operation with the Australian, British, Japanese, and Taiwanese fleets. This will last for two months but when the operation comes to an end the joint fleets have virtually destroyed their opposing forces: only small ships survive in China and North Korea while the Russian Pacific Fleet has lost almost ninety percent of its naval surface vessels. At that time, more reinforcements from Japan and ANZUS have been brought to South Korea and they start their own push toward the 38th parallel, crossing it within weeks and bringing fighting to Pyongyang. The allied naval forces are badly battered but they remain operational and have enough strength to launch a major landing in the Hong Kong area. This is involving troops from ANZUS, Britain, Canada, Japan, the Philippines and U.K., and they start a push toward central China.
That same month, in a diplomatic coup, Vietnam was enticed using fears of her traditional rival, China, to join with the Allies and leave the Pact; its army is crossing in Yunnan and Guangxi, facing heavy fighting in southern China. The allies enjoy rapid initial success, and tank columns roared deep into southern and central China. However, the Chinese surpassed the expectations of most military analyst in their ability to mobilize reserves from the interior and shift them to the fighting front. While the allies continued to make impressive gains, their losses mounted and the tempo of advance slows down.
Pakistan falls to a Taliban regime and the country drifts into war with India through a spiral of border incidents, mobilization, and armed clashes. Tensions over the Kargil district of Kashmir are growing quickly and, if the new Taliban regime blame the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents, documents left behind by casualties show involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces, led by Pakistani Generals. As a result, the Second Kargil War is initiated; limited at first, it turns to outright war in the early fall and, by year’s end, the Indian Army is slowly advancing across the length of the front, despite fierce resistance.
Thus far, the Middle East had been spared despite several armed clashes on Iraqi-Turkish border but that changes when China gets into the war. The allies have assembled a large coalition, including troops from France, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, U.K. and the U.S., and they move against Syria and eastern Turkey with Israel launching its own offensive against Syria and Lebanon. Turkey sends as much troops as it can to face this new threat and the allies are finally stopped on a line running from Batman to Erzurum and Kars. Meanwhile, Syria and Lebanese are standing on the defense and willing to die in place if need be, and the allied attack is stopped at Dayr-ez-Zor while heavy fighting takes place in the Bekaa Valley and in South Lebanon. Hezbollah and the regular armies are using small infantry fighting teams equipped with a large number of the best Russian RPGs. Both Tsahal and the allies are losing tanks fast and only the timely arrival of airborne troops prevent total disaster. In April, a major Shia insurgency begins in Baghdad and, at the end of the month, when it becomes clear that Iran is behind it, NATO declares war on Teheran.
By the beginning of May, the Iranians are using land based anti-ship missiles and effectively cut down shipping in the region. Iran also launches ballistic missiles against oil industry targets throughout the Arabian Peninsula and finances several Shia insurgencies against the Sunni Arab states. Allied troops are forced to enter Arabia to secure oil supplies, which only results in radical Sunni and Shia factions cooperating against the infidels. French troops take the lead, willingly followed by Americans still angered by 9-11 and the dirty wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and hard anti-partisan and anti-insurgency tactics are applied; civilian removal, enhanced interrogation, area denial, reprisals, public display of the dead, and assassinations become routine.
Several vessels are taken out of Asia and rushed to the Persian Gulf where landings are made at Bender Busher and Bender Abbas. These are conducted by British, French, and U.S. troops that quickly move north as other forces enter Iran from the west. Also facing increasing involvement of Jundullah in the Baluchi’s region, Teheran is well aware that it cannot meet this invasion alone and the Mullahs legalize the Tudeh again (Iranian Communist Party) as Pact units from the Caucasus and Central Asia enter the Middle East.
In Europe, the Pact is bringing in more troops and the progression of NATO is not as impressive as expected. It is only by early October that advanced elements are closing up on the Russio-Belarus frontier, while continuing the siege of Pact-held Minsk. On the Italian Front, The Neapolitan Soviet has imported large numbers of North African mercenaries and Russian Advisers, using Sicily as a staging ground, and has launched a gruesome campaign of terror against Padanian and Vatican forces and their civilian supporters in Southern Italy.
In Africa, ethnic tensions are now spreading like a plague and only a few countries escape the growing chaos. Latin America, however, remains outside of the conflict but experiences growing tensions and instability. Several people in Europe and in the USA expected the Latin Social Union to ally with the Eurasian Pact but they remain neutral and, despite several verbal attack, Venezuela keeps selling oil to the Western world.
In the U.S., the presidential election has been canceled because of the war and Congress has refused to contradict the commander in chief in wartime. However, leaks from the Pentagon reveal that large portions of the military hierarchy, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, feel “uncomfortable” with the suspension of elections and regard the action as “unprecedented”, even “in wartime”. Additionally the heavy losses endured by the Navy have shocked the population and the Secretary of Defense is arrested on charge of treason while an unknown (and obvious political favorite) Admiral becomes the new Secretary of Defense; these incidents and others, lead to a deep freeze in military/civilian relations at the worst possible time.
Despite continuous efforts from the USA and NATO, the difficulties in Europe increase when more Pact units, partially equipped with Chinese equipment, enter the field. The allied forces are still better trained and equipped but, ever increasingly outnumbered, they are slowly pushed back and, by mid-year, the siege of Minsk is lifted and Pact units are trying to make the run through Poland and western Ukraine to the Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia. They also occupy Latvia and Lithuania, forcing their reincorporation within the Russian republic. Romania and Ukraine, quickly isolated and exhausted, see no choice but to surrender. In both countries, several units refuse and form the core of a strong guerrilla but the collapse of the Romano-Ukrainian front, nevertheless, frees several Pact units that are immediately redirected toward the other fronts.
In China, large bodies of citizen’s militia are now operating behind the allied front lines, attacking installations and destroying supply convoys. Moreover, the allies fail to disrupt the military industry located in the North and more equipment comes out every day. As a result, when the main Chinese and U.S.S.R. conventional forces counterattack, to the amazement of western military experts, large pockets of allied troops are formed. The Vietnamese are experiencing the largest and most devastating losses while the allied units are able to fight their way out of the pockets, losing much in the process. The front is shattered and the allied begin major withdrawals all along the front line as mobile elements of the Chinese Army rush into victorious pursuit.
In July, with Slovakia under Pact control and with several Eurasian Pact units closing on the Czech and German border, Allied High Command is forced to decide upon the limited use of nuclear weapons. France, Belgium and Luxembourg express a strong opposition to this path of action but, on August 15th, the use of tactical nuclear weapons is accepted by all the other members. The three countries immediately leave NATO, sign a separate peace with U.S.S.R., Turkey, Iran and China, and their units start pulling out from the various fronts.
On September 15th, the first tactical nuclear weapons are used in Europe. They are used sparingly at first but the forward elements of both armies are hit hard, as Eurasian Pact strategic forces attempts to match the NATO warhead for warhead.
By late October, the Pact forces that entered the Czech Republic, northern Germany and western Poland and are engaged in a general withdrawal, practicing a careful scorched earth policy as they fall back.
In the Balkans, U.S. and NATO forces also begin a major offensive. The one-sided use of tactical nuclear weapons breaks the stalemate, and by month’s end, the Greeks are racing toward Istanbul. Simultaneously, other troops launch an attack on Macedonia and Serbia. The Macedonian army collapses and the country fall to the Greeks but, as the Serbian Army begins to break up, the arrival of Russian reserves stops the allied columns before they reach the first suburbs of Belgrade.
Meanwhile, as summer turns to fall, the Italians Communist Insurgents are facing major air strikes and an overall naval offensive by NATO. In an attempt to conquer the all of Italy, Portuguese, Spanish and U.S. troops, reinforced by remnants of the Padanian army, are landing in Sicily in preparation for an Napoli offensive.
At sea, the NATO task force, strengthened by the Padanian fleet, engages the Turkish fleet and Russian Black Sea Fleet. Momentarily, NATO opens the sea-lane to the Croatian and Greek harbours but the opposing fleet comes up on top in what is to become the only Pact victory at sea, as Egypt switches sides and launches land based and air-dropped anti shipping missiles at the Allied fleets. The Principe de Asturias, the brand new HMS Queen Elisabeth, and another U.S. aircraft carrier are sunk while several smaller ships from all countries are lost. On the outcome, if both fleets suffer much, it is NATO surviving ships which have to withdraw.
In the aftermath the Allies learn that the ruling Generals had been deposed in a Muslim Brotherhood/junior officer coup before the Egyptians turned their coats.
In the following months, the Egyptian Army lurches across the Suez Canal and into the Sinai peninsula where they engage the IDF in what becomes a duel to the death for two nations. When it appears Israeli forces are about to collapse on all fronts (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt) the armies facing her disappear in plumes of nuclear fire, along with Damascus, Amman, Cairo, and Aswan (the collapse of the dam at Aswan kills more Egyptians than the destruction of Cairo). After the ‘Samson Option’, rumors from Israel speak of population control camps in the occupied territories where any Palestinian with a rifle bruise on his shoulder or on whom explosives dogs hit on is never seen again.
In the Far East, nuclear strikes are carried out on a more massive scale and Chinese mechanized columns are vaporized, caught in the open on the roads in imagined pursuit. Chinese population and industrial centers are targeted, effectively ending most war production. The Chinese communication and transportation system, already stretched to the near breaking point, disintegrates and the roads are choked with refugees fleeing from the remaining cities.
The Chinese response is immediate, but allied forward troop units are dispersed and well prepared. Moreover, the handful of Chinese bombers, trying to conduct low-level penetration raids are all intercepted by the JASDF and destroyed, while the home Islands are so well guarded by Japan’s HEL (High Energy Laser) missile defense system, Nihon emerges almost unscathed. Ballistic missile attacks on Philippine, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese population centers are vastly more effective, but attacks on the USA are frustrated by the ABM shield that has been put up over the past years. Even more effective than her nuclear weapons is China’s unconventional warfare. Massive electronic attacks cripple data and telecommunications networks throughout the Pacific Rim, while Chinese anti-satellite weapons poke massive holes in the Allied satellite nets, nearly destroying GPS and Satellite communications nets. Within a week, the Chinese riposte is spent, but Allied attacks continue. China begin the rapid slide into anarchy and civil disorder.
Within a month, the government of Beijing is not so much as overthrown as disappears in the chaos, and control of affairs is taken over by regional officers who gradually assume the title of Warlords. Within this sea of chaos, only Manchuria remains faithful to the Pact, getting support from Russian forces and still participating in the war.
Pakistan and India wage their own nuclear war when Pakistan, facing defeat, launches a preemptive strike on India’s economy and nuclear strike force. Although industrial centers are hit hard, enough of India’s nuclear arsenal survive to launch a devastating retaliatory strike. The Indian-Pakistani war soon winds down, as each country’s economy no longer can feed its civilians, let alone supply military units.
With the elimination of China, the Eurasian Pact finds itself in a even more vulnerable situation when, in the West, NATO air units begin making deep nuclear strikes against communication hubs in Belarus. Second Pact forces respond with theater nuclear missiles, launching them against an array of industrial targets and port cities in the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland. In turn, NATO uses similar strikes on industrial targets and major port cities in western Russia.
Throughout Spring, the exchanges continues, escalating gradually. Fearful of a general strategic exchange, both sides hesitate to target the land-based ICBMs of the other but, this time, Russia is first to cross the line over mid-year. The ABM shield that has been so efficient against China fails to completely stop this attack and a handful of SS-18 Satans decapitates all of the U.S. ICBM defense. So far, neither side had wished to cross the threshold to nuclear oblivion in one bold step but after that decapitating strike, the escalation cannot be stopped.
Industrial targets clearly vital to the war effort are targeted, followed by economic targets of military importance (transportation and communication, oil fields and refineries). Then, industrial and oil centers in neutral nations are hit, to prevent their possible use by the other side. The civilian political command structure is first decimated, then eliminated (almost by accident in some cases) and the exchanges keeps on, fitfully and irregularly, until October when it gradually peters out.
In the field, the situation goes from bad to worse for both sides. The average strength of NATO combat divisions at the front has fallen to about 8,000, with U.S. divisions running at about half of that. Eurasian Pact divisions now vary widely in strength, running from 500 to 10,000 effectives, but mostly in the 2000-4000 range. Lack of fuel, spare parts, and ammunition paralyze the armies and no major actions are taken during the second half of that year. Peace might have come, but there are no surviving governments to negotiate it. Only the military command structures remain intact, and they remain faithful to the final orders of their governments. In a time of almost universal chaos, only the military has the means of securing and distributing rations. Moreover, military casualties have been much lower than casualties among civilians.
In Africa, insurgency continues as a number of nuclear strike hit the continent by years end. In North Africa, many oil fields and various cities are destroyed while Egypt has already been reduced to flooded ruins by Israel. The ensuing chaos results in an all out civil war launched by various Islamist movements that destroys what remained of the legal authorities. Finally, only Libya retains some form of government ruling from Misurata. In Sub-Saharian Africa, the bombings hit Nigeria, Cabinda and South Africa and, as this added to the already chaotic situation, several among the few surviving governments collapsed. South Africa experiences a particularly nasty multi-sided civil war between Afrikaner, Zulu, Congress, Anglo, and various tribal factions.
Latin America still escapes but, in addition to instability and insurgent movements, the drug cartels influence is expending, as the various governments are gradually loosing strength.
The winter of 2015-2016 is particularly cold. Civilian war casualties in the industrialized nations has reached almost 20 percent by the turn of the year, communication and transportation systems has been wiped out, and food distribution has become almost impossible.
In the wake of nuclear war and global unrest comes famine on a scale previously undreamed of, but the worst is yet to come. The exceptionally cold winter delayed simultaneous epidemics but, with the spring thaw, the unburied dead finally bring on the epidemics the few remaining medical professionals had dreaded but were powerless to prevent. Plague, typhoid, cholera, typhus, and many other diseases sweep through the world’s population. HIV and Tuberculosis are spreading faster again but the worst comes from SARS and regular flu. By the time they have run their courses, the global casualty rate will be 60%.
In Europe, France and Belgium have been hit the lightest and they stand virtually alone in maintaining a semblance of internal order throughout the cataclysm. It is then, after the worst of the nuclear exchanges that the governments of France, Belgium and Luxembourg form the EFE (Etat Federal de Europa, aka the Federal States of Europe). They are quickly joined by surviving African countries (Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Senegal and Tunisia) and by a few States from the Middle-East (UAE and Oman). As refugees begin flooding across their borders, they closed their frontiers, and military units begin turning people back with gunfire. In the Pyrenees, there are several skirmishes with rogue Spanish units while people are trying to cross into south-western France.
In the north, the new government authorizes the army to move west to the Rhine to secure a solid geographical barrier. As refugees pile up on the frontier and as fighting occur with the Dutch, a large lawless zone springs into existence. Unrest and fighting for food are followed by mass starvation and disease, until the lawless zone becomes barren and empty.
Around the Black Sea, the partisan bands in the mountains of Romania and former Ukraine have escaped almost untouched, while many Pact regular units were destroyed in the exchange or have just melted away after it. The Romanians and Ukrainians begin forming regular combat units again, although still structured to live off the land and subsist from captured enemy equipment. At first, there is a great deal of enemy equipment just lying around waiting to be picked up. Meanwhile, in the Balkans, the Greek army directly annexes Macedonia.
In North America, a flood of hungry refugees begin crossing the Rio Grande into Mexico. This is too much for Mexico, the government falls and is replaced by a socialist coalition, led by the PRI, that establishes a number of large refugee camps. Over, summer, with the heat going up, the refugees camps start to be touched by widespread food riots and the new government order this violence to be dealt with military force. The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff protests, start to move what troops it can gather to the south and, within weeks, fearing retaliation from the US, Mexican army units cross the Rio Grande while the Latin Social Union declares war on its behalf. More U.S. units are quickly shifted south and scattered fighting grow into open warfare.
In San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Manhattan, the Bronx, and parts of Boston, hard left peace/labor “occupy” movements well funded by Russian and Chinese agents combine with radical militants (New Black Panthers, Atzlan, La Raza etc.) and street gangs to establish ‘temporary autonomous zones’ and ‘liberated areas’ further spreading confusion and delay in transportation networks already overloaded.
Mexican light armored columns, backed by Cuban units and by the Russian division Latin America, drive northeast toward Arkansas and northwest into southern California. Russian troops make a tremendous efforts in the Arctic and launch a successful landing in Alaska. Another one, however, carried out by Cuban and Venezuelan forces in Florida fails as it is repelled by surprisingly powerful New American and Cuban American militias (later historians believe these formations to have had support from military and intelligence community sources). At last, the fronts quickly stabilized in southeast Texas and central California while civil disorder and anarchy spread elsewhere in the USA with the withdrawal of army units.
Further south, the U.S. 4th Fleet takes action against LSU naval units and it achieves supremacy. However, it has very reduced assets and that is not done until mid-September. Meanwhile Venezuelan troops are attacking Colombia while the Sandinistas are entering Costa Rica in an attempt to seize the Panama Canal. These military operations all come to a brutal stop when nukes are used against the various countries that compose the Latin Socialist Union. After the rubble finishes bouncing, Central America is in turmoil, Venezuela is scorched, Ecuador and Peru are facing major insurgencies, Bolivia and Colombia fall to the drug cartels, Panama is still under U.S. control, and Cuba remains organized (except for the Havana which was destroyed) but under U.S. occupation governed from Guantanamo Bay.
In late June, Pact forces in Hungary and Slovakia try a last gamble and launch an offensive toward Austria and South Germany in an attempt to seize the scattered surviving industrial sites of Europe. At first, NATO forces are largely insufficient but reinforcements are quickly brought from Germany and galvanize the allies into renewed action. The NATO forces make a maximum effort to reform a coherent front and, as a result, the Pact offensive finally stalls along a line that is going from Linz to Spittal and they never enter southern Germany.
In late August, NATO launches its own offensive from the area of Krakow, driving south to penetrate the Pact rear areas in Slovakia. The thinly spread Pact units are quickly overwhelmed and Pact forces in the Czech Republic begin a precipitous withdrawal to Slovakia, laying waste to that country as they retreat. A simultaneous and surprising offensive by remnants of Croatian and Bosnian armies drive north in an attempt to link up with NATO and force the Hungarians into neutrality. They are halted near lake Balaton, however, and thrown back as Hungarian troops secure their southern border. As more Pact units arrive in Slovakia and eastern Poland, the NATO drive runs out of steam and loses its sense of direction. Troops are shifted west to garrison the devastated Czech Republic, and many Pact lives are wasted in a futile attempt to force the Alpine passes into Padania and link up with the NSR forces who are withering on the vine.
As the autumnal rains begin, NATO and the Pact initiate several high altitude nuclear strike that generate a large amount of EMP. All of what was left in term of industrial centers over the world are shut downed and civilian equipment just stops working. Fighting gradually runs down to the level of local skirmishing and both sides prepare for another winter.
When the even harsher winter is over and once spring planting is finished with, the United States Congress reconvenes for the first time since the exchange of nuclear missiles. Several senators among the surviving ones don’t attend, however, but that doesn’t forbid Senator John Broward (D, Ark), the former governor of Arkansas who appointed himself to fill one of the two vacant senatorial seats, to be elected President by the House of Representatives. General Jonathan Cummings, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, refuses to recognize the constitutional validity of the election, citing the lack of a proper quorum and irregularities in the credentials of the attending congressmen.
(Although Cummings’ decision will later be widely criticized, there is much validity to his position. Many congressional seats are disputed; several of the congressmen in attendance are merely self-appointed local strongmen who have gained control of large parts of the old congressional districts, and some have never seen the districts they purport to represent. There is at least one confirmed gunfight between rival claimants to a seat while Congress is in session.)
General Cummings declares a continuation of martial law until such time as a new census is practical, that being necessary for a meaningful reapportionment of congressional seats and presidential electoral votes. President Broward responds with a demand for Cummings’ resignation, which Cummings declines to submit. While some military units side with the civilian government, a majority continue to take orders from the Joint Chiefs, particularly those overseas, for two simple reasons. First, the habit of obedience is deeply ingrained, and, in many cases, is all that had allowed units to survive thus far. Second. the Joint Chiefs controls virtually all surviving telecommunications networks.
In North America, the main effect of the split is a further erosion of central authority. Forced to choose between two rival governments (CIVGOV/MILGOV), both with considerable flaws in their claims to legitimacy, many localities simply choose to ignore both. Alaska and Hawaii are de facto independent but support MilGov, Utah and Texas declare independence, and the Coalition of Sovereign States (CSS) is formed by Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. Moreover, New America (A network of “Sovereign Citizen” militias dedicated to replacing the Constitution of 1787 with the original Articles of Confederation) increases its actions nationwide and establishes protectorates over Maine and Northern Florida, while in Oklahoma and Arkansas, the alliance of White Supremacist and Nationalist groups; the Covenant, Sword, Arm of the Lord (CSA) enforces order at shotgun point, backed up by the preaching of the Church of Jesus Christ Aryan. MILGOV control centers around Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Paris Island in South Carolina, Offut Airbase in Nebraska, and the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center in Colorado. CIVGOV control centers around Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, the Mount Weather and Mount Pony facilities in Virginia, FEMA camps nationwide, and the remains of NYC, LA, and SF. In Canada, Quebec, backed by the EFE, declares independence.
The surviving foreign and national organizations dealing or concerned with the United States choose between the rival governments. The German government and Her Majesty’s Government in UK continue relations with the Joint Chiefs, while France and the EFE, the UN office at Geneva, and the various commands from the Balkan recognize the civilian government. The remnants of the Central Intelligence Agency obey the orders of the civilian government, while the National Security Agency, loyal to the Joint Chiefs, organize a field operations branch to replace the CIA “defectors.” Officially, forces of the two governments refrain from violent confrontation, but there are sporadic local clashes over key installations, occasional bloody coups within military units, and numerous assassinations and “ditty tricks” by rival intelligence agencies.
In the autumn, the dispatch of troops to Europe resumes, although only as a trickle. As few warships are available as escorts, and various old merchant vessels are pressed into service as transports. Initiated by the civilian government, both governments briefly compete in a struggle to outdo the other, viewing success as a litmus test of their ability to mobilize the nation. In fact, the call-ups affect only the Atlantic coast and the Ohio river valley and lead to widespread resistance. The dispatch of troops, supplies and equipment to Europe makes little sense to most, considering the appalling state of affairs in the United States. The reinforcements send include a small number of light vehicles and ammunition but consist mostly of light infantry. Mortars and EX-40 pump action grenade launchers are becoming the most popular support weapon for troops, as they can be turned out in quantity from small machine shops and garages.
In Europe, the fronts are static for most of the year. Low troop densities mean that infiltration raids become the most common form of warfare. The “front” ceases to be a line and becomes a deep occupied zone, as troops settle into areas and begin farming and small scale manufacturing to meet their supply requirements. Local civilians are hired to farm and carry out many administrative functions in return for security from the increasing numbers of marauders roaming the countryside.
In other areas, the security the military unit provides to its civilians was from the unit itself, a post-nuclear version of the ancient “protection” racket. Many units stationed in barren areas drift apart or turn to marauding when supplies do not arrive. Although a large scale offensive is conducted by the Russians in the Scandinavian peninsula, this fails rapidly except for the conquest of Gotland island. The New Kalmar Union is signed between Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden ending centuries of distrust and providing for some stability in the region.
In Latin America, a short but violent war between Argentina and Brazil results in the last nuclear exchange of the war. Brasilia, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo are destroyed in Brazil while Bahia Blanca, Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata and Santa Fe are leveled. Large scale riots, then, strike both countries and, as what is left of their respective armies is too weak to face the civil disorder, governmental structures are wiped out. When everything is over, Gangs have taken over the surviving cites, drug cartels rule the countryside, and the only legal government that subsists rules over the Amazon with its capital city at Manaus. Elsewhere in Latin America, guerrilla groups and cartels increase their pressure on the remaining governments and only a few islands of stability remains over South and Central America.
In the Middle-East, there still are some continuing operations but the various opponents are slowly reaching some kind of equilibrium. Nevertheless, as this region keeps exploiting a few oil rigs, all commands can maintain some kind of true air cover and naval operation.
In Asia, the fronts are static as in Europe, Japan is devastated and part of its population enters a diaspora, China is in chaos as is most of South East Asia. That part of the region has been spared by the nukes but it follows a path similar to that of Latin America. Finally, a civil war strikes Indonesia and Australia gets and remains involved.
The effects of the chaos ensuing from the destruction of world trade and the death of a sizable portion of the population are felt globally. Africa is hit particularly hard, as the war cuts off production and shipment of the HIV anti-virus just as the AIDS active infection rates tops 50%. No territory though, however remote, remains untouched by the war. Even scientific stations in the antarctic, and orbiting space laboratories are abandoned as the war drags on.
By the spring of 2020, most armies, worldwide, have settled into their new neo-fuedal “cantonment” system. Civil authority has virtually ceased to exist. Most military units are practicing extensive local recruiting in an attempt to keep up to strength, and stragglers are often incorporated into units regardless of nationality. Thus, U.S. units contain a wide variety of former NATO and Warsaw Pact soldiers in addition to Americans. Nominal titles of units (brigades. divisions, etc.) have little bearing on the actual size of the unit.
In early summer, the NATO Third Army, spearheaded by the U.S. XI Corps, moves out of its cantonments on what is to become the last strategic offensive of the war.