Ramblings and Musings
My Life, My Times, My Doings and those of the Alternate History World. If you want an automatic copy of any new entries, please go to http://mail.changingthetimes.co.uk/mailman/listinfo/blogupdates_changingthetimes.co.uk and sign up.
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Challenge: Japanese Asia
Something that struck me when I started to explore history in the 1600s was that the pacific was a blank slate to some extent. The Chinese were in a state where they did not have the inclination to go exploring and the Japanese were entering a state of isolation. The Dutch and the Spanish claimed a few islands, but they never found Australia or settled the area to any great extent. The British therefore got most of the important territory.
However, what if the Japanese got there first? Instead of an attempt to conquer Korea in 1590, perhaps they could head south to the Philippines and downwards. If they did that, it is unlikely that the Spanish would be able to stop them, even if they did hold a technological advantage. That would allow the Japanese a chance to take most of the East Indies and Australia (the Spanish missed it by a few miles). The Japanese were well aware of the location and the weakness of the Spanish and it would allow the Shogun a chance to export most of the troublemakers.
An event that would enrich Japan and put them into conflict with two of the foremost European powers would make it difficult for them to enter isolation. They would need to learn the reminder of the European arts and do so very quickly. I suspect that they would make up the lost ground and start building their ships to an European standard very quickly, which would allow them to colonise Australia very quickly. It would not be impossible, perhaps, for the Japanese to land their own colony in Mexico or California, making for an extra twist to the American stew pot.
The Japanese would have consolidated complete control over their new conquests very quickly, either by absorbing or exterminating the Chinese and marginalizing the natives of the islands. The Chinese might well head back to china and force the Chinese to innovate as well.
Monday, January 19, 2004
British Royals Removed?
Something I’ve been wondering about was the growing conviction that the British monarchy is no longer needed and in fact is a serious waste of British resources. What might have happened if the monarchy made a major blunder at some point, perhaps a worse incident of the Duke of Edinburgh’s racism, and hurt the national interest badly? Could they be removed from their preach?
The Duke makes a major anti Saudi comment when the Saudi’s are looking for someone else to supply arms during the days after Sept 11th. (Some dunderhead having decided that one royal should talk to another royal.) Result: The Saudis publicly slam Britain and award the contract and billions of pounds to the French. Many British workers lose their jobs. There are massive anti monarchy demonstrations, but the Duke refuses to apologise or make up for his actions.
What happens next?
Saturday, January 17, 2004
Companies in Space
An idea that’s crossed my mind recently while thinking about getting a greater commitment to space and space travel is that of including space companies right from the start. Like this, perhaps:
Let’s say that an earlier president than Kennedy (perhaps Truman) realises that the US needs to be in space and that it will be seriously expensive. The US must not lose space dominance and, as a democratic society, must not allow most of the GNP to be poured into an activity that won’t benefit most of the nation for years.
Therefore, start by offering a deal to the large aerospace companies, or whatever they were called at the time. Something like, “You build us a couple of YOUR design for the space shuttle and we’ll let you run a few of your own.” As US law prohibits monopolies, there should be at least three companies building rockets and launching satellites.
The rest happens though the marketplace. Satellites become more important earlier. There is therefore pressure to develop cheaper and better launch systems (SSTO anyone?), pressure to establish bases in space, pressure to continue to develop space further. Sooner or later someone will have the bright idea of mining the moon instead of a few missions that do nothing beyond showing off – and then outwards to mars and the asteroids.
Chances are that the USSR would not be happy, but what could they do? They could not match the US’s space program without introducing a free market economy, which would destroy their system. They might well consider the possibility of demanding that the US limit their space deployments, but once the big money is behind space, congress is hardly likely to pass laws to limit their actions, although the possibility of a lunar declaration of independence and the USSR providing support to the rebels is interesting.
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
A State of Disobedience Appendix
Tom Kratman’s book A State of Disobedience
includes a list, at the end, of proposed amendments to the US consitution. Kratman is at some pains on the boards to point out that they are proposed, but someone started a list of problems with them. Here’s mine. WARNING SPOILERS!!
Amendment—The Sixteenth Amendment is hereby repealed. No direct taxes shall be levied upon living persons, real or artificial.
What is a direct tax? It might be better to have a VAT tax of say 0.05% per item bought, excepting food and medicine, or perhaps Tarriffs on foreign imports.
Amendment—Federal expenditures shall not exceed ten percent of Gross Domestic Product. An estate tax, not exceeding fifty percent may be levied on estates over ten million dollars in current dollars upon portions of those estates exceeding that amount. The figure of ten million dollars shall be adjusted annually in accordance with the rise in cost of living as determined by the Consumer Price Index.
I like this idea, as it puts a limit on how much the government can spend on itself, but what exactly is an expenditure? The military, the police, etc? Or does it mean the costs of government departments instead of the total?
Amendment—The Social Security and Medicare tax is repealed. Current interest holders in the Social Security system shall have their money repaid within ten years at an interest rate of nine percent.
Not sure of the point of this after the preivous amendents.
Amendment—Within ten years from the date of enactment of this amendment the Congress shall not have the right to delegate its authority under the constitution. The Congress shall reduce the manpower of currently existing agencies to which it has delegated its authority by ten percent per year.
As someone else pointed out, read literally, the government would be in ten years at somewhere around 0.676 percent. (Rough guess).
Amendment—No one shall be elected to any office of the federal government more than twice in succession, three times in life, or twelve years total.
Amendment—Every four years, in conjunction with the election for the presidency of the United States, each ballot shall list all the members of the United States Supreme Court. That justice of that court whose name garners the greatest number of votes in that election shall be forever disbarred from a seat on the Supreme Court or any federal elective office.
And the point of this? To remove people who are too popular? People think of the court as a monolithic entity, not individual judges.
Amendment—At any time when a majority of the governors of the states shall vote, in joint session, to overturn any decision of the Supreme Court impacting upon the rights of the sovereign states under this Constitution, that decision shall be overturned. Thirty such governors shall constitute a quorum.
I can do no better than to quote the madprez herself: “"And speaking of the Supreme Court, are you all really so enthusiastic about castrating it? Creating some governor's council that can overturn its decisions? Hmmm. So, when Alabama decides to reenact some Jim Crow laws and the rest of the South follows right along, you really don't want anybody who can say 'no'? I don't believe it for a minute."
Amendment—The Second Amendment is hereby repealed. The federal government shall insure that no private individuals keep or possess nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction. All other forms of weapons may be owned, borne and possessed by the citizens of the United States without restriction or registration. Such weapons may not be taxed.
Good idea with the single flaw that criminals can also have weapons as well. Perhaps a registry of weapons would be helpful, or perhaps banning weapons procession to people with serious criminal weapons.
Amendment—No suit against the United States, or any of its states, for any grievance which accrued more than twenty years prior to the enactment of this Amendment, shall be maintained or sustained.
I think this is meant to remove the possibility of children/grandchildren of slaves suing the govt. for the slave trade. But what about the people who were poisoned by agent orange?
Amendment—The Regular Armed Forces of the United States shall be no greater in manpower than half of one percent of the population of adult citizens of the United States. In the event of war requiring greater levels of manpower, the states are required to provide further troops, up to six percent of the state's population as determined by the most recent census.
What if the US is in a WW2 situation and you need to create a huge army?
Amendment—Neither the federal government, nor any of its branches, shall make any rule limiting or interfering with the free exercise of religion on the part of any of the lesser polities of the United States or the citizens of those polities.
Amendment—A human being shall be defined as an implanted, fertilized ovum of the human species, or any later stage of development of that implanted ovum. All human beings within the United States shall be entitled to the full protection of the law.
What about mothers who smoke? Drink? Are they harming their unborn children? Why no abortion for medical problems or it as a right?
Amendment—It shall be the right of citizens and lawful residents of the United States to speak in plain, standard and traditional English. It shall be illegal and actionable against any citizen, resident, business entity, educational institution or government to make any attempt to limit that right on the part of a citizen.
Amendment—Federal law enforcement personnel are restricted to not more than one twentieth of one percent of the adult population of the United States.
Good idea, particularly if there’s a strong state force as well.
Amendment—Whereas responsibility and authority must be equal, and whereas it has been demonstrated that abuse of authority is inevitable at some point for some responsibilities, so the United States Government is relieved of the following responsibilities: to ensure the economic well being of individuals of any class or by any means or for any period of time, to regulate commerce except that no state shall be permitted to set up tariffs against any other state or states, to conduct economic planning, to ensure the rights or presumed rights of any group as a group, to engage in social engineering, to interfere with or aid education at any level.
Good idea with one small flaw. What happens when a US company decides to set up a poisonous plant in corruptstan somewhere?
Friday, January 09, 2004
East Asian Alliance?
This may come under the heading of future or present history rather than alternate history, but its an interesting idea nonetheless.
There are three states in East Asia that are reasonably democratic, fairly, though nessacity, warlike and share a common short-term foe. Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. Japan has a bludgeoning population with a massive nuclear industry. US analysts have speculated that Japan would be able to produce a large nuclear force fairly quickly from a standing start – and she has a sufficient threat, from North Korea and China, to justify doing so.
Taiwan faces a China bent on reunification. After seeing what is happening in Hong Kong, the Taiwanese are determined to avoid reunification, and they have the ability to defeat a Chinese invasion. The Chinese face huge problems in controlling the air above Taiwan and in shipping enough troops to overwhelm a well-armed and motivated population. As Taiwan has the ability to bomb the mainland (although this would be a pinprick), China has made threats about nuclear weapons. Three or four nuclear hits would completely ruin Taiwan.
South Korea faces a similar situation, with the possibility of massive civil disturbance in NK forcing a communist attack on the south.
This situation offers the possibility of an alliance, on a closer basis than NATO, between the three states. If Japan was to construct nukes, they could deploy a first-class force very quickly and provide a deterrent to Chinese attacks. Further, an alliance would allow the three powers to work together as a group, get better representation in the UN, and work to develop the resources of the Asian region. For different reasons, both China and Australia would find that very threatening.
What is Planetary?
Planetary is a comic book created by Warren Ellis and produced under the Wildstorm imprint. To quote the master:
"One hundred years of super hero history, slowly leaking into the modern world... Sometimes, ordinary people uncover things that are best left covered. Sometimes, things best left covered emerge into ordinary life and do not have the world's best interests at heart. These are the times when Planetary arrive - invited or not..."
Planetary explores the secret history of a world teeming with superhumans and the supernatural. From a ghost cop to a universe-spanning starship, to children born at the turn of the century, to the secret chiefs of the world, plotting evil and deadly outcomes. The planetary team battle those who would hide or destroy the hidden history against that background…..
It’s a great book, read it and see. For further details:
Planetary Fan Page
Virginian artillery lost to the CS?
Dale Cozart pointed out (http://members.aol.com/althist1/Oct03/comments.htm) “I may have mentioned in an earlier issue that much of the Confederate artillery came from one of the big Virginia naval yards, overrun by Confederate troops early in the war.”
What might have happened if that artillery had been destroyed or fallen into US hands? If the CSA army were badly deficient in artillery, would they have risked the battle of Ball Run? Worse, if the army did not at least have a faint chance of success, would some of the wavering states stay with the US?
Alternatively, perhaps some Virginians would be implicated in the destruction/transference of the artillery. In which case, it would be human nature to be suspicious of the other Virginians in CS service, who included Robert E. Lee and many others.
I don’t think the south could have replaced the lost artillery without foreign support, which never came in OTL, even at high tide. The CS may have to make promises to the French or British, or may lose the war quicker.
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Why did the Turks join Germany in WW1?
Why did the Turks join Germany in WW1? Was it the British seizure of their ships or something deeper? Consider it from the Turks point of view. There are five options:
1) Join the British/Germany wins. Good in the short term, but the Germans are likely to demand colonies if they win, and the ottoman empires the site of a LOT of German investment, which might have been damaged by the ottomans if they join the British. British would probably allow the Germans to occupy turkey in hopes that they would not demand other colonies in locations that could really hurt the British. (Through being so near to the Suez is not too good for the UK.)
2) Join the British/Britain wins. Not a bad situation, but the British might well have made (as they did OTL) secret agreements with the French, Russians and Italians to give them ottoman territory. At best, they lose a large chunk of land, at worst total annexation.
3) Join the Germans, Britain wins. What happened OTL, but at least they’ve tried to fight off what might have been inevitable.
4) Join the Germans, Germany wins. Germany would have a period of tidying up in Europe to do, allowing the ottomans to recover land stolen from them by the British, Italians and Russians. All sorts of interesting effects from this.
5) Stay Neutral. Whichever power (s) wins the war will be able to carve up the ottomans like a roast whenever they want. Probably a bit slower in the German case.
Now, none of these require hindsight, they should all be ovousl in 1914. The Turks best option was to strive for a German victory and join them. Unluckily for them, the Germans rather let them down by losing.
From 1870ish-1914, Britain looked for allies among the states of the world. Contrary to much propaganda, the British seriously considered an alliance with Germany, and the Germans were receptive. There were, however, problems. Britain and Germany were in competition over the naval race and colonies around the globe. Germany was trying to assert itself in places that the British felt were their rightful domains.
What if an agreement had been reached? Perhaps one on the lines of the RN being used to attack the French colonies if Germany found itself (as seemed probable) at war with two parties. Britain would also provide cover for the German colonies and hand over a few of the French colonies to the Germans. Britain would not have to make a massive continental commitment at all. Unlike the French, the German system could take massive casutities without the need for stupid headbutting – Verdun being an exception to that.
So, what might happen if an agreement had happened?
A REAL state of Disobedience?
I’m a big fan of many of the books published by Jim Baen, but there are some books that need a fairly extensive rewrite at the best, and, at worst, don’t live up to their promise. ‘A State of Disobedience’ (http://www.baen.com/chapters/W200312/0743471709.htm?blurb ) is one such book. While the idea of a 2nd US civil war is interesting, I don’t think that the author remotely approaches plausibility. (Before anyone complains about my reading tastes, Scott has the same opinion.)
So, I challenge you, is it possible to get a 2nd USCW? Now or within the near future, as Alternate History or Future History.
Straha on the AH board thought out these
a grab bag of random PODs
1) Archduke Ferdinand not assassinated, preventing World War One
2) Germany Wins WW-I rapidly (in 1915 or 1916)
3) Japan has a 'perfect' raid on Pearl Harbor, wiping out the oil storage and repair facilities
4) Germany defeats Russia in 1942, cutting of the oil supply [Baku] from the bulk of Russia's Armies.
5) A-Bomb not used at all in WW-II, leading to a violent US/USSR Confrontation in the 1940s
6) Cuban Missile Crisis goes 'hot', leading to a Nuclear exchange.
7) Nixon's Watergate scandal a) never happens b) is never found out c) is found out sooner
8) PC revolution happens earlier (usually through Xerox Parc's successfully marketting their early invention of the GUI)
9) Europe intervenes earlier in Bosnia
10) Rabin is not assassinated 11) Al Gore wins in 2000 (not popular yet...too soon, but likely to be a popular POD as the 21st century wears on)
12) US space program funded at a higher level in the 1970s-80s (i.e., space station and lunar base in the 1970s, missions to Mars in 1980s)
13) George Bush the Elder beats Clinton in 1992 (already popular in some quarters at least!)
14) Earlier mining of Haiphong, unrestricted bombing, and sensible antiguerilla tactics lead to allied victory in Vietnam. South Vietnam becomes fifth Asian "tiger".
15) Israel gets earlier warning of planned Arab attack on Yom Kippar, 1973. Egyptian and Syrian armies decimated from the onset, followed by a clear Israeli win.
16) President Kennedy not assasinated. Second term wracked with scandals.
17) More vigorous British-French response to German aggression in 1936-39. Germany backs down. Hitler overthrown by military coup.
18) Hinkley assasinates Reagan. Cold War prolonged into at least the 1990s.
19) Sino-Soviet nuclear war in the late 1960s. Ends Cold War due to the destruction of the two largest communist societies.
20) American social security is designed as a mandetory private account system from the onset. Greater economic growth and greater wealth creation results in the long run.
21) Cold War ends with a conventional war in Europe in the mid 1980s. Nuclear war barely averted.
22. 1991 anti-Gorbachev coup succeeds, Yeltsin arrested/killed/disappeared, Cold War continues.
23. RFK not killed, becomes POTUS.
24. MLK lives, continues civil rights work.
24. FDR dies by assassin's bullet in 1933, John Nance Garner can't get anywhere with Depression, with negative effects for Allies on WWII because (most times this is done) isolationists take over in US.
25. Japan attacks USSR instead of US in WWII.
26. McKinley not assassinated.
27. Boston Red Sox do not sell Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. (I included that because it's probably the only sports WI I know of that's been done to death.)
28. No prohibition or volstead acts
29. no internet in 1993
30. Trostky takes power in russia insteado f stalin
31.FDR creates a national healthcare system
32. Jimmy Carter elected in 1980
33. FDR dies of a massive heart attack a few weeks after the Pearl Harbor attack, Henry Wallace becomes President
34. Soviets reach the rhine
35. A movement to peachefully secede from the USA in the southern states on the level of the quebec independence movement appears after WWII
36. Cuba and the phillipines annexed as territories.
37. Wilson goes to war with mexico in 1916.
38. Normandy goes wrong and the reds ovverun gemrnay,the low counries,italy,turkey,the balkans and greece.
39. Japan wins at midway
40. the USSR collapses in 1979-1980 after
41. Gerlad ford elected in 1976. I see Carter in 80's and the liberla 1970's not really ending.
42. an actor makes an a bid for the presidency in 2000
44. Clinton impeached.
45. Japan attempts a war against russia but loses korea and manchuri but gains sakhalin and the kurils. The militarists are overthrown.
46. The generals overthorw hitler in early 1944
47. When gemrany reunites in 1989, Austria decides to join up
48. Kerensky's keeps control of the USSR and its transformed into a social democracy
49. Vichy france becomes a strong axis supporter
50. a civil war between fascists and democrats in france in the late 1930's
51. France keeps northern algeria
52. South africa keeps aparteid
53. No AIDs virus appears EVER
54. Germany holds on longer on obth fronts with atomic weaposn being used on it.
55. No intenrational conventions against chemical wepaosn ipost WWI
56. GErmany makes its own nuclear weapons
57. The ORION program is established
58. No UN treaty forbidding exploitation of space
59. Germany has a policy of slave labor but not genocide
60. Germany goes communist in the 1920's
61. a deng Xiaoping style figure apppears in the USSR and does economic reforms
62. India revolts and leaves the british empire in the 30's or 40's
63. India becomes a dominion in the 20's
64. No J. Edgar Hoover
65. Japan loses its influence over kore and manchuria by losing the russo japanese war
66. The nationalists in china do'nt mess things up and they win
67. Huey long elected president
68. No WWI
69. a rash of christian militia terrorims happends in the 90's
70. WWI begins in 1905
71. Tolkien finishes the simarillon and makes a sequel to the lord of the rings
72. The transistor is invented in the mid 30's
73. Atari,colcovision and the others do'nt collapse
74. soviets screw over poland and make east gemrnay much bigger
75. Hubert Humphrey elected president
76. the russian civil war becomes bloody,indecisive and never ending
77. Russia splinters apart even father than IOTL with Crimea,tatarstan,khanbaly,chechnya,buryatia,kuban and other countries being formed.
78. Post WWI armenia gets a small slice of turkey in order to get a black sea coast.
79. Marijuana and psychadelics legalized in america in 1968.
80. Yucatan and Chiapas leave mexico during the mexican civl war in 1910
81. Instead of voting for independence or to stay with britian, Bermuda,bahamas,jamaica and belize vote to join america inthe 60's and 70's
82. Quebec secedes form canada anytime after 1980
83. Puerto rico gets statehood
84. Hawai gets made into a commonwealth and the marians become a state with plans for guam statehood being looked into.
85. the Entente succeeds in the Dardanelles
86. The British Empire collapses in the 1930s.
87. the Germans turn East in 1914
88. Hitler purges Hitler's SS but keeps Roehm's SA on his team
89. a soviet civil war in the mid 20's over sucession after lenin dies
90. Turkey joins the allies in WWII
91. the Bolsheviks take over Poland in 1920
92. the leauge of nations survives
93. Melvin laird elected president in 1975
94. China gets carved up after the boxer rebellion
95. the empress supports the hundred days modernization
96. The japanese get *all* of sakhalin and the kurils after russo-japanese war
97. Alaska ends up like puerto rico with Puerto rico being #49 in 1962 and Hawai being #50 in 1969
97. Hawai votes for independence
98. An american socially liberal and sucessful social democrat party is formed before WWI
99. FDR establishes proportional represntation pre WWII
100. Bay of pigs suceeds
101. Japan doesn't surrender but if wiped from the face of the earth with nukes
102. instead of vietnam how about a war in cuba?
103. TR's bull moose party suceeds
104. Poland intervenes when Czechslovekia is attacked
105. The Hashemites suceed and make sure Hejaz Arabia survives
106. no persian gulf war
107. the korena war is won with manchuria liberated and taiwan recognized
108. Chinese communism falls in the late 80's-early 90's
109. Manga and Anime break onto american markets in the early 70's
110. instead of manga and anime, translated versions of latin american animation become poplar in the USA during the 1990's
111. before WWI gemrany arms mexico and helps it build industry to prepare for a war against the USA
112. Czar Nicky reforms and survives
113. spaceplanes are adopted by space programs
114. a russian revolution in 1914
115. Germany does'nt accept the armistice and fights on to the very end.
116. Britain takes the maritime option when fighting WWI.
117. Rasputin gets a different series of hallucinations and convinces the Tsar that WWI is a *Bad* idea
118. Germany wins WWI
119. virtual reality is more widespread
120. Soccer becomes them ost popular american sport pre WWI
121. in a move of cold war era anglo-american solidarity, an american team is formed and plays in the world cricket leauge
122. The New York Times encourages Goddard in the 20's
123. 'Gunpowder plot succeeds, and leads to an evil US.
124. no 9/11
125. no olkahoma city bombing
126. prohibition enforced more harshley
127. a final redoubt strategy is adopted by the nazis
128. Operation Overlord happens in 1943
129. Stalin attacks the west in 1945 in an unprovoked move
130. The allies attack Norway instead of North Africa in 1943
131. America's politics move to a more fascist bent in the 1930's
132. no elvis
133. no political correctness
134. Strom Thurmond elected president
135. The southern democrats split off and make their own party
136. Adlai Stevenson elected president in the 60's
137. no margeret thatcher
138. no enron scandal
139. Stalin attacks the Japanese in 1941
140. Alf Landon elected in 1936 to president
141. The Rise of a "Black Messiah" in the 1960s/70s
142. The soviets win the Moon Race
143. Al Smith is elected President in 1928.
144. the central powers lead sucessful boer and indian revolts during WWI
145. Stalin extends a finland style compromise to the East
146. Beria gets power in the USSR
147. German remilitarisation of Rhineland opposed in 1936
148. Al Gore selects Paul Wellstone or Russel Feingold as his running mate
149. Hitler gets into an art academy
150. Robert La Follete jr does'nt lose the 1946 senate race
151. equal rights amendment passes
152. a more violent come out of the civil rights movement
153. a sino-soviet war at anytime betweek 1945 and 1980
154. Chinese-Indian War - 1959/1962
155. a second great depression in eaither 1974 or 1987
156. Dole defeats Clinton in '96
157. the indian film capitol of bollywood becomes popular
158. long movies become popular in the 30's
159. Hitler lets somebody else handle the creation of the Me-262, and the worlds first jet fighter goes into production in 1942.
160. What if Ronald Reagan had stayed in Hollywood as an actor?
161. FDR lives till 1950
162. cocaine legalized in the 80's
163. WI US "Oil War" in 1970s
164. Neville Chamberlain survives WW2
165. UNITA Victory in Angola
166. 1909 Taft dies of a heart attack in his first year in office.
167. 1915 Nobody has done a story where the Lusitania isn't sunk? Or, Italy remains neutral, or sides with Austria.
168. a Communist revolution in Italy during WW I.
169. 1922 Harding dies in office.
170. Kemal Ataturk dies and doesn't overthrow the last sultan. Subsequent sultans have limited power.
171. 1927 Trotsky is not exiled; Chiang Kai-shek is assassinated; or Mao is assassinated and Chiang takes over.
172. 1947 Marshall Plan not adopted; UN approves a different plan for dividing up Palestine. India-Pakistan war.
173. 1954 Puerto Rican nationalists do not shoot and wound US congressmen; would it have made any difference?
174. Joe McCarthy dies in traffic accident, or, he is assinated by...whom?
175. 1955 Bulganin does not become Soviet Premier.
176. Eisenhower had a coronary; what if he had died?
177. 1956 Suez crisis peacefully averted
178. 1957 US agents warn US of Sputnik launch months in advance.
179. Eisenhower doctrine expanded; Israel and all Mideast countries will get equal amounts of aid from US.
180. 1958 de Gaulle dies; does not become President of France
181. 1959 Batista gets aid from US, stays in power; or Castro asks for aid from US; or Castro dies.
182. 1975 Ford assassinated; or, one of the two women who attacked him use martial arts instead of a gun. Pol Pot dies instead of taking over Cambodia.
183. 1976 A different Democrat runs against Ford for President.
184. 1983 Reagan has a massive stroke.
185. 1985 Reagan has a massive stroke. Gorbachev or Thatcher die; India-Pakistan war; civil war in India.
186. 1986 Challenger launch delayed; it doesn't blow up.
187. 1990 Bush authorizes assassination of Saddam Hussein.
188. World Wide Web was available to public OTL, but what if some farsighted government official tries to introduce regulations concerning Internet software, to try and prevent spam and viruses from becoming such problems.
189. 1992 Bush chooses a different VP, Nancy Kassebaum, and is re-elected. Gulf War II removes Saddam Hussein and a Democrat wins the next two elections. Gulf War II drags on and on.
190. 1993 Havel does not become Czech president; president of Sri Lanka not assassinated.
191. 1996 Dole wins.
192. 1997 Monica Lewinsky gets a job in California, never meets Clinton. Taliban doesn't seize Kabul; Diana doesn't die;
193. 1998 Clinton not impeached.
194. 1999 Clinton convicted.
195. 2001 The FBI puts 2+2 together and prevents 9/11.
196. 2002 India civil war. India-Pakistan war.
197. 2003 Saddam Hussein assassinated; Iraqi Information Minister announces Hussein is now the Emperor of the World.
Iraqi Information Minister asks for asylum in Canada, joins cast of "This Hour Has 22 Minutes", a popular comedy satire program.
Friday, January 02, 2004
Changing The Times Ebook?
Changing The Times Ebook?
An idea I’ve had recently was to place some parts of Chaging The Times in a published forum of somekind. I’ve sort-of decided on an ebook, what do you think? I’ve got a lot of stuff that never made the final magazine and many improvements on published ones.
Korean war What-if
Korean war What-if
Something I discovered while doing research was that the Americans did not arm the South Koreans properly in the years after WW2. In particular, they missed out both tanks and anti-tank weapons. Net Result: massive North Korean success and a massive American commitment to defend South Korea and to hold the line against communism everywhere, including Vietnam.
So what if the SKs had a basic anti-tank system? If the northern attacks were blunted very quickly, its quite possible that the NKs would claim it was an accidental skirmish, agrees to a few reparations and the whole incident is quickly forgotten.
So, what are the likely consequences of such an incident? One that occupies to me as that the US will continue to loose its military advantage. If Stalin decides to take advantage in Europe or a Vietnam-style crisis appears, the US may lose quickly. If the former, the world may well go completely communist, if the latter, the US will lose in Vietnam so fast that the massive OTL costs will never be paid.
So, what do you think? More peaceful world or more dangerous one?
Thursday, January 01, 2004
Happy New Year?
If your're planning a holiday in these nations, don't bother. If this writer is right, there are still plenty of places where a war could break out.
POTENTIAL HOT SPOTS: Where Will There Be War in 2004?
Items About Areas That Could Break Out Into War
December 31, 2003: Where Will There Be War in 2004? While the War on Terror has been shutting down a lot of ongoing wars (by cutting down on fund raising, gun running and foreign nation support), there are still plenty of hot spots that could erupt into full blown wars. Here's our analysis of those places that might slide into armed strife in the coming year.
Iran- The majority of the population wants to be free from the stifling (politically and economically) repression of Islamic conservatives. A 1980s constitution, imposed by armed Islamic radicals, gives the "Council of Guardians" (composed of conservative Islamic clerics) veto power over whatever the popularly elected legislature and government officials try to do. By law, Islamic conservatives control the courts, police and armed forces. Thus reformers who seem to pose a threat to the Islamic conservatives are jailed and prosecuted. The Islamic conservatives have the support of less than a third of the population, but they have the guns and the majority have, so far, backed off from an armed insurrection. Memories of the bloody 1979 Islamic revolution, and the war with Iraq in the 1980s, are still fresh. But most of the population is under 30, and they want their freedom. In 2004, many of them may decide to fight for it.
Nigeria- International surveys regularly tag Nigeria as one of the most corrupt nations on the planet. Despite the oil wealth, most of which is stolen by corrupt officials, the country is poor. There is also an increasingly violent divide between the Moslem north and the Christian south. Dozens of major tribal populations are organizing to attack corruption and each other over economic and religious disputes. If the violence gets organized, there will be a war. A big one. It's happened before.
North Korea- For half a century, it was feared that North Korea's huge army would explode outward against South Korea. Now there is a growing danger of an implosion, as a starved and brutalized population fights back. It's a conscript army, and the families of the soldiers are suffering more each year. Discipline in the army is down and corruption is up. If the soldiers rebel, it could all blow up in '04.
Central Asia- The five former republics of the Soviet Union are now independent nations run by the communist officials who were in charge before the Soviet Union dissolved. Two of these nations, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, dominate the region. Uzbekistan has the most people, while Kazakhstan has the most territory, and the most oil. Like the big two, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are all battling the growth of militant Islam. As soon as the Soviet Union fell, Saudi financed Moslem missionaries showed up, establishing religious schools, and the ideas that all five "stans" should be united as one big Islamic Republic. Most of the armed Islamic militants were trapped in Afghanistan in late 2001, and killed, captured or dispersed. Some made their way back to the stans, where they are recruiting and training new fighters. The Moslems of Central Asia are more upset with their corrupt rulers than they are interested in establishing an Islamic Republic. But the Islamic radicals are preaching war on corruption as well. Saudi Arabia's current crackdown on terrorism makes it difficult to get a lot of cash into the stans, and Iran is showing restraint as well. So this war may be delayed for a while until the rebels scrounge up weapons and money.
Venezuela- A leftist president who got the middle-class vote on the promise of reform and fighting corruption has turned out to be a Fidel Castro wannabe. The poor love him, while those with any assets hate him. A lot of people in Venezuela have guns, so a bloody class war is not out of the question.
Burma- A military dictatorship is wearing out it's welcome. The Burmese are a patient people, but they are fast approaching their limit.
Zimbabwe- A power hungry "president for life" is starving the population in order to stay in power. The population may just sit there and die, but some may fight instead.
Equatorial Guinea- A smaller version of the Nigerian situation.
And, of course, lots of current wars will continue. While the War on Terror has cut off money and weapons for many wars, leading to numerous peace talks, ceasefires, there are still wars that are well funded, or manage to get by on little. Wealthy Saudis are still getting their charitable contributions to armed Islamic radicals in places like Kashmir, Sudan and Southeast Asia. So the fighting in those areas continues. In many parts of Africa, cheap AK-47s and pillage keep wars going. Little additional funding is necessary.
Happy New Year…
01 January 2004 - HAPPY NEW YEAR!
NEW Alternate Histories:
Norway (part two): Continuing the war in Norway...
Obituary: Manual Vega. The George Washington of Spain, 1520
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44- the good guys won world war two, right?
Last Division- A History of Berlin 1945-1989
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Third World War
War III in 1957
Coming Collapse of China
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