Zodiac Galaxy Timeline 2000-2050
This isn't an alternate history yet, but it will be as soon as real events diverge from it. Instead, it is a timeline of a possible future posted in response to a thread about projecting the future out to 2200.
Though the part I'm posting here ends in 2050, this timeline actually goes to 2200 and way beyond. It actually goes past the year 3000, but there's so much to it and so much I need to explain for it to make sense to anyone but me that I'm just going to post this writeup on the first fifty years for comments and maybe I'll post more if people want to hear it.
Here is an oversimplified summary of the main geopolitical events of this timeline in the period of 2000 - 2050. I have included some basic information on technologies, economics, fashion and social developments, etc. There's a lot of concepts that I try to explain and some others that I don't. The focus here is on geopolitical events because that's what the original poster asked about in the thread that prompted me to post this. I didn't write the timeline in response to that, but I did write this summary of the first time period in the timeline in response to that so it focuses on wars and geopolitical developments more than other things.
But the future won't just be the same countries fighting wars and changing borders. If the past is any guide, the changes will be more profound than that.
These are not my predictions of the future. This is just a timeline of what could happen. I think it is somewhat plausible, but I'd be interested in hearing other peoples' opinions on that.
2000 - 2050
US & EU vs SCO
At the beginning of this time period, the United States was the dominant power with an economy rivaled only by that of the entire European Union. The next largest economy, Japan, was far behind the top two.
The two most significant political developments of the early 21st century were the consolidation of the European Union and the formation of anti-American strategic alliances. For centuries European powers have always formed alliances against whichever country was the strongest. The origin of the European Union is the same. Its primary function was to make Europe strong enough to resist domination by the United States. Though most of the European countries were allies of the United States, they nonetheless wanted power in their own hands, not in that of their ally.
The situation of other nations such as China and Russia was different. Their relationships with the United States were more hostile. As a consequence, they formed an organization called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. It's members included China, Russia and several Central Asian countries. Later, Iran became associated with the group though it was not formally a member.
After having annexed one country after another until nearly all of the continent of Europe was united, the European Union set its sights on further expansion to the south and east. With the establishment of the Union for the Mediterranean, France and other key European powers began the process of annexing all of North Africa and the Middle East into a supranational government affiliated by common membership with the EU.
(If any of the above seems unrealistic to anyone, I should point out that all of it is real. I haven't gotten to the fictional part yet. The Union for the Mediterranean sounds like sci-fi, but was actually proposed by President Sarkozy of France and has already been formed. It includes all the 27 members of the European Union, plus 16 other countries including every single country that borders the Mediterranean Sea. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is also real. Here are links to the wikipedia articles:
See? All real so far.)
The European Union's rapid annexation of so many countries without firing a shot set an example that others soon followed. It was a seemingly peaceful and democratic process that resulted in the establishment of a vast empire and altered the global balance of power in Europe's favor. Strategic thinkers in the United States quickly perceived that the European Union was primarily aimed at the United States despite Europe's continued participation in NATO and friendly diplomatic relations. European efforts to replace NATO with a purely European military force met vociferous opposition from the United States. The United States began to undertake a similar program to form an economic union between all the countries of North America first, and then to expand this to South America. The first major step in this direction was the establishment of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which in name and concept was similar to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) which was one of the precursors of the European Union. This was followed by the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPPNA) which moved towards further integration of North America and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) which was an attempt to extend the NAFTA economic bloc to include South America.
(I realize all this sounds like quite a stretch, but I still haven't gotten to the fiction part. This is all real as well, though some people want to call it conspiracy theories for some reason. Still, here are the links:
See? Still real.)
lie detection with technology
tethers in space
genetically engineered viruses
(All of this exists already except for biotech AI, but research into that is pretty far along. An ad hoc brain made of 25,000 neurons from a rat's brain was created and taught to successfully fly an F-22 jet fighter. All it takes is more neurons from a human brain and you have biotech AI. I've got documentation and sources on all this. I'm primarily projecting that these technologies will be more widespread and better developed. Virtually all of them already exist in some form.)
Growth of virtuality.
economic damage from war, especially in China, Russia, Iran and Central Asia.
Earth's population exceeds 9 billion by 2050.
Population in space is negligible. (A few hundred)
political propaganda in virtuality
Growth of EU
Hollow states. Hezbollah-style substates
EU becomes EMU.
Eurasian War - EMU & US & Japan vs. SCO
The Eurasian War (I need a better name for this) begins with political agitation by the ethnic Polish minority in western Belarus for reunification with Poland. The western territories of Belarus were part of Poland until Stalin annexed them as part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in which Hitler and Stalin cooperated in the invasion and partition of Poland. That's the Nazi invasion of Poland that started WWII. Poland still hasn't gotten back the territory the Soviet Union annexed in 1939 and they want it in real life. In this scenario, Poland (which is an EU member state in real life and in the scenario) and the rest of the EU provide covert assistance to Polish separatists in Belarus until the situation gets tense and some minor violence ensues. The EU then proposes that a multinational peacekeeping force be sent in. Belarus of course objects, but since Belarus has been demonized as "the last dictatorship in Europe" (It's really called that by its critics in the West) their objections are ignored. The Russian Federation also strongly objects to Western troops coming into Belarus on any pretext whatsoever. Belarus whose name actually means "White Russia" is generally considered part of Russia by Russians and it was part of both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.
The West knows that Russia is far weaker than the European Union alone, much less the new Euro-Mediterranean Union (the result of the merger of the European Union and the Union for the Mediterranean) and in this conflict the Euro-Mediterranean Union (EMU) is supported strongly by the United States as well. Despite hysterical threats by the Russian government, a multinational force of about 2,000 troops does enter Belarus on a peacekeeping mission to protect ethnic Poles from feared "ethnic cleansing" by the Belarusian security forces.
The President of Russia fears that this is only one more step in bringing Western power further east and expects that with international troops in western Belarus, that the Poles there will declare independence from Belarus and end up reunited with Poland or joining the EU on their own much like Kosovo split from Serbia once Western troops were there despite treaty obligations and public statements by the western powers that Kosovo would remain part of Serbia. The President of Russia and other top leaders of Russia and Belarus believe this is part of a continuing strategy of the EMU to weaken Russia, annex major parts of its territory and perhaps eventually annex Russia as well. The Russians decide that if they do not draw the line at the border of "White Russia" (Belarus), that they will only be weaker in the future as the EMU becomes larger and more powerful and pieces of Russia are chipped away. The Russians believe they will lose their country if they are not willing to resist this process. They come to believe that if the EMU will not stop expanding eastward, that a major war between the EMU and the Russian Federation will be unavoidable. The Russians do not want this war and are trying to use deterrence to stop EMU expansion at the Belarusian border. Failing that, if the war must come, they would rather fight it now even though they are weaker than the EMU, than later when the EMU will be even stronger. (My expert on Russia -- who predicted the fall of communism in Russia at least six years in advance -- mentioned this line of thinking and said that under these circumstances, she thinks Russia might take the actions described below.)
So the President of Russia threatens full scale war with the West if even a single soldier crosses the border despite the notion that it's a peacekeeping mission.
The West disregards this and sends the troops in anyway. Of course, it is not a massive invasion, just a couple thousand peacekeeping troops from various countries including Germany, France and the United States.
War does not immediately break out and it appears the Russian president was bluffing. In fact, he is not. In keeping with long-standing Russian military doctrine, in the event of a major war, the Russian military mobilizes as secretly as they can for a decisive surprise attack using all weapons available. Just as the West relaxes its guard and the peacekeeping troops settle in, Russia launches a full scale nuclear attack on the European Union and the United States. Though such a move is virtually unthinkable to western military thinkers, it is standard Russian military doctrine and has been since the 1950s. It is much the same as the "Massive Retaliation" doctrine which the United States military had in the 1950s, but then abandoned in favor of "Flexible Response" in the Kennedy administration. Russian strategic thinking has stuck with the idea of a single, massive nuclear strike at the beginning of any major war in what the Russians call "Teoria Otsi" (the Axe Theory).
(All this stuff on nuclear strategy and Russian military doctrine is real.)
If such a war happened today (in 2010) it could very well be the end of civilization. Russia still has thousands of nuclear weapons and intercontinental range delivery systems, there is no effective defense and massive amounts of ash in the atmosphere from burning cities could result in a "nuclear winter" effect that could cause massive crop failures worldwide for several years in a row and widespread famine.
But part of the reason the EMU and the US were so willing to disregard Russian threats of war is because the year this happens is not 2010, but 2032 by which time the gap in military strength between Russia and the West is even larger than in 2010. This is in large part due to the EMU having built up its military forces far beyond what the EU had in 2010 and the EMU having a much larger population and economy than the old EU due to the annexation of the entire coast of North Africa and most of the Middle East. More importantly, in 2032 the West has effective defenses against ballistic missiles, nuclear and otherwise.
When the Russians reach for "the axe" (nuclear weapons), they fail to deliver a knockout blow with it because all or nearly all the missiles are shot down. The West then launches nuclear strikes against Russia to destroy Russian nuclear and conventional forces, take out the Russian leadership and cripple Russian defense industries. Shockingly to the West, even though this succeeds, the war is not over. The Russians continue to fight despite having lost virtually all their category 1 combat units. Massive numbers of Russian reservists (almost all men in the country are part of the reserves) mobilize for war, arm themselves from prepared stockpiles of equipment and carry on fighting. Though conditions are unbelievably difficult and chaotic, Russian military doctrine and organization has been preparing for exactly this sort of war for almost a century. After the experience of WWII when half their country was overrun, Russian military planners expected a future war to be as destructive and chaotic as the Nazi blitzkrieg into the Soviet Union in WWII or more so because of nuclear weapons.
Public opinion in the US and the EMU is enraged by the Russian nuclear weapons launches and the governments of the US and the EMU and their allies vow to wage war until Russia is totally devoid of nuclear weapons. Western forces roll into Russia faster than the German army in 1941 and occupy Moscow. Though the west was not expecting or prepared for a large scale war, they do have very large and able military forces and are by this time equipped with weapons out of science fiction, especially robotic aircraft and armored vehicles. (These are all already on the drawing boards in real life and some have already been deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The US Army and the US Air Force are both making a major push in research and procurement towards robotic vehicles.)
The fall of Moscow still doesn't end the war. Russian conventional and guerrilla forces continue to resist. In the Far East, US, South Korean and Japanese forces have captured Vladivostok and nearby areas, but this prompts China to escalate its involvement. Though again nuclear weapons are used -- mostly to the detriment of the Chinese -- massive Chinese forces intervene in the Russian Far East and Chinese reinforcements are sent to help the Russians in the West. Other SCO members and allies including Khazakhstan and Iran enter the war on the side of China and Russia. North Korea is by now an SCO member and enters the war. The SCO members believe that they must prevent the fall of Russia because the SCO is already dangerously weak compared to the West and will be even weaker if Russia is no longer a member. The SCO leaders believe that if they do not stand by Russia, that the West will be free to use military force against them one by one in any crisis or to achieve "regime change". For the same reasons that Germany stood by Austria and France stood by Russia in the crisis in the Balkans in 1914 that led to WWI, the other SCO members enter the war on the side of Russia. They think that the Western powers would not be foolish enough to try to simultaneously invade Russia, China, Iran and several other countries. They are wrong. The West does this and wins decisively. The much more technologically advanced and better equipped Western forces, freely using nuclear weapons now, run over all the SCO forces like the US forces ran over the Iraqi army in 1991 and 2003. Unfortunately, they face much the same problem as the US did in occupying Iraq. This time, the US, EMU, Japan and other allies are trying to occupy all of Russia, China, Iran and most of Central Asia. There is no doubt that guerrilla resistance will be fierce and on an unprecedented scale. There is also no doubt that despite initial overwhelming enthusiasm for the war on the part of the public in the US and Europe, that enough casualties among occupation forces will inevitably turn the tide of public opinion and force the US at least and probably also the EMU to withdraw their troops.
Japan, the US and the EMU counter this by the extensive use of robots and partly remote controlled "semi-autonomous vehicles" in the occupation. Even with all enemy armies defeated and all enemy countries occupied, the war still doesn't really end and in fact becomes even more expensive. The war between resistance forces and robots is bitter and brutal, but the human casualties are very one sided. In the hellish conditions of post-nuclear strike occupied China, as the robotic vehicles of the occupation forces kill countless civilians, sometimes by accident and sometimes not, a new political ideology emerges among the Chinese resistance forces. It is a vehemently anti-American, anti-western ideology that also includes a bitter hatred for robots, artificial intelligence of any kind and technology in general. This ideology is called Zhangism, named after its progenitor, Zhang Yi. In China's darkest days since the Mongol invasions, Zhangism motivates people to keep fighting in what they come to see as a struggle for the survival of humanity against increasingly autonomous and increasingly dangerous robots. Zhangists view the conflict as not being between China, Russia and their allies on one side and the US, EMU, Japan and their allies on the other. Instead, they view it as humans versus robots with anyone assisting the robots being a traitor to the whole human race.
Eventually the occupation does come to an end because it is too expensive to maintain forever.
Even before the end of the occupation, the Zhangists established covert organizations that provided many of the services of a regular government without actually being one. These organizations are called substates and are somewhat similar to the activities of Hezbollah and Hamas in the early 21st century. The same concept is taken even farther by the Zhangists and other resistance movements. Substates are formed all over occupied Eurasia and make the formation of effective local governments that cooperate with the occupation forces all but impossible.
The main result of the war is that the countries of the SCO are thoroughly devastated. The victorious US, EMU and Japan are physically intact, but greatly weakened by the financial costs of the war and the demoralization of their military forces and polarization of their political culture. One result of the war is that Korea is finally unified. Towards the end of the war, even many people within the occupying powers sympathized with the resistance forces who portrayed themselves as fighting desperately for a human future against a world dominated by killer machines. After years of seeing this war actually being fought and hearing extremely emotional rhetoric about it, this has long since ceased to be science fiction and is now a very divisive issue worldwide. The original reasons for the war are no longer relevant. Belarus and Russia, along with most SCO members, have disintegrated into a mass of substates, rebel groups, militias, gangsters and other armed factions.
Nobody fears obsolete ballistic missiles and cruise missiles anymore because they are too easily shot down by modern lasers. Without such effective delivery systems, nuclear weapons are not nearly as fearsome as they had been. Increasingly sophisticated robotic vehicles growing in numbers in the armies of the world are what give people nightmares now.
After the war, the US, Canada and Mexico continue to consolidate along the EMU model and even form an organization called the North American Union. (NAU) Despite the claims of conspiracy theorists, the NAU does not replace the United States, Canada and Mexico, but merely forms a formal structure for their existing cooperation on economic and security matters. Once created, however, the NAU government accumulates power at the expense of the member states in exactly the same way that the US federal government accumulated power at the expense of its members states and the way that the European Union and later the Euro-Mediterranean Union gained power at the expense of their member states. This process is increasingly obvious and political opposition to the NAU becomes very strong in the US and even stronger in Mexico and Canada.
US, China, Japan and EU build moon bases
US manned mission to Mars
US, EMU, Japan and India active beyond Earth. Space colonies in Earth orbit. Mining of Moon and asteroids. Private companies in space and colonizing ocean surface using lots of robots.
UN regulates space. (I wrote this months ago, but I just heard the news today that the UN has formed the UNOOSA, the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. These things keep coming true.)
Astronomers discover ozone, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water in the atmosphere of the planet Gliese 581 g, the first conclusive evidence of life outside our solar system.Giovanni Mangini, an Italian astronomer, discovers ozone, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting 107 Piscis (107 Piscium), 25 ly from Sol. This is considered conclusive evidence of life there. Subsequent observations by others discover that the planet has a green color, which is speculated to be caused by alien plant life which could also account for the oxygen. The planet is nicknamed "Emeralda". This later becomes the official name.Signs of life on other planets are soon discovered.(New telescopes in orbit are going to come online in the next few years that will be able to detect this sort of thing. I predict they will find these signs of life on more than one planet within the next five or ten years.)
(These are either already in existence or are just wild guesses. I have no idea what's going to happen in fashion and didn't put much thought into it.)
facial hair (19th century style sideburns in early 21st century)
clothes that change colors
clothes with animated images on them
sleeveless shirts with offensive, nearly obscene animated images on them that are supposed to be funny, skin-tight black stretcho pants, oversized boots in gaudy dayglo colors, and an assortment of goofy-looking hats
spiked bracelets studded with manufactured diamonds with LED lights under them to make them glow and sparkle.
bowl cut haircuts similar to medieval fashion or the "mod" look of the 1960s
sleeveless shirts for men to show off muscular arms, especially with "bracers"
"bracers" - metal bands worn on the wrists and forearms, especially for men, but later women, too. (Ketoh bracers are made by the Dine or Navajo people and adorned with turquoise and silver)
women wearing feathers in their hair
hats of various kinds
copyright 2010 Charles Champion
Last edited by champion; 10-08-2010 at 03:03 AM.
Cool! More coming?
Check out my Website - Free Books, Kindle Books and more! All welcome - reviews particularly so!
Bigotry is always stupid, but expressing concern about a proven threat is not bigotry
this is cool and post more
You are miserable because you are free.
Never compromise. Not even in the face of Armageddon.
Straha's gazzeteer of alternate worlds
I like it; hopefully more will be coming soon.
Which side did India come down in during the war?
You state that China is able to build moon bases - is that before or after the war? If before, are they annexed or invaded by the US/EMU? If after, how are they able to scrape together the cash and tech to do it? And would they, considering their anti-tech stance?
China and India
An explanation about the Chinese space program: That was all before the war. It came to a complete halt when China lost the war. China had one moon base that barely qualified as such and was unmanned most of the time. China knew it would lose access to space during a war with the US and EMU and consequently evacuated its astronauts from the moon prior to the start of hostilities. The Chinese moon base wasn't worth capturing, but was later visited and dismantled by US astronauts after the war was over.
I'm seeing India as neutral in the Eurasian War, but leaning towards the Western Allies. More particularly wishing to avoid being seen as an enemy by the US and EMU.
There is more to this, though. India is really leaning not towards the Western Allies, but specifically towards the United States. The EMU is another matter. As time goes by and integration of the EMU proceeds, this mitigates the problems in Europe related to having large numbers of unassimilated Moslem immigrants, particularly from North Africa. There are more, not less, Moslems in Europe, but rather than being seen as foreign, they are increasingly part of a single country -- the EMU. By encompassing all of the coastlines of the Mediterranean and beyond, the EMU is emulating the Roman Empire, a model that does not seem foreign to a great many Europeans.
The problem for India here is that as Europeans, Turks, Arabs and others of the EMU become increasingly comfortable with each other, the EMU is drifting towards sympathy for Pakistan in the continuing India/Pakistan rivalry. The Moslem portions of the EMU of course strongly sympathize with Pakistan and the European portions of the EMU don't feel all that strongly either way. The result is that India has already begun to see the US as an ally and the EMU as a friend of India's main enemy.
During the Eurasian War, this trend has only just begun. Over the course of the following century, it will become much more pronounced to the point that India and the EMU become quite hostile to each other. India feels strong enough to do this because it copies the EU strategy of forming an economic common market with a single currency and follows that up with political unification. The one formed by India is called the "South Asian Union." But that's all far beyond the time period specified in the title of this thread.
India is also influenced by the Maoist insurgencies that have been popping up all around it (in real life) notably in Nepal and within India itself. It is very obvious that China is providing subtle assistance to these rebels and also to the military junta that rules Myanmar. India is more comfortable in the Eurasian War being friendly with China's enemies than with being in the war on China's side.
Yeah. I'm planning to post more. As I already mentioned, I have already written this timeline fairly completely to the year 2850 and some events go past the year 3000.
The problem is that they are just notes that are not self-explanatory. They need a narrative like I wrote for this one. I'm going to try to get another 50 year period (2050-2100) posted soon.
I also have some writing projects that use various parts of this timeline as settings. For example, I have one partly written novel that is set during the Eurasian war and another that is set during the "Global War" (2160-2167).
I've even posted part of a couple of stories that use this timeline that are set in the early 25th century and have some more set in that time period and later. I think the one that takes place in the 26th century is the farthest into the future where I actually have a story written, but I'm planning on doing more.
Two of those partial stories are posted on the Baen Books website because I'm hoping to get them far enough along to see if Baen Books would want to publish them. I also have another version of one of those that is posted on "elfwood", a site for sci-fi and fantasy art and stories. On there, the first draft of Chapter One of "The Princess and the Tao" won recognition as a "moderator's pick" which is nice. That story is one of the ones I was talking about that is set in the 25th century using this same timeline.
The reason I entitled it "Zodiac Galaxy Timeline" is undoubtedly not clear at this point, but if I post enough of it to get to the 24th century, the reason for the title will become obvious.
Oh yeah, I also created a role playing game set in the 26th century using this timeline and I might someday create an MMORPG using it. That's not just idle talk. I have created an MMORPG before. (See www.magicofthegods.com) for my best one so far. Unfortunately it's offline now due to technical problems.
I posted the next section of the timeline, but in a new thread. I'm pretty sure if I posted them all in one thread, that it would be too unwieldy, especially with comments interspersed among them.