AHC: A multipolar Cold War with alien value systems?

I think I've made it fairly clear that I absolutely adore alternate ideologies, and I'm fond of scenarios where they feature prominently. From what I've seen, there seems to be two general scenarios where alternate ideologies often come into play on this site:
  1. Multipolar Cold War settings, where the fractured nature of the international community seems to give breathing room to ideological positions that would be marginalized in a bipolar struggle. Two good examples are What Madness is This? and Separated at Birth, each of which has four or more power blocs jostling for supremacy.
  2. Completely alien historiography settings, where the ideological conflict is bipolar but is based on principles that are distinct from the OTL focus on economics. The front runner is Look to the West, where a Cold War drags on for a century based on a fundamental disagreement between universalism and cultural relativism. Although it doesn't feature a cold war as such Brave New World also features an alien value system, as the entire World State operates on a divide between happiness and unhappiness rather than good and evil.
For a bit of a layered exercise, I wanted to test out an AHC that combines these two approaches. With a POD during or after the Enlightenment, set the foundation for an ideological cold war in the 19th/20th century with at least three superpowers, where each bases their position on a distinct set of criteria. For example, a cold war between a Brave New World style US (happiness), capitalist/socialist European Federation (economics), and vaguely Societist Qing China (cultural universalism) would work, although a bit more context to lay the foundation for the concept is of course appreciated. In such a scenario, though all three parties are rivals for world influence, because all three base their worldview on distinct metrics no superpower is fundamentally opposed to the others in the way the US and USSR were in OTL or the Combine and ASN were in Look to the West, allowing for temporary alliances or what have you between powers that view each other as different but not necessarily as existentially hostile, at least in the near term.
 
Sounds more like a non-ideological cold war. Just 19th century style jockeying for influence but with nukes.
Well yes and no, while it is closer to the old model of great power competition, each superpower has a distinct and internationally applicable ideology that is both officially and unofficially endorsed by the government, and seeks to spread their particular social system to other independent nations, resulting in a handful of well-defined power blocs all trying to expand through hard and soft power. Competition is based less on expansion for resources or markets as was the case with colonialism in OTL and more with the conversion of other nations into ideological allies who also function as sources for resources and markets.
 
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I think I've made it fairly clear that I absolutely adore alternate ideologies, and I'm fond of scenarios where they feature prominently. From what I've seen, there seems to be two general scenarios where alternate ideologies often come into play on this site:
  1. Multipolar Cold War settings, where the fractured nature of the international community seems to give breathing room to ideological positions that would be marginalized in a bipolar struggle. Two good examples are What Madness is This? and Separated at Birth, each of which has four or more power blocs jostling for supremacy.
  2. Completely alien historiography settings, where the ideological conflict is bipolar but is based on principles that are distinct from the OTL focus on economics. The front runner is Look to the West, where a Cold War drags on for a century based on a fundamental disagreement between universalism and cultural relativism. Although it doesn't feature a cold war as such Brave New World also features an alien value system, as the entire World State operates on a divide between happiness and unhappiness rather than good and evil.
For a bit of a layered exercise, I wanted to test out an AHC that combines these two approaches. With a POD during or after the Enlightenment, set the foundation for an ideological cold war in the 19th/20th century with at least three superpowers, where each bases their position on a distinct set of criteria. For example, a cold war between a Brave New World style US (happiness), capitalist/socialist European Federation (economics), and vaguely Societist Qing China (cultural universalism) would work, although a bit more context to lay the foundation for the concept is of course appreciated. In such a scenario, though all three parties are rivals for world influence, because all three base their worldview on distinct metrics no superpower is fundamentally opposed to the others in the way the US and USSR were in OTL or the Combine and ASN were in Look to the West, allowing for temporary alliances or what have you between powers that view each other as different but not necessarily as existentially hostile, at least in the near term.
The most likely scenario that I see something like this would be if France won the Napoleonic wars and it established a unified Europe from the beginning of the 19th century that includes all of Europe and Russia
Leading to usa with a Monroe Doctrine much more interventionist in the Americas.
It is consequently China that never becomes a republic and establishes a kind of theocracy.
 
The most likely scenario that I see something like this would be if France won the Napoleonic wars and it established a unified Europe from the beginning of the 19th century that includes all of Europe and Russia
Leading to usa with a Monroe Doctrine much more interventionist in the Americas.
It is consequently China that never becomes a republic and establishes a kind of theocracy.
Republicanism, Imperialism, and Theocracy, huh? While that would satisfy the multipolar portion of the AHC, I'm not sure how fully it fulfils the other condition if the major divide between the American sphere and the French one is ultimately summed up as "level of representation", although if one or the other came up with some wacky dividing line for their society it would work.
 
Republicanism, Imperialism, and Theocracy, huh? While that would satisfy the multipolar portion of the AHC, I'm not sure how fully it fulfils the other condition if the major divide between the American sphere and the French one is ultimately summed up as "level of representation", although if one or the other came up with some wacky dividing line for their society it would work.
This ideology that you established for the USA called happiness, I did not understand the concept very well; and for you what would be the main difference between the American and European spheres in your world?
 
This ideology that you established for the USA called happiness, I did not understand the concept very well; and for you what would be the main difference between the American and European spheres in your world?
That was just a theoretical example, but if my fictional USA got completely hung up on the "pursuit of happiness" thing early on and took a classical utilitarian approach to the extreme the definition of "success" would be expanding the net happiness of the population because what expands happiness would be conflated with what is "good" from an ideological standpoint. From there this drive to maximize happiness could essentially lead to an America that proselytizes hedonism abroad as a means to expanding human happiness, leading to a Brave New World system where people are actively encouraged to pursue happiness through empty consumption and physical stimulation, but where things that are believed to lead to unhappiness are restricted or suppressed for the greater good.

In Europe meanwhile the debate would remain much more "conventional", at least as far as OTL politics would be concerned, with recognizable progressive and conservative factions differing primarily on the level of state influence over the bloc's economy. After I started the thread I realized making the hypothetical Europe Egoist would have been more interesting ("Self interest is the greatest possible good!") but ultimately decided not to edit it in. Therefore, while factions in Europe would decry the excessive government hand in the American economy, Americans and their allies would criticize Europe on the basis that they as a society are allowing the survival of institutions that limit human happiness, like distinct languages. Therefore, two major superpowers with the same end result (disliking one another) reached through different rhetorical means.
 
The major requirement for such a multipolar Cold War would likely have to be isolation to some degree, to allow each superpower to consolidate itself and coalesce a worldview distinct from its future rivals before reaching out on the world stage to expand its influence. In the case of the US this is fairly easy, as the US can use the Monroe Doctrine to justify keeping other powers away while it experiments with its own systems. As previously mentioned the Qing are another solid choice given the large size; if the Empire or a successor state could modernize and get its legs under it that would allow a potentially swift rise to superpower status, the key being preventing the carving out of spheres of influence by other powers.
 
Not directly pertinent, but this reminds me of a wish I had to see a TL revive some of the minor Chinese philosophies in the 1800s. Specifically, democratic psuedo-socialist Mohist state that mixed in some British utilitarianism.
 
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