You're At The Party
I know that this isn't one of the WIPs on my WIP list
, but I can explain, I promise. I actually made this map a few months ago, proceeded to forget that I'd finished it, and didn't remember until recently when I accidentally opened the file and thought, "Wait, I never actually uploaded this, did I?" Anyway, enjoy the map and scenario.
I'm sure most of you have probably seen that "What if the largest countries had the highest populations?" map
by now. I thought it was amusing, even if it was full of errors, so I decided to make a scenario based off of it. I chalked up all the inaccuracies to the alien space bat responsible for it being drunk at the time of the ISOT. Yes, the name is a Lemon Demon reference.
On a bright summer day in 2019, a friendly neighborhood alien space bat ventured by a small planet called Earth. Thinking it unjust that the countries with the most population didn't have the most amount of land, and vice versa, they swapped the territories of the countries around to make it that way, apparently not getting that some parts of the planet weren't as fertile as others. The ASB was courteous enough to briefly send a worldwide telepathic message to tell everyone what had happened just so they didn't get too disoriented, but they left before anybody could tell them that they were actually fine with the places their countries were before, thank you very much, and could they please put everything back to how it was supposed to be?
It's been thirty-three years since the Event now, and as should be obvious, everything has changed drastically. The map has changed dramatically, every continent is populated by entirely different ethnic groups, and the world is now in the middle of a Second Cold War between two blocs, one led by China and the other by a coalition of nationalist states from throughout the global south.
Of the two, the Chinese bloc is more powerful, if for no other reason than because it has a strong central nation that controls the rest of its bloc: the People's Republic of China. Finding its population of over a billion crammed into the territory of Russia post-Event, the Chinese were well aware that they wouldn't survive like this, even with Hong Kong taking up all of former North Korea. Thus, China's leadership pulled up maps of its new neighbors by agricultural potential and military strength, and shortly afterwards, they started a massive military campaign into eastern Europe and the Caucasus to gain lebensraum for China. The newly-acquired Chinese territories still weren't enough, however, so China prepared to invade the territory it had been in before the Event, which was now under the control of Indonesia, and as Indonesia was already in the process of collapsing, that made it all the easier. However, while China was able to seize control of the coast, Indonesian resistance continued in the interior, and looming international sanctions forced China to take what it had and let the rest of Indonesia go. Even before the Indonesian war was over, China was already moving people into its newly-occupied territories in the west, as well as forcing the nations it had drawn into its sphere to take in certain amounts of Chinese citizens to help with the overpopulation issue. The original inhabitants of China's new territories were either forced to flee, killed, or made to live as second-class citizens. China is unashamed of what it has done: yes, it's a shame about all the people who had to be moved, but if they weren't, then China would have collapsed and billions would have died. Still, the modern Chinese state is built on ethnic cleansing and genocide, and there's no way around the ugly truth. China's economy has since recovered, even if its former market has significantly shrunk as more and more countries turned against it, and the bloated, polluted Chinese megacities are like a scene out of a dystopian cyberpunk movie. A social credit system has been implemented, the Chinese surveillance state has expanded to horrifying levels, and it's completely cut off outside internet access, instead having a separate, isolated, heavily-monitored Chinese internet. While China never officially dropped its communist symbolism, as Chinese hypercapitalism and imperialism grew to dominate its corner of the world and technocratic elements were integrated into the government, it became more clear than ever that it's only communist in name. Beijing doesn't even bother trying to deny it anymore, now calling its system "capitalism with Chinese characteristics."
Most of China's allies are similar to it in that they found themselves in bad positions and turned to ethnic cleansing to gain more land. Vietnam was in an even worse position than China, finding itself in Greenland, and though it invaded Nicaragua and Vanuatu, the territory of Iceland and the Faroe Islands wasn't anywhere near enough to support the Vietnamese population, so Vietnam proceeded to invade Tunisia, which had found itself in the territory of the United Kingdom.  Tunisia was defeated and forced into a rump state along the southern coast, with Vietnam seizing most of its territory, and Tonga was also invaded and annexed afterwards. Now, Iceland, Scotland, Wales, and northern England are all majority-Vietnamese, as the bulk of the Vietnamese population was moved out into its new "colonies" in the first decade post-Event. Nicaraguans, Vanuatuans, Tongans, and Tunisians aren't officially discriminated against, but they're still treated like second-class citizens. Though Vietnam had been closer to America pre-Event, the United States turned against it for its actions, so Vietnam renewed its alliance with China. Russia, too, engaged in ethnic cleansing: finding itself confined to Kazakhstan, it invaded Sri Lanka and Syria, and later western Indonesia, and forced Serbia, Bulgaria, and Peru to take in Russian settlers even though they were already struggling with similar problems. Putin was replaced with another autocrat after he died in 2032, and Russia is still just as much a dictatorship as it's always been. Though Russia was initially a little scared of China, after the fall of Indonesia, Russia aligned with China as well. While Iran and Pakistan didn't engage in as much invasion of other countries or ethnic cleansing as the other countries in the Chinese bloc, they aren't guilt-free: Iran invaded Tanzania, knowing that Libya's land wouldn't be enough to support its population, while Pakistan invaded Cote D'Ivoire and Egypt. Iran is perhaps the best place to live in the Chinese bloc (though it's not that great compared to the rest of the world), as it ended up reforming towards secularism (albeit just-as-dictatorial secularism) and is the best place in northern Africa for transgender rights.  Pakistan, on the other hand, is still rather similar to how it was pre-Event, and its new position with a continent all to itself has done wonders for national confidence.
The nationalists, on the other hand, are a rather more varied bunch. From fully-democratic states to one-party states, you've got pretty much the entire spectrum across the nationalists, as well as varied degrees of political and social repression. However, most of the nationalists do agree on one thing: it doesn't matter what your race, religion, gender, or sexuality is, as long as you speak the language of the country you live in, don't follow the "wrong" cultural traditions, and oppose the Chinese. As the most powerful of the nationalists, Brazil is the de facto leader, partially due to its size and partially because it stayed in the same place and didn't have to deal with the struggles of adjusting to a new geographic location. Though initially Brazil was a mere regional power, taking advantage of the situation in South America to establish itself once more as the dominant state in South America, as the Second Cold War took form, Brazil was thrust into the role of the nationalist bloc's leader. Now, it's regarded as a global superpower due to its influence around the world, and as the other major nationalist states are just regional powers, it's often seen as the face of the nationalists. Brazil has evolved a bit, purging government corruption (though there's still quite a bit remaining) and becoming more democratic, and it now has sizable Angolan and Nigerian, and less so French and Ukrainian, minorities, with elements of the various languages making their way into the Brazilian dialect of Portuguese. Brazilian society and culture are still rather similar, however, save for being slightly more socially liberal. The other nationalists vary wildly, with Britain and Germany being somewhat liberal democratic states (Germany more so than Britain), Australia being a nationalistic dominant-party state, and Japan having become a de facto one-party state. Economic policy tends to vary between the nationalist states, though most of them are at least somewhat protectionist.
While the Chinese bloc and the nationalists are the most powerful, the Filipino-Korean-Taiwanese alliance is more of a regional bloc that dominates southern Africa and Indochina. The Philippines were relocated to the Congo and took advantage of its new position to establish itself as a regional power, jointly intervening in Afghanistan with Japan not long after the Event and taking some land from Burkina Faso. A series of successful reforms about a decade post-Event saw the Philippines become more democratic (think OTL Poland) as it expanded its influence to become a major regional power in central Africa. The two Koreas, meanwhile, found themselves in Botswana and South Africa respectively, and South Korea and friends were quick to take out North Korea while China was preoccupied with expansion into Europe. The process of reintegration was long and difficult, but ultimately successful, and it paid off. Nowadays, Korea is a tech giant in Africa with an economic foothold on almost every continent, and it was one of the countries that actually did a lot better in the post-Event period. The last member, Taiwan, found itself in Thailand after the Event and ended up a regional power in Indochina more by accident than anything else. Though the three countries don't have a lot in common, they do agree that the Second Cold War is bad and they want nothing to do with it, though there have been counterculture movements in all three states in favor of joining the nationalists.
The Second Cold War has a conspicuous lack of American interference, which is mainly because the United States was weakened by the Event and chose to sit the new cold war out. This was not due to it moving locations, however- America stayed in the same place- but rather due to its new neighbor. In the aftermath of the Event, India found itself displaced to Canada and began falling apart quickly, as Canada's land was simply incapable of supporting a population of over a billion. President Trump refused to let in any more than a small percentage of India's population, and while his successor, President Warren, let in more refugees, it still wasn't anywhere near enough to prevent catastrophe. The end result was that India went into total meltdown, a large amount of the population fled south or east, and a rickety unaligned junta eventually took power (though not after a few provinces, such as Kashmir, broke away). Nowadays, Indian refugees can be found as far south as Brazil and France and as far east as Malaysia and Kazakhstan.  Ultimately, millions upon millions of Indian refugees flooded into the United States and ended up becoming a majority across the northern part of the nation, and the face of America was altered forever. The economic strain of dealing with over a hundred million Indian refugees now living across the country was too much for the United States to handle while also maintaining its global superpower status, and eventually America stepped down from the global stage and retreated into North American affairs. The Indian refugees in America ended up influencing American politics to the point that a three-party system developed as the mostly-centrist but somewhat Hindu nationalist National Union party formed. Isolationist sympathies tended to prevail as the Second Cold War took shape, as the general consensus was that both sides were bad, and it ended up sticking. Though the United States has completely pulled itself back together for over a decade by now, it's still sticking to being a regional power in the Americas, with its only major allies being Ethiopia and France. Bangladesh has been a neutral power as well ever since it ducked out of the Chinese bloc, as has South Africa, but neither of them are aligned with America.
The ramifications of the Event are still a subject of fierce contention among the people of this world. While the ASB that caused the Event made it clear in their telepathic message that they weren't any kind of deity and reminded everyone that any sufficiently-advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic and all that, there are still some who insist that the ASB was their god and merely claimed not to be as a test of their faithfulness. There are others who have just turned to worshipping the ASB, figuring that maybe it'd put the countries back where they were supposed to be if they prayed to it enough, and there are several conflicting Churches of the Alien Space Bat around the world with millions of members. The more scientifically-inclined believe that it was a test of mankind's ability to work together and cooperate with each other, a thinly-veiled attempt to wipe out humanity, or that the ASB really did cause the Event just for the reason they said they did- so that every country on the planet would have land area in proportion to its population.  There may never be an answer, as the ASB hasn't returned to check on them in thirty-three years. Maybe it never will.
Technology has advanced, though not as much as it might have if there were no Event. Much of the advancement has been towards things that were required for survival in the various nations' new positions, as many were in drastically different climates than they were used to: for instance, the European nations that were displaced into northern Africa and the Middle East quickly developed more advanced air conditioning. Green energy also took off, as it was the only 100% reliable source of power that everybody had access to, what with different nations being in charge of the oil and natural gas supplies now. Advanced greenhouses were quickly developed in the farther-north nations, and several new strains of crops were engineered as a matter of necessity due to the altered climates that almost everyone had been thrown into. While most other technology didn't necessarily change much, it has become more durable- for instance, the cell phones of 2052 might not look much different than that of 2019, but they're faster, have several times the amount of memory and battery, and would survive falling off the roof of an average suburban house.  Technology is also rather better distributed, what with all the countries being drastically shifted around.
The Second Cold War has been ongoing for over two decades, and it doesn't look as if it'll be letting up any time soon. However, a new element may soon be introduced into it: in the United States, the Progressive Party, headed by charismatic Pennsylvania senator Finley Conroy, is growing in popularity as the 2052 elections approach due to more and more American voters growing disillusioned with the Democrats, Republicans, and National Unionists. Popular opinion is slowly turning against isolationism, and Senator Conroy has taken advantage of this to tack it onto the preexisting Progressive agenda and put forth a new idea: instead of joining the Chinese or the nationalists, America will join the Filipino-Korean-Taiwanese alliance and turn it into a major non-aligned bloc. While it is certainly an ambitious plan, it could work. The only question is whether Conroy is the right man for the job, as some fear his plans to be far too ambitious, there are concerns that his proposed domestic policies may damage the American economy, and the farther-right elements of both the National Unionists and the Republicans have attacked him for his bisexuality. Nevertheless, it seems that Conroy has a decent shot at the presidency, and if he does succeed, then history will be drastically altered.
 Ireland was considered, but Vietnam didn't want to risk provoking America.
 Gay rights are still out of the question, unfortunately.
 France is in Peru, Malaysia is in France, and Kazakhstan is in Germany, so the range of Indian refugees isn't quite as far as it sounds.
 Of course, the fact that several nations were excluded and several non-nations were included is the subject of fierce debate among many. Nobody's seriously considered the actual answer- that the ASB was a little drunk at the time- yet.
 Not many people would actually put their phones on the roof for whatever reason, but that was the example everyone kept using in commercials.