So, an utter and bloody stalemate on the India/Pakistan front. Well, at least they haven't gone nuclear yet.
The Great Southern War is directly linked to the three phases of Imperialism: First Phase, the scramble for world colonies that ended with the Scramble for Africa; Second Phase, the period of resistance and decolonization that nevertheless left much of Africa and Asia dependent on their former colonial masters; Third Phase, the Cold War great game that caused the Allies and the Warsaw Pact to basically prop up strongmen and puppet regimes to prevent the other from gaining any further (the Soviets used their communist allies basically as resource hubs, just like the old colonial powers did). Many in Africa and the Middle East see World War III as a wasted conflict in which they were mere cannon fodder for the European powers going after each other. They see the military buildup to fight WWIII and the resulting economic boom as the chance to shirk off imperialism and make the play for great power status (or superpower status for India). The Concordat makes for an obvious foil. Once Bundy began a new policy of isolationism, it was only a matter of time. Think of it as a massive equalizer of economic and political power away from the "First World"One would think that after having nearly started a nuclear world war that everyone would think twice about starting up a conflict.
But no, these regional conflicts are popping up like zits on a teenager.
Loved the history of NASA's space program post WW3. Very interesting! Also excited to see how the Midterms go.A Brief Overview of Space Exploration
History of NASA
While many consider the 60s to be the golden decade of NASA, planetary scientists would argue it was instead the 70s. Without Prometheus taking up the majority of NASA’s budget, unmanned probes that could be sent further from Earth than ever before were given a greater focus. Mariner probes 8 and 9 would become the first spacecraft to orbit Mars in 1971, and with them came the most detailed photographs of the red planet ever seen. In 1971, Mariner 10 would fly by Mercury, becoming the first craft to do so and completing NASA’s goal to visit all inner solar system planets. Exploration of Mars would reach a new peak with the Vinland probe, which would land on Mars itself. Original plans had multiple probes, but in the end, one more advanced craft would be sent instead. The Erikson lander would separate from the orbiter in 1974, and took detailed pictures from the martian surface. Shockingly, the red planet appeared to have dried up streams and riverbeds, sparking conversations about water on earth’s distant cousin, and possibly even microbial life.
However, the mission with the most fanfare of the decade would be NASA’s Grand Tour. The late 70s would give a rare opportunity, with planetary alignments being ideal for sending probes out that could visit multiple outer solar system planets. The project would hit a few snags, including President Wallace using his own influence to remove people he disliked (including public relations manager for the project Carl Sagan) from the project. However, the first probes to pass the asteroid belt would be ready in time for the alignments. Mariner 11 and Mariner 12 would both launch in 1977, and take different paths to the far reaches of space. 11 would fly by Jupiter and Saturn (also passing close to Saturn’s most interesting moon, Titan), and then be sent towards Pluto. 12 would use Jupiter and Saturn as slingshots to reach Uranus and Neptune. Throughout the late 70s and 80s the world would be awed by the images sent back by the two probes, and scientists would mull over the entirely new data.
Another major development during the Wallace era was the Skylab program. After Prometheus landed man on the moon, there was the question of where mankind went next. While many suggested Mars, the technology to achieve such a feat were simply not available in the 70s.
Instead, the goal of crewed exploration would be creating a space station in low earth orbit to perform experiments and to test physical and psychological effects of long term space habitation. Skylab proved to be a massive success, with a first station running with 4 crews throughout 1972 and 1973. Each of these crews would spend 2 months on the space station. A second, improved Skylab station would go up in 1978, and would have 3 crew rotations with 3 months in space each. A massive amount of scientific data would come back from the near constant experiment monitoring on Skylab.
Sadly for Space enthusiasts, Reagan did not share the same love for space exploration as his predecessors, as more pressing matters overseas, and funding for other space related ventures like his famous Star Trek proposal leading to budget cuts. Skylab B would be NASA’s final manned mission to space until the Iaccoca administration. However, NASA continued to train astronauts, many of which would end up going to space on Air Force Space Command rockets to do maintenance on (mostly military) satellites. NASA’s most impressive mission during this time was the Large Space Satellite, which allowed humanity to see further into space than ever before utilizing a massive telescope. Rumsfeld, while running on expanding space programs in 1984, would continue to neglect NASA, instead choosing to expand the Air Force Space Command. Dreams of reaching Mars in the 80s or 90s were long forgotten. During WW3, NASA represented a very small portion of the United States budget, and astronomers had mostly given up hope on ever returning to space by the time Iaccoca revealed his massive new space program.
Achievements of the Soviet Space Program
After landing a Russian on the moon with the Lenin Program, the leadership of the USSR had high goals for space. These included a manned flyby of Venus and beating the Americans to Mars. However, as it became clear that NASA would be scaling back after Prometheus wrapped up, it was decided the Soviet’s could afford to do the same. Despite this, hardliners and reformers within the communist party both agreed space was a good way to improve Soviet prestige on the international scene.
This endeavor included the soviet counterpart to the Skylab, the Almaz space station. Unlike the American’s, who used 2 space stations with multiple crews, the Soviet program would use cheaper space stations, and 4 different ones would be crewed in between 1974 and 1978. While designed as civilian space stations, they secretly had a military focus. As a secondary goal, the program would give preference to cosmonauts from other nations in the communist block. By the time Almaz 5 was retired, at least 1 person from every Soviet republic and every member of the Warsaw Pact would have flown in space. The Soviet Intercosmos program also brought many of its African and South American allies into space, including the first person of Hispanic descent into space, a Brazilian man.
Another big boost for Soviet propaganda would be the continued exploration of Mars. While a manned mission was dropped early on, the dryly named Mars Program of robotic probes would continue. Mars 3 would be a massive success, succeeding in the first soft landing on the red planet. Included was a small rover, attached by a 15 foot cord to the main lander. While merely a tech test, the idea would be used more often in the future. Mars 6 would take the first color pictures of the planet, released to the public with much fanfare.
The Mars Program would be cancelled after the launch of the Mars 8 orbiter, and replaced with the similarly named Phobos Program. Phobos 1 would fail in orbit, but Phobos 2 would succeed in taking up close pictures of the Martian moon, but would fail to land the lander portion of the probe. Despite this, Phobos 2 would be the first up close study of an extra-terrestrial moon.
The 80s would be the golden decade for Soviet space exploration. Fanfare was high for the return of Halley's Comet to Earth in 1986, and it was announced that the USSR would be sending a probe to examine the comet. The Edmund probe would use the gravity of Venus to slingshot past Earth’s sister (after dropping off an atmospheric probe) and visit the body, getting closer to a comet than any probe had before. In a show of international cooperation, American scientists were allowed to assist with deciphering the data that came back from the probe.
Earlier in the decade came the Tsiolkovsky probe, launched in 1982. Originally planned to flyby Jupiter and Saturn, it was decided it would instead be a Jupiter orbiter to better compliment the science already done by Mariner 11. The pictures sent back from Tsiolkovsky would wow the world, and in depth scientific studies of the largest planet were conducted throughout the probes 6 month orbital lifetime. After Edmund came the Vesta probe, which vested several minor asteroids before crashing into the probe’s namesake, the second largest known asteroid.
However, the Soviet Union’s biggest scientific accomplishment would be the Progress space station. Much larger than both Sklab and Almaz, it would be sent up in various sections and then connected modularly. The first crew would go up to the space station in 1986, on the new Groza reusable space shuttle, the first of its kind. They would stay for 5 months, a new record for time spent in space. The station would go through 4 crew rotations before being abandoned due to rising tensions that would eventually lead to WW3. Other planned Soviet space projects cancelled due to the war included missions to Saturn and Ceres.
Iaccoca's Space Doctrine
With Iaccoca elected, Americans had the first President since Wallace who saw space exploration as a worthy use of taxpayer dollars. Iaccoca would work with representative Mike Pence (D-IN) to craft a bill that would increase NASA’s budget greatly. Teaming up with nationalists, pro-science liberals, and those who’s districts or states would gain jobs from a larger NASA, he narrowly managed to push the bill through congress.
The bill also reorganized NASA in order to increase efficiency. A new Joint Committee on Space Science would be created in congress, headed at first by Pence himself. NASA itself would be divided into 3 subdivisions. The first would be the Earth Science division, responsible for maintaining scientific satellites in earth orbit, especially those studying the earth’s climate. However, this section would soon be abolished by President Bundy. It’s duties would be transferred to the Bureau of Oceans, Environments, and Weathers in the Department of the Interior.
The second was the Manned Programs Division. This would consume the majority of NASA’s budget, along with significant funds from the DOD’s Air Force Space Command. The goals for this program were revealed almost immediately. For the next few decades the focus would be established a manned base on the moon’s south pole. President Bundy would expand on this plan, announcing plans for a manned mission to Mars using the moon as a jumping off point. Some Americans, however, criticized the timing of Bundy’s announcement, which came on the heels of a major offensive in the South Asian front of the Great Southern War.
The final subsection would be the Planetary Science Division, responsible for sending unmanned probes throughout the solar system. This decision would be divided into three programs, Small, Large, and Flagship strategic missions. Small Missions, code-named the Justice Program, would launch one probe every year. These probes would be selected from candidates submitted by scientists from all over NASA and selected based on scientific merit and cost. Later, Bundy would change these criteria, giving bonus points to projects that could get a private contractor to build their probe. Large missions in the Liberty Program would have a goal of launching every five years, and would focus on larger probes that have significant scientific benefit and would answer major questions about space. The Flagship missions, grouped into the Freedom Program, would be massive undertakings on the scale of the Grand Tour Program. They would hopefully launch once every decade, though they would be too large and important to maintain a constant schedule.
1998 Midterm Elections, Part 1
David Treen was an odd fit in the Republican Party. He had started his political career as an elector candidate for Orval Faubus of the State's Rights Party in 1964. Since then, he had claimed to be “born again” as a true Christian, and officially denounced his segregationist beliefs. Despite this, he was still one of the most conservative members of the GOP. As a member of the small Goldwaterite wing of the party, his brand of social conservatism, more reminiscent of the democratic party, along with his high support rates within rural farmers and relatively low support rates within the traditional republican voter base, made of African-Americans and suburbans, made him somewhat-unpopular within the state GOP but his success with keeping high support in a staunch democratic state led him to win the primary election unanimously every year. The state branch of the democratic party realized that they have good chance to capture the vulnerable seat because of the unfavorable year for the republicans but they will have to run a candidate that will appeal to the republican voter base strong enough to have the same affect Treen had on the democratic base.
Their first idea was John Breaux, a US representative from the city of Crowley in the south of the state, where most of the French-American population lived. They were sure that Breaux, himself a member of the French-American community will be able to carry the french population with him but unsure that he will succeed to undermine the strength of the GOP base because of his conservatism. Instead, brought in was Democratic strategist and campaign manager to Bill Clinton’s 1988 presidential campaign James Carville. Carville was also a native of south Louisiana so he had high chances of carrying the natives of the region but also a moderate who could appeal to the more educated suburban voters and minorities. Carville was somewhat reluctant to accept the nomination because he never was a politician but after consultation with his former colleague from the Clinton campaign, Paul Begala, and his former boss and political mentor, Bill Clinton, now the chairman of the Arkansas democratic party and an elder statesman, he accepted the nomination.
Carville crisscrossed the state talking to voters. Instead of focusing on the traditional Democrat base of rural whites, with whom Treen was popular, he targeted southern Catholics, conservatives, and even African Americans. Earning the nickname “the Ragin’ Cajun” for his attacks on the status quo, he the Thurmond wing of the Democratic party as well as the GOP. On the issues, he was a reform communonationalist, focusing on issues close to the people of the state, and staying away from contentious social issues. He also was one of the first to focus on what would become a major issue for Louisiana: the changing sea levels affecting the lowland areas of the state.
Louisiana was, for the most part, a blue state, and Carville easily rode to victory in a year that favored Democrats. He received 60 percent of the total vote and a massive (for a Democrat) 40 percent of the African American vote.
Despite never officially joining, James Buckley was nearly a god within the Republican Party. One of the first politicians to embrace liberty conservatism fully, his brother Bill was considered the founder of the movement. Buckley was uncontested for the Republican nomination every time he ran for the Senate, (excluding his initial election where he didn't have the support of the party apparatus). He was the reason conservative Republicans existed at all in New York and New England, the first to challenge the dominant (in the region) “Rockefeller” faction of the party. So, when he announced his retirement, Republicans might not have been surprised, but they were of course saddened by such a loss.
The Republican Party of New York was in an interesting position. While the feud between the Rockefeller and Buckley factions of the party were well known, many prominent party officials, such as George Pataki and Al D'Amato, took a middle line. They and many others would refuse to endorse any candidate for the nomination, the main two being state comptroller John Faso (endorsed by Buckley) and US Representative Susan Molinari (backed by governor David Rockefeller). Molinari, the daughter of former NYC Mayor candidate and Staten Island independence activist Guy Molinari, would shock the media with her narrow win securing the Republican nomination.
The Democratic Nomination was much less contested, with Bill Kristol, the preferred candidate of New York's political machines, facing little opposition. Kristol started his political career as an aide to Secretary of Health and Human Services Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the Wallace administration. Afterwards, he taught political science at Yale and was a key adviser to many Democratic politicians, including Jimmy Griffin, Daniel White, Jimmy Hoffa, Hugh Carey, and James Traficant. He was a passionate communonationalist (his mentor Moynihan was considered one of founders of the ideology), and his campaign focused on a return to the more stable times of Wallace and even Reagan. His somewhat reluctant approval of the former Republican president earned the votes of many hardliner Liberty Conservatives, who despite being Buckley’s biggest supporters were reluctant to support the liberal Molinari. He would win the Conservative Party nomination as well, with Molinari coming in 3rd place.
The Liberal Party meanwhile, had a sleepy primary, nominating state assemblyman and former Lieutenant Governor nominee Chuck Schumer.
The Kristol campaign’s chief strategy was painting Molinari as a left-wing radical who would sell out the troops. This was not exactly the truth: she was a fiscal conservative who supported President Bundy’s privatization initiatives. However, socially she did lean to the left, and she was the chief Republican supporters of CaseyCare, a policy Kristol adamantly opposed. Schumer, meanwhile, was seen as not liberal enough by many “Bernie Bros”, who now made up most of the progressive base in New York. This mostly came from his somewhat hawkish foreign policy positions. Bernie Sanders himself would reluctantly campaign with Schumer throughout New York City at the behest of the national progressive leadership.
Initial predictions saw a Molinari victory. She was the safe candidate and in the middle compared to the right wing Kristol and the left wing Schumer. At the end of election night, it was clear it was Kristol who had taken home a narrow victory instead, even as Governor Rockefeller won reelection. Many attributed this to Schumer’s larger than expected vote share (he narrowly reached 15 percent). This would lead to the state Republican and Liberal parties discussing a possible unofficial coalition to get preferable candidates elected and avoid vote splitting.
Despite her narrow loss, New York City hadn’t seen the last of Susan Molinari, or her father. Bill Kristol on the other hand became a leading member of a new group of internationalist communonationalists in the senate who would be a bugaboo for the more pacifist Republican and Progressives.
Senator Wes Watkins had positioned himself as President Bundy’s key ally in the Democratic caucus, nicknamed by the media as the leader of an informal group which they called “Bundy Democrats”. An ardent communonationalist, he pushed through Bundy’s agenda on drugs and crime, but disagreed with the President’s foreign policy enough to stay in the Democratic party. He also represented one of the most politically fascinating states of the 90s: Oklahoma had six house seats, and in the 105th congress, the Democrats, Republicans, and Progressives each controlled two. The progressives, however, had yet to win a statewide race, something which Ross Perot and Dick Lamm (both representing other plains states) were determined to change.
With Wilma Mankiller considered to radical for the state, the nomination was given to Oklahoma’s other Progressive representative, James Boren . Boren had started his political career as campaign managed for liberal Democratic Senator Ralph Yarborough. He later served in the state department under President Kennedy. He was one of many upset with the Democrat’s turn towards communonationalism, and ended up working on the McCarthy campaign in 1968. He began teaching at Northeastern State University (a college with a high population of Native Americans) and in 1992 he was elected representative. Ten years later, he would be going up against Watkins and Republican state Attorney General Frank Keating.
The DNC was disappointed with Watkins’s working with Bundy, and the RNC actually preferred Watkin’s ability to gain Democratic votes for their causes as opposed to a consistent vote in Keating. This meant Boren, who had his parties enthusiastic support, started off with a funding advantage. It would nonetheless be an uphill battle for the state progressive party, as they were going up with a moderately popular incumbent senator.
Boren would immediately begin to double down on his appeal with the progressive base: Native Americans and urban liberals (a small but not insignificant group in Oklahoma). His former position at NSU meant he was massively popular with natives. Perot and the progressives strategists knew these demographics alone would not win them the seat. Boren also focused on farmers, however, many were willing and happy to vote for Watkins. He also campaigned on his position as an outsider, criticising Washington for being too far away from ordinary Oklahomans.
It seemed despite Boren’s tireless campaigning Watkins would narrowly win another term. However, a major October surprise would change the race. A major drug distribution ring near Oklahoma City had gotten word of a federal task force made up of members from several organizations, and kidnapped 23 hostages from a suburban neighborhood, including 5 children. During a breach attempt to save the hostages, FBI agent and WW3 veteran Timothy McVeigh prematurely fired his weapon, leading to 8 hostages being killed by federal agents. 3 of them were children under the age of 10. Boren used this as a rallying cry, both against Bundy’s drug policies and federal involvement in what should have been, according to progressives, a matter handled by local and state police. The tragedy would lead to a narrow Boren victory.
Pennsylvania had gone through a radical political transformation in the past 50 years. Being mostly Republican in the era of the new deal, the state had became tinted blue by 1998 thanks to the efforts of Rick Santorum, Lynn Yeakel, Harris Wofford, and Bob Casey (and the state progressive party, popular with Philadelphia blacks, formerly a key republican voting group). However, when the sickly Bob Casey announced his retirement, the GOP immediately saw an opportunity for a pickup in a state Bundy won in 96. The preferred Republican candidate was former governor John Heinz, but he declined to run. Initially, it was thought this was due to him hoping for a cabinet position in Bundy’s hypothetical second term. While this may have been true, it is now widely accepted that he stepped aside due to the higher ambitions of the candidate he recommended to the GOP instead: his own wife.
Hillary Rodham Heinz was a moderate Republican like her husband, acceptable to both the Rockefeller Republicans and Bundy’s own emerging coalition of Republicans. She also wasn’t new to the political world. A lifelong Republican, she was a legal council to the state GOP while her husband was a representative, and served as state party chair simultaneously as first lady. More recently, she served in the Bundy administration as Legal Advisor to the Secretary of State. Hillary, long a public figure in the state due to her marriage, had instant name recognition and easily won the Republican nomination.
The democratic primary was less sleepy. There had long been a divide in the state party between Kennedy Liberals (Wofford, Yeakel), and more conservative whole-life types (Bob Casey, Rick Santorum). In the end it would be the latter that won out, with former Santorum aide and activist Peg Luksik narrowly clinching the nomination. Meanwhile, the progressives would nominate state senator Darcy Richardson.
From the beginning of the race, it was clear Heinz didn’t have much competition. She was a likeable and charismatic (if overly polished) campaigner going up against what many saw as sub-par candidates. Luksik was far to the right, even compared to Santorum and Casey, and her focus on social conservatism scared many Wofford democrats into voting for Hillary. Meanwhile, Richardson came off as too radical for many, and he failed to appeal to African American voters. HRH would prove the GOP was still a force in Pennsylvania politics.
What if NDCR is the sane timeline and we are in the crazy TL? hmm....
On the same theme, would people from NDCR think OTL was ASB? e.g. NATO staying around after the PEACEFUL FALL OF THE USSR? But that goes against all realist IR theory!
THE SOVIET UNION WOULD LET ITSELF PEACEFULLY FALL APART! THAT'S WITCHCRAFT I TELLS YAH[/QUOTE]What if NDCR is the sane timeline and we are in the crazy TL? hmm....
On the same theme, would people from NDCR think OTL was ASB? e.g. NATO staying around after the PEACEFUL FALL OF THE USSR? But that goes against all realist IR theory!