New Deal Coalition Retained III: A New World

So what kind of government does the Timurid Empire have?

Is it a Yugoslav style federation built on absolute rule?

How do Central Asians feel about celebrating a genocidal monster?
The Timurid Empire is a confederation of many central Asian nations, which vary from absolute monarchies to republics. For the most part, the subdivisions are allowed self governance, but foreign and military Affairs are handled entirely by the national government and the head of state does have a rarely-used veto on internal affairs.

Their is also a middle tier of government, roughly equivalent to the old SSRs. These are run by Mirzas, a term that roughly translates to governor but isn't a similar position, and is closer to US senator. The Mirzas form the national parliament and elect a chancellor, as well as appoint an Emir from the local nobility at the death of the previous Emir. Officially, each Mirza is devided into Oblasts which form the local government, but these rarely exercise much power. Instead, local government is de facto run by traditional monarchs and governments organized during the war of independence.

To sum it up, the Timurid Empire is sort of a cross between traditional tribal federation and a Republican dictatorship.
 
The Timurid Empire is a confederation of many central Asian nations, which vary from absolute monarchies to republics. For the most part, the subdivisions are allowed self governance, but foreign and military Affairs are handled entirely by the national government and the head of state does have a rarely-used veto on internal affairs.

Their is also a middle tier of government, roughly equivalent to the old SSRs. These are run by Mirzas, a term that roughly translates to governor but isn't a similar position, and is closer to US senator. The Mirzas form the national parliament and elect a chancellor, as well as appoint an Emir from the local nobility at the death of the previous Emir. Officially, each Mirza is devided into Oblasts which form the local government, but these rarely exercise much power. Instead, local government is de facto run by traditional monarchs and governments organized during the war of independence.

To sum it up, the Timurid Empire is sort of a cross between traditional tribal federation and a Republican dictatorship.
Whatever it is, it doesn't seem particularly stable.
 
Has a James Bond film about WWIII been made? Also, one featuring the GSW would be interesting.
And, regarding US pop culture, I would like to see featured the Mission Impossible series and a Saving Private Ryan-WWIII equivalent.
 
Does Fresh Prince of Bel-Air get made still because that another great 90's show.

Also when it comes to cartoons in the US, does Spongebob still gets made by Hillenburg?
 
We are doing a US Popular Culture Update. Anything you guys want covered?
The state of the comic book industry would be of interest to me. All of DC's war comics were cancelled by the late 80s OTL, but the breakout of WWIII would likely give characters like Sgt. Rock and Blackhawks new life. I also made some write-ups on the superhero films of TTL in NDCR II, but unfortunately never completed them.
 
The Quiet Years: Pop Culture in America around the Turn of the 21st Century

[A/N: Probably one of the longest updates yet, 5000 words lol. I wasn’t able to get all of the requests into the update itself (we will also have a short bit on American Literature to follow this up that isn’t done yet), though I’ll answer some questions here with some brevity. A version of Saving Private Ryan for WW3 exists, about Marco Rubio’s service in the conflict. There’s another war movie about the Battle of Moscow starring Tom Cruise, this is in the last Pop Culture update IIRC. X-Files--Exists but is currently in Development Hell atm. SpongeBob exists TTL (and is mentioned later in the update in passing), though the Fresh Prince of Bel-Airsn’t. Will Smith finds mainstream success as a kid-friendly rapper beforehand. Rappers like him dominate the charts, a very sanitized feel. The underground is still like OTL’s stuff though, though groups like NWA or even Tupac aren’t household names. As for consoles, honestly, I don’t know enough for an educated opinion on that. DM me if you have ideas or want to write a guest update on this so that it keeps in-continuity with computer tech in general. @Pyro , if you want to make an update on the status of comic books up to now, that’s fine by me. I haven’t had much planned.]


Keeping the Peace: How the Golden Age of American Service Came to Be
America’s short honeymoon with internationalist, end-of-history type thinking ended with the beginning of the Great Southern War, and the realization that the world wouldn’t simply peacefully transition to liberal democracy. The world was, evidently, not done with large wars spanning entire continents. The election of Bundy over the backdrop of escalating tensions abroad and a craving for order showed this sea change in the public’s attitude about dealing with the world. They had now leaned towards isolationist tendencies, specifically what was termed “Coodlidgean isolationism.” (This being a nickname for Bundy’s policy of interacting mostly with America’s closest allies in the Anglosphere, Pacific, and, to a lesser extent, in Latin America.) Abroad, the near-constant warfare post-WWIII led many Americans to reject that fleeting moment of liberal internationalism. Meanwhile, the rise in drug use, especially amongst the young and wealthy demographic stereotypically perceived to align with optimistic internationalism, lead to fears that the American people would be dragged into yet another war. Despite that, for most Americans, the Great Southern War, despite being a major, continent-spanning war, was not on their minds. Public interest dropped off with the surrender of Argentina and “peace” on the continent. This type of thinking was encouraged by the administration and the Progressive Party, though for completely different ideological reasons.


On domestic issues, however, the public stayed optimistic towards the future. This was no more obvious than in popular culture, and the fact that a select few primetime, family-friendly shows like Friends and Cheers were almost universally popular among the public. Some regular episodes surpassed ten million viewers upon their premiere date. Although, in the field of sports, Americans stayed more divided than ever, splitting along certain base groups. This led some to predict that this would intensify into a growing culture war on all fronts, though this was dismissed as bombastic rhetoric.


Americans as a whole were also continuing an ongoing trend of increasing church attendance, but what made the 90’s different was that Americans started getting involved outside of church too. While the Second Great Revival had filled the pews, many faith leaders were frustrated that it occurred as the world was descending into chaos and violence. Sure the pews were full, but had any souls been saved? Had Christ’s mission been realized?


Bundy, in a discussion with faith leaders, recommended that “charity focused on helping the needs of our neighbor or the elderly down the street, rather than virtue-signaling charity balls for such organizations as Children in Chechnya or Boys in Brazil.” Several leaders from across major denominations convened to create the “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program. It would be a network of Christian Charities that focused on guiding people to help their immediate community through food banks, education programs, mentorships, even simple music events for the elderly. Headed by the leadership team that had created the enormously successful Wounded Fathers Organization, it proved a smashing success synonymous with the “gentle turn” of the century. What made the NHN successful was its focus on local problems and its flexibility in service, attracting many who felt that charity work would be too time-demanding or not incorporate their talents. The service would be popular among billionaires, who often donated to charitable causes through them. Bundy remarked, “You know, some of these people are some of the most giving people I’ve ever met. Like this guy I know, Epstein. You could probably ask him. He’d say ‘Ted Bundy has been the best person for me in a while.’ And it’d be true.” The Bundy administration promoted the initiative, urging Americans to give back through local initiatives. NHN would famously highlight the most creative programs created by regular municipal managers, though its biggest recruiting success would come through churches. Billy Graham and Bishop O’Leary would make “basic, unassuming, and uncelebrated charity” a fundamental message in Sunday Sermons. The economic boom of the 90’s meant that more Americans had more discretionary income, and more to donate for charitable giving. All of this helped paint a picture of the period as a sort of subdued happiness.


Despite this, other threats to peace existed than those outside the country. The class divisions and southern roots found in the “new wave” of drug crime led to anger from the wealthy, so-called prep culture. But Bundy’s brutal “shock and awe” campaign left a marked decrease of criticism of his presidency from intelligentsia or from “Drunk wine moms with kids in Prep Schools” (NY Post). One of the more worrisome trends of this period, reflected in this reality, was that with a lack of cultural opposition, there was a sort of “why poke the wasp’s nest” attitude towards criticism of institutions. Since the 1950s, faith in institutions hadn’t been this high, thanks to the Left-wing Revolutions of the 1960s and the rise of Liberty Conservatism in the 70's. However, as pointed out by Fukuyama in the New Yorker, “this faith is turning into worship, and when the idols fail, I don’t want to think about what happens next. It will be ugly”.


Bundy also kept a tight lid on Labor Unions, Iacocca's problems after the disaster of 1994 still fresh in his mind. Some politicians with suspected Mob ties were attacked heavily, which, while initially obstructive, would have the long-term effect of renewing faith in public institutions. Moreover, many small strikes were stopped before they could begin, with the main union organizers receiving threatening phone calls and surprise visits from law enforcement for possible illicit activities. While these secret tactics were rather extreme, Bundy had been known for such tactics although he publicly denied them. He had become infamous in 1994 for his efforts to break a teacher’s union strike followed by a successful right-to-work push for all employees, public and private. However, he also used a stick-and-carrot approach, by not attacking Democratic Tariff policy directly. Moreover, he had yet to sign a trade deal that would lead to major outsourcing of unionized jobs, (although such a deal with Vietnam potentially could have done so). Bundy was also helped by big businesses acquiescing to more demands than usual, as they didn’t want to miss out on the good times to be had especially considering they could look across the Atlantic to see very real economic misery. To the average American, Bundy seemed strong, even ham-fisted, but fair, and the fact that America was having some of its best times of the century seemed to prove it.


Art/Music

While the US may have tried keeping itself from international politics, popular Music also continued to draw from outside influences. Having recently been shaken by the arrests of Iggy Pop, and Jimmy Page, among others, for sexual assault, it needed fresh blood, beyond the music scene of the past. It came in the form of yet another British invasion, this in the form of music called Jangle. Mixing pop and (often Celtic) rock with its own twangy sound, it proved a hit with American audiences. Boy bands like The Smiths and Love Minus Zero (The latter actually an Australian band like many members of this “British” invasion), took the nation by storm.


American bands inspired by the style, like R.E.M., caught up to this trend, adding their own take to the ongoing trend of the ’90s. They would be one of the most famous bands to come from this wave. Too Many other garage bands with this style of sound would be discovered, mostly from the Seattle area.


A song from one of the more famous bands of the wave



Another genre of rock which began gaining in popularity was that of Shock Rock. Shock Rock was a genre of music focused on stories, usually descriptions of obscene things or events. Such artists were focused on what they saw as the glorification of violence by the media and mocked many aspects of pop culture. One such artist, Marilyn Bianchi [A/N: Manson isn’t as well known TTL besides a failed assassination attempt on MLK], was able to break out into the mainstream. Inspired partially by lesser-known bands like the Grateful Dead, this genre of music would take on an almost retro style, parodying nostalgic views of the past. It was the music of choice for rebellious teens. Many in the Moral Majority panicked, seeing such music as turning children to Satan. The president, one to be concerned with the morality of the youth, would denounce such music. “This music is teaching our nation’s youth that violence is good. I had the displeasure of listening to one of these albums. They may claim it is social commentary but these...detailed descriptions of such graphic events...are just sickening.”


Promotional video for one such band, which modeled its style after 1960’s boy-bands

"I've Only Seen a Cop on TV: The Contrast between the Rise of TV Crime and the Decrease in Real-Life Crime

With the ’90s came to a slow decrease in popularity for superhero movies. To fill in the void, stories with more “down to earth” stories of good vs. evil gained in popularity. During this time, Hawaii Five-0 became a major franchise again, with its own reboot, a spinoff focusing on a student at the academy working in Puerto Rico, and a movie that ended the phenomenon’s run. The irony came from the fact that of the Silver Screen, crime had died down significantly, especially in Urban Areas. Many credited the dominance of 5-0 over its more gritty failed challengers to this reality.




"The less America sees Cops in their daily lives, the more they want to see them on TV". 5-0 Producer....


The Second Blitz brought destruction to many urban centers in the United States. In poorer areas, they were only replaced with what some called Rumsfeldvilles and Iacoccatowns. Unlike their Great Depression-era namesake, however, these neighborhoods were oftentimes better than the older, dilapidated buildings many urban poor lived in. To be fair, Wallace’s GMI program (which replaced the previous “Alphabet Soup” of welfare programs) had created a level of variety in many poorer neighborhoods. Some had invested already in small houses from which they could compound their family’s wealth upon while others squandered the money on various vices. The main trend, however, that had kept many urban neighborhoods, (though not their past denizens), poor was that many chose to use their income and GMI supplements to simply move away from their neighborhoods, rather than try to rebuild them. (This was especially true in Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona.) Those that could leave town, did so, and never looked back. This helped lift poor individuals and families out of poverty but kept the neighborhoods themselves poor. Those that were left in the ancestrally poor zones were either unemployed, drug addicts, or were criminals, with a smattering of the unfortunate members of the community who either didn’t want to leave their old homes or couldn’t. Crime, especially violent and organized crime, increased in these areas, regardless of outside trends. Many formerly vibrant, if poorer, neighborhoods were afflicted. One police officer interviewed on NBC put it best:

“The good news is that everyone in my family has left Riverside, the bad news is that I’m still needed here because new types of scum, like these damn Redneck Sassafras-pushing sons’O’bitches, move in.”


In contrast to this trend, one ex-factory worker, also from LA, now a floor manager in a Charleston suburb, was grateful for the economic circumstances of the time. Speaking around the same time as the interview of a police officer on NBC, he told CBS:


“I saved up for years my paycheck and the Gov.t money...I ate nothing but chicken gizzards and rice...and I finally have a house now...of my own, or at least in fifteen years I do...and my baby girl can maybe go to College nearby at the CoC [College of Charleston] while commuting... I never dreamed of this...You’re seriously asking me if I miss the hood back in Cali? What a clown question man...you ever been knocked unconscious for a Big Mac? Have you seen one of your friends OD while you were in High School? If you that were true, you wouldn’t bother asking such a clown question like that, I guarantee it…”


Thanks to a variety of factors including GMI, (whose effects were beginning to be shown in force), increased new job opportunities through entrepreneurship, (supply chain costs kept many industrial jobs stable, though new technologies led to numerous new business/job opportunities), and cheaper transportation, personal mobility continued to increase. Upward mobility across all class and racial lines, skyrocketed in the 1970s and continued to soar throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Soon, this would be the bane of areas such as Orange County as jobs left, and the friend of boomtowns like Charleston as they came in.


In contrast, while the new Rumsfeldvilles were modest in vision, they were clean, neat, and safe. In a change from previous housing policies that led public housing to be concentrated with single, young men, these developments favored couples moving in together, and these developments were interspersed throughout cities, instead of crowding the poor together in one spot. While income inequality existed [A/N: Not to the Degree of OTL due to strong industrial base] to a degree, inequality in net family worth decreased post-war. In particular, while African-Americans had been securing economic gains far before WWIII, many at the time would credit these new projects, along with a booming economy and an increase in social mobility for this success. This was especially true with blows to both redlining and de-facto segregation, though some areas were too far gone. When coupled with Bundy’s Vice-President, the war against both drug-peddling racists and symbols of the Confederacy, African-Americans felt that they wielded real political as well as an economic power. Meanwhile, lower middle class “white ethnics” and rural Americans felt comfortable with Bundy, at least as far as Republicans go, thanks to his Populist Streak and fierce rivalry with Governor Rockefeller during the election season. In rural areas, demand for American food remained high as the rest of the world struggled to rebuild their agricultural economies post-WWIII. The abject white poor still were lukewarm to Bundy, but that was to be expected. Moreover, the mentally unstable were treated by AmCare, as Iacocca had fought to crush the rise in PTSD before it could cause major damage, (although Bundy took the credit for the fruits of this program). And for the truly violent, opportunities abound abroad. Many Americans were among the ranks of soldiers fighting for pay along the African fronts. And divorce, while still socially undesirable, was there for those escaping hellish marriages.


As a result of this myriad of factors, the emotional and economic incentives for crime and violence in the Bundy Era were simply far less strong than in other times before or after.

Starship Troopers

One late-90’s phenomenon that few saw coming was Starship Troopers. The moralizing, tough-minded, and explosion-packed action-science fiction saga would meet America's cries for a more orderly and just world amidst the chaos abroad. The films took the risk of focusing heavily on the source material which many thoughts were nearly impossible to adapt into fiction, It added in its own unique style, with innovative special effects, camera angles, and intentionally hammy acting. The special effects coordinator was a veteran of Wakaliwood and insisted on having the actors do their own stunts. It helped sell the story as more real than others of the genre.


The 1st film, directed by Alfonso Cuaron, became a sleeper hit and managed to become popular with both audiences and critics. The second film of the franchise, also directed by Cuaron, met similar levels of popularity. Both movies deal with how the main characters start preparations towards an invasion of the home planet of the Bug villains of the first movie, Klendathu, before a Bug attack destroys their base at Manila, forcing Rico and his friends to fight them back on home soil. Striking the balance between cheesiness and visceral emotion, it found itself a hit with critics too. It won an Oscar for Best Actor and a nomination for Best Picture. The third film, directed by one Orson Card, showing the invasion of Klendathu itself, received mixed reviews for its portrayal of the Terran government and Rico himself, which some saw as expies for Freyism. Contrary to their depiction in the original source material and the previous movies, the Bugs turn out to have only invaded Earth because of a misunderstanding. Before an attempted genocide on their species by the humans, the “Bug Queen” trusts Rico to plant a seed to rebuild their civilization, to live in harmony with humanity. This angered many fans of the series as against what the series and original source material had been building up to. Despite that, it set the stage for another fandom to pop up for its next adaptation.




It seemed America did want to know more...


The TV rights for the series were loaned to Japan for the creation of an Anime Franchise set in a different timeline and continuity. There, the source material was more loosely interpreted than the film, with various Freyist themes of group redemption, doing good for the country, and rallying in the face of potential danger, even if it was too late to take on a larger part of the story. Many moral crusaders would deplore what they saw as the unquestioning trust in authority that the show instilled in viewers, saying this was “simply un-American...we are a nation based on holding our leader’s feet to the fire, not worshipping them”, the irony , of‌ ‌course, is that may Americans could very well be described as unquestioning. This was in part because Anime, especially abroad, was linked to a small but stable Freyist counter-culture. This subculture promoted a greater integration with “the fallen people of the world: the war-stricken, the impoverished, and the oppressed, to learn from their strengths while eliminating their weaknesses. Some, crossing Frey’s message with the Green-influenced vision of the Current Chancellor of Germany, took up gardening to obsessive levels, trying to “modernize the ancient art” by breeding different types of hybrid plants and trying to live off their own land (St. Louis Bugle).


Many also focused on the pseudo-deification of monarchical figures in those nations which lacked them. Conventions of American Freyists, most often simply Starship Troopers’ conventions often outgrew the traditional dress-up competitions of Starship Troopers starship characters to include Best King/Queen of America Beauty Pageants/Competitions, something that greatly irritated fans of the original book and the films’ marketing team, but lampooned to America’s delight on Cheers and Five-O. American Freyists, evidently, found their John Galt in Johnny Rico. Most attendees of such conventions followed the Berlin School of Freyism, which advocated for a single person to act as the embodiment of the values of the nation. Most often this would be a monarch, though only Germany and Japan would follow this school. The Virginia School, the most common school in America, and the most mainstream version of Freyism in The States, (most being a very relative term), was “not edgy enough”, to quote one sarcastic LA Times reporter. (This variant was followed in both Italy and Poland.) Members of the Virginia School, like Mariska Hargitay, saw the growing fandom with a sense of bemusement. As did most Americans. They found the fandom for Starship Troopers and similar series as harmless if a bit strange. (Their obsession with monarchism led many Americans to believe that the ideology required a monarch, a misconception future ideologues would have to refute.)


Some, however, found them a moral threat to the nation. This included none other than the most anti-Freyist figure in America, Pat Buchanan.


The fight against this niche fandom, although the skirmish might have been a better word, was lead by the Anti-Freyist-in-Chief Senator Buchanan, whose views aligned directly with his core constituency of conservative isolationists and middle-class blacks. While the Freyists were not seen as dangerous by the majority of Americans, African Americans, who rightly had a healthy distrust of Government and Large Authorities thanks to their history with both, had no reason to believe that Freyism would benefit them. He became paranoid of the influence that this “un-American ideology” would have on the youth after hearing from his wife about their supposed “infiltration” of many of the Ultra-Catholic groups she was a member of. In addition to his natural anti-Freyist ideological alignment, Buchanan may have ridden this bandwagon for opportunistic reasons, seeing his crusade as a way to grow his political clout amongst conservatives.


Buchanan managed to gain the favor of both the National Black Chamber of Commerce and the Conservatives for Peace, (the latter was a think tank in favor of “Coolidgean isolationism”) in this effort. He cajoled their members to unify around a campaign to totally boycott the entire blockbuster franchise which had a loyal, but ultimately very limited, following. Most outside of this specific demographic saw the boycott as silly, still remembering the peak of the “Sports Wars” of the Iacocca presidency, and tired of boycotts over such mundane issues. However, this Boycott managed to also fuel the idea that Anime was a rebellion against a uniform and bland society.


If Starship Troopers was the Freyist piece of pop culture that managed to have the broadest cultural impact, than the one that was most exemplary of the genre through its diehard, if limited, fandom was “Flügel der Freiheit” (The Wings of Freedom) of Germany. This anime followed the adventures of a group of fighters from the only human-controlled city left in the world and their war against massive, humanoid creatures.




The flag flown by the protagonists in Flügel der Freiheit became a prominent symbol of the growing Freyist counterculture.



General Film



As Americans went to the movies, many of the flicks they saw were oftentimes made in other countries. Western European, Japanese, and especially Indian films began to break through to commercial success in the States. Recognizing the potential that breaking into this market could have, many Indian studios began gearing their films for a more international audience. Some even began filming mostly English language films for this purpose. (With an increasingly educated populace back at home, many Indians were already fluent in English anyways.) Bollywood films, which had before appealed mostly to recent immigrants, were beginning to appeal more to American sensibilities. After some of these English-language films won Oscars, they began to finally attain mainstream appeal. In Africa, however, despite a growing middle class in Africa, filmmaking was hampered by dictatorships and instability caused by the Great Southern War. Nigeria’s film industry for a short while seemed like it was coming into its own, although with the collapse of its democratic government, the new Air Force junta would begin cracking down on expression of free speech. Both Uganda and Kenya, the latter now under Barack Obama Jr., were less restrictive. The former had a thriving film industry called Wakaliwood, which created low-budget, action-packed flicks that received worldwide attention. South Africa allowed full freedom of speech in artistic endeavors short of outright separatist sentiments. Throughout the developing world, a growing middle class beginning to develop, and the growing amount of films released in India and Africa showed the improving economic situation of these countries, and gave global audiences more variety of choice.


Anglo-American films would need to deal with the changing times as well. For one, with the end of the Cold War, action movies no longer had the Soviet Union to act as a plausible villain. While there were no shortage of plots dealing with threats like a resurgent USSR, many films showed other threats. James Bond, the progenitor of the modern blockbuster, took on a number of different threats. A reboot of the series, starring Pierce Brosnan, began an arc for the character in the post Cold War era. His first film, All or Nothing deals with a rogue Indian-British member of Mi6 named James Varghese, who, jealous of Bond’s recent promotion to 007 status, becomes a double agent for the Indian government. A twist comes later in the film when it turns out that his contact has gone rogue, leading Bond and his former enemy to make an uneasy truce to prevent India from falling into utter chaos. The newest as of 1999, Spectre of Fate, has Bond face off against the enigmatic Volga Russian head of a Private Military Corporation, who is artificially prolonging the Great Southern War to bring in profits for his corporation. Based off a composite of real life American, Russian, and British mercenaries; the main villain, Yakov Ivanovich, was well received among audiences. His organization, Stravinsky, had some similarity to SPECTRE from the original series, which was alluded to in the title. Ted Bundy claimed it was his favorite Bond movie.
 
The president, one to be concerned with the morality of the youth, would denounce such music. “This music is teaching our nation’s youth that violence is good. I had the displeasure of listening to one of these albums. They may claim it is social commentary but these...detailed descriptions of such graphic events...are just sickening.
Somehow I don't think its all that sickening to him....
 
What happened to that family whose kids were kidnapped? I don’t think that was ever given a conclusion.
 
The final closure of the Middle Eastern front

There was no stopping the Iraqis after the battle of Palmyra. Seeing the hopeless situation on the front, and hoping to turn more attention to their planned invasion of Tripoli, French president Michel Roquejoffre ordered a withdrawal from the front. Despite this, the Iraqis would not hold a quarter for soldiers as an armistice agreement between the two countries was not agreed to yet. They would have to fight the Iraqis back to the coast.

A mass evacuation of troops, one rivaling others in the century, would be needed. Holding a perimeter around the port of Tartus, the Concordat would hold it for as long as they could. It would take nearly a week, but nearly all forces (including native Syrian and Lebanese troops), would flee Syria. A defensive perimeter to the south held back the Iraqi advance from reaching the rest of Lebanon, complete with barbed wire fences, pillboxes, and artillery batteries. Surprisingly for an operation of that scale, it went off without a hitch and was heralded in France for its efficiency. (However, both sides received heavy casualties due to the use of chemical weapons.) Yoni Netanyahu confirmed that if Hussein attempted to order an advance past the perimeter or into the Golan Heights, he would declare war in favor of the Concordat. Knowing that he could not afford the entry of the Israelis (which would bring fresh troops to the enemy) so late into the fight, Saddam Hussein realized he would have to wait another day, if at all, for his chance to take on Israel. The Golan Heights was not worth taking, and Lebanon was proving harder to defend as the Concordat continued creating line after line of defense fortifications, which would massively slow down the Iraqis. Its population was also pro-French to begin with, unlike Syria. He decided his already massive gains were enough, and wisely avoided this possible quagmire.


An apartment building in Homs city that was hit by a shell as the Concordat forces withdrew. The retreating Concordat forces have used "scorched earth" tactics to ensure that infrastructure in western Syria's cities is not used to continue the Iraqi attack on the French holdout of Lebanon and Tartus.​

It was also at this point that the Turks finally intervened in the conflict in favor of Iraq. Neutral for much of the war, as it had been for World War Three, The nation would wait to see who was on the winning side before trying to intervene. Unlike the case with Yugoslavia, which was floundering from its defeat at Thermopylae/Lamia, it was clear that the tide was turning in favor of Iraq. Besides minimal changes along the border taking into effect ethnic boundaries, they took the city of Idlib before the Iraqis, occupying and annexing it and the surrounding areas, though taking care to avoid Kurdish regions. The Iraqis shrugged it off, content with having received the lion’s share of Syria. For Saddam Hussein, The Middle East had finally seen peace from this war.



These preliminary borders would have to be somewhat adjusted once an official treaty was signed.​


Retaking of Salisbury

Despite the current rollback of the situation at the Rhodesian part of the general Southern African front, Salisbury, (renamed Harare after a majority-black neighborhood in the city), remained under Entebbe Pact’s control. The puppet Zimbabwean government, which was led by resistance member and Entebbe Pact sympathizer Joshua Nkomo, still had virtually total control over the northeastern third of the country. (Much of said government was made of former members of ZANU, including Nkomo himself. He was the de facto leader of the group after the death of Robert Mugabe.) Most military policing services were done by foreign army men from former Zambia, to the north of the Zambezi River. Some of them were as young as 17 or as old as 60, as the fittest troops were left for the battle shaping up in Pretoria. Meanwhile, the civilian populace, both black and white, found themselves chafing under the yoke of a foreign power. As an Australian commentator put it, “While the Entebbe Pact claim they want to liberate the oppressed peoples of Southern Africa, to them all Rhodesians are Varungu [crackers]. It doesn’t matter that most African countries are beginning to themselves crawl out of the third-world, or even that their armies use European languages to communicate. The sense of jealousy is maintained by the regimes at home.” While the puppet state “Zimbabwe” had found its fair share of collaborators, most of the members of the “Zimbabwean Army” were foreigners and not highly trained ones at that. Facing off against second-rate and third-rate troops with less of a stake in the conflict meant an easier fight for the Rhodesians in retaking their country. If for the exception of Salisbury itself.

The Rhodesian army was able to blitz back through the countryside, meeting light resistance from the skeleton force of troops whose purpose was to slow them down. They were helped along by the local populace, who preferred the elected government of John Bredenkamp over that of the communist Nkomo. Once they reached the city, they attempted a head-on attack, which was quickly repulsed. This would repeat for nearly a week, with assaults on the fortifications, with slightly larger forces each time. Unfortunately, commander Peter Walls, (ironically one of the heroes of the Battle of Kampala), could tell that this would get them nowhere. As commander of the theater, he repositioned troops fighting in non-essential sections for secondary aims, capturing areas in the Northwest and Eastern parts of the country. Thrusts into the Lozi Kingdom and Congo, as well as Mozambique, left these countries largely off guard, leading to a partially weakening of defenses as forces were siphoned off.

This tactic worked well enough, indeed it had been used before in the war, but it would not be enough to overcome the defenses of their former capital. So Walls took to the strategy of making the defenders of the city believe the force was less powerful than thought. He would continue assaulting the city with fewer troops than he had and pulling back often, giving the impression that he could not afford the onslaught of the Zimbabwean army. Eventually, the troops in Salisbury grew overconfident, and so he baited them into giving chase.

Half of these troops would hit the center of the Rhodesian force in a counter-offensive, leading them to fall back, while the flanks stayed in place. The lines quickly bulged further and further, as the most Congolese and Angolan force found itself surrounded on three sides. Reserves quickly rushed into the gap, leaving them with no escape. Realizing what was happening, these troops quickly surrendered. With nearly half of the city’s defenders out of action, Nkomo is said to have collapsed from stress while attempting to rally his allies to continue fighting. Already suffering from undiagnosed prostate cancer, he would die a few days later, provoking a power struggle in the provisional government of Zimbabwe. The civilian population, sick of the occupation, opening the city up to the Rhodesian army. The weakened Zimbabwean government would surrender shortly after. Except for some areas to the north, Rhodesia was now free.


Battle of Pretoria

The largest battle on the Southern African front of the war was shaping up in Pretoria itself. It would be a battle to determine the fate of the entire front, and the reason for the mass withdrawals on other fronts, including in Rhodesia. If it failed, it would mean the failure of the entire campaign, and in the eyes of Idi Amin and Mobutu, of the entire war.

While they expected the front to come to the capital itself, they did not realize it would come to this part of Transvaal so soon. There were not enough troops being called back in the front to prevent an attempted encirclement of the city from occurring. The defenders of the city decided to take advantage of local geography to aid them. President Matanzima, himself a military man, would lead the defense personally. The city was flanked to the south and east by the Magaliesberg mountain range, which formed somewhat of a barrier to the city. Expecting the city to be attacked from the north and west, the heaviest defenses for the capital were placed there, with lighter defenses from the side of the Magaliesberg. The enemy would have to attack going through less than ideal circumstances, going through the mountain ranges. This was exactly what they needed.

Navigating through the valleys of the Magaliesberg range would slow down both infantry and tank divisions, and lead to a disorganized entrance. Most soldiers would not shoot until the attackers reached the outskirts of the city proper, and it was only when the first stragglers began to come within view of the presidential residence that the counter-attack began. Light armor units stationed in concealed locations on high points of the mountain began attacking the brunt of the force, surrounding the invasion force on both sides. Panicked as they were, they continued their attack, neutralizing the force, if at heavy casualties. Snipers would continue picking off soldiers. This would cause a decrease in morale, as the impression was given that they were facing a numerically superior force when in reality, the South Africans were at first caught off-guard by the number of soldiers brought for the battle. When some stragglers reached the city, they were beaten back by artillery installations stationed on the tops of buildings. To scare many of the soldiers, many soldiers blew vuvuzela horns shortly before artillery bursts. It would not be enough. Although the beat back this preliminary assault of the city, there were still more soldiers coming. Escaping the bottleneck of the Great Escarpment, more soldiers began reaching the fortifications of the city. It seemed as if the city was doomed.

It was then that the message came.



The video and sound were both heavily distorted, but the message clearly echoed through occupied South Africa​

Just as planning for a potential second attack on the capital began, the scheming of the South African resistance was beginning to reach fruition. A makeshift radio station in an undisclosed location in the city of Terra de Boa Gente broadcasts a cryptic message. “Attention Matanzima, this is the Elongated Muskrat. We are still here.” The following day, news came throughout the city of a sudden flare-up of rebel attacks on occupation forces. This was unexpected after most assumed that rebellion had finally died down after months of crackdowns. It seems that the rebels were only lying low for a final blow against the occupiers. This was followed up by concerted attacks on occupied radio and television stations by armed members of the local populace, many of them armed with flamethrowers. Car bombs set off against military headquarters or notable commanders. Just as most of Rhodesia, most parts of the occupied territory were composed of green, or subpar troops. As they were suddenly confronted with what seemed like a million small fires at once, there was a complete breakdown of cohesion and command. Some retreated back to friendly territory, and others stayed to fight. Either way, with the rebellions popping up in the occupied territory, the force was risking being cut off from home territory. Dual rebellions in the cities of Nelspruit and Pietersburg/Polokwane would threaten to make this a reality, as two cities along major highways were threatened. Despite commands from central command to continue advancing, most commanders on the field pulled back from Pretoria. Pretoria and the rest of South Africa would be safe.

Madagascar, which had months before been freed of its blockade, would also come to the aid of the South Africans. After a decree from the Mad Madame, landings began on amphibious vehicles on the shores of Richards Bay and Lourenço Marques. They quickly took the former, though the latter, named Maputo by the Mozambicans, remained outside their grasp for now. They would link up with South African rebels in Terra de Boa Gente, building a united front and bring supplies and ammunition. The city would soon be one of the first freed from occupation. From there, they started advancing west, in order to encircle the Entebbe Pact’s forces that were holding Durban. Acting as a relief force for the beleaguered civilian resistance, they quickly reversed the coastal gains of the mostly Mozambican force. Across the front, troops were beginning to retreat before finding themselves trapped deep in enemy territory.



Orange shows the maximum advance of the Entebbe Pact, Lime shows frontlines shortly after the landing at Durban.​

Muammar Gaddafi, Idi Amin, and Mobutu Sese Seko were furious. The nation of colonialists and Uncle-Tom bootlickers was not defeated. (This was ignoring, of course, that South Africa was being ruled by a black man and had full suffrage for all citizens, but they were not ones to care for this). Most predictions stated that Lourenco Marq--Maputo, which Samora Machel wanted to become his new capital, would instead be back within South African hands in almost a month. Nearly all competent generals on the campaign were tried in kangaroo courts and executed. Those that hadn’t met such an end were either court-martialed or already dead from insurgent attacks or assassinations. Many wondered what had caused the sudden uptick in rebel attacks, as for a short while the radio broadcast in Terra de Boa Gente went without much note. But it would quickly become clear just who “Elongated Muskrat”, the mastermind behind the Pretoria miracle, was.



Another surprise was going to come to shake up Tripoli.


Serbia: Endgame

Slobodan Milosevic sighed. “The lines are turning against us now,” he thought. He turned to his comrades, all of them had worn weary faces. “The Germans and their pets are bombing us from the north and by air, and the French and their Hellenic pets are advancing against us from the south and by sea. But we must not give up my friends. They will attempt to exterminate the Serbian nation if we fail. Keep up the fight!” His audience half-cheered. “And we will not fall unt--” before he could finish his sentence, he heard the familiar sound of the air sirens. “Not again”, he thought. Wordlessly, they began their retreat to their safe spaces. They stayed there, huddling for nearly five minutes as the explosions slowly got louder. He began wondering if the Freyist dogs had discovered their location, but he thought nothing of it. If there had been traitors in their ranks, he would have known of it. He began daydreaming of the day when the Serbs would finally be free of colonial domination, ignoring the ringing in his ears and the shaking of the earth around him. His officers were in a panic, some yelling at him for the situation they had left Serbia in. He ignored them all, imagining a map that had hung in the presidential palace, showing Tito’s plan to have Yugoslavia encompass Albania and Greek Macedonia. He still had a chance to make it happen. God would protect Serbia.

He and those in the bunker with him were later found dead after a bunker buster had reached their location. He was killed by a piece of shrapnel, but his stoic face gave away nothing in the way of fear.


The headquarters of the Serbian Armed Forces in the destroyed Belgrade after the German air force launched the massive bombing campaign that also destroyed the presidential palace.
After the defeat of the Serbian army at the Battle of Lamia (or as the news media would end up calling it, of Thermopylae), the morale for Serbian soldiers was at all-time lows. The tide was turning against them, and the government was getting exceedingly desperate in its attempts to maintain its holdings. For the ethnic minorities being forced to fight in a war they did not agree with, enough was enough. Entire battalions began mutinying, refusing to carry out their duties, or surrendering en masse. They were joined by ethnic Serbians, sick of the war, and wanting to bring it to an end. Deteriorating conditions for civilians threatened to spread it to the home country, but for now, western funded separatist groups were staying low. The spark to light the fire came with an airstrike. Spies stationed in Belgrade eventually discovered the whereabouts of Milosevic and most of his closest government advisers and generals. Hiding out in a derelict building in the capital, they would continue giving out orders for the function of the government. Although they had bunkers in case of air attacks from the Freyist Pact, they would not be protected from a direct hit.

Most of the Serbian leadership was decimated in the blast. Slobodan Milosevic was dead, along with most of the people who could have replaced him in the event he did. His designated survivor, a businessman named Milan Panic, promptly surrendered to the Concordat, although many did not recognize his government. Ethnic Serb militias based in Greece would continue fighting the Concordat for months to come, proving an utter quagmire. A provisional government in Bosnia, led by now-warlord Radovan Karadzic, began massacring certain Croatian and Bosniak villages to solidify claims to geographically contiguous territories, introducing the world to a new term. Ethnic Cleansing.

Meanwhile, Croatians in Dalmatia and Bosniaks in Bosnia would see their chance to rise up against the hated Serbs. The towns of Split and Sarajevo would see rebels declaring independent governments. The former was already in the process of negotiating unification with the rest of Croatia, and in the meantime, both were recognized as nations by the UN. Another front had closed, however unceremoniously it had done so. However, the Germans and their allies now found themselves facing a new quagmire in the Balkans.


Untangling this mess would have to wait for the end of the war.

----


“And so, in conclusion, their capabilities for such a strike are not confirmed, but it is likely that if push comes to shove, we won’t need to guess to find out. Though I will be--”


“Interesting. I do enjoy these daily briefings, and I admire the thoroughness with which you do it. I will have to ponder deeply over the ramifications of this. Though that’ll be enough for today, thank you.”


“You’re not going to try putting a stop to this? Condemn any signals coming from their government which could even HINT at escalation?”


“It’s their problem, not ours. And besides, you’re an aide. You don’t have much authority when it comes to this administration’s policy. End of discussion...”


“All right then... Goodnight, Mr. President.”​
 
So, the Middle Eastern front ends with Saddam assimilating more of the region, the Balkan front ends with Milosevic's death (but still leaves room for similar problems as OTL), and Elon Musk becomes South Africa's V.
 
So, the Middle Eastern front ends with Saddam assimilating more of the region, the Balkan front ends with Milosevic's death (but still leaves room for similar problems as OTL), and Elon Musk becomes South Africa's V.
Elongated Muskrat, not the hero we wanted but the hero we needed.
If you know about Elon Musk's childhood, it isn't all that surprising. OTL, Musk has called his father a terrible human being who might've have been an apartheid supporter. Also, Musk's childhood bullies often put him in the hospital more then once.

Musk's childhood seems like the kind that would produce a rebel figure who would stick it to the man, not an eccentric billionaire.
 
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