Romanov Ascendant: What if the Soviet Union survived?

The American Presidential Election of 1992: Part One
The board of four moderators sat facing the three candidates. Four older men and one woman, all highly respected journalists. The head moderator was speaking “… as agreed upon by the Perot, Bush and Clinton campaigns, there are no restrictions on the subject matter of the questions. Each candidate will have up to two minutes to make a closing statement, the order was determined by a fair drawing. The first question will go to Perot. The topic is what differentiates each of you from the other.”

“What is the single most defining and separating issue of this campaign?”

“The principal issue in my campaign, is the five and a half million Americans who put me on the ballot. I am not on the ballot on the ticket of any of the parties, and only because my conscious and my desire for a better America motivated me to go forward. As the only candidate immune to the money of lobbyists and special interests, my candidacy is a movement which came from the people. This is the way that the framers of our constitution intended our government to be, a government that comes from the people. Over time we have developed a government that comes at the people, from the top down! With people being treated as objects to be programed during the campaign with commercials and media events with fear messages and personal attacks. In a way, both of my opponents are the same person.”

Ross Perot’s answer struck the audience, and visibly irritated President Bush. Clinton however was not affected. He delivered one of his trademark speeches, punctuated by his charisma. “The most important distinction is that I represent real hope for change. A departure from trickledown economics, a departure from tax and spend economics and from the clear and consistent failures of the president’s failures to confront the fight against freedom occurring across the globe. During his tenure, the cause of democracy has been weakened not strengthened. While I have the absolute respect for the President, and his predecessor, what you have done has not worked. I challenged the American people to change, because we need to change if we want to bring prosperity back to our economy and tyrannical communist despotism on the defensive.”

The President was tense, he suppressed his thoughts about the polls, about how his entire campaign rested on his performance tonight. He felt himself at the cusp of sweating, yet his life as a CIA company man taught him a few tricks, he was not going to be outdone by a hotshot democrat or some insane Texan usurper. However, he had little ammunition, and had to go on the attack immediately. “Well, I think one thing that distinguishes between myself, and my two opponents, is by far and large experience. It is one thing for the Governor of Arkansas and a respectable businessman to criticize my leadership, yet they offer no alternative. The fact is that American people and the American way of life is facing an enemy capable of opposing it at a level that has seldom existed. When I was Vice President, working closely with President Reagan, we were squeezing them, and we know that we were winning. But they adapted, they accepted strongman rule in a desperate attempt to prevent the inevitable triumph of democracy and the freedom of markets. I can guarantee one thing to the American voter, is that if their faith is placed in me, I can and will continue the policies of myself and predecessor, and roll back the Soviet Union.”

The debate proceeded, with Bush and Clinton primarily directing their arguments and energies against each other. Bush hit Clinton for organizing protests against his own country, for being an unpatriotic youth while he served in the Armed Forces. Clinton followed by hammering Bush for unnecessary levels of defense spending, trickledown economics, inefficiencies in the Pentagon and the failure of his foreign intervention in Iraq and inability to maintain the Carter doctrine. Bush responded by pointing out the inconsistency and tried to turn the debate around on Clinton by arguing that while he was talking tough, he was also talking about lowering defensive spending when America needed it most. This was Bush’s high point, as Clinton was forced to get into unnecessary nuance to clarify his statement, which only made him appear weak.

But now it was Ross Perot’s turn.

Ross delivered a sensible chuckle. “The American people can make their own decisions on character; they don’t need their minds made up for them. We have work to do, and we need immediate action. What neither the Republican and Democratic candidate have failed to do is reference the solid data, which demonstrates the direction the American economy is heading with their failed policies. We cannot pay off the four trillion dollar debt, balance the budget without having the revenue. The interventionist policies of my opponents are destroying the economy. What America needs, to face its competitors is to rely on it’s strengths, those being innovation, industry and willingness to develop in the face of adversity, and not on it’s weaknesses getting bogged down in wars that our forefathers would have derided as the foolish waste of lives in conflicts well away from America.”

During the first debate, on October 11th 1992. Both Bush and Clinton initially focused on each other, trading glances and knowing looks when Perot would speak. By the end, they were both pressed, as it was becoming increasingly clear that this man, an independent. Had the capacity to threaten them. On the second debate, Perot hammered both of them on NAFTA, and the great sucking sound of American jobs being sucked out to Mexico and the third world as it’s inevitable result. Bush tried to challenge his foreign policy, asking how a businessman with no political or military experience expected to be able to confront the Soviet Union. In one of the most embarrassing gaffs of the campaign, Perot asked, how did that service serve him? After the second debate, the race was becoming one increasingly between Perot and Clinton.
very interesting update!
 
Chapter Three: US Election '92
The American Presidential Election of 1992: Part Two
The Campaign continued for months until the faithful day in November. Ross Perot was highly motivated, worked with his campaign advisors who had secured him the endorsement of figures as diverse as Donald Trump, Pat Buchanan and even managed to get an acknowledgement from the NAACP, when his advisors assisted him in dealing with what could have been a difficult and potentially campaign threatening gaff. Several successful appearances on the today show combined with an expensive media campaign that Perot had to be convinced off in an extremely difficult fashion, was only saved in the last minute by Donald Trump's offers to donate to the media campaign. He even filmed him his own commercial, that was derided as a off topic spectacle, but served its purpose in being controversial enough to push Perot's message at the last hour. Clinton, Perot's primary competitor at the time's only weapon was to try to paint Perot as a politician himself, but these efforts proved generally unsuccessful. The self made billionaire folk hero proved more appealing to the general population of America, suffering from serious economic recession, than a fast talking yale graduate with no military service. This was compounded by Perot's time as a POW in Vietnam, and what appeared to be his honourable and admirable stance against unnecessary war.

This would contribute to one of the biggest upsets in modern American political history, an event that would be discussed, evaluated and dissected by historians, political analysts and pundits. From those keen to ensure it would never happen again, to others wishing to repeat it's success.

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While the electoral college revolted against the popular vote in many states where Ross Perot managed to succeed, It had become clear that Perot had managed to win the popular vote in the United States. This shocking upset shook the political establishment to the core, and even Perot was said to have been surprised by the results. Even more upsettingly was that neither candidate had enough votes in the electoral college to actually win the presidency. Resulting in the first contingent election in the United States since 1836. While many Republicans choose to vote for Perot, they also choose to vote specifically for republican candidates in the house and senate. The Democrats managed to win 212 seats in the house of representatives, the republicans managed to win 208, whereas 15 independents were elected. While the possibility of this situation was considered, it was mostly considered highly unlikely, and that Bill Clinton was the clear front runner in the race. The newly elected house was under severe pressure, compounded by the Soviet Union's propaganda arm as well as what was clearly becoming deadlock in the house to select the president. The Republicans were never going to submit to Clinton, and the democrats were never going to give into Bush. There were many democrats more sympathic to Perot than Clinton as well. Some protests broke out, as many argued it was clear that Perot had the rightful mandate. After several days of bickering, filibustering and severe arguing, the solution finally came about. Republicans and some defected democrats voted to institute Ross Perot as the 42nd President of the United States. The democrat controlled senate voted to institute Senator Al Gore as his Vice President.
 
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Fantastic update! My only quibble is that Bill Clinton would most likely win Arkansas - it was the only state in OTL to give a majority of its vote to a candidate, while Perot would likely win Alaska (and maybe Arizona too) if he's winning Pennsylvania and Louisiana.
 
I like that Clinton is running to Bush's right on foreign policy. Reminds me of JFK v Nixon in 1960 where Kennedy hammered Nixon on the made up "missile gap."

I am skeptical that Perot would have done that well in the south considering that he was running against Bill Clinton who would no doubt win Arkansas. Also at this point West Virginia was reliably Democratic due to the relatively high unionization of the workforce in that state.

I don't think the Democrats would have lost their House majority (a lot of those seats were holdovers from the days of the Democratic Solid South). Also the Democratic Senate would not vote in Bill Clinton to be the VP but rather Al Gore since he was the running mate on the ticket.
 
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I like that Clinton is running to Bush's right on foreign policy. Reminds me of JFK v Nixon in 1960 where Kennedy hammered Nixon on the made up "missile gap."

I am skeptical that Perot would have done that well in the south considering that he was running against Bill Clinton who would no doubt win Arkansas. Also at this point West Virginia was reliably Democratic due to the relatively high unionization of the workforce in that state.

I don't think the Democrats would have lost their House majority (a lot of those seats were holdovers from the days of the Democratic Solid South). Also the Democratic Senate would not vote in Bill Clinton to be the VP but rather Al Gore since he was the running mate on the ticket.
Sorry that's my mistake lmao, I actually did intend to give Arkansas to Clinton. With WV's union workforce, I was figuring that NAFTA would have factored into Perot winning there. Also thanks for the clarification, going to fix these errors up.
 
Great update, if Perot doesn't like unnecessary war them Chavez and Romanov can simply make a potential intervention not worth the cost in lives and money. I can see Castro really happy.
 
Just a note on the timeline as a whole and methodology wise, I could see why some may see me as pushing Perot for the sake of narrative, but in the interest I'm defending my decision to give him the presidency I'll make my argument as to why I think it is plausible in this time line.

Geopolitics and international culture were shaped directly and indirectly by the fall of the Soviet Union in nearly innumerable ways, it essentially turned the neoliberal myth, developing in western academia in the 1970s and 1980s into reality. During the 1980's, the Soviet Union could still be wrote off as an aberration, especially by making use of both real and propagandized accounts of it's quality of life and living standards. For the vast majority of baby boomers, as opposed to those born in the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s, there was absolutely nothing of substance to Soviet Union's ideology. For the liberal academics it was a historical aberration, with many views of it no doubt influenced by orientalist undertones. It's ineffective, inefficient and (in some people's eyes) impossible economy were simply just weaknesses in the fortress of what was viewed as just an Eastern European despotism. Not only was it antithetical to the values of liberty, freedom and liberal democracy, that had proven triumphant in the vast majority of the developed world, but it was also a vindication that these values were the only way to create a prosperous society.

By 1992 in our timeline, this view isn't crumbling completely, and in fact as we continue on I'll pay more attention to the historiographical and academic explanations on both sides. However, by managing to turn around the stagnation in the Soviet Union, and creating a living standard that was 'decent', and to the majority of the periphery of the capitalist world, massively enviable, the world's cultural, philosophical and political development have been altered in a way that is difficult to theorize, but would most likely be extraordinary. Just as if Germany won the first world war or etc. During the 1980's of this timeline, Reagan's charismatic politics rallied Americans, there was no one to side with the commies or threaten America. But when it came down to it, no one was willing to support nuclear or conventional war to force the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. There was nothing that rhetoric could do when East German protestors were tear gassed and crushed by the might of Stasi, KdA and Soviet Military Police when they attempted to force their way through the Berlin wall. While such actions were infamous, they were no where on the level of infamy that Brezhnev had achieved in 1968 in Prague. General Secretary Romanov as I said in the beginning is kind of a Putin figure, his strongman methods necessary for him to achieve his ambition of keeping his country afloat, and promoting his ideology. He isn't submissive like Gorbachev, he allows for the creation of an alternative 'view' or cultural zietgiest in the world slowly creeping into the west via European communists and some radical academics. While some of it is clearly just fake news, it was also rooted in marxist-leninist theorizing that was ideologically consistent. The propaganda however was twisted and machiavellian, criticizing the west for repressing minorities and homosexuals, while on the other hand implying that western rootless cosmopolitans intended for the homosexualization and destruction of traditional values anywhere and everywhere, these campaigns financed by the Soviet economy that was more or less more successful, becoming a basis of export of cheap consumer products, natural resources and armaments. Of course, they were not without their own weaknesses, and as we see the state of repression will began to create it's own enemies. The Soviet Union itself was becoming some kind of odd, self contradictory still somewhat Marxist Leninist state while tending towards autocracy. Where feminism was touted as a state policy, women allowed into politics/workforce but birth control was restricted in the interests of demographic policy. Where religion was technically free but many churches and mosques are shut down as subversive centers.

Ross Perot managed to win the election in this timeline because Americans became dismayed with fierce cold war rhetoric that did not appear to actually attain any results, frustrated with a declining economy, and were overwhelmingly won over by arguments against NAFTA. Perot, unlike in OTL, managed a better led campaign that appealed to the American working class, weaponizing nostalgia and the fact that Bush Senior and Clinton, didn't really seem that different; meaning I feel I definitely did not veer into ASB tier content with this. We do in fact have evidence from our own time that malaise could sweep into American politics and produce these kinds of radical results, and the Soviet Union managing to turn around it's stagnation and decline would definitely do that. Of course let me know what you think, as we go on the increasing complexity of trying to develop a modern world with this cultural development will require suggestion and hopefully even more collaboration, as I've already had some help from others including 22000Kevin, King Nazar's suggestions and Rajveer Naha's suggestions regarding India and South East Asia. I'm really interested in ideas on how popular culture would develop and react to these series of events.
 
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Chapter Three Flashback: The Unrest of 1988-1989
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Chapter Three - Flashback: The Unrest of 1988-1989
George McConnel - Historian - Author of 'The Rise of Romanov: A Biographical History' Published 1999
(Page 137)
"Romanov was adept at pushing both the programs of acceleration and discipline from the top down within the Soviet Union itself. According to both the works of the defectors Anzhelina Grigoreva and M. Sokolo, the KGB was given nearly free reign to both exile troublesome dissidents to settlements in Eastern Russia, intellectuals to closed cities, or to simply make troublesome party functionaries disappear. It didn't take long for Soviet society and even the party to get the message, there is absolutely no basis to the denialism of both leftist historians and academics as well as Soviet historians themselves that Romanov, while perhaps not a "Stalinist" had no problem appropriating Stalin's methods of fear and political terrorism. But again as mentioned by our sources, the repression and elimination of both the corrupt and politically inconvenient did allow for the consolidation of the Soviet bureaucracy. Many ambitious young men denounced older, Brezhnev era appointees to force their retirement, and touted the Romanov line, whatever it was at any given time. While many of these sycophants were incompetent yesmen, others used the opportunity to move up. As self management was instituted in industries, a system of rewards (or bribes depending on who you asked) were rewarded based on productivity, these rewards including vacations, material goods, alcohol, items or food from the west, annulments of conscription (usually for ones children) and preferential choice in housing. A special branch of the KGB issued these rewards and conducted the investigations and examinations themselves. All of the self managed industries or "companies" were still owned by their worker committees, so while abuse was possible, it was not widespread enough to either seriously hamper productivity or create unrest in laborers.

The overall attitude in Soviet society was that while the communists were stealing, at least they were getting a piece of the action themselves, and through the thoroughly ingrained nihilistic and materialistic outlook, that's all that really mattered to the vast majority of the urban population or rural elite. It gave the propaganda system more steam, especially when Romanov managed to seemingly miraculously win the war in Afghanistan. Not that anyone in the Soviet Union would know of the means he took to make that happen. Although that is a topic that will be discussed later where we focus on the absentia Hague trial in 1997...


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(Page 143)
While there were some improvements in the Warsaw Pact puppet states, in reality the only real or tangible improvement which occurred there initially only happened because of Soviet payments financed by their natural gas and oil exports, which had allowed these states to import consumer goods that were in crisis levels of shortage. They didn't want a repeat of an incident in Bulgaria in the mid 1980's, where cheaply imported expired baby formula resulted in a near epidemic of sick children and a rise in infant mortality. The sense of malaise, regime fatigue and resistance was boiling over, yet it was not yet as ideologically defined as it would become in the early and mid 1990's. The unrest culminated in three particular events, the first being the Solidarity episode in Poland, which resulted in martial law and a limited deployment of the Soviet Military and KGB, assisting the Polish security service in to rooting it out.

The scale of the repression and deaths of these events would not become clear until the leak of a Polish Government document to the west in 1994. The unrest would continue in Poland for nearly a decade, finally culminating in the terrorism of the Neo-Solidarność Front and the Unified Front for a Free Poland. In the summer of 1989, in an event that became highly publicized as the 'East Berlin Riots', culminated from a small scale protest into a full scale riot. Tens of thousands of protestors, organized through churches and opposition groups demanded that the wall be taken down, Honecker resign and self determination be returned to eastern Germany. Honecker responded with his security forces, who failed to dislodge the protestors, even after armored cars, tear gas and columns of riot police attempted to charged into the center of the demonstrators who had sorrounded the gates and wall. It's not known how many died during that faithful night in June 13th. I personally watched, from a rooftop in West Berlin, as many West Germans demonstrated in unity with those in the east. By the next day, a state of emergency was declared, tanks filled the streets, East German militia and Soviet military police armed with rubber bullets, batons and gas broke the resolve of the crowd.

The third event has far less sources, other than secondary accounts from emmigrants, but supposedly an attempted insurrection in by Hungarians or miners in Timisoara, Romania was brutally suppressed, leading to riots in Bucharest that were only calmed down when Romanian dictator Ceausecu had to flee to the Soviet embassy and beg Romanov to intervene, signing concessions and allowing for the permanent deployment of the Soviet Army in Romania. Declassified reports from both the CIA and DoD do in fact confirm that in December, an airborne contingent, theorized to be either the 98th Guards Airborne Division or elements of the 103rd Guards Airborne Division were deployed to Romania in rapid fashion. Satellite imagery of this has only been recently declassified"
 
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I do agree that Americans would be quite fed up with 12 years of Reagan and Bush's hawkish foreign policy and an economic policy that mostly favours the wealthy. This would certainly give an opening for a relative outsider (Clinton was seen as a Washington outsider since he was the governor of a poor state far from DC), however I feel that for structural reasons American elections overwhelmingly favour the two big parties. The only way I could see a Perot type of candidate winning would be to do what Trump did and win the primaries of one of the big parties.

Think of the election of 1980 where the conditions were somewhat similar to this TL's 1992. Voters remembered the Republican party as the party of Watergate, the pardoning of Nixon, the escalation of the Vietnam War as well as the Fall of Saigon. However, they also felt that Carter was too incompetent and there was a sense of malaise in the country. An "outsider" governor from California named Ronald Reagan won that election while there was a viable third party option in John Anderson who was polling quite well for some time.

Anyway, historically Clinton didn't really do much to change the direction of the country from the policies of the Reagan and Bush era. This would contribute to the increasing apathy and cynicism Americans felt towards their government. However, this sentiment didn't led to the growth of third parties, just an angrier and more populist Republican party and decreasing voter turnout in the 90s. I think voter turnout in the 1996 election was below 50%.

I don't think that Perot winning is ASB its just that I feel like the American electoral system makes a third party victory extremely unlikely and the Soviet Union still existing won't change that.

Nevertheless it is your TL and I'm gonna keep following it no matter what direction you take it. :)

As far as pop culture is concerned, I think the mood of the 90s would probably be a bit more cynical and less caught up in the optimism of the "end of history." I could see Grunge music being even more prominent among young people. I could see more 1980s style social activism around nukes and nuclear disarmament. There would be a greater sense that the world is very fragile so maybe environmentalism is stronger. In academic culture maybe post-modernism becomes less prominent in the social sciences with a resurgent Soviet Union that exists as an alternative system. In general though I feel like American culture tends to be fairly insular and not really all that influenced by trends outside America so its also possible that the 90s still feel like the 90s just with more paranoia about nuclear war.
 
I do agree that Americans would be quite fed up with 12 years of Reagan and Bush's hawkish foreign policy and an economic policy that mostly favours the wealthy. This would certainly give an opening for a relative outsider (Clinton was seen as a Washington outsider since he was the governor of a poor state far from DC), however I feel that for structural reasons American elections overwhelmingly favour the two big parties. The only way I could see a Perot type of candidate winning would be to do what Trump did and win the primaries of one of the big parties.

Think of the election of 1980 where the conditions were somewhat similar to this TL's 1992. Voters remembered the Republican party as the party of Watergate, the pardoning of Nixon, the escalation of the Vietnam War as well as the Fall of Saigon. However, they also felt that Carter was too incompetent and there was a sense of malaise in the country. An "outsider" governor from California named Ronald Reagan won that election while there was a viable third party option in John Anderson who was polling quite well for some time.

Anyway, historically Clinton didn't really do much to change the direction of the country from the policies of the Reagan and Bush era. This would contribute to the increasing apathy and cynicism Americans felt towards their government. However, this sentiment didn't led to the growth of third parties, just an angrier and more populist Republican party and decreasing voter turnout in the 90s. I think voter turnout in the 1996 election was below 50%.

I don't think that Perot winning is ASB its just that I feel like the American electoral system makes a third party victory extremely unlikely and the Soviet Union still existing won't change that.

Nevertheless it is your TL and I'm gonna keep following it no matter what direction you take it. :)

As far as pop culture is concerned, I think the mood of the 90s would probably be a bit more cynical and less caught up in the optimism of the "end of history." I could see Grunge music being even more prominent among young people. I could see more 1980s style social activism around nukes and nuclear disarmament. There would be a greater sense that the world is very fragile so maybe environmentalism is stronger. In academic culture maybe post-modernism becomes less prominent in the social sciences with a resurgent Soviet Union that exists as an alternative system. In general though I feel like American culture tends to be fairly insular and not really all that influenced by trends outside America so its also possible that the 90s still feel like the 90s just with more paranoia about nuclear war.
Don't get me wrong that who argument note wasn't directed at the Bill Clinton argument or you, in fact I would say your version of events is the more likely event probability wise and I do feel like I am going a little wild with a Perot presidency. But my approach or view of history is that there events with differing probabilities of occurring, Perot winning the presidency, or even a contingent election in the first place is an event I feel like would have a 5-15% likelihood of happening, if that. But if the election was contentious enough, and neither party hit 270, I found the notion of Perot picked in the house as a moderate candidate to stifle each of the other parties as what we would end up seeing as a fluke. Him actually getting the presidency is also completely different from governing. In the end, it also wouldn't change a lot from Perot managing to get win the election as a democrat, which was also something I considered, at least until 1996. But also I will admit that when it does come to American history and politics, it is definitely not my area of expertise.

But then again in TL terms it's thematically ironic. When the Soviet system failed to deliver a decisive victory over capitalism, they went to the outsider/reformer, whereas in this timeline, the American system failed to give the decisive victory. With that 'flashback' update I made, I also wanted to paint a picture that would highlight where the cynicism would come from, that political culture you mentioned in the late 90's essentially accelerated because of what would appear to western eyes as disappointing, sad and tragic events in the world that couldn't be ignored.
 
Chapter Three: The Heart of Darkness
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President Perot?
After the brief bout of political chaos in America, which was heavily sensationalized in the American media and press and had even received a lot of note in Europe, the climate began to calm down. Since Carter, the Republican party was able to dominate the American presidency near completely, but there was little they could do with a President that was too popular to challenge in a primary but too loathed to actually win the general election. Perot appealed to the rank and file's sensibilities, and it was believed that the legislature could keep Perot from doing anything 'crazy' like taxing the rich or instituting actual healthcare reform. Perot himself understood and expected this, he was an intelligent, confident man and understood in a general sense the level of political machinations he would face in Washington, but he himself already had grand plans.

During the last few months of President Bush's tenure, increasing reports of anti communist guerillas and paramilitary forces, some operating out of right wing or cartel controlled territories in Colombia in cross border raids. Several individuals of both Cuban and Venezuelan ethnicity were caught trying to rouse anti communist activity in some of the more hesitant Venezuelan army units. General de Brigada Hugo Chavez, a favorite of the Cuban Intelligence force and a key figure in the coup led the crack down. Formerly a Lieutenant Colonel, Chavez was quickly demonstrating to both the Cubans and the Soviets that he was a man who could get results and take orders. The Soviet State Owned Gas Concern was increasingly involved after the Venezuelan government nationalized most of it's Petroleum infrastructure. The guerillas, some of them veteran former Sandinistas, Cuban mercenaries or volunteer American special forces were becoming a headache for the Venezuelan army in the south, but a steady pipeline of arms and Cuban 'volunteers' could now flow into Colombia to train, lead and arm FARC. The consequence was increasing casualties, and a general decline in the US's active operations in the war on drugs in Colombia. Noted schemer and billionaire drug smuggler, Pablo Escobar appeared to have evaded capture and fled to Venezuela. Despite the anti drug position of the Soviet Union and it's affiliates, it was quickly becoming clear that the Cuban government was gaining access to United States Dollars and hard currency at levels previously unseen, creating a potential way to both humiliate the Soviets, Cuban Government and link the US's two favored enemies, Communists and Drug dealers, to mobilize public support. However, the CIA and DEA had still not managed to put all of the pieces together, and did not have evidence of direct Cuban involvement yet. This situation would quickly be sidelined by a much larger crisis, the first to arrive on a silver plate to Perot's oval office.
 
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Chapter Three: Heart of Darkness
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Heart of Darkness:
"
When the Apartheid regime sold it's soul to radicals and military dictatorship to hold onto power, a series of inevitable events were launched which made this sad tragedy inevitable. History is full of examples of men selling their souls to the devil to keep what they think is their own entitlement, it is nothing special, it has happened before and will happen again. It will always be within the criminal or the psychopath's nature to act as they are, just as a predator strikes at it's prey in nature. But isn't it the policemen or watchman's responsibility for allowing it to happen? We knew of what was happening in South Africa, and left it alone because we were content to believe that this problem would sort itself out, and that sanity would prevail, what naivety."
- Preamble on the Joint Report on Warcrimes and Genocide in the South African Civil War


On the 12th of February, it was Monday like any other, very pleasant by Johannesburg standards at a mild 25 Degrees Celsius. The city had been quiet since an SADF crackdown two months ago, the only foot traffic was either affluent whites enjoying their day at the coffee shop, vehicles driving by and Black South Africans on their way to work. Despite a nearly 200'000 strong strike that had occurred a few years ago, the Apartheid government had mostly managed to systematically destroy the labour opposition by either importing willing workers from Bantustans or using armed force and food rationing, reducing the diamond miners to what could be considered almost a state of slave labour. The Presidency of Barend du Plessis and his SADF Junta had a tacit agreement with the Soviet Union, and believed that without the active funding and support of either the bush war in Nambia or of the ANC, they could maintain their rule. In some cases, military repression and pure demonstration of power can break the human spirit, but in other more dramatic cases, it fails to do so; that Monday would prove to be one of the latter.

At the Sandton mine, north of Johannesburg, private guards began beating a black worker, who demanded a few extra minutes to finish the bitter soup he was given as a reward for his five straight hours of labour. The guards were a mixed lot, some were just there because it was a job, they would just follow their orders so they could put food on the table. But there were others, a malicious sort of person. It was that sort of person who kept beating when it was unnecessary, and ironically it would be that sort of person who prove to be the hammer, striking an anvil, creating a spark which would start a fire.

When the baton made contact with Bonolo's head, the force sent it right into a rock the guard didn't see. The guard, despite his maliciousness, had no intention of murdering him. In fact, despite his sociopathic tendencies, or even in regard to them, he wanted to avoid that. Killing a labourer was a great way to get chewed out, fired or otherwise punished. But the other workers noticed, and it wasn't like this was the first time it happened, but perhaps it was the accidental nature of it that got to them. In some cases workers were killed because they talked back, tried to organize, or even hit a guard, but this time this man, a man who was friendly with everyone, who had four children and a wife, senselessly died for nothing. For these stones to be sold so their oppressors could get even richer.

The violence that ensured was pure barbarity, pickaxes and power tools were not used in their intended fashion. Bullets were fired and ricochets wounded or killed. Blood began to fill the mine, paint the walls and cover the faces. In about an hour what was left of the armed guards, evacuated the mine and left the managers who had not already escaped to their fate. That fate being a traditional method of execution in South Africa, once saved for enemies of the ANC, but instead used on who they saw as their slave masters. This of course was seen by the workers as just revenge, it was easily propagandized by the Apartheid government and SADF to mobilize the white population. It wasn't long until the phone lines were full of this information, being reported back to the police, the military and the government; but as that happened, the miners descended onto the town, riots broke out in other townships and nearly all of the mines in the region suffered similar episodes in a matter of hours. Cells of ANC rebels, waiting for an opportunity like this, came out into the open. Lightly defended roadblocks and outposts, some police stations were stormed and soon the insurrectionists had weapons. The ANC made a call to their Soviet and Cuban contacts, but the former was in a difficult position, considering there was no doubt in their or the KGB's mind that the Apartheid government had kept records of their dealings to prevent just this sort of thing. This however didn't stop other african nations from offering whatever form of paltry support they could manage. Thus began the riot in Johanesburg, which was quickly put down, but was so public and flagrant that it acted as a starters pistol, culminating an inevitable conflict since the murder of Nelson Mandela.
 
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The democrat controlled senate voted to institute Bill Clinton as his Vice President.
Per the Constitution the Senate can only choose between the two top vote getters in the electoral college for Vice President, which are VP Dan Quayle or Sen. Al Gore. Perot's running mate would've been eliminated from contention, and a Democratic Senate would almost certainly picked Gore for VP.
 
Per the Constitution the Senate can only choose between the two top vote getters in the electoral college for Vice President, which are VP Dan Quayle or Sen. Al Gore. Perot's running mate would've been eliminated from contention, and a Democratic Senate would almost certainly picked Gore for VP.
Meant to fix that earlier and forgot, thanks!
 
Chapter Three: Continuation War
First I'd like to apologize for my slow updates, I'm currently doing my masters and I'm getting pretty bogged down in work. It's unfortunate because sometimes I get that creative ding but I'm in no position to do anything with it.

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The Decline and Fall of Apartheid
Uniformed officers examined the table, while a flurry of activity took place within the bunker all around them, signallers and other support soldiers were bringing maps, files and communication devices all around. This bunker had been left mothballed, but was designated as a command station in the case of a general rebellion in the country, in a military plan created in the late 1980's by the South African Defence Force; these bunkers would operate in conjunction with the Joint Management Centers. It would be the primary head quarters serving in the Northern Johannesburg-Guateng region. The plan had been formalized two hours ago; the Afrianker Volksfront, and a junta of the top generals in the South African Army had been given political authority, as the legislature was dissolved and full marital law declared. This came as a reaction to the mutiny of the vast majority of the 7th South African Infantry Battalion, which had taken most of it's white officers and soldiers as prisoners and opened the armories to the quickly organizing ANC - National Resistance, being organized across the entire country. A rebellion of many of the moderate and liberal elements in the legislature was taking place, aligning with the ANC and establishing power in Cape Town, where several small elements of the SADF had defected. The 113 Battalion also mutinied and contact was lost with the region of Phalaborwa. The officers began to discuss possibility that the border posts there were either already under siege or stormed. Any forces left in Nambia had to be evacuated and all black soldiers disarmed, at least for the duration, which a policy could be figured out to determine of which whom would be loyal.

Across South Africa chaos began to unfold, as secretly organized ANC cells, along with any number of fanatic, liberal, maoist, marxist leninist and liberationist forces began hitting the streets. It was a complete nightmare to behold, especially in major cities within the first few days, where lawlessness and barbarity in the townships resulted in widespread violence. The military was immediately mobilized and it's reserves called in, factions started forming within, the moderates and those more affiliated with the British descended white minority, had try to connect with more the more moderate black liberation movements, suggesting that free, peaceful multiparty elections were the only way through. The vast majority of the Junta, Volksfront and Officers of the SADF choose to stay with the radical national front government. The military began to fracture as mostly black units overthrew their white officers, or even in more isolated cases drew in common cause with them. The nucleus of this movement centered around Frederik Willem de Klerk, who was however quickly assassinated, with Marthinus Van Schalkwyk and Thabo Mbeki making common cause, leading the (ANC Moderate-Liberal Party union) Front for South African Liberation, which became more well known for the name of it's military force, the Free Army of South Africa. Thousands of volunteers, black soldiers of the SADF and more moderate members of the ANC swelled it's ranks, quickly becoming a force over ten thousand strong, equipped with heavy weapons and some cases in total control of towns, military bases and major road points. The more radical armed faction that came into being was the ANC's Army of National Resistance, which came into an uneasy ceasefire with the FASA; making common cause against the SADF and it's AWB paramilitaries. Among all of these were Zulu nationalists, who were planning on seceding and forming their own state, and proved hostile to all sides.

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The SADF and Radical government was purged of those who they believed constituted an weakness, and either imprisoned or executed them. The response to this kind of uprising was predicted, and meticulously planned against. "Joint Management Centers" which had been sent up due to previous unrest in the 1970's, how allowed for the government to establish near total martial law and control from the top to the bottom. Police and auxiliary police were armed as paramilitary forces and given little information as to what was going on. The Government immediately began using the prior incidents in the mines as propaganda that this was a race war for the extermination of Afrikaners and all whites in South Africa. Many of the liberal or educated urban whites disregarded, but enough were paranoid enough to go along with it, especially within the security or government services. The capital, major cities and major road ways were among the first secured after brief fighting and skirmishing. Border patrols had ceased to exist in many areas, allowing for the flowing of African volunteers and weapons into the country. The military's main objectives were to secure a defensive perimeter around Praetoria, maintain a pathway to Johannesburg, while also maintaining control of all of the major military facilities, airports, bunkers, armories and prisons. Some towns had to be evacuated as holding them would have stretched SADF forces too thin. In some cases, prisons were found burnt down with everyone left inside, or just left open. By the beginning of March 1993, countryside was devolving into chaos.

Both the United States President Ross Perot and the Soviet Union under General Secretary Romanov were in a tough position. The CIA wasn't aware of the carte blanche the Soviets had previously given the South African government, but were now becoming increasingly suspicious. The Soviets increased their propaganda, verbally calling for the dismantling of the racist government in South Africa, but beyond a few paltry shipments of small arms did little or nothing to instigate the Junta against them. The Junta understand the fundamental strategic calculus of this and through covert channels made it understood that as long as they did not actively move against them, they would both destroy the evidence of their previous dealings once the crisis was over. Romanov, ever the opportunist, did however make connections with all of the political factions, while officially supporting the Army of National Resistance. The Perot did not want to make himself out to be a lair, but the sheer mass popularity of anti Apartheit politics, allowed him to begin the process of the CIA establishing contacts with the Free Army of South Africa.

 
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Ufff. A South African civil war. Well this is going to be nasty.

Did the South African government had such amenable interactions with the Soviets in OTL, or is this a change brought on by Romanov rising to power?

fasquardon
 
Ufff. A South African civil war. Well this is going to be nasty.

Did the South African government had such amenable interactions with the Soviets in OTL, or is this a change brought on by Romanov rising to power?

fasquardon
Essentially the Soviets supported the Cubans fighting a bush war against the South Africans for ideological and ostensibly propaganda reasons. I reckoned that a practical and amoral leader, a geopolitical realistic would rather get the material benefits of cooperation with the South Africans to calm the unrest within his own country and the Warsaw pact. He could do this very covertly through various means, until gaining enough influence in Yugoslavia that in the years from 90' to 92' he essentially used the leverage to extract rates of exchange massively beneficial to his economic needs.

The Soviets in real life engaged in a lot of unnecessary support of regimes, parties, liberation movements or etc because they honestly believed that this would legitimize themselves in the eyes of the west. Romanov wagered that a higher quality of life and a more dynamic economy were more worthwhile than any professed moral superiority.


Plus I think the fall of Apartheit had a lot to do with with the fall of the Soviet Union, and the Triumph of Neo-liberalism as a whole. While the Soviets still existed, allowing for the elites of the South African government to scare the majority into submission, the actual decision makers knew that no matter what, they could line their swiss bank accounts while also holding a massive chemical and minor nuclear arsenal as their final bargaining chip.
 
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