World of the United Front Continued - A graphics TL of China and the world

  • world of the continued united front a graphics tl of china and the world.png

    What is this?

    A TL where Sun Yat Sen is succeeded by a member of the KMT left rather than KMT right, leading to a rather different 1920s and 1930s for China, with the establishment of a different, more humane communist-led China as opposed to the Maoist China of OTL. The initial focus is on China and its surroundings, but attention is also given to various other areas where things go differently than in OTL

    Told mostly with wikiboxes and other graphics. With the length of the accompanying text in some of the posts, maybe the graphics themselves aren't really the main focus, but idk, I just got used to using them as a conceptual anchor or something

    Why is so much convergent with OTL later on?

    The intent was never to be some really deeply thought-out and divergent thing, the initial idea was just a vague point of divergence for a world that deliberately ended up a lot like OTL in some ways but with various differences, I ended up fleshing out the original POD, and then had some fun gradually fleshing out some random stuff across the span of the TL to expand on the backstory to the idea of the present that I started with. So it isn't necessarily the most plausible thing, but I had fun making it and it got some positive reactions as I've been posting it, so I've stuck with it

    Wasn't most of this posted already? What's this thread for?

    Yes, in the wikibox thread gradually over the past year or so. It started off as a one-off thing, but has since expanded past the original scope. A month or two ago, someone suggested I make my own thread, and I've been busy/slow/lazy and only got around to it now

    How often will this be updated?

    Irregularly and sporadically. I have some more things in mind that I intend to get around to eventually as well as some vague ideas, but idk when I'll get around to them



    * Second Sino-Japanese War
    * Asia after the Second Sino-Japanese War, around 1940
    * Chinese Leaders, 20s and 30s
    Sino-Soviet Relations, 1930s to 1950s
    * United States Politics, to 1960
    * Indochina and the Second Indochina War
    Indonesia, 1965 to 1989
    * Central America, 1989-1990
    * Russia, 1990s and 2000s
    * Chinese Politics, 1990s
    * Himalayan Crisis, 2005-2006
    * Aftermath of the Himalayan Crisis
    * Pakistan, late 2000s
    * LGBT Rights in China (and elsewhere), to 2010
    * Chinese Domestic Affairs and International Relations after the First Cold War
    * Japan in the 1930s and 1940s, and Pacific Rim Diplomacy in the 1940s
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    Second Sino-Japanese War
  • Second Sino-Japanese War

    This is for a sort of loose TL thing I've vaguely outlined where the present day is a lot like OTL in some ways but also different, a lot of butterflies massacred, and more for my own entertainment than realism or detail. But I thought some of the earlier stuff is maybe kinda plausible-ish at least

    Here, Chiang Kai Shek doesn't succeed Sun Yat Sen as the leader of the Kuomintang. Instead someone from the left-wing of the KMT follows Sun, and the United Front is able to continue, with the Chinese Communist Party (which remains under the control of the 28 Bolsheviks and takes a more Leninist rather than Maoist stance, pursuing a NEP-like gradual socialist program rather than stuff like the Great Leap Forward) gradually growing to take a dominant position in the United Front and transforming it into something of a front-group. The late 20s still see a Northern Expedition, with the United Front taking Nanjing and with the warlords at least sort of falling in line

    Japan still remains belligerent towards China, and intervenes in Manchuria, pushing back the forces of warlord general Zhang Xueliang. But unlike OTL, where the rightwing nationalist Nanjing central government was too busy trying to root out the communists and waging the encirclement campaigns to put up much resistance in Manchuria, the Nanjing government here under the left-leaning United Front is more popular with the peasants and doesn't really see much of an insurgency. The Nanjing government here is thus able to give its full attention to Manchuria, rallying the forces of the other warlords and sending its own forces north to aid Zhang Xueliang in the fight against Japan. The Japanese find themselves facing far more resistance than they expected, and were not quite prepared for a major war like they were in OTL 1937. The Chinese forces still find themselves struggling against Japan, but with superior numbers and facing Japan earlier when they had their forces less built up, they are able to keep the fighting contained to Manchuria and to start pushing the Japanese forces back, being aided by an earlier Operation Zet and later by direct Soviet intervention as well. In the end the Chinese and Soviet forces are able to push the Japanese forces off the continent and win the war

    Here's a wikibox for that war

    second sino japanese war.png

    This is just a direct copy of the first post, as it was written. I may rewrite it at some point, since it is kind of the odd one out with the out-of-context narrative or whatever you'd call it
    Map: Asia after the Second Sino-Japanese War, around 1940
  • Map: Asia after the Second Sino-Japanese War, around 1940


    (With the Chinese central government in lighter pink, and the warlords in darker pink)

    Just a quick little worlda I made from this post and this post, nothing too special.

    Long story short, Chiang Kai Shek doesn't become leader of the KMT, instead the left wing of the KMT ends up holding power after Sun Yat Sen dies. The United Front continues, and the Communist Party of China grows in influence. Japan still invades Manchuria, but since the Nanjing government isn't busy trying to purge the communists in the encirclement campaigns, Zhang Xueliang isn't left to fight the Japanese alone, and the armies of the central government as well as other warlords (and later the USSR as well) join the fight in Manchuria. After a few years of fighting, Japan is pushed off the mainland and sues for peace, giving China back the territories it had lost since the Treaty of Shimonoseki, giving up control of Korea, and giving Sakhalin and the Kuriles to the USSR. In the aftermath, the Communist Party, now very influential in both the KMT and China as a whole, declares the Socialist Republic of China. This socialist China is not led by Mao Zedong, but rather Chen Duxiu, who governs rather differently than Mao did, with a rather more open society and emulating Lenin's NEP rather than Stalin's rapid collectivization (which creates some tensions between China and the USSR under Stalin)

    Map is around 1940 or so, a little over half a decade since the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The central government of China has been seeking to bring warlord territory under central government control, though it has been doing so somewhat gradually, with a sizable portion of territory (the darker China color) remaining under warlord control as of 1940. Also of some note is the Socialist Republic of Korea, liberated in the war with Japan, now a client of sorts of China and pursuing a similar policy path, contrasting considerably to the People's Republic of Korea of OTL. The war in Europe is starting to heat up, pushing Stalin to take a softer tone on the 'deviationist' China, and the pro-peace government that was established via coup in Japan after the fall of Pusan in the war with Japan has itself fallen prey to a militarist coup-the new Japanese government licks its wounds and longs for revenge, though isn't entirely sure how it can actually achieve it
    Chinese Leaders, 20s and 30s
  • Chinese Leaders, 20s and 30s

    Liao Zhongkai.png

    Liao Zhongkai was a Chinese politician and leader of the Kuomintang. In 1905, he first became involved with political activism, joining the Tongmenghui engaging in opposition to the Qing Dynasty. Later, after the Republic of China was established, he joined Sun Yat Sen's Kuomintang, and by the 1920s rose to the rank of Minister of Finance. During the warlord era, he was an advocate for maintaining close relations and cooperation with the Soviet Union and Chinese Communist Party. When Sun Yat Sen died in 1925, Zhongkai succeeded him as Chairman of the Kuomintang, leader of the party. His continued advocacy for cooperation with the communists generated some opposition from the right of the Kuomintang, - the implication of major right-wing factional leader Hu Hanmin in the failed assassination attempt on Zhongkai in 1925, however, helped Zhongkai and the left-wing faction strengthen their position at the expense of the right-wing faction in the latter half of the 20s

    Under Zhongkai, the territory under the control of the Kuomintang and allies saw the beginning of political and social reforms, as well as economic development, in part supported by the USSR. Zhongkai's primary focus, however, was on the building of the National Republican Army, with cooperation from the Soviets and Chinese Communists. The Kuomintang at this time was confined to territory in the south of China, with the Zhili and Fengtian warlord factions vying for power in the central and northern regions of power. Zhongkai and the Kuomintang sought to change this, and in 1926 initiated the Northern Expedition, with the National Republican Army, Communist forces, and some allied warlords like the Kuominchun joining forces to defeat the Zhili and Fengtian. By the start of fall, 1926, Zhongkai's United Front had captured Wuhan, by early 1927 Nanjing and Shanghai had been captured, and by late 1927 Beijing had fallen to the coalition, with Fengtian warlord Zhang Xueliang following other warlords in accepting the KMT overlordship of the country

    With the end of the Northern Expedition, China was unified on paper. But in reality, much of China was under the control of warlords who swore allegiance to the central government but had some degree of autonomy in theory in practice, with the central government having varying degrees of authority and influence over the warlords depending on various different circumstances. Even in the territory under the control of the central government (initially Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, and Hubei, as well as some parts of neighboring provinces), authority was somewhat muddled, with Zhongkai and the Kuomintang being the leaders in Najing on paper and often in practice too, but with the Communist Party often acting as something of a state within a state and also extending growing influence inside the Kuomintang as well as more directly in the cities and countryside of both the territories of the central government and areas among some warlords' territories. Nonetheless, despite the awkwardness of the United Front and matters of the warlords, China was in a much more peaceful and stable state than it had been in for the past decade and a half, and saw significant developments in economic growth, construction of infrastructure, building of institutions, improvements in education, and political and social reform, as well as further growth and improvement of the military forces, and continued cooperation with and aid from the Soviet Union, as well as investment and economic involvement with other European countries and the United States

    Wang Jingwei.png

    The assassination attempt on Liao Zhongkai in 1925 failed, but did seriously wound him, and leave him with chronic pain for the rest of his life. Largely due to this, he would step down from his position as head of the Kuomintang in early 1929, at which point Wang Jingwei succeeded him as Chairman

    By that time, the left wing faction of the Kuomintang had solidly cemented itself in control of the party, in part with help from the Communist party. After the imprisonment of Hu Hanmin, there had been some speculation that the NRA general Chiang Kai Shek, another prominent leader of the right wing faction of the Kuomintang, might eventually try to take control of the Party, and this speculation elevated during the initial stages of the Northern Expedition, with his command of the armies that took Nanjing. This speculation was silenced, however, shortly after the capture of Nanjing, when a Zhili agent managed to assassinate Chiang. With the death of their most prominent leader, the right wing faction of the Party went into terminal decline, remaining a force, but increasingly falling into factional struggles among itself without a clear leader. So when Zhongkai stepped down, there was little doubt that Jingwei would succeed him

    The early years of Wang Jingwei's Chairmanship were not a marked departure from the governance of Liao Zhongkai. Jingwei was himself of the left wing of the party, and his early sympathies towards communism and communists were strengthened during and after the Northern Expedition, due to his appreciation of the communist military aid, and the successes of cooperation with the Communist Party as well as Soviet developmental aid and advisors after the Northern Expedition. As such, Jingwei continued the policy of the United Front. Even as the Communist Party grew in influence and eventually became the dominant power in China, Jingwei largely remained on cordial terms, there is some scholarly debate regarding the extent that these cordial relations in the middle and latter parts of his Chairmanship were due to genuine ideological shifts on the part of Jingwei vs pragmatism and political calculation

    Eugene Chen.png

    Eugene Chen was a Chinese Trinidadian lawyer and politician. Born in Trinidad, the child of immigrants, he became a prominent lawyer in the Islands. He later moved to London, where he met Sun Yat Sen, and was eventually convinced by him to move to China, to contribute his legal skills to the newly declared Republic of China. There, he became involved in politics, becoming a close advisor to Sun on foreign policy issues as well as a prominent diplomat, and taking a strong anti-imperialist stance

    In 1927, as part of the reforms enacted after the end of the Northern Expedition, the position of President of the Republic of China was established/re-established/made official [idk, wikipedia has a list of presidents of the republic of China, but the ones before Chiang Kai-Shek are listed as "provisional" or "acting"]. There was some debate, between the Communists and Kuomintang, on who would be President, as well as to what the powers of the President would be - in the end, Eugene Chen was chosen for President, though with little established powers by this point (indeed, at this point, the broader scope and form of the Nanjing Government, even inside the central government territory, was more de facto than de jure, a matter under discussion but not decided on). Eugene Chen would ultimately be something of a figurehead as President, though a respected one, and is remembered for his role in diplomacy with negotiating for an end to foreign concessions

    Chen Duxiu.png

    Chen Duxiu was a Chinese revolutionary and politician, the first leader of the Communist Party of China, and the first President of the Socialist Republic of China. During the nearly two decades of his Party leadership, China underwent major changes, in which he played a major role

    In the early 1920s, Chen was able to secure cooperation with the Kuomintang, led by Sun Yat Sen (himself a revolutionary with socialistic ideals that didn't quite veer into Marxism but nonetheless helped establish an ideological common ground). This cooperation would continue after the death of Sun, and was an opportunity for the Communist Party to expand its influence (both in China as a whole and among the Kuomintang itself, which had a large left-wing faction with many who had at least some degree of sympathy with the communists, if not outright agreement), an opportunity Chen was eager to take. As the 20s progressed, the Communist Party expanded its influence in both the urban and rural areas of China, growing popular with its calls for societal change and anti-imperialism, and also gradually increasing its military wing, which was outnumbered by the National Republican Army but nonetheless would perform to distinction in the Northern Expedition. The Northern Expedition also saw instances like the Shanghai Commune, where a worker's uprising resulted in effective Communist Party control over much of the city, a situation which was tolerated (albeit with some complaints and right-wing opposition) by the Kuomintang after the completion of the Northern Expedition

    By the start of the 1930s, Chen Duxiu had established the Communist Party as a competent and capable force in China, and sought to further expand, among other things managing to ascend after some political maneuvering to the position of President in early 1931, succeeding Eugene Chen. At the same time, Japan was increasing their interest in China, being rather disturbed first by the relative unity and development that China was undergoing, and then with the rise of the Communist Party in China, and with an open communist having such a prominent role in the Chinese government. In September, the Japanese military began operations in Manchuria, seeking to expand their influence and bring the Fengtian warlords back into alignment with Japan. But Japan had underestimated China, and overestimated the ability for the right-wing opposition they funded to put up a credible fight against the left-wing Nanjing government - the few right-wing KMT uprisings that occured largely fizzled out, having little success competing with the communists for rural support, and being quickly beaten down by the central government forces. The Japanese forces in the north were initially able to make large gains in Manchuria, but the arrival of the National Republican Army, the Red Army, and the forces of various warlords allowed the Chinese forces to stabilize the front in Manchuria. The Japanese forces tended to be better trained and equipped than the Chinese forces, but the Chinese forces had strength on their side, as well as some decently experienced forces from the Northern Expedition, and were also aided first by significant material support from the Soviet Union, and then by direct intervention. Japan had bitten off more than it could chew - in 1934 the Chinese forces captured Pusan, and pushed the Japanese forces off the continent altogether. The political shock of defeat triggered a coup in Japan - the new pro-peace government would not last long, falling to a militarist coup itself by the end of the 1930s, but nonetheless sued for peace with China and the USSR, granting China all territories lost since the Treaty of Shimonoseki, granting the USSR Sakhalin and the Kuriles, and giving up control of Korea. In the aftermath of the victory, and with the public support that came from it, Chen Duxiu and the Communist Party took more direct control, declaring the Socialist Republic of China, and establishing the client Socialist Republic of Korea as well

    Now in control, Chen Duxiu broadly pursued a pragmatic agenda that left him at odds with some among his party as well as with the Soviet Union. He sought to expand the central government's control over China at the expense of the warlords, but despite the wishes of some among the Communists (and some among the Kuomintang), he took a gradual approach to this, using diplomacy more than force, and offering generous pensions and estates for warlords who agreed to surrender more quickly, or allowing them different roles in the new government, in cases like Yan Xishan of Shanxi and Feng Yuxiang of the Guominjun, neither of whom were doctrinaire Marxists but both of whom were broadly socialistic in ideals. Chen himself was committed to Marxism, but saw a gradual approach as being necessary, agreeing with Lenin's reasoning for the "New Economic Policy" (NEP) and pursuing similar policy during his leadership of China in the hopes of establishing a more sturdy foundation for future development of socialism, disagreeing with Stalin's abandonment of the NEP and more rapid collectivization which he considered to have contributed to avoidable famines in the USSR. Furthermore, while Chen and the Chinese Communist Party were more than willing to use authority in the name of revolution, establishing the Party as a vanguard privileged with power and excluding opposition from access to power, Chen was critical of the excesses of Soviet authority under Stalin as well as Stalin's backsliding on issues like patriarchy, and Chen and the Party would take a rather softer and more cautious approach to authority, allowing a rather more free and open society, even allowing the Kuomintang to exist as a separate party (albeit as something of a semi-autonomous satellite party rather than anything that had any ability to take power itself).

    Due to these disagreements and others, Soviet accusations of Chinese 'deviationism', and vice versa, were not uncommon in the 1930s, though the rise of fascism in Europe and resurgence of Japanese militarism ensured that the USSR and China, even with stormy relations, remained somewhat cooperative and at least on speaking terms, with relations improving as the two countries saw things deteriorate elsewhere. Communist opinions on Chen Duxiu in his own time were rather divided, with some considering him to be a deviationist while others considered him to be a more proper predecessor to Lenin than Stalin was. In the modern era, in light of the differing ways that China and the USSR evolved, leftist opinions tend considerably towards the latter


    I had initially intended this to be a rather shorter thing, and also less complicated, just going off suggestions from the earlier post to have Wang Jingwei be the leader after Sun Yat Sen died and then having Chen Duxiu become leader sometime before the Second Sino-Japanese War of this scenario. Also I didn't expect to make nearly as much write-up. But then I did a bit of looking into the Chinese politicians of the time, and found that the guy who was leader of the Kuomintang right after Sun OTL (Zhongkai) was himself a leftist who supported cooperation with the USSR and CPC, who just happened to be assassinated shortly after he became leader. So I changed things up a bit, just having him not die in the assassination, and went from there. I am by no means an expert on warlord era Chinese politics, so I can't really say that this scenario is necessarily the most plausible, but I enjoyed making it nonetheless
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    Sino-Soviet Relations - 1930s to 1950s
  • Sino-Soviet Relations - 1930s to 1950s

    Initially, after Lenin's strokes left him unable to govern, the Soviet Union was led by a triumvirate consisting of Lev Kamanev, Grigory Zinoviev, and Joseph Stalin. In the mid 20s, however, the triumvirate broke up due to Zinoviev and Kamanev's opposition to Stalin's policy of "Socialism in One Country", and Stalin began to consolidate power. Stalin's rise was not without opposition, but as he rose and consolidated power, the Left Opposition, Right Opposition, and United Opposition factions found themselves suppressed and purged, often with large public show trials, with torture and forced confessions common and under the broader environment of growing repression and censorship in the Soviet Union

    Leon Trotsky.png

    Leon Trotsky was a Soviet revolutionary and Marxist theorist and politician. whose particular strain of Marxist thought is known as Trotskyism. He joined he Bolshevik Party shortly before the October revolution, and rapidly became a major figure within the party, being involved in the negotiations for the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and later becoming a prominent military leader of the Reds in the Russian Civil War

    After the rise of Joseph Stalin, Trotsky was removed from his positions in the Soviet Government, and eventually expelled. He spent the rest of his life in exile, first in Turkey, and then eventually making his way to China. There, he became involved with the Communist Party of China. The Communist leader, Chen Duxiu, was quite sympathetic to Trotsky and his criticisms of Stalin, though Chen never openly endorsed Trotskyism and publicly downplayed Trotsky's role in the party, out of concerns for Chinese-Soviet relations, being critical of the course the Soviet leadership was taking but nonetheless desiring to put up a united front against fascism and imperialism, and wanting to maintain Sino-Soviet economic ties. Trotsky's continued existence nonetheless put strain on Sino-Soviet relations - foreign developments in the 30s and early 40s temporarily pushed the two countries to cooperate, but after the Allied victory in the Second World War, the matter of Trotsky as well as other disputes led to the First Sino-Soviet Split, with Stalin breaking off relations with China and Korea

    Trotsky was by far the most prominent of Soviet exiles in China, but he was far from the only one. In the 30s, as the purges stepped up in intensity in the USSR and old Bolsheviks increasingly came under attack by Stalin, Trotsky and some of his sympathizers in China covertly aided the flight of several Opposition figures to China, where the Chinese communist leadership stringently denied any harboring of such later fugitives but did quietly allow them to live fully out of the public's eye

    Trotsky's ideas developed the basis of Trotskyism, a prime school of Marxist thought that opposes the theories of Stalinism. He was written out of the history books under Stalin and was one of the few Soviet personalities who was not rehabilitated by the Soviet administration under Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s. In the Chinese sphere, however, he would be seen in a more positive light during and after the First Cold War, with Trotskyism having an influence on the development of Chinese Marxism, though never explicitly being endorsed in whole


    With the death of Stalin in 1953, the Soviet leadership underwent significant change. Nikita Khrushchev, the new leader of the USSR, engaged in various reforms to the economy and society, among other things relaxing state repression and censorship. In terms of foreign policy, he pursued a policy of "Peaceful Coexistence", a softening of Soviet stance towards non-Warsaw Pact states. As part of this policy, he pursued an improvement of relations with fellow Communist-led China, moving away from the antagonism Stalin pursued after WWII. The First Sino-Soviet Split was ended with the Treaty of Ulaanbaatar in 1957

    After the victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War and establishment of the Socialist Republic of China, the Chinese Communists gradually expanded control of the central government, using pressure and persuasion to bring the warlord governments to heel, as well as to bring Tibet officially into the Chinese state as a special autonomous territory. Certain regions, however, remained out of even indirect Chinese influence. Xinjiang, Tuva, and Mongolia were officially part of the Republic of China, and the Socialist Republic inherited claims on those territories, but the warlords in those areas had come under the influence of the Soviet Union, and Stalin retained domination of those regions, at times hinting at an eventual return of those regions to China, potentially in return for the Chinese leadership taking a path more obedient to Moscow's orthodoxy, though any discussion of such ideas came to an end with the post-war Sino-Soviet Split, with the local warlords remaining in control long after the rest of China was united

    With the restoration of relations after the death of Stalin, however, Soviet leadership shifted on that matter, and one of the major effects of the Treaty of Ulaanbaatar was Soviet recognition of Chinese sovereignty over the disputed Central Asian territories of Mongolia, Tuva, and Xinjiang. Khrushchev figured that bringing China and Korea into the Soviet Sphere would be well-worth the loss of control over the smaller Central Asian territories. The Chinese would thereafter integrate the former warlord states as autonomous territories. In addition to these territorial changes, the treaty saw a resumption of major economic ties and economic assistance to China, as well as significant diplomatic and military cooperation between the Chinese and Soviets
    United States Politics, 1952-1960
  • United States Politics, 1952-1960

    In the 1930s, the American public largely focused inward and embraced isolation. After the Second World War, and establishment of Soviet control over Eastern Europe, American politics began to turn outward, motivated by anti-communism to coordinate more with other western capitalist countries

    In the 1930s and 1940s, the Communist Party of China took a gradualist stance, emulating the NEP of Lenin and intending to maintain it for a longer period of time than the USSR under Stalin did, with their own "Socialist Market Economy". As part of this, the Socialist Republic of China pursued a policy of significant trade with the West. The USA and other western countries were more than willing to engage in this trade, out of hopes of sowing division between the Chinese and Soviets, as well as in hopes of undermining Chinese (and Korean) socialism. The 1940s, however, saw an increase in voices criticizing the trade relationship as merely aiding Chinese economic growth, and criticizing the broader isolation of the 30s and failure to stop the spread of socialism in Europe and Asia

    In the 1940s, the force of anti-communism had not yet come to dominate American politics, with incumbent Harry Truman managing to win a surprising victory in 1948 despite heavy criticism from Thomas Dewey. Even in the early 50s, it wasn't necessarily certain how things would later end up - in the 1952 Republican primaries, conservative Robert Taft only narrowly beat moderate Dwight Eisenhower

    Taft did beat Eisenhower, however, and in the general election, the Taft-McCarthy ticket was able to solidly beat the Stevenson-Sparkman ticket. After 5 consecutive losses, the Republicans had finally taken back control. Taft himself was a solid conservative, but when he died just months into his Presidency, his successor pursued an even more strongly conservative agenda, and used the bully pulpit (and federal forces) for very aggressively anti-communist rhetoric and action

    1952 1956 elections ib.jpg

    McCarthy was far from the sole figure responsible for the "Second Red Scare", but he and his administration were a major factor in letting it reach the heights it did. The aggressive rhetoric encouraging an atmosphere of paranoia, federal agencies playing dirty with numerous denials of due process, encouragement and cooperation with heavy-handed state and local government efforts, and public support for the militias all played notable roles in spurring on the Red Scare. Of course these acts also played on already existing sentiments among the general population - many dissidents or suspected dissidents would die in the poor conditions of the government detention camps and asylums, or would be executed judicially or killed by law enforcement, but many more would be killed by patriotic militias or by spontaneous acts of violence in communities or by individuals

    second red scare ib.png

    Support for McCarthy and the Red Scare was far from unanimous . Even before the period of highest intensity, in McCarthy's second term, Estes Kefauver was able to present a strong challenge to the President, with McCarthy winning in 1956 by a much narrower margin than Taft had won four years earlier. But it was only partway through his second term that the opposition was able to really gain momentum, and when the general public began shifting in a big way against McCarthy and the Red Scare. McCarthy was able to narrowly avoid impeachment, but ended up censured by Congress, and ended up a lame-duck in the latter 1950s, with a coalition of Democrats and Republicans cobbling together a veto-proof supermajority to largely bypass the embittered President, and force some federal reforms to try and prevent the excesses of the Red Scare from happening again in the future

    The total death toll from the Red Scare would not be determined. Though there was a broad recognition that things had gone too far, opinions varied wildly, from those who thought that there was certainly excess but that strong action against communism was nonetheless justified by the insurgencies, to those who held that the whole thing was a massive overreach of authority and militant zealotry that proved that far more reforms than those that were passed were needed, with some even suggesting that the leftist insurgents were justified by the oppressive cultural and political atmosphere. As such, due to hopes of moving forward and avoiding harsh political conflict over the particulars, an official, in-depth government inquiry was not launched until years later, at which point the passage of time had made it hard or impossible to determine a very clear image of the particulars and numbers. Modern official and academic numbers for those killed in the Red Scare, and for how, vary significantly from source to source and methodology used

    Going into the 1960 elections, both parties found themselves with significant concerns and weaknesses.

    The Republicans found themselves with major popularity issues due to their association with Joseph McCarthy (himself term-limited, still loudly commentating on politics, but increasingly ignored in the years before his 1962 death from liver failure brought on by alcoholism), as well as conflict within the party on the way forward. Richard Nixon, California Senator, early supporter of McCarthy who later shifted to a strong critic, with a strong Cold War rhetoric but also a fairly moderate domestic policy, was able to restore some respectability to the Republican Party, avoid causing too much controversy with any of the wings of the party, and make things competitive. Also helping make things competitive was the conflict within the Democratic Party

    The party was facing conflict from the conservative and segregationist wings of the party who were relatively more favorable to Red Scare policy and the Cold War on one hand, and the left-wing of the party who were strongly critical of McCarthy, strongly pro-civil rights, and generally supportive of a less aggressive Cold War with more diplomatic efforts and an arguably more isolationist bent. Nominee John F. Kennedy, a moderate liberal taking a hard stance on Cold War foreign policy and taking Senate leader LBJ as his running mate to try to keep the south in line, while also endorsing a moderately left-leaning, pro-civil rights and liberties domestic platform, was ultimately unable to fully please either wing fully, and just like in 1948, the Democrats would see not one but two third party candidacies that largely took votes from their party. Leftist William H. Meyer, on the revived Progressive Party ticket, was able to pull away a sizable chunk of the left-wing vote out of dissatisfaction with the relatively moderate stances the Democratic Party took in the wake of the national crisis, getting nearly 10% of the total vote and failing to win any states but playing 'spoiler' in multiple states. The segregationist Dixiecrats took a much smaller amount of the vote, but that vote was concentrated in several southern states, and the Dixiecrats were thus able to win several electoral votes

    1960 election ib.png

    The election results were extremely close. Indeed, due to the particulars of how the state of Alabama carried out their elections, it isn't even certain which candidate won the popular vote. As the results came in on election night and the day after, the winner was unclear, with the Progressives acting as something of a 'spoiler' for Kennedy, letting Nixon win various states like Illinois and California with well below 50% of the vote, and with Dixiecrats winning 15 electoral votes in the South and potentially sending the election to the House of Representatives with no majority winner in the electoral college. Kennedy, however, was able to very narrowly win a majority of electoral votes outright. Afterward, seeing the close results in Alaska, Nixon would express bitter regret in taking the advice of his advisors to not carry out his initial '50-state strategy' plan (though pundits would later point out that even if he did take time to campaign in Alaska and won the state, it could have cost him states like Illinois that he was able to narrowly win with his more targeted approach). At any rate, Kennedy was sworn in, speaking of a New Frontier for a new decade, poised to push ambitious foreign and domestic policy to tackle problems at home and abroad, though also facing the potential for struggles with getting his agenda through Congress
    Indochina and the Second Indochina War
  • Indochina and the Second Indochina War

    1930 saw the consolidation of several different communist parties and organizations within French Indochina, and the formation of the Indochinese Communist Party, for a united struggle against French imperialism. From the start, party leader Ho Chi Minh sought to cultivate positive relations with both the Chinese and Soviet Communist Parties. Even with foreign support, it wasn't until the 1940s that the Indochinese communists saw major successes, however.

    The Japanese State's control over Indochina did not last long - the attempt to use the territory as a springboard to launch the Third Sino-Japanese War (after the loss of Korea in the previous war) was not particularly successful, and the third war was over sooner than the second, with less loss to China. But the Japanese seizure of Indochina did significantly weaken the central authority in Indochina, giving Ho Chi Minh an opportunity to increase his influence in opposition to Japanese rule. The end of the war saw Franco-British intervention to restore French rule, but the French rule over Indochina would never be as strong as it had been, and while the Chinese reluctantly pulled out of the north after significant diplomatic pressure, they left Ho Chi Minh's forces significant amounts of supplies, and would continue to give covert aid

    The First Indochina War lasted nearly a decade, and saw How Chi Minh's communists transforming from insurgents in the countryside to a force that was able to hold its own and defeat the French in a pitched battle in the field, at Dien Bien Phu. That victory severely weakened the French forces - France would soon pull out from Indochina. The end of French involvement did not end the conflict, however. The Americans, having shifted to a very hawkish stance and wishing to prevent Indochina from following China and Korea and leading to a domino-style collapse of Southeast Asia to communism, began to increase their support for the capitalist South Indochinese government opposing Ho Chi Minh's northern communists. American involvement began in the 1950s with some military advisors and logistic support, but by the 1960s the US had a major direct military presence in the region

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    Despite a significant intervention by the 1960s, American and South Indochinese forces made little progress against the north - American tactics and strategy have been criticized from many directions in the years after the war. The war began to generate greater and greater opposition among the American public. Revelations of government dishonesty regarding the war also boosted dissent with the war. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Americans shifted to a policy of "Indochinization", to reduce American direct involvement in the war and give the South Indochinese regime greater responsibility for their own defense, focusing more on training and equipping the South Indochinese forces than direct combat involvement of American forces. This strategy saw a partial reversal in the final years of the war, however

    While youth and student activism saw a sizable opposition to the war within the United States, China had a different experience. For the past few decades, the Chinese communists had generally pursued a cautious and gradualist approach to domestic and foreign policy, emulating the Leninist NEP and state capitalism rather than immediate socialization, pursuing gradual social reforms, and seeking trade with both the Soviets and the West while attempting to avoid conflict with either bloc. But the late 1960s and early 1970s saw a sizable protest movement in China, particularly among youth, students, and intellectuals, in support of an acceleration of domestic socialist reform as well as a more robust foreign policy to support the revolution abroad. In the final years of the war, the Chinese leadership shifted on the issue, enacting a major buildup of forces in the region and intervening directly on behalf of the North Indochinese, culminating in the 1972-1973 offensive that saw Sino-Indochinese forces capture Saigon and Phnom Penh, ending the war. Chinese relations with the West saw a significant decline, and the Soviets, always weary of the independent-minded Chinese, felt some concern over the flexing of Chinese power, but finally, after decades of war, Indochina was independent and united

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    For the rest of the Cold War, the Indochinese largely continued Ho Chi Minh's strategy of seeking positive relations with both the Soviets and Chinese, while remaining independent of both spheres. With the fall of the Soviet Union, however, and the end of Russian aid, the Indochinese more closely aligned themselves with China. Though a bit poorer than China and Korea, the Indochinese have seen an economic recovery after the early 1990s. Indochina now largely follows the "Nanjing Consensus", some in the country grumble at claims that the country has become a "client state" of China like Korea did (and the country is the most independent-minded of the core Chinese allies, still), but the countries have nonetheless seen a growing level of economic, diplomatic, and cultural integration since the end of the Cold War, and much of the people of Indochina appear content with this state of affairs
    Indonesia, 1965 to 1989
  • Indonesia, 1965 to 1989

    By the 1960s, Indonesia had won independence from the Netherlands, and been established as a Republic. During the 1950s, Indonesia had a period of liberal democracy, but in the late 50s, the country transitioned to a system of "guided democracy" in an attempt to bring political stability in response to rebellion and division in the country. During that period, the country's leader, Sukarno, sought a foreign policy of anti-imperialism, leaning towards the Soviets and Chinese in order to attain developmental aid, but also pursuing a policy of non-alignment, playing a role in the Bandung Conference (which his country hosted) and the formation of the 'Non-Aligned Movement'. Domestically, Sukarno pursued a left-leaning policy, with the concept of 'Nas-A-Kom', a compound of the words for nationalism, religion, and communism, to try to balance the competing interests of the communists, islamists, and army. He was not a communist himself, but adhered to the ideology of "Marhaenism", a socialistic ideology seen by some as an offshoot of Marxism, and aligned himself and his government with the Communist Party of Indonesia, one of the largest communist parties outside of the Soviet and Chinese spheres. This did not endear him to certain sections of the military

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    In the mid 60s, a group of rightist generals and officers, led by General Suharto, plotted to change the political situation in Indonesia. On early 1 October 1965, a group of soldiers and officers calling themselves the '30 September Movement' mobilized and attempted to launch a coup, claiming they were intending to prevent a coup by another faction of generals supported by the CIA. But in the military, a handful of communist-sympathizing officers managed to catch wind of the broader scheme, and were able to provide proof that the so-called 30 September Movement was actually itself more or less a false flag operation, with rightist military elements organizing a coup attempt to kill generals who could have stood in the way of Suharto's seizure of power, and then claim that the Communist Party had organized the coup attempt, allowing a purge of Communists by the military once the rightists had seized power. Indeed, the 30 September Movement, and the rightist generals who organized them, were the ones who actually had ties to the CIA, the evidence showed

    For a few hours, Jakarta was in chaos, and the situation was unclear. As the day progressed, the government forces had managed to take control, with the leaked information by communist sympathizers in the military playing a key role in allowing the government to disarm the coup. The coupists were able to kill Suprapto, Second Deputy General of the military, but failed in their attempts to kidnap or kill other generals. By the end of the day, Jakarta was back under government control, and by 6 October, all coupist forces had been captured or killed

    The failed coup had major repercussions in Indonesian politics. Had the coup succeeded, the rightists may have succeeded in taking control, ousting Sukarno, and purging the communists. Or alternatively, a partially successful coup could have resulted in something like the 1936 Spanish Coup that failed to seize total control of the country but gave the coupists control of significant parts of the country and signaled the start of a years-long civil war. But the Indonesian coup was a failure, and indeed backfired, with the Communist Party growing in influence and being seen as a force victimized by a foreign-backed plot, and with Sukarno managing to gain a stronger control over the military. The coup attempt was a major factor in shifting the political winds in Indonesia, which would transition from 'Republic' to 'People's Republic' by the end of the decade, with the rise of the Communist Party and other leftist forces


    Even after the establishment of the People's Republic of Indonesia, the Communists in the country found themselves in a somewhat precarious position. By the 70s, the Communist Party of the USSR had an iron grip on power, and in the Socialist Republic of China the Communist Party governed with a much lighter touch but had nonetheless completely removed any real opposition to its rule as well. But the Indonesian Communists didn't face such a luxury, governing a smaller and poorer country, with less entrenched power, more geographic fragmentation due to the country's archipelagic nature, and facing sizable opposition from the Islamist sectors of the population, with such opposition often facing covert US and other Western support and funding

    One way the Communist Party of Indonesia attempted to appease Islamists and reduce opposition from that direction was by attempting to meld socialism and religion. While the Soviet and Chinese spheres generally endorsed state atheism to some extent or another, the Indonesian government merely endorsed a broad idea of secularism and religious freedom, and at various times mildly endorsed Islam. The state also at times gave some support specifically to Islamic socialist and other Islamic progressive movements

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    By far the most influential of these Islamic movements is that of 'Reform Shafi'i'. This Islamic movement was never explicitly socialist at its core (though it has generally been favorable to socialist ideals), but stands for a broadly progressive social teaching. When it was founded, in the early 70s not long after the foundation of the People's Republic, it had generally embraced ideas like women's rights and equality, state secularism, religious tolerance and intercommunal relations, and while it has not necessarily been on the absolute cutting edge of social reform, it has pretty consistently evolved with the times, embracing various other progressive causes as the decades have passed. This, along with its friendly relations with leftist political movements, and its more generally very liberal and unorthodox theological interpretations, has done plenty to draw the ire of conservative Muslims and Islamic groups. Even though 'Reform Shafi'i' presents itself as simply a particular interpretation of Shafi'i Sunni Islam, Reform Shafi'i is often considered its own particular sect of Islam akin to Shia, Sunni, and Ibadi Islam, and recent polling suggests that a sizable minority of the global Muslim population views Reform Shafi'i as heretical as having outright ceased to be Islamic at all. That said, the movement has managed to gain support of a significant minority of the population of Indonesia, having been controversial among some of the most conservative Indonesian Muslims, but being popular enough among the general public, and arguably serving of a bridge of sorts between the Communist Party and some of the more religious sections of the Indonesian population

    Reform Shafi'i has also been the only major Islamic movement to gain any substantial amount of support outside the People's Republic of Indonesia. While some of the explicitly Islamic socialist movements arguably had some influence on latter developments in countries like Iran, they didn't actually gain more than a handful of actual adherents, while Reform Shafi'i today has around 12 million adherents in the Middle East and South Asia, in addition to its 80 million adherents in Indonesia itself. Furthermore, Reform Shafi'i has had some splits and offshoots itself, though these have never managed to achieve even a fraction of the support and adherents that the original movement has, with the largest, an attempt to create a progressive reform theology that also unifies Sunni, Shia, and Ibadi Islam, only having a little over 150,000 adherents around the world today


    The Revolutions of 1989 were largely centered on the USSR, Warsaw Pact, and other countries within the Soviet sphere, with the largest changes, indeed quite earth-shattering changes geopolitically, occurring within those regions. But the protests and uprisings were not limited to the Soviet sphere. Indonesia, facing cuts in economic aid from the Chinese as well as a total end of aid and support from the Soviets, found itself facing economic issues, as well as political opposition, initially due to the economic crisis and expanding to include various movements calling for various different sorts of reforms, including increasing liberal democratic socialism and expanding civil liberties within the socialist model, transitioning to a liberal democratic capitalist system and abandoning socialism altogether, and eschewing the former two options and instead establishing an Islamic State to enforce orthodox conservative Islam

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    In the end, despite facing significant opposition, the Communist Party of Indonesia was able to fare far better than the Communist Party of the USSR, enacting some political reforms and minor economic reforms but ultimately retaining its grip on power

    The most significant area where the Communist Party conceded power was in the region of Irian Jaya/Western Papua, now the Papuan Autonomous People's Republic. When Indonesia gained independence from the Netherlands, the Dutch retained control of Western New Guinea/Papua for years after the rest of the Dutch East Indies gained independence. The Dutch eventually withdrew, and West Papua came under the administration of Indonesia. But the Indonesian attempts to integrate West Papua were deeply unpopular among the Papuans, and while the Communists were able to cement control over the rest of Indonesia, the party faced rather more opposition in Papua. In 1989, the protests in Papua were far more intense than in the rest of the country, and unlike in other areas, the anti-government movement saw significant defection from local law enforcement and security forces. The government in Jakarta eventually decided to just cut its losses. In the rest of the country, concessions granted to protesters were generally minor, but in Papua, the government granted major concessions, establishing the Papuan Autonomous People's Republic and granting the new government pretty much complete control over its internal affairs, largely reducing Jakartan influence in Papua to just diplomatic and military affairs as well as certain economic matters relating to foreign trade and economic relations between the Autonomous Republic and Indonesia-proper
    Central America, 1989-1990
  • Central America, 1989-1990

    The mid to late 1980s saw a major retreat of Soviet power across the globe. With the liberalization of the USSR, the country largely turned inward, leaving former allies to fend for themselves, and even letting the Warsaw Pact itself crumble. Even before the fall of the USSR, this was a significant reversal compared to the situation in the 1960s and 1970s, which saw the expansion of Soviet-backed, Chinese-backed, and independent communism in South and Central America, Africa, and Asia. With the severe decline in Soviet international power, and with China at this time seeking neutrality and economic development rather than foreign policy belligerence, the United States saw an increase in national morale (especially in comparison to the situation after its defeat in the Indochina War and after the botched Iranian hostage rescue attempt) as well as willingness to push and intervene openly and directly abroad on the world stage

    At the turn of the decade, one such intervention would occur in Panama

    In 1989, Manuel Noriega was the dictator of Panama. He had actually been a longtime CIA asset (since the 1950s), a drug lord who had worked with the USA in fighting against the leftist FSLN in Nicaragua, supporting the Contras, playing a role in the Iran-Contra affair, and otherwise providing intelligence and aid for American foreign policy efforts in the region. By 1983, Noriega had become dictator of Panama, and was still on good terms with the USA, but in the latter part of the decade, American relations would sour with Noriega, as the US became increasingly disapproving of Noriega's involvement with drug trafficking. As this occurred, Noriega began seeking closer ties to the USSR and its bloc. At that point, the United States leadership decided it had enough, and that its former client needed to be replaced

    In late 1989, after the dictatorship annulled an election, diplomatic relations between the US and Panama deteriorated to the point where the US leadership decided to invade the country and topple Noriega. The invasion was a pretty easy affair for the American military, with the war ended in less than a month and a half, with negligible casualties to US forces. Noriega was flown to the US, and convicted of money laundering, drug trafficking, and other charges

    With Panama occupied, the US sought to prevent the country from turning against them again. The Americans set about establishing another client government in the country, and pushed the "US-Panama Treaty of Understanding" on the country in order to more formally draw out certain privileges for America, in ways reminiscent of the US interventions in Central America in the early 1900s. One significant provision of the treaty gave the United States control of the Panama Canal Zone once more. The US took control of the territory in 1903, but granted back control with the Torijos-Carter Treaties in 1979. This move, however, was deeply unpopular with many conservatives, who didn't care for giving up the militarily and economically important territory even if it improved relations with Panama. So in the aftermath of the Panama War, cheerful and confident in their success and willing to expand American power in the area, the American leadership forced Panama to return the Canal to the US. This received considerable international criticism, but with the Cold War gearing down and the opposition isolated or crumbling, the US was able to do it anyway, and it was fairly popular among the domestic population

    Panama ib.jpg

    Shortly after the end of the Panama War, an election was being held in the nearby Central American country Nicaragua

    Since the 1930s, Nicaragua had been ruled by dictators of the Somoza family. By the 1970s, leftist resistance to the Somoza regime, led by the socialist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), had gained momentum, managing to overthrow the Somoza regime and establish a new leftist government. Despite the FSLN winning an election in 1984 that was considered fair and free by international observers, the United States government was very displeased to see their former client deposed and replaced with an eastern-oriented socialist government. The US thus took oppositional measures towards Nicaragua in the 1980s, including placing the country under embargo and funding the right wing Contras fighting against the leftist regime

    In the lead-up to the 1990 election, FSLN leader Ortega was reasonably popular, but the embargo and civil strife was hurting the country, and the American leadership openly stated they'd end the embargo and seek peace in Nicaragua if the opposition candidate, Violeta Chamorro, won in the election. Polls showed the race being very narrow, with many pundits and analysts suggesting the opposition would win due to a desire to end the embargo as well as out of fear and a suppressive effect due to Contras election violence against FSLN

    The treaty ending the Panama War, however, was signed shortly before the Nicaraguan election, and caused a substantial shift in things. The treaty, and US seizure of the Panama Canal, were widely disliked, with FSLN giving harsh criticism and also calling on Nicaraguans to avoid voting for Chamorro - the Americans said they'd end sanctions and funding for violence if she won, but the Panamanian experience called into question whether supporting the American backed candidate would actually make things better or just make things even worse if the US later grew tired of that leader too, after all. In the end, boosted by these events, Ortega was able to narrowly beat Chamorro

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    Ortega was not able to enjoy his victory for long. The American leadership was pissed, while also being high off the success of the Panama War and more confident than ever in their ability to act in the region without fear from the communist bloc - the USSR itself was beginning the process of collapse, with anticommunists being elected in two Soviet Republics at essentially the same time as the Nicaraguan election. When the Nicaraguan opposition accused Ortega of electoral fraud, the US leadership demanded that Ortega step down. When he refused, the US launched the second invasion of a Central American country in the span of a quarter of a year, and with their significant buildup of forces in the area from the only recently ended Panama War and still-ongoing occupation of Panama, the US forces were able to quickly overcome the Nicaraguan forces, despite Nicaraguan numerical superiority on paper. In the aftermath, Nicaragua, like Panama, saw the establishment of a pro-US government, and was forced into a treaty giving the US significant privileges in the country

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    Russia, 1990s and 2000s
  • Russia, 1990s and 2000s

    The Soviet Union fell in 1991, sending shockwaves around the world. But that was not the end of Russian power and influence - with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) often being considered an early example of this. That said, Yeltsin's Russia was a troubled place, with major issues from the post-Soviet economic "shock therapy", as well as corrupt institutions, powerful oligarchs, and a fractured political scene

    In the early 90s, talks began between Russia and Belarus, regarding the potential for some sort of union between the two countries. Of all the post-Soviet states, Belarus was generally the most friendly towards Russia, and was historically and culturally close, with a sizable minority of Russians and a large chunk of the non-Russian population speaking Russian. Plus there were motivations for the leadership of both countries. Boris Yeltsin started off as very popular in the USSR and then Russia, but as President of Russia quickly saw a decline in popularity, and saw a union with Belarus as a way to increase the prestige and power of Russia as well as his own popularity. And Alexander Lukashenko, the leader of Belarus, had certain ambitions for himself...

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    The negotiations saw success, and in the later half of 1995, the agreement was finalized. In December 1995, the Treaty on the Creation of the Union State was signed, and Russia and Belarus were united

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    In the 1996 election, less than a year later, Yeltsin campaigned on his achievement in expanding the nation as well as on staying the course on much of his reforms of the past years. Lukashenko's surrogates insisted that it was actually Lukashenko who was most responsible for allowing the Union State to be established in the first place, while Lukashenko himself focused on criticizing Yeltsin's leadership of Russia, contrasting the Russian economic liberalization ("wild capitalism", as he called the Yentsin programme) with his own leadership of Belarus, where he pursued much more cautious reforms and retained much of the old Soviet-style economy, as well as calling for a more statist and less liberalized economy in the Union State as a whole. Lukashenko's platform didn't go as far as Zyuganov's Communists, but was nonetheless able to get a sizable amount of crossover support from that party, and indeed after Lukashenko edged out Zyuganov for second place in the first round (the polls before the first round tended to show it as being neck and neck in terms of which would get second place) and thus secured a spot in the runoff, Zyuganov endorsed Lukashenko for the 2nd round, and Lukashenko's base of support tended to largely coincide with the so-called "Red Belt" of post-Soviet Communist Party support

    Yeltsin was able to win the first round by over 6 million votes, but in the second round, Lukashenko was able to consolidate a lot of the support from other candidates and parties (in the first round, Yeltsin and Lukashenko only got a combined 54% of the vote), and the race was very close. In the end, Lukashenko was able to win the closest of victories - getting about 4 million votes more than Yeltsin, but only very narrowly getting over the 50%+1 vote mark that was needed to win (even in the final round, the option of voting "against all" existed, which nearly 5% voted for, and if no candidate got an outright majority, another election would occur). But when all was said and done, he did achieve that majority. In the aftermath, there were claims that Lukashenko, who was formerly the leader of Belarus, had managed to rig the vote in the Belarusian region of the Union State, and on the other hands there were claims levelled at the Yeltsin campaign that American electoral intervention in support had been accepted, but nothing much more than rhetoric would come of either accusations

    Lukashenko was a rather more popular leader than Yeltsin, and while international observers and foreign countries expressed some concern over the state of civil liberties and elections in the Union State, Lukashenko's economic policy in particular was well-received among the population of the Union State. Lukashenko was so popular that he was widely expected to get elected in the 2008 elections - he was unable to run for the 2004 elections, due to term limits, but could run again in 2008. There was talk of a so-called "tandemocracy" after the 2004 elections, where the prime minister in the later years of Lukashenko's presidency, Vladimir Putin, successfully ran for President while Lukashenko became the Prime Minister after giving Putin support during the campaign. Such predictions appeared to be true for the first years of the Putin presidency, when Putin and Lukashenko were largely aligned on policy, with Putin largely following Lukashenko's lead despite having the more constitutionally powerful position. This was all upended when Lukashenko fell ill and perished in 2006

    (Source for the coat of arms)
    Chinese Politics, 1990s
  • Chinese Politics, 1990s

    The fall of the Soviet Union was a shock to the whole world. It was largely just assumed that the USSR would persevere for the indefinite future. But the mid 1980s saw a liberalization of the USSR that was followed by a total collapse of the Warsaw Pact and then a total collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 90s, as well as the collapse of most other Soviet aligned and independent communist states outside of the Chinese sphere. In Nanjing itself, a sense of pessimism and fear emerged - communist China never had an amazing relationship with the Soviets, with a capricious on-and-off-again relationship and sometimes quite significant policy disagreements, but the Chinese had hoped that things would eventually work themselves out in the USSR, and had taken comfort in knowing another major communist power existed, even when they were at odds. But now the USSR and it's sphere was gone. China retained a prospering and integrating Korea, and Indochina found itself increasingly falling into the Chinese sphere, but outside of those, only a handful of countries retained communist party rule

    Though some outsiders predicted an anti communist revolution in China along the lines of what occured in the USSR and Warsaw Pact, however, the communist party retained strong and essentially unchallenged rule over China. The early years of communist rule in the 1930s saw grumbling within sections of the Party over the choice to emulate Lenin's NEP and take a gradualist approach to economic building rather than following the Stalinist rapid collectivization approach, but by the late 80s the Chinese economy was not only booming with growth (having become the largest economy in the world by some measures) but had seen substantial and robust socialist economic reforms. It was widely accepted among Chinese communists that the Party had successfully struck a balance economically in contrast to the USSR which had darted between a premature and chaotic collectivization, an ossified status quo built on faulty foundations, and a liberalization that saw yet more chaos and corruption. Politically too, the "iron fist, velvet glove" vanguardist approach by the Party in China was seen as far more successful than the USSR at securing civil liberties, allowing for public dissent, and allowing for a diversity of opinions within the party while maintaining party control and ensuring the party maintained a broad progressive socialist standpoint and having an element of democracy that was far more byzantine and party-controlled than the liberal capitalist democracies but nonetheless far more substantial than that seen in the USSR. Thus China was able to see steady social reforms that were largely only even considered in the USSR at the beginning and end of that country's existence, without risking either major conservative backlash or the rise of anti-communist liberalization.

    Thus the 1994 Chinese elections occurred with little disruption to the system, and little attention outside the country

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    Factions in the Communist Party of China (and their makeup in the party prior to the 1994 elections)

    The RSC has for the past couple decades essentially been the origin of the party's mainline doctrine and political direction, rejecting the personality-based ideologies of other Communists like the Leninists, Stalinists, Trotskyists, Gonzaloists, and so on, in favor of the bland "New Synthesis" title. The CFU concerns itself primarily with interests specifically regarding workers and the trade unions, but overall generally aligned with the RSC on broader politics. Likewise, the ACWF and NUSY focus respectively on women's liberation and the interests of students and children (with the CPC via the NUSY having the distinction of being at this time the only governing party in the world to have minors elected to office), but generally align with the RSC

    After Trotsky fled to China, he took a low-key role in Chinese communist politics, with his politics having some informal influence among the Party leaders while being officially ignored for the purpose of diplomacy with the USSR. But now, decades after the deaths of Stalin and Trotsky, Trotskyists make up an official faction within the CPC, as the IWA, though the Trotskyist camp is split, with some within the CPC as the IWA, others organized outside the Party but friendly with it, and others not so friendly at all. The IWI currently openly advocates for Trotskyist politics in general, and is the most hawkish and interventionist of the factions

    The CAF is unique among the factions in the sense that it lacks any leadership, collective or otherwise. The CAF represents the various anarchist strains of leftism, and tends to be quite divided amongst itself. Its division has perhaps led it to punch below its weight in influencing the party, though it has had some success in the establishment of communes and other policies

    The RGF is a relative newcomer to the Chinese political sphere. China's industrialization saw a rapid economic development but also substantial environmental destruction, which led to the establishment of the Chinese environmentalist movement. The RGF is the political wing of this movement, representing eco-communism in the Party. It is also the most dovish of the factions, preferring foreign aid in the form of green developmentalism to communist and non communist third world nations

    The CPFL and RDVL are somewhat oddballs within the Party. They are the only factions with individual leaders, and are generally the most conservative among the party. Their influence was once quite strong, in the early days of the Socialist Republic of China where the Party had to contend with a still-significant conservative movement, but the influence of these wings has steadily been on the decline as the Party cemented its control and won over hearts and minds. The CPFL now represents rural interests and an agrarian orientation of communism, as well as agricultural matters in general, and tends to be the only faction to take vaguely socially conservative stances. That faction also has a bit of a Luddite bent - the gradual collectivization of Chinese agriculture has been paired with mechanization, automation, and generic engineering, which have significantly lowered the demand for agricultural labor and helped spur Chinese urbanization, something the rural-oriented CPFL has disapproved of. The RVDL, on the other hand, tends to have a narrower interest in military matters, focusing on soldier's and veteran's issues as well as generally taking a hawkish stance on foreign policy and national defense that is generally rooted more in nationalistic sentiment than ideological concerns

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    Chart of Chinese political factions after the 1994 election (top to bottom on key = left to right on chart)

    The 1994 Chinese election and 12th Party Congress saw a significant shift in Chinese politics, with the emergence of the Red-Green Front from a relatively minor faction to being the second largest in the Party and significantly larger than the previous second largest faction. Over the course of the last several years, there had been several highly politicized environmental incidents, as well as growing protests over pollution in major cities, to the point where the Party is had started enacting some substantial environmental policy even before the 1989 election. Furthermore, an emerging body of scientific evidence revealed that pollution wasn't just an issue for lung health and other individual issues, but also that emissions of carbon and other "greenhouse gasses" risked a future of climate change with potential for grave consequences. Chinese environmental activists and energy experts alike began to turn to nuclear power in particular, as an alternative to both coal's unhealthy smog and dangerous greenhouse gas emissions, and with an already existing and sizable Chinese nuclear power system to build off while other potential alternatives were researched and developed. And with the fall of the Soviet Union, China felt somewhat isolated on the world stage - the Party began to consider a change in foreign policy strategy, with the idea that increased green development aid to poorer countries ideologically aligned and otherwise could be an effective way to increase Chinese goodwill abroad, as well as build future payoff from increased climate security. Thus the 12th Congress would build and expand on prior green domestic programs and green foreign aid, a project that would be continued in following Congresses as well. Will it pay off, succeeding at fighting global poverty and alleviating the threat of climate change while expanding the influence of and approval for Chinese synthesis communism abroad? Only time will tell...
    Himalayan Crisis, 2005-2006
  • Himalayan Crisis, 2005-2006

    When Nepal gained full independence from Britain in 1923 (having previously enjoyed more independence than the Indian princely states, but having nonetheless been something of a client state to Britain even if not a full protectorate), the country was controlled by the same authoritarian monarchy that had ruled since the 1700s. Opposition to the autocracy grew over the next decades and culminated in the 1951 democratic revolution. The 1950s saw a shaky coalition between the monarchy, conservatives and reformers, and then in the first democratic election (in 1959), Nepal elected democratic socialist B. P. Koirala and his Nepali Congress party. But just a little over a year later, the monarchy intervened, overthrowing the democratically elected government, imprisoning Koirala for years, and reinstituting royal autocracy

    The 1990s saw another transition to democracy, and this time the elected government was even able to avoid being rapidly overthrown by the monarchy. But it was still a politically turbulent time. Anti-monarchy sentiment was on the rise. And decades of authoritarian traditionalist rule by the monarchy and aristocracy had been met by a growing communist resistance, with several different leftist organizations forming, and rejecting the Nepali Congress Party's democratic socialism (at this point more along the lines of mere social democracy) in favor of the establishment of a Marxist state. Continued poverty, inequality, casteism, traditionalism, and a growing idea that mere bourgeois democracy would not be enough to fight these problems led to a rising Marxist insurgency in the mid to late 90s, though this was also met with increased state repression

    Things would escalate in the 2000s. In 2001, a prince of the royal family went on a shooting spree, killing the king, queen, and 7 other members of the royal family before killing himself. The monarchy took a significant hit to popularity, and numerous conspiracy theories emerged regarding the shooting. Furthermore, the new King, Gyanendra, started off quite unpopular, and took actions that cemented this. In 2002, as the communist insurgency intensified and political instability increased, the King took direct control of the government. It was just a temporary measure lasting a week, but the monarchy's flex of power to take total control even in the period of alleged democracy was met with significant opposition, and only further fueled the insurgency's own growth in popularity. Two and a half years later, the King would again overthrow the civilian government, this time indefinitely, declaring a state of emergency and moving to defeat the communist rebellion once and for all. This was immediately met with massive backlash, and very soon after, the communist rebels, who had previously limited their actions to a low level insurgency and transient control in various isolated valleys, turned to a more intense and direct opposition, going on the offensive against government positions and being aided by government deserters. The establishment of the United Left Front between agrarian communist leader Prachanda's organization and various other communist organizations, just days after the King overthrew the government, is traditionally seen as the start of the revolution-proper

    China looked on these events with interest. While the Chinese had held onto their inner sphere with little difficulty, communism across the globe had significantly retreated since the late 1980s with the fall of the Soviet Union and of other communist states in Europe and Africa, but here was a communist rebellion rapidly gaining momentum. The 90s saw the Chinese taking a largely non-interventionist stance, focusing on developmental aid and internal socialist development within the Chinese sphere, being eager to avoid international conflicts, at first generally ignoring the insurgency in Nepal. But sentiment in China-first among youth and student activist groups, and then among government and broader society-began to shift in favor of support for the Nepali communists. The outbreak of the revolution in 2005 saw a number of Chinese youth leave the country and fight as volunteers for the Nepali rebels. The government was slower to act, but by the latter part of the year, it authorized direct military intervention in Nepal in support of the rebels

    The Nepali Kingdom was unable to resist the communist intervention, but the intervention created a far bigger headache for China than it had predicted - for India gave strong support to the Nepali government

    nepal revolution ib.png

    Between India and China, the cold war had largely been uneventful, with the countries sometimes being on the opposite side of the Sino-Soviet splits but still largely having an amiable relationship, with a degree of friendliness between the Chinese communists and Nehruvian socialists. The Chinese technically had territorial claims on part of the Indian regions of Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh (holdovers from the Republic of China era) but those claims had largely gone dormant and the Chinese government had little care to pursue them, so this had next to no impact on the relationship between the two countries. But since the 90s, the Indian National Congress had shifted away from Nehruvian socialism, and the Indian political sphere also saw the rise of Hindu nationalism as a force. The shaky coalition Indian government at the time of the Chinese intervention was unwilling to let what it saw as a fellow democracy (despite the coup) fall to communism, and thus thus authorized intervention of its own in Nepal and elsewhere on the border. A diplomatic crisis ensued, and soon skirmishes at the Sino-Indian border descended into war

    The Chinese were caught somewhat by surprise by this turn of events, but refused to back down, and shifted forces to the border. The Indian forces, in turn, would be caught by surprise by the strength of the Chinese forces. China hadn't fought a war since their intervention on behalf of the Indochinese revolutionaries, and it was known that the Chinese didn't invest a huge amount into their military, preferring to focus on their nuclear deterrent and on non-military investment. But the force that the Chinese had quietly built up was well trained and equipped, and importantly, prepared for mountain warfare, as well as backed by a reasonably strong logistical capacity and infrastructure (the Chinese communists had invested considerably into the infrastructure and economies of outlying minority regions like Tibet, East Turkestan, Mongolia and Tuva). As a result, the Indian forces were put on the back foot, and the Chinese forces made advances in the Himalayan border areas

    To make matters worse for the Indians, the outbreak of the Sino-Indian war saw things escalate in eastern India. In the so-called "red corridor" of eastern India, a low level agrarian communist insurgency had been ongoing since 1967, enabled in part by the significant poverty in the region. The insurgents had been growing in numbers and popularity in the area, and took advantage of the emergence of the war to intensify their own activity and go on the offensive. Suddenly the Indians found themselves with a major thorn in their side from the red corridor insurgents

    The Indian government had gambled on a quick show of force to deter the Chinese, and was now regretting its gamble. The Chinese forces had advanced into northeastern India, taking much of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and advancing on Guwahati, the largest city in the region, with Indian counteroffensives in the area failing to dislodge the Chinese offensives. Furthermore, the outbreak of the war saw Pakistan saber-rattling with their claims on Kashmir, and there were reports of Pakistani forces mobilizing and heading to the border for an offensive against the Indians, threatening to turn the war into a three-front war. Elements among the Indian leadership hoped that once the Indian forces and reserves fully mobilized, they'd manage to push back the attackers, but on the other hand, the Chinese were mobilizing more forces and moving them into the area as well. In the end, the Indian leadership chose to sue for peace

    Some among the Chinese leadership had hopes of a larger defeat of India, and potentially aiding the communist insurgency there in taking over the country, but most of the leadership was content to largely stick with their initial goal of defending the Nepalese Revolution, weary of bogging down in larger commitments. They did demand the occupation of the claimed territories in Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh, as well as the occupation of territories disputed with Bhutan (a semi-protectorate of India which joined the war on the Indian side), and agreed to withdraw from the additional territory they'd captured from India. In return, the Indian government agreed to recognize the new Nepali communist government, and to withdraw support for the monarchy-in-exile

    The United States did not look happily on the occurrences in the region. The US had given diplomatic and material support to India, and had hoped that the revolution could be suppressed. Further action, however, was not taken-the country was already involved in an unpopular Middle Eastern War and another unpopular Central Asian war, and the support already made for the Indians and Nepali monarchy was enough to cause further backlash among the public. Some commentators pointed out the contrast of the US bogged down in two quagmires of wars while China managed to come out reasonably successful in their own military action in the same era, as well as taking some note of the contrast between Chinese youth and progressive movements being supporters of intervention whereas western youth and progressive movements were largely antiwar, with echoes of the Second Indochina War seen in this aspect

    1616264133946_sino indian war ib.png

    The Democratic People's Republic of Nepal is the newest member of the so-called "core four" of the Chinese system. It is also by far the poorest, though Chinese aid since the Sino-Indian War has led to significant economic growth in the country. Nepal's leadership is rather more eclectic, especially domestically, than the other countries in the Chinese sphere, in part due to the idiosyncrasy of a vanguard coalition of multiple communist parties rather than the multiple factions within single vanguard party norm seen in China. Regarding foreign policy, the country has often had a more interventionist stance than China itself, urging intervention on behalf of leftists in various situations the Chinese leadership was very weary of stepping into. Despite certain disagreements, though, the new Nepali government has been quite satisfied with its relationship with China

    dprn ib.png
    Aftermath of the Himalayan Crisis
  • Aftermath of the Himalayan Crisis

    Despite its name, the "Comprehensive Peace Accord" signed at the end of the Nepalese Revolution and Sino-Indian War was not as comprehensive as it could have been, particularly in regards to the final status of the territories occupied by the Socialist Republic of China after the war. Those territories were placed under Chinese occupation until an undecided future point, at which point India was guaranteed little more than "advisory consultation". In short, the Chinese pretty much had a final say on the occupied territories

    The communist party, however, had a hard time actually figuring out what to do with the occupied territory. Several different ideas were floated by members of the party. On the most pacifistic end of the debate, some simply advocated for returning the entire territory, considering it enough of a win to have defended the Nepalese Revolution. Outside of that minority standpoint, it was generally agreed that the sparsely populated territories of Aksai Chin and the other small border territories outside of Arunachal Pradesh should be annexed to China for security purposes, but there was little similar consensus on the matter of occupied Arunachal Pradesh, the largest and most populated portion of the occupied territories (the easternmost portion on the map in the box below). Some advocated for either directly annexing the territory and integrating it into China-proper as an autonomous zone, or to simply keep it as a zone under military occupation. A proposal during the war to establish a socialist Indian government in occupied territory and push on to try and topple the rest of the country largely died with the end of the war, but some of the more interventionist members of the communist party of china supported establishing a rump socialist India in Arunachal Pradesh, with territorial claims on the rest of the country. Others took a more limited stance, supporting establishing a socialist Arunachal Pradesh that did not claim any additional Indian territory

    occupied territory ib.png

    To this day, China simply never got around to deciding on a final settlement for the occupied territories. Some time after the end of the war, a provisional civilian government was established in the territory, with practical matters of day-to-day rule gradually shifting from the military (which retains theoretical power, though used less and less as time goes on) to the civilian government. The people of the territory are able to elect a voting representative to the Chinese legislature, as well as the opportunity to take Chinese citizenship if they wish, and the territory has received significant economic investment by the Chinese government. As such, the current status quo is one of a sizable degree of de facto integration even as the military occupation technically continues. Though this could change at a moment's notice if the communist party finally gets around to a final determination on the territory

    2009 lok sabha ib.jpg

    After the big defeat in the Sino-Indian War, prime minister Manmohan Singh took a harsh hit to his popularity, being seen by the left as having brought the country into a war that shouldn't have been fought, and seen by the right as a failure in leadership in a war that absolutely should have been fought harder and better. In the early days after the war, there was widespread speculation that his minority government would simply collapse, and a snap election would be called. The left wing and regionalist parties that the INC had relied on, however, ended up supporting continued INC government (extracting many concessions in the process), simply because polling suggested the BJP would win a large majority if a snap election was held, which would put the other parties in a position of less influence. So in the end, the government was able to stumble to the next election intact
    Manmohan Singh and the INC were able to win some public approval resurgence between the end of the war and the 2009 election, in part due to a popular policy of expanding investment in the armed forces and harsh rhetoric against China. But there was little doubt that the INC would face defeat, and the BJP was able to successfully capitalize on the political climate-with a strong appeal to rearmament and to hindutva social conservatism to "strengthen the backbone of the nation"-in order to make gains and come out of the elections as the largest party. The NDA (the broader alliance of parties the BJP led) slightly underperformed expectations, failing by a few seats to win a majority of seats, but had little difficulty negotiating with some independent/minor party legislators in order to establish BJP/NDA government

    The new government took an even harsher rhetorical stance against China, but after analyzing the state of the armed forces, backed away somewhat from earlier rhetoric regarding potentially sending forces to reclaim the territories lost to China. The government instead largely focused on domestic issues, including a major program of economic privatization, various social conservative measures, and a major cracking down on communist movements in Eastern India, in addition to expansion of military and security funding
    Pakistan, late 2000s
  • Pakistan, late 2000s

    Indonesia's particular brand of "reform Islam" never caught on in a big way outside of Indonesia, but did serve as a vague inspiration for other reform movements outside the country. Even these other movements often remained small and largely devoid of influence (or even actively suppressed) in many areas, but in some other areas, they saw greater growth. One such region was Pakistan

    The "Islamic Worker's Party" (and associated satellite groups) emerged as the main political vehicle for the reform Islam movement in Pakistan. Pakistan had a history of Islamic socialism, with figures like Liaquat Ali Khan advocating for some form of it. The Bhuttos and the Pakistani People's Party (PPP) had also at times advocated for Islamic socialism, though after a while, they began to shift in a watered down centrist direction in regards to economics, and began pandering more to the conservative and fundamentalist strains of Islam while sidelining the the more liberal/reformist elements. The shift to neoliberal economics and conservative pandering from the PPP, in addition to interspersed periods of authoritarian military dictatorship, saw a move away from the PPP among some quarters. A somewhat awkward coalition of urban and rural poor, ethnic minorities, and urban intellectuals disaffected with the PPP began to emerge, both as a social movement and political force. 1996 saw the creation of the most recent political party to represent this movement, the Islamic Worker's Party (IWP)

    Reform Islam in Pakistan took some influences from Indonesia, but had a different character. The reform movement in Indonesia was often explicitly state-supported, with the communist party there seeking to shift values in a more progressive direction by using (at times novel and unorthodox) interpretations of Islam. In Pakistan, on the other hand, there was no state support to assist and direct the movement, and matters of socialist economic change and assistance to the needy tended to take focus over social issues, where (while having a place for more progressive sorts) the public rhetoric has generally been one with a vaguely libertarian stance focusing on opposition to fundamentalist social views. As time has passed, the majority of the movement and its party have shifted to at least vaguely socially liberal stances, and there's a faction of very progressive sorts, but it also retained a somewhat conservative-leaning minority, in contrast to the Indonesian movement

    By the 90s, the movement's adherents were estimated to make up around 10% of the population of Pakistan. Since then, the movement has grown further. As for the movement's political organization, the IWP has gone from a very minor thing to one of the major parties in Pakistan

    iwp ib.png

    In 1999, the military in Pakistan staged a coup, with general Pervez Musharraf taking power. The 2002 elections saw him retain power (albeit with claims of fraud levelled at his government). The mid 2000s saw his popularity decline, and as the 2008 election approached, it looked like some sort of opposition coalition would have a good shot at taking power. The November 2007 state of emergency, and Musharraf's declaration of indefinite postponement of elections, hurt the regime's popularity even more (despite the regime reversing that decision a week later and allowing elections)

    The campaign was shaken up by two events. In late December, PPP leader Benazir Bhutto (daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, former PPP leader who was elected and then executed after a military coup) was assassinated, with Taliban claiming responsibility but also with accusations that Musharraf's regime may have played a role, via denying Bhutto security or perhaps an even more direct role. Then, in early January, Asif Ali Zardari - Benazir Bhutto's widow and the co leader of the PPP after her death - was assassinated too. In the aftermath, the PPP (now led by Ameen Faheem, poet and leftist) skyrocketed in the polls. In the election itself, the PPP ended up with a much narrower lead - but still had a solid win, as the largest party in terms of seats and popular support, with the second largest party having over 10% less support

    As the election campaign began, a coalition between the PPP and PML (N) (the primary conservative party, also opposed to the Musharraf regime) was the expected result. But Faheem, preferring to take a more left leaning orientation than his party took in past years, instead opted for a different route. The results gave the PPP and IWP a combined 168 seats - just four short of a majority. Faheem thus sought a PPP-IWP minority coalition, which was able to take power with additional support from liberal and leftist parties like the Awami National Movement, Muttahida Quami Movement, National People's Party, and Pakistani People's Party - Sherpao

    2008 pakistan election ib.png

    Faheem and his coalition took office with a bold agenda for social and economic reform - but faced economic disaster with the global economic downturn hitting Pakistan especially hard. At the start, some viewed the election results as something of a "poisoned chalice" for the coalition. But through seizing diplomatic opportunities, the coalition was able to achieve significant success

    On one hand, after the Sino-Indian war, the Socialist Republic of China had looked on at Pakistan with increased interest as a pragmatic way to gain some advantage if Indian revanchism led to a rematch. China had already begun to increase ties and relations with Pakistan, and the new left leaning government, while not a communist party like the rulers of China, was nonetheless rather more ideologically aligned than the old government, too, which was conducive to further closeness. On the other hand, the United States had relations with Pakistan, and interest in the area, due to the War on Terror, having gotten the Musharraf government involved. With both the Americans and Chinese having interest in the country, and with those two countries having somewhat chilly relations, Faheem and his coalition sought to extract aid from the both of them, and engaged in diplomacy to try and maximize what could be gained

    Some figures in American intelligence and leadership had already been calling for significant increases in foreign aid to Pakistan, suggesting as much as $50 billion in aid to the country (nearly a third of the nation's GDP at the time). Through a lobbying offensive with promises and threats regarding continued involvement in the War on Terror and ties with China among other things, Faheem managed to attain an agreement with America for a large aid package, which was marketed politically as a sort of "Pakistani Marshall Plan", and presented by American leadership as a sort of shift from a more militarist to a more diplomatic approach to the War on Terror. The Chinese, having not really taken the sort of economic hit that many other advanced economies took during the recession, were rather easier to convince - while the government was ideologically opposed to the Americans, it was more focused on domestic affairs and expanding diplomacy and green initiatives in Africa than on directly opposing the US, and didn't actually have any particularly strong issue with Pakistan simply having positive relations with both China *and* the US. So the Chinese, seeing the opportunity for a boost to their international reputation, having not been hit hard by the recession, and having a larger economy by the US anyway and thus having money to spend, simply matched the US investments

    Immediately after the 2008 election, economic analysts expected that the Faheem coalition's left-leaning orientation would create a less positive environment for investors and slow economic growth. But the acquisition of foreign aid, primarily domestic rather than military, equating to around 2/3rds of the entire Pakistani GDP, had essentially supercharged the Pakistani economy, making it easier for major economic growth and modernization to coexist with significant left leaning economic reforms. Pakistan was thus able to see significant economic growth and a large reduction of poverty. Furthermore, the economic boom saw a decline in support for fundamentalism and terrorist groups in the hinterlands, with less in the way of poverty to pressure the desperate in that direction, and the governing coalition was able to take advantage of its popularity from the foreign agreements (Faheem somewhat played up the difficulties in negotiating for the aid to the public, to increase his coalition's political gain from it) to pass social reforms while avoiding (or at least limiting) backlash over such reforms

    pakistan bailouts ib.png

    (also, here's a larger version of the map from the 2009 election)

    2008 pakistan election map.png
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    (small commentary on the low-level post second red scare conflict)
  • Can you tell us more about the low level conflict that occurred after the second red scare? Cool timeline by the way!
    Thanks, and sure

    The idea is that it was kind of like the end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, in regards to the paramilitaries in the red scare and after - the paramilitary leadership and vast majority of the rank and file accept disarmament and stand down, when the backlash to the red scare is in full swing and Congress is overriding McCarthy's vetoes, putting an end to the excesses of government, and pushing for the paramilitaries to stand down. But there's a fringe on both sides that split off and carry out sporadic violence, against each other, against their former enemies (or sometimes allies) who disarmed and stood down, against random people deemed (by the remnant anti-communist paramilitaries as well as some factions among law enforcement) to be communists, civil rights advocates, and in some cases even the less political (as compared to the more leftist paramilitaries, activist groups, and student organizations) red scare victim advocates (who would often get lumped in with the communists and other leftist groups by the far right and to a lesser extent by some factions among law enforcement)

    Also, with the backlash in the late 50s against the red scare, the violence dropped off significantly, but in the later 60s and 70s, there'd be something of a resurgence - with the right wing paramilitary remnants and associates having some role in things like violence against civil rights activists, violence against anti-war protesters, retributions against communities with major riots, and so on, and left wing paramilitary remnants and associates having involvement with some of the more radical elements of the student protests groups like the Black Panthers, Weather Underground, and things along those lines. Those things and other violence in the 60s and 70s weren't just a growth out of the remnant red scare violence, but that remnant violence did contribute
    LGBT Rights in China (and elsewhere), to 2010
  • LGBT Rights in China (and elsewhere), to 2010

    Homosexuality in China has been documented going back millennia. Historically, the situation was complicated, with a degree of acceptance for certain classes and at certain points of time, and less acceptance at others. During the Qing era, the government enacted the first official ban on consensual homosexual relations, and during the "Self Strengthening Movement" after the Opium Wars, historical instances of homosexuality in China were increasingly ignored or censored. After the "Xinhai Revolution" establishing the Republic of China, explicit legal bans on homosexual relations were abolished, though at the same time the Republic period saw a degree of intensification of homophobia in society

    With the establishment of the Socialist Republic of China in 1934, homosexuality remained legal. The ruling Communist Party itself had mixed opinions on the matter but generally leaned in favor of gay rights in theory. Some of the largest cities saw a degree of open advocacy for gay rights, with informal Party protection in those areas. Through much of China and among the masses, however, homosexuality was seen in a rather negative light. In order to pander to the masses, lessen dissent, and aid in the strengthening of party control, the Party took what was (then) moderate stance of refusing to outright ban it, but considering it to be an "abnormality" and "mental illness" (though not necessarily an urgent public health crisis), and refusing to make any public support for gay rights (though local party branches in some particularly progressive areas were informally allowed to take a different stance)

    Socialist China in the 30s was far from a perfect place for LGBT people, but was nonetheless a place some ended up seeking refuge in. Georgy Chicherin was one such example. A Bolshevik and former Menshevik, and a gay man, he had for a time been the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs in the USSR, and had been trusted by Stalin. But things would take a turn for the worse, with his criticism of certain politicians contributing in part to him losing favor among Soviet leadership, and with the recriminalization of homosexuality in the USSR in 1933, he found himself largely sidelined. After being accused of Trotskyism and with an impending trial for that and homosexuality, he fled from the USSR (with a group of Trotskyites, though he himself was not one at that time) and was quietly granted refuge within China. At around the same time, the Nazis were rising to power in Germany and had (among many other things) suppressed the "Scientific-Humanitarian Committee" and the "Institute for Sexual Science", organizations that studied sexuality and advocated for LGBT rights. A number of figures associated with the organizations fled to China, and while Magnus Hirschfeld himself (the founder of those organizations) went into exile first in France, he visited China and later took up residence there, with the Chinese government being interested in funding sexual research of their own. As the 30s progressed and Nazi repression increased, the Chinese government was one of the most open countries when it came to accepting refugees, regarding this issue and more broadly as well

    Government-funded research ended up showing that homosexuality was apparently natural and unharmful, which helped contribute to a solidifying of (at least theoretical) support for gay rights among the Communist Party leadership. But the Party in the 30s, 40s, and 50s was in no mood to push major change on that front - it was enough to balance other matters like industrialization, expansion of education and infrastructure, and more prioritized social reforms like women's liberation (given higher prioritization due to the potential to significantly boost production with women increasingly entering the workforce - a sort of "two birds, one stone" situation). Those decades saw a slow shift in opinions among the cities, but continued conservative stances in the countryside, with conservative sentiment periodically bubbling over into incidents of mass homophobic hysteria and mob violence. In an attempt to appease the rural conservatives and also minimize harm done, the Party enacted a "public health campaign" in areas with such conservative sentiment, snatching up those accused of homosexuality, and placing them in "curative mental sanitoriums". Though marketed to the public as places that would use science to turn people heterosexual, the sanitoriums were run by the Ministry of Health and Mental Hygiene (which had accepted the science backing the pro-homosexual rights arguments), and in actuality largely acted as secluded gay communities where those who were well and truly rejected by their communities could find some covert refuge. With the end of these "public health campaigns" and the shifting social and legal winds, most of the sanitoriums would be closed down, but some such areas had grown so large that the opening-up would see significant LGBT communities remaining in the area

    The 60s saw an acceleration of social change in China. Access to, quality of, and level of education had grown significantly since the conditions immediately after the Second Sino-Japanese War and the declaration of the Socialist Republic. The economy had significantly expanded, with the increasingly educated and literate population having more access to information (including social science/psychology publications, such as those increasingly being published suggesting that the "homosexuality as mental illness" approach was not appropriate). And the "down from the mountains and up from the countryside" phenomenon was in full swing - a combination of workers seeking industrial work (with mechanization and improved farming techniques leading to greater agricultural output from fewer workers) and youth seeking education in the higher-quality urban schools had led to a sharp uptick in urbanization. Among other things, research showed that simply being in the cities, for a number of reasons including greater exposure to a diversity of people and ideas, led to both a base shift in favor of more progressive stances and increased openness to attempts by the Party to further push social progress. For these reasons and others, the 60s saw a rise in social activism, particularly among youth and students but also among urban areas in general, for further social progress, including on LGBT rights. By 1969, the Party felt secure enough to officially declassify homosexuality as a mental illness, and to shift from appeasement of rural conservatives to a more robust protection of the right of homosexuals to openly exist across the country without fear of retribution or need to be relocated

    The Party was cautious in advocating for further rights. But with an increased ability for pro-gay public advocacy at the grassroots, and with the party quietly supporting the movement through side-channels even as it publicly still tended to avoid talking about the issue, public opinion would continue to shift in the 70s. By 1972, military regulations were changed to explicitly allow for openly gay persons to serve (with instances of service in the Chinese intervention in the Second Indochina War getting some attention and use by the movement to shift hearts and minds), and in 1974, reforms were passed broadly banning discrimination regarding sexual orientation. In 1979, civil unions were established to give gay partnership rights, and in 1984, the Party made the national marriage code gender-neutral, while also legalizing adoption to non-straight couples. China thus became the first country to legalize gay marriage (with Korea soon-after becoming the second). Further developments in the expansion of LGBT rights would occur, with the 90s seeing transgender protection and identity laws, non-discrimination legislation for gender identity and expression, and transitioning surgery being added to the national universal healthcare system

    lgbt rights in china ib.png

    Party leadership desired to encourage LGBT rights abroad as well, but in the 70s and 80s, this just was not a practical possibility. By the 90s, however, public opinion in other countries had begun to shift, to the point where there could be room for China to have an impact. It became a matter of some debate within the Party and country - China entered the 90s strong and on a good trajectory, but the fall of the USSR and its bloc left China feeling rather isolated and afraid of rocking the boat. Plus the 90s also saw a strong shift in China in favor of promoting green policy at home and abroad. Some in the party suggested leveraging the use of foreign aid in order to promote LGBT rights abroad, but this was seen as potentially further isolating the country and threatening the global green development solidarity aid efforts. So the Party in the 90s went with a "soft touch" approach, with limited attempts to somewhat influence things abroad here and there, but generally trying to avoid taking risks

    The 2000s saw a further shift abroad, however, with opinion in various areas shifting even more towards acceptance of LGBT rights. The Party began to do more, with the creation of a "two tier" economic aid system - giving some development aid to various poorer countries regardless of their civil rights stances, but giving more aid to those countries that were willing to enact legislation to protect human rights (not just LGBT rights, though the political shift in the Party coincided with a global shift in attitudes on that issue as well as domestic discourse over desires to do more to promote LGBT rights in particular), or remove/reduce restrictions if in place. The Party also took other measures, such as the creation of the "Chicherin Brigades" (named after the Soviet refugee, who became a notable advocate for gay rights after immigrating to China), all-LGBT subdivisions of the Solidarity Corps, with the intent to expand representation in areas assisted overseas. LGBT people could of course also serve in the regular Solidarity Corps groups, and plenty did, with less risk of danger by being able to blend in with the crowd, but the Chicherin Brigades (as well as all-woman units, for a similar purpose regarding promotion of feminist ideas abroad) nonetheless had some success in somewhat shifting opinion in some areas. And the Party was able to exert a fair amount of soft power for influence via the Chinese media empire, as well

    chicherin brigades ib.png

    By the end of the 2000s, the LGBT rights movement had seen a fair amount of success around the globe, Various parts of the Americas, Oceania, and Europe had also seen expansions of rights. Even areas like Africa and Asia, which saw substantial opposition overall, saw some successes. In Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, and particularly communist Angola followed South Africa in the direction of substantial LGBT rights legislation and initiatives (in some part, but not only, due to Chinese involvement in the region), and other areas saw at least some limited reforms. In Asia, communist Indonesia stood out as a major success for the movement, and under the Faheem government, Pakistan had reduced penalties and showed potential for further reductions. The LGBT movement entered the new decade with the potential for even more success

    world laws pertaining to homosexual rights and expression template.png

    As for within China itself, by the end of the 2000s, legal rights and protections had been in place for LGBT people for years and in many cases decades. By this time, the laws were strongly enforced. And the general public was generally supportive of LGBT issues - some opposition remained, particularly in the rural areas, but that opposition had been rendered irrelevant as a social force of any strength, and individual incidents were steadily on the decline even in those areas


    (and a larger version of the map in the thing)

    ufc world map lgbt rights 2010.png

    (note that it uses a midyear 2010 map as a base, there's some cases where the base had colorings that don't necessarily make sense according to what I can see, like Pakistan having "life in prison" when the law doesn't actually appear to have been as such, so the coloring of Pakistan here represents lessened penalties vs what the base map had, despite the current version of the map showing even lesser penalties than this one despite no apparent actual legal change since when the base map was made. I considered just changing it to be more accurate, but since that would have meant having to double check every country in order to satisfy a half-assed sense of perfectionism, I opted to instead go for a half-assed attempt at "authenticity")

    (which kinda flies out the window with the whole "foreign marriages recognized" color, since that wasn't a thing until 2012, and has ceased to exist... I actually made a version of this map for the present day back in like 2019 or something, before they changed it to purple, and what can I say, I just like the older color more so I stuck with it)
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    Chinese Domestic Affairs and International Relations after the First Cold War
  • Chinese Domestic Affairs and International Relations after the First Cold War

    The Communist Party of China had taken a stance of women's equality since before the establishment of the Socialist Republic of China. In the early years, however, the Party took a slow approach on such matters, putting most focus in this policy area on increasing women's participation in the labor force, with the idea that this would kill two birds with one stone, increasing economic productivity (giving some opportunity for reduction of backlash among traditionalists, by using some nationalistic messaging) while also naturally expanding women's status and opportunities in society at the same time. As the years and then decades passed, and the Party felt somewhat less constrained by the threat of conservative opposition and traditionalist dissent, pro-woman policy would be expanded. The 60s and 70s, for example, saw sizable anti-discrimination initiatives and a greater push for equality in education and the workplace

    In the mid-1990s, China experienced a wave of feminist protests. The spark was a series of public accusations of sexual misconduct by military officers against female soldiers, as well as by law enforcement officers, with incidents of potential cover-ups or minimal treatment for offenders. Other incidents of misconduct got attention as well, as did broader factors of inequality in society. The Communist Party was not particularly opposed to the protesters, but was somewhat caught off-guard by the intensity of the protests and how quickly they'd bubbled up from a small number of victims making public demands to being mass protests in the streets. There had been a growing weariness among women regarding gender role expectations in society and culture, inequality in parenting and other domestic affairs, and so on - a trend that the Party had noticed and was gradually acting on, but the Party had underestimated the strength of that sentiment among the public

    The Party was overall sympathetic to the protesters and their goals. The Party established committees and opened up increased dialogue with women's groups and protesters and eventually investigations were launched, military and law enforcement reforms were passed, greater campaigns on the cultural/social engineering front were enacted, offenders were increasingly held accountable, and protesters gradually went home, largely satisfied with the increased efforts. Some more conservative members of the Party and society spoke out against some or many aspects of the protests and the response, but the outright opposition (contrasted to a larger sort of apathy or mixed opinion) was not a strong force, and the elements in the Party with opposition saw further isolation from relevance (with opposition within the Party being seen primarily among the RDVL and CPFL, which had already long been in decline in regards to their influence within the Party)

    The whole incident was not a particularly shocking or immensely polarizing one within China itself. But by the end of the incident, many in the rest of the world felt... at least some concern...

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    Some conspiracy theories emerged among the "west" that the incident was nothing but a false flag by the Party in order to institute a purge along the lines of the Great Soviet Purge of the 1930s. The Party response to the protests certainly included increased efforts at legally combating sexual misconduct, which resulted in a sizable amount of arrests, including some high profile figures in Chinese society - conspiracy theorists, however, would suggest that the Party abandoned any concept of rule of law and had actually arrested and possibly killed millions of people. Initially, these theories gained some traction among the general public in the "west". The Chinese government managed to assuage most of the concerns by ensuring measures of transparency were in place, but even with all that, a degree of western concern remained, with some worry about just how far the Chinese government was going to take their ideas of social equality, and concerns as to whether the conspiracy theories were necessarily completely wrong about the potential for the government to have done away with some dissidents using the protesters' demands as cover

    There was another noteworthy factor, as well. When the protests began, there had been a lot of western media and pundit suggestions that the protests may be the beginning of the end of the Chinese government - that Communist Party rule may end in the Chinese bloc as it had half a decade earlier in the Soviet bloc. But as things progressed, it became clear that the Chinese government wasn't really in any danger at all, and that if anything the protests in this case were actually to a large degree aligned with the overall ideological leaning of the Party. There was thus something of a disappointment in the west with how things turned out. China had been seen as the less worrisome of the two major communist blocs, with the lack of human rights abuses seen in the USSR, so it wasn't so demoralizing that it survived. But the disappointment of its survival, combined with some concerns over the sort of social change occurring in China, vague insinuations of purges like those in the USSR (even though those insinuations were largely debunked), and certain economic developments, helped ensure that relations between China and the west would remain cordial enough to avoid significant conflicts but also somewhat awkward and chilled


    The 1997 United Kingdom general election can serve as an example for some broader political trends in Europe around the turn of the millennium

    Europe remained somewhat to the left of places like the United States, but had seen a similar trend towards "neoliberalism" and a more market-oriented and deregulating center-left as the US had. At the same time, various Eurosocialist and Eurocommunist organizations and parties remained existent and with at least some support from the population. The Eurocommunists had taken something of a hit from the fall of the USSR, but had on the other hand already been shifting away from the USSR in decades prior, and had also (before and after the fall of the USSR) had some trends towards pro-China stances, with some among them critical to China and merely presenting it as a better alternative to the USSR, and others among them seeing China as more of an outright positive example of a Communist Party managing to bring major social and economic change to a large part of the globe. With this, the Eurocommunists tended to be able to maintain a base of representation in various national legislatures, and weren't utterly despised by the rest of the public, but still tended to be shunned to some degree by the rest of the public due in part to continued western concern over China, and with the more mainstream left-leaning parties generally being unwilling to form coalitions with the Eurocommunists and instead forming grand coalitions or other more center/center-right oriented coalitions

    Such was seen with the 1997 UK election. After some years in the political wilderness and suffering from some splits, the Labour party, led by Tony Blair, had taken a polling lead with a centrist "New Labour" campaign and was poised to become the largest party in Parliament. When election day came, Labour did indeed end up the largest party, but came somewhat short of a majority. Labour could theoretically have formed a majority coalition with the Red-Green party, itself an alliance between some ex-Militant and other former-Labour leftists along with various other Marxists, environmentalists, and other leftists. But the aforementioned discomfort towards the further left was as strong in Britain as elsewhere in Europe, and Blair was genuinely committed to his "New Labour" project. So Blair instead negotiated with and formed a coalition with Paddy Ashdown and his Liberal Democrats, who themselves had seen a major breakthrough in the election and had a stronger than expected performance considering Britain's "first past the post" electoral system

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    When the Communist Party initially took power in China, the country had a largely agrarian economy that lagged far behind the "west". But the Chinese economy has grown to be not just the world's largest in terms of raw GDP (something it could do with population alone), but also one with a fairly high level of individual wealth and quality of life. In addition, while the economy initially held a NEP-like embrace of markets, it has shifted over time in a rather more socialistic direction

    At present, private employment still exists in China, but a mix of state-operated enterprises and cooperatives combined make up a significant majority of employment in China. The People's Federation of Cooperatives is the largest coop in China, being a massive coalition of worker-self-managed businesses from various different sectors, and its employees make up a little over 70% of the total number of Chinese employed in coops. The federation began focused in China, but has expanded overseas with nearly 7 million employees in other countries. This sort of overseas expansion has also occurred with Chinese Unions. The People's International Federation of Trade Unions started off as the primary Chinese trade union. But over time, some in the Chinese government began pushing more for the "one big union" concept, and sought to expand the Chinese union federation abroad, with a fair amount of success. the PIFTU not only includes the vast majority of Chinese workers, but also over a hundred million workers overseas

    The expansion of Chinese coops and unions abroad (as well as business from various state-owned enterprises) is an example of the growth of Chinese 'soft power' abroad. It is also something that has mixed reception, with some appreciating the Chinese support for workers' rights and ethical businesses abroad, but others fearing the expansion of these Chinese institutions abroad, with their association with and support from the Chinese government. Some countries outright ban these institutions from operating within their borders, some others haven't taken it that far but have seen political pressure to ban such institutions, have passed regulations on them, have put increased intelligence focus on them, or have even seen anti-Chinese riots, boycotts, and other incidents. But in much of the world, these examples of Chinese economic soft power continue to slowly expand, despite the grumbling from some circles

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    (and a note or clarification... about halfway through making this, it occurred to me that there might be a chance that the whole "some folks in the west think China did an atrocity but actually that was just a conspiracy theory" thing, with the protests and the rejected info-box edit and all, might potentially look like some sort of comparison or dog whistle to current events in China. Just in case there's any doubt, this China is a very different China from OTL, and any potential resemblances to or suggestions of real-life denialism of human rights violations in Xinjiang are unintended. The conspiracy theory ITTL is just a conspiracy theory without being commentary on OTL in any such sort of way, I had the idea of showing an AH event through different perspectives via different edits of a wikipedia page and that's what's going on there. Maybe I'm being overly cautious in saying this, and maybe those of you who read this post had no suspicions of anything along those lines and think it would be a stretch to make such a comparison: if so, cool. But I am perhaps a bit prone to anxiety so I am just saying this anyway)
    Japan in the 1930 and 1940s, and Pacific Rim Diplomacy in the 1940s
  • Japan in the 1930 and 1940s, and Pacific Rim Diplomacy in the 1940s

    Going into the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese military and general public had badly underestimated Chinese unity and fighting ability. With the initial halting of the Japanese offensive into Manchuria, Japanese military propaganda guaranteed that their forces would reclaim the initiative and ultimately gain victory. Military propaganda could only go so far, however. The Soviet entrance into the war was a severe blow to Japanese morale, and the Sino-Soviet offensive that pushed the Japanese forces off Mainland Asia altogether was the last straw. By then, sizable dissent and pro-peace sentiment had arisen among the general public and among certain factions in the military, with the belief that military leadership had too much power in shaping policy and had made the whole country suffer due to its poor judgement. A series of protests broke out, and the legislature (which had increasingly been sidelined by the military as the war went on) demanded increased authority over the military. Military leadership was poised to crack down on this opposition, but dissent broke out within the ranks of the military, and in May of 1934, certain elements in the military staged a pro-peace coup

    The new "Provisional Government of the Empire of Japan" attained armistice with the Chinese and Soviets, and called a quick election for an assembly to take legislative power and determine reforms, with intent to draw up a new constitution

    That election saw a surge in support for the center-left to left wing, with the left having seen a solid boost due to a surge in anti-militaristic sentiment and upset over economic issues. The Rikken Minseito/'Constitutional Democratic Party', a center-left party and one of the big two parties in prior elections, ended up the largest party, but saw a drop in support, as did the Rikken Seiyukai/'Association of Friends of Constitutional Government', the right wing party that had held the majority and been the other of the big two parties. The surge in support for the left was instead seen among a few 'outsider' parties, being the Shakai Taishuto/'Social Mass Party', the Shakai Minshuto/'Social Democratic Party', and the Nihon Kyosan-to/'Japanese Communist Party'. Despite the Rikken Minseito making up the largest party on the left, those three 'outsider' parties combined outnumbered the Rikken Minseito, and the coalition that was eventually formed was led by Abe Isoo of the Shakai Taishuto as Prime Minister, as part of the shift away from the estalishment center-left

    Despite the rise in support for the left, the traditional right remained a force, and furthermore, the election saw the rise of two further right and fascist parties, being the Tohokai/'Society of the East' and the Kokumin Domei/'National Citizens Alliance'. There remained a sizable chunk of the country that thought the war should have been continued and that opposed the armistice

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    The new government took a harsh hit in public approval with the signing of the Treaty of Vladivostok, officially ending the war with China and the Soviets. The idea of peace was fairly popular, but the new government had misjudged the willingness of the public to accept the costs of peace

    At the time of the armistice, Japan had been ejected from the Asian mainland and south Sakhalin, but still held Taiwan and the Kuril Islands. Since Japan still had a strong navy, theoretically it could have defended the islands it held and possibly even managed to take Sakhalin. The Sino-Soviet alliance would have been able to defeat a landing on the mainland of Asia, however, and while the Chinese had no navy to speak of and the Soviet navy was rather outmatched by the Japanese, the new Japanese government reckoned that the Sino-Soviet alliance could have built up a navy to challenge the Japanese navy if no peace was achieved. And the Sino-Soviets were quite insistent that Taiwan and the Kurils be handed over to China and the Soviets respectively, as an alternative to demanding harsh reparations for the Japanese aggression and war crimes in the war

    The Japanese government accepted that treaty offer, seeing little point in continuing the state of war. But it ended up being a deeply unpopular thing among the Japanese public. The governing coalition had started off reasonably popular due to some of its reforms, but saw a sharp decline in popularity after the signing of the treaty and the handover of Taiwan and the Kurils. It was deeply unpopular to hand over territory that Japan still held at the end of the war. Furthermore, the more peaceful orientation of the coalition led to some difficulties, as the shift from military production to domestic production caused some disruptions. The few years after the signing of the treaty saw a rise in fascist paramilitaries and public support for them, as well as increasing violence, complaints from the military, and attempts by the government to reverse its decline in support - but to little effect

    By 1938, opposition forces had grown strong and organized, and sizable dissent among the armed forces had arisen. When the coup to overthrow the elected government was initiated, it was able to succeed and quickly take control of the country

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    The new military government set out to purge the leftists and unions, undo various reforms passed in the last few years, and embark on a major expansion of military spending, waiting for the chance at revenge

    With the fall of France to the Germans in 1940, the Japanese saw a potential chance. France went from one of the world's great powers to being a defeated puppet state of a country that had essentially no overseas power projection ability. Japan saw an opportunity, then, in French Indochina, and sent a force to occupy the territory. With a foothold on mainland Asia, Japan was thus able to launch an invasion of mainland China

    With China having spent the last few years building up industry and armed forces, and with the supply lines from Japan-proper being longer, the Third Sino-Japanese War actually went rather worse for Japan than the Second war had. The expectations of the military government hadn't quite matched the reality of the situation, and attempts to attain more resources by attempting to occupy British and Dutch colonies in Southeast Asia left Japan in a particularly bad situation

    Japan was pushed back on land (with China managing to occupy northern Indochina by the end of the war), and was defeated at sea by the British and later American navies. Japan was clearly defeated again, this time with some of its enemies having pretty sizable navies, and facing a tough blockade, surrendered (despite some sizable opposition within the armed forces). By the nature of the 'western allies' being the ones with navies, and with the sideshow nature of the Pacific Theater meaning that the peace conferences between the allies that decided the postwar borders in Europe didn't really touch much on the Pacific side of things, Japan's fate was largely decided by the western allies

    The United States was more lenient on Japan than Germany, since the American public had entered the war over German U-Boat attacks and hadn't had any incidents to generate strong feelings against the Japanese in the same way, merely getting involved in the Pacific due to the Japanese state of war with its allies the British. So the Americans forced a restoration of democratic government, a new constitution with greater protections of rights, and a military more beholden to the civilian government, but Japan was allowed to retain its monarchy, and while some particularly egregious instigators of human rights abuses in the Second and Third Sino-Japanese Wars, and the military government's violence against its own countrypeople, were held accountable, there was no policy in Japan as intense as German Denazification, and Japan was not required to pay reparations. The United States at the time was far more concerned with occurrences in Europe, with the rise of tensions with the USSR, but concerns had been growing about communist China as well (despite its rocky relations with the Soviets), and the Americans saw Japan as a potentially useful associate in the region. Since the Second World War, Japan has had something of a conservative and militaristic lean, but has remained a democracy and avoided the issues of the past, growing fairly prosperous with its partnership with the United States


    The Third Sino-Japanese War, as part of the Second World War, ended in the awkward situation of China occupying the northern half of Indochina, a territory it had acquired from the fascist Japanese who themselves had acquired it from the fascist French puppet to the Germans but that was now claimed by the restored free and democratic (well, in Europe at least) French Republic. Furthermore, China had come to occupy Hong Kong after it was occupied by the Japanese during the war. This was one of a few areas where tensions between the western and eastern allies saw significant increase after the war's end

    Within the Chinese leadership, some wished to prop up a free Indochinese government in the territories it held, and some even wished to push a broader conflict with the capitalist powers. After years of global war on one hand and the threat of the US in particular, however, the Chinese leadership decided on a different and more moderate path, and saw an opportunity. The Chinese had wished to take control of the leased territory of Guangzhouwan,, held by the French, and to be confirmed the rulers of the Spratly islands, an uninhabited archipelago in the South China Sea, as well as to avoid handing Hong Kong back to the British despite the lease. The French and the British wanted to deny Chinese communist influence in Indochina, and to take back that colony. Also, the French and British were somewhat concerned with the Chinese seizure of Macau from the Portuguese at the end of WWII - that casual military action made some fear China was more open to military action at the time than it really was

    In the end, China was able to negotiate for a return of Guangzhouwan, and recognition of control of the Spratly Islands and Hong Kong, in return for retreating from Indochina. France was pleased, the British rather less pleased (though not willing to risk war over Hong Kong), and the Chinese leadership somewhat divided, pleased with the ability to tout the restoration of Chinese territory to the general public in order to cement the rule of the communist party, but with plenty within the party feeling dejected over the retreat from Indochina and allowance of its recolonization even as they saw the pragmatic value in accepting the deal

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