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Old 05-15-2015, 09:29 AM   #1061
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The loss of important Democratic population certers would move US politics to the right as would the Regan/Bush regime. Stress would bring out Regan's Alsheimer's early. Bush would take over at some point. Their might be an attempt to suppress elections. Whether this leads to Right-wing dominance or Left-wing reaction would be the GM's call.

Anti-Americanism would be through the roof.
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Old 05-15-2015, 10:48 AM   #1062
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The loss of important Democratic population certers would move US politics to the right as would the Regan/Bush regime. Stress would bring out Regan's Alsheimer's early. Bush would take over at some point. Their might be an attempt to suppress elections. Whether this leads to Right-wing dominance or Left-wing reaction would be the GM's call.

Anti-Americanism would be through the roof.
I'm fairly certain the term, "international pariah" wouldn't be too strong. I also see serious internal dissent, in the country, once the populace discovered that millions of deaths occurred in the U.S. and Europe, because the existing administration decided to start a nuclear war, unilaterally.

(This is also why this scenario is so highly implausible. Reagan and his team were idiots in a lot of ways, especially when it came to domestic economic policy, but they had considerable foreign policy savvy. If something like this were to happen, I'd suspect they got taken over by pod-people, or something, because the mental failure would be so profound.)
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:19 AM   #1063
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Wasn't Reagan also surprised about how afraid the Soviets were of the US or something? I remember hearing about that with nukes.
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:13 PM   #1064
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Wasn't Reagan also surprised about how afraid the Soviets were of the US or something? I remember hearing about that with nukes.
Maybe, but that would've come after 1989.

You've gotta remember that nobody in the west understood that the Soviet Union was only slightly more robust than a paper tiger. The notion was utterly unthinkable that the USSR could be so weak that pure economic pressure would drive it to collapse.

Nobody thought that way. That's why the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and the re-unification of Germany, came as such a joyous shock. It was amazing to see that, and to turn around (as I did), and realize that hundreds of dollars of political science texts about the bipolar international world order had just become obsolete.

Reagan's foreign policy approach to the Soviet Union was an extension of the same policy of containment that had started with the Eisenhower administration. It worked much better than expected, even though the administration made some serious blunders, along the way.

For instance, we didn't have the technology for any sort of valid missile defense, back then, and the Peacekeeper ICBMs were inherently destabilizing, as are all MIRV weapons. However, Reagan needed to convince his right-wing supporters -- many of whom had never been much involved with U.S. politics before -- that he meant to "Do Something" about the "Evil Empire." It was a joke.

The Strategic Defense Initiative was a fantasy, but it was a natural extension of the notion of containing the Soviet ability to project force beyond its own borders. Reagan's policies in the Middle East and Afghanistan meant to extend the encirclement beyond Europe (which, in turn, led to the creation of the "Pax Americana" white paper by the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) that so disastrously misguided Bush II). The SDI meant to limit their ability to use nukes as a credible threat (which was also destabilizing -- if the U.S.S.R. ever actually believed we could create "Star Wars," they'd have every incentive to launch, before we could get it deployed.)

I can't even criticize our efforts in Afghanistan, really. Yeah, it has had some problematic consequences, in the long term, but at the time it caused the Soviet economy to hemorrhage so badly that the entire country bled out. Moreover, despite some of the problematic outcomes, there is no way that anybody can rationally claim that cave-dwelling reactionary Muslim extremists pose nearly the same threat to the U.S. as the U.S.S.R. did.

(I honestly think that the Obama Administration may look at Ukraine the same way as Reagan's guys viewed Afghanistan. It's a way to draw Putin's Russia into a quagmire that results in the collapse of a problematic regime. If it wins big, and Russia falls to pieces, again, then he'll have created a huge opportunity -- at the cost of a lot of Ukrainian lives, but not the lives of many Americans or NATO Europeans. Sorry, Vicky.)

Also, there's no way anybody can reasonably claim that Putin's Russia poses nearly the level of threat to the U.S. (or even Western Europe) as Brezhnev's (or even Andropov's) Soviet Union.

So, I can't help but give the Reagan administration high marks for foreign policy (Iran-Contra notwithstanding). Despite some of the dangerously silly ideas, and despite some of the long term problems that resulted, they did a lot more things right than they did wrong. While the U.S.S.R. probably would have fallen, eventually (command economies just don't work -- they're even worse than the rapacious abuse of laissez-faire markets), they put the bullet in it sooner, rather than later.
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Old 05-15-2015, 01:33 PM   #1065
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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
I'm fairly certain the term, "international pariah" wouldn't be too strong. I also see serious internal dissent, in the country, once the populace discovered that millions of deaths occurred in the U.S. and Europe, because the existing administration decided to start a nuclear war, unilaterally.

(This is also why this scenario is so highly implausible. Reagan and his team were idiots in a lot of ways, especially when it came to domestic economic policy, but they had considerable foreign policy savvy. If something like this were to happen, I'd suspect they got taken over by pod-people, or something, because the mental failure would be so profound.)
No kidding. The idea came from reading one too many alternate histories about a false positive, and I just wanted to play with the idea of a false negative. I definitely agree- the USA would be seen as monstrous. However, internally the conservative, rural areas would be overrepresented, and externally, the USA is the only remaining major power. Europe would quite likely be crushed; entirely aside from the shorter-range Russian bombs, Soviet refugees and rogue military units would move west simply to survive, and would cause humanitarian crisises all the way to outright warlordism.

That said, it does come down to a small number of changes:

1: USA must believe that a nuclear war will definitely occur before conditions can otherwise change.
2: USA must believe that their chances at "winning" the war are declining.

Both of these are tough, but the right mistakes could bring them about. In the context of GURPS, Centrum may send agents "from the future" to warn about the "inevitable soviet attack," in order to drive the USA to become a centralized, regimented state. Some similar black swan could handle both changes in one swoop.

In a historical context, 1 is a philosophical question. The president's mood and mental condition is all that really needs to change. 2 is a technological one. Maybe the root change is a less-aggressive soviet space program. Instead, they put more resources into their ICBM programs. A few percentage points, but enough so that the USA feels just an iota more pressure- enough to get the feeling that the soviets are pulling apart the "missile gap."

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Old 05-15-2015, 01:55 PM   #1066
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No kidding. The idea came from reading one too many alternate histories about a false positive, and I just wanted to play with the idea of a false negative.

(SNIP)
I can understand that desire. That said, the "false positive" outcome, in which the U.S.S.R. freaks out about Able Archer, makes for a far more plausible, "bad mistake."

I actually thought of the "Able Archer freak-out" as a great PoD for something that led to a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max or Aftermath sort of setting. :)
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Old 05-15-2015, 02:57 PM   #1067
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I can understand that desire. That said, the "false positive" outcome, in which the U.S.S.R. freaks out about Able Archer, makes for a far more plausible, "bad mistake."

I actually thought of the "Able Archer freak-out" as a great PoD for something that led to a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max or Aftermath sort of setting. :)
Agreed. This thread on the Alternatehistory.com website contains an extremely detailed timeline based on the Able Archer incident going hot. (Novella length, at least.) I wasn't able to find a story only thread for it, but if you search the thread for posts by the original poster, that should come close. It does take a few posts to start in earnest.
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Old 05-16-2015, 01:02 PM   #1068
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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
I'm fairly certain the term, "international pariah" wouldn't be too strong.
More like too weak. But mainly yes!

Quote:
I also see serious internal dissent, in the country, once the populace discovered that millions of deaths occurred in the U.S. and Europe, because the existing administration decided to start a nuclear war, unilaterally.
This could lead either to a round of impeachments or martial law. The first would be more what I'd have supported at the time.

Quote:
(This is also why this scenario is so highly implausible. Reagan and his team were idiots in a lot of ways, especially when it came to domestic economic policy, but they had considerable foreign policy savvy. If something like this were to happen, I'd suspect they got taken over by pod-people, or something, because the mental failure would be so profound.)
One thing this would lead too. Right-wingers would be ten times as loud in declaring Reagan "America's Hero Savior!" The Gipper's face would be more common than Mao's was in China durring the Cultural Revolution.
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Old 05-17-2015, 12:27 PM   #1069
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Try this idea. One of the later crusades actually takes Egypt. Their were several close tries. Durring the time Egypt is held, a serries of ancient amphoras filled with scolls is found. In most worlds the site is dug up in a period of war and poverty and the scolls lost. In this world the scolls are brought back to Italy and studied. These are a rich collection of Greek texts including large numbers of works by Archimedes, Heron, Ctesibius, Philon, and many others unknown. Late TL3 Europe jumps to tech level four and starts on a scientific and industrial revolution.

From here you can go where you like.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:46 AM   #1070
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Thaw-1


Try this idea. In the mid 1930s a Supervolcano near the equator goes off. Global tempatures plunge for seventy years. The great colonial Empires break-up because they can't be sustained. However much of their populations flee to the colonies to survive. The USSR is crushed, Germany also falls apart. The USA has strong internal lines of comunication and FDR in the White House, and a population with a belief in the rightness and worthiness of their nation and a southern lattorial that is still viable. The population of Canada flees South and is integrated into the US population along with a fairly strong immigration from Europe, but Latin America gets far more immigrants.

It is now the year 2010, the climate is returned to the Early 20th century norms. World population is 2 billion. The USA and Canada are integrated into one nation. This happened because most of the Canadians had to flee to the USA. This nation is TL7 begining to move to TL8.

The North American Union, as well as India, the Southern Union (Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar, South Africa, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, ect, set up by the Royal Navy) Indonesia, and Brazil, are the great powers.

The reclaiming of Russia and Europe is the new Scamble for Empire.

Basically it's a late TL7 multipolar world with values more like those of the 1930's. Note: the North Americans have moved on on the subject of race, few others have.

You could take this world into a long cold war with complex struggles in the ruins of Europe, or have a world war.
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