The Resource Wars
The beginning of the 21st century was marked by the leading world powers staking their claims to strategic resources. Foremost of the resources was petroleum. Each nation stated that it was willing to go to war to secure these vital resources. This was not an empty claim.
Gasoline, petrol, motor oil, plastic, cosmetics, and a hundred other products were made from oil. There was a push during the early part of the 21st century to conserve resources, and diversify materials used. Bio-plastic and other synthetics offered a promising future, as did the proliferation of wind farms, and many green-energy initiatives. It was all quite sadly in vain. Despite the effort, demand for power rose steadily despite conservation efforts. There was constant speculation about when the oil would run out, when production would peak. Speculation was rampant, and as China, South Africa, and Brazil emerged as true industrial powers, the supply was stretched ever thinner.
War By Proxy
Nigeria, the biggest shithole in the world. That was what we thought. By damned, we were right. I lost my leg to a land mine, lost my hand to a secondary infection because a camel crapped on top of the mine without setting it off. Funny huh?
The first round of the resource wars were fought by proxy. The real combatants were the United States, the European Union, and China, but none of those powers were quite desperate enough to get their hands dirty. Instead, the wars were fought in second and third world nations, with troops trained and supplied by the various backing parties. The first round wars are easily forgotten: the Sri Lankan Bloody Monday, the 3rd Afghan War, the Russian Republic Wars, and so on. These conflicts were by far and large minor skirmishes, and a handful of atrocities. The resolve of the combatants was being tested in these early engagements. The real fighting would not begin until the Nigerian Conflict exploded.
Nigeria, one of the poorest nations in the world was the battleground for the first real Resource War. The war was long and marked by high casualties on both sides of the conflict, and eventual victory for the European Union and South African powers at the cost of China and independent African nations. The war spilled into nations surrounding Nigeria, the most violent being in Chad and spilling into Sudan. Somali warlords and mercenaries made a killing, literally and figuratively fighting for both sides in the conflict. The United Nations saw some action with UN troops defending neutral groups and civilian centers from roving war bands. In political circles, it is referred to as the African Problem. As the Nigerian Conflict ends, the next war erupts in Central and South America.
Similar war are fought in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Argentina.
The United States at War
In local news, more violence flares across the South west. Armed bands of militants have destroyed miles of border fence, and in two separate incidences, border militias have been killed in vicious gun battles. The State governor has promised more local support for the border militias as well as increased cooperation with the military. In areas affected, residents should stay indoors after nightfall, and not answer their doors unless they know who it is.
For years, central and South America were commonly felt to be the back yard of the United States. The Americans by extension felt a certain ownership of the resources contained within. There was always the Save the Amazon sentiment, but the real prizes of the continent were the oil fields and extensive sugar-ethanol fields. The war was fought in three different locations: Venezuela, Columbia, and Mexico. The war in Venezuela was marked by a dogged Venezuelan defense based on outlasting the American will to fight and bloody jungle warfare. The Columbian campaign sought to support what was increasingly seen as the Satrapy of Columbia, puppets of America. Most of this war was reminiscent of Vietnam, helicopters and soldiers rather than tanks and stealth bombers. The Mexican campaign was the longest lasting, and the most ruinous of the three. Venezuela proved tougher than expected, and after the American navy seized Gulf of Mexico assets, the Venezuelan was was abandoned. This had the effect of bolstering Latin American morale, and demoralizing American troops. Veterans of the Venezuelan war were seen as inferior or ineffective, despite the level of the conflict.
Columbia proved much the same, with both the terrain and populace resisting attempts to control them. A third part was involved in the Columbian War, the drug Cartels. Bloated on American and European drug trafficking, the cartels supplied and fielded their own armies, often to superior effect. The Columbian conflict was eventually declared a victory in American favor, but was more of a withdrawal to deal with the war in Mexico.
For more than a century, no conflict had been fought on American soil. Then the door was kicked in. Mexico was thrown into a civil war between drug lords and the Mexican government. The United States intervened and was drawn into a non-resource war. The Cartels struck targets across the nation and suddenly war wasn't something seen on TV in other countries. The unexpected violence of the war, and its eruption into America caused several changes in policy. Troops were called back from Venezuela and Columbia to hold the border and eventually annex both Baja states, Sonora, Coahuila, Chihuahua, and a good portion of Mexico's east coast. Protests erupted, there were riots, and after a while, everyone calmed down.
China at War
Contrary to what most Occidental people think, China is not a gigantic single state nation. There are many states within China, Yunnan, Xinjiang, Gansu to name a few. They are not familiar names to you, they are not California or Burgundy. We are all just little Red Chinese people scurrying around in factories and rice paddies. We love you long time, some other insulting jokes, whatever you see fit. The truth is that China is a powerful and diverse nation. And as a powerful nation, we are surrounded by enemies. America fights with Mexico, no one protests. America invades Venezuela, no one protests. South Africa invades Congo, no one complains. The European Union invades Iran, yet again, no one complains. China, surrounded by foes, defends itself, and the world raises its arms in outrage. China says to you, go home. Go home and buy your low priced shirts, and Chinese made cars and televisions. Go home and shut up.
War with China was seen by many analysts as inevitable, and they were correct. But rather than a war between the United States and China, the war has two major fronts, India and Russia. The Sino-Petroleum Wars are disastrous for all parties involved. The Chinese lost many men and a great deal of equipment and fuel for dubious gains, while the European Union, and Federation of Russian Republics were mauled militarily and economically by the war. Several times these two wars edged towards going thermonuclear. It was only by the work of Canadian Prime minister Calvin Shelley and a series of peace talks held in New Zealand that prevented a nuclear exchange. After the war finally ended, with the involved parties exhausted, China had gained Afghanistan and a good chuck of Pakistan, while India survived, but with hideous human losses. Russia fared poorly as well, and China gained a windfall of land, but also the difficulties faced by the Russians; frozen tundra is still frozen tundra.
During this time, China vied with the United States in the Pacific. This remained a cold war, as both parties were a bit more involved with border wars to start another across an ocean. China was extending its first tendrils towards Japan, Korea, and other Pacific island nations.
The European Union at War
The news from Tel Aviv is dismal, more Arab troops have besieged the Israeli capital. Only the dogged IDF holds them at bay, how long must the lone democratic nation in the Middle East suffer before we act in its behalf? For a century, Israel has counted on the support of America. Where is America now? It is fighting on its very doorstep, and cannot send its brave men and women to fight on the coast of the Mediterranean. We are here, we are capable, and we will see the end of the Arab tyranny over the oil that we need!
During the Cold War of the 20th Century, Europe steeled itself for an invasion from Soviet Russia. Instead, the Union ended up being the aggressor, not invading Russia, but the Levant. Union forces invaded the Middle East, breaking out from bases in Israel. The Arab nations fought viciously, but could not match the Union for technology or equipment. A few Arab nations were either able to repel Union advances, or were wise enough to remain neutral. Saudi Arabia and other Pro-American nations were largely ignored, with the worst of the fighting being fought in Syria, Iran, and Iraq.
Two different forces eventually drug the Union-Arab war to a halt: oil production and America. With its Arab allies threatened, tensions rose between the US and the Union and the conflict was scaled back, lest it break out into a feared WWIII scenario. The second issue, oil production, was striking at the heart of both war machines. Without oil, neither military could move tanks and warships to fight.
The War Electric
In wars of the past, we have had the luxury of fighting for ideals, with the benefit of expansive supplies and resources. We could fight for lofty aims and goals, such as bringing the American way to the dismal and dank corners of the world, liberty justice and the pursuit of prosperity. In those days we could squander gasoline by the ton, and even use petroleum itself as a weapon. Who hasnt seen a napalm attack and wondered how many tanks of gas that would have been? The days of the bomber are gone, the days of the fantastic fighter jet are gone. Their turbine scream and afterburner flames are the roars of dinosaurs, echoes for our imagination. We will have to fight the enemy on the ground, with guns and bayonets so that our loved ones can have lights, and running water, and food to eat. Instead of winning wars with multi-billion dollar campaigns and endless jet sorties, we will have to fight as our ancestors did, face to face, on the ground.
Electric and hybrid vehicles came into military use during the resource wars. The finest war machines of the previous combat paradigm were fuel hungry beasts. With domestic demand for fuel being high, there were only so many 4 gallon to the mile tanks that any army could field. And in an increasingly technological and information based age, attempts at rationing, misinformation or media black-outs were simply doomed to fail. Fuel prices soared, shortages started, and gas lines and kerosene riots broke out across many countries. The worst outbreaks were in the European Union, with its diverse cultures and many member nations. China was the most silent, as its one state government didn't allow for dissidents or riots. When such did break out, lethal force was commonly used.
Hybrid tanks, IFVs (infantry fighting vehicles) and APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers) quickly became commonplace. As fuel stocks dwindled, some went completely electric, charged by generator trucks, mobile wind farm vehicles, and in coastal areas, umbilical from nuclear reactor equipped warships. Large scale warfare was uncommon, most battle were fought between ground troops with minimal air support. With fuel running short, even the wealthy United States could ill afford to fuel bomber fleets, or squadrons of fighters for constant patrols and air support. Aerial drones and missiles became the main mode of aerial warfare, while stealth aircraft delivered precision weaponry on the highest priority targets.
The Grinding Halt
After nearly two decades, the Resource Wars ground to a halt. The petroleum reserves were not gone, but it was simply not worth the effort to get the last few drops from the bottom of the proverbial cup. The tanks no longer rolled, and the drones were grounded. A new technological dark age had settled over most of the world. The lights didn't go out, there were still nuclear power plants, solar and wind farms, hydroelectric dams, and ethanol and bio-diesel. By the time the tanks were stopping, most of the automobiles had been parked for months. Gas stations were dry, and soon a new desperation started to set it.
The Biggest Bubble
The Great Depression, the Dot Com Bubble, the Housing Bubble, the Great Recession, the North American Recession, none of these disasters held a candle to the Global Depression. Most historians could only draw parallels to either the fall of Rome, or the Black Plague. A huge number of people died, most not even in the two decades of wars. The food exporting nations stopped shipping food, and the aid to foreign countries dried up. Famine and disease were rampant, for a while. Then, enough people were dead that there was enough food to go around. The world divided in half, the ultimate haves versus have-nots. The Haves had alternate energy, electric trains and electric cars and electric tractors and Internet porn streaming to 84 inch HD televisions. The Have-Nots reverted to a stone age existence of subsistence farming, and in some places, gathering wild food. There wasn't much hunting, unless you hunted dog, or other people. It was a time of death and suffering. We expected the eggheads to come up with the magic bullet that would solve all of our problems. They did, but it took much, much longer than most people expected.
The End of the Resource Wars saw the onset of the Global Depression. Commerce failed, nations collapsed, currencies devalued to nothing, and travel all but died. This was the end of the era of Instant Gratification and Instant Stimulation. The great military and economic powers either faltered, or simply failed. There were also a large number of veterans from the wars. The United States saw many wounded soldiers from Venezuela, Mexico, and Nigeria. The European Union had substantial losses in the Middle East. Many died in the battle of Tehran, or the bloody day to day fighting around Bagdad. China's losses were never known, as the government there claimed total victory in every battle, from the occupation of Myanmar, to the Korean debacle.
The stage was set for the 2nd Renaissance
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? Responses (9)
A nice command of detail and a concise summary of (imaginary) events. It reads like the intro to a video game or board game manual. But without either a human element or a fun speculative fiction hook it is a little dry. It sound like some think tank's economic-military scenario, and I am not sure those are supposed to be fiction. Even though they likely are.
It is an intro, there is an outline 4 pages long of this. The Resource Wars are the first two sentances
Yeah, I read the outline and commented on it.
No you haven't read it, because the outline I am speaking of is written in my personal spiral notebook. And if you have read it sir, I would ask you to stop breaking into my house.
I can't find it now, but I swear SWEAR there was an outline in your 'in work section' that started with Resource Wars and ended with Space Warfare of some sort.
Nice, solid background for an alternate reality (although frighteningly close to our current reality in a couple ways). Perfectly usable as the backdrop for a more straight-style Paranoia campaign. Well-written setting. I liked.
A grim preview of things to come...
This could be used for a new version of Twilight 2000, with an updated date:)
That link is not accessible, at least without registration...