A Revised History of the Future
The War on Terror (2001 - 2010)
The first decade of the 21st century saw the trends of terrorism, religious and ethnic strife, and small-localized wars rise from the previous decade. A single overarching conflict - labeled the "War on Terror" - would dominate the political world, and setting the stage for a new type of war that would go on to define the rest of the century. Simultaneously, computer and Internet technology would advance dramatically and become heavily ingrained in the lives of many throughout the world, shaping the way individuals viewed and interacted with Media, much to the detriment of traditional Media giants. With increasing pollution and worsening fuel shortages, the world descended into an severe economic recession by the decade's close.
- AOL and Time Warner merged to form the AOL Time Warner Corporation.
- The first successful implant of an artificial heart occurred in the United States. The recipient lived for five months without a real heart before dying of a stroke.
- Islamist extremists fly passenger airliners into the World Trade Center in New York City and Pentagon in Washington, spurring the United States to embark on a "War on Terror" against the Taliban regime and Al Qaeda organization in Afghanistan.
- Apple released the iPod mp3 player. It would soon become the best-selling electronic equipment of the decade.
- China became a member of the World Trade Organization.
- The Euro, the new currency of the European Union, was first issued. The ex-currencies of many European states – although, notably, the British Pound was not among them – ceased to be legal tender several months later.
- US President George W. Bush condemned North Korea, Iran, and Iraq as state sponsors of terrorism, labeled them members of an “Axis of Evil” and swore to crush international terrorism.
- East Timor gained its independence from Indonesia, becoming the first new sovereign state of the 21st century.
- The International Criminal Court was established. While most nations join, the United States, China, and India refuse to do so.
- The African Union is established by 53 African nations in the aftermath of the Second Congo War.
- The US Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed during reentry, grounding the US Shuttle fleet for two years.
- The Darfur Genocide began in Sudan.
- As part of the continuing War on Terror, the United States led a "Coalition of the willing" in an invasion of Iraq, despite worldwide protests against it. The conflict quickly devolved into a guerrilla war between the US/Allied forces, Islamists, and the ethnic factions within Iraq.
- The Human Genome Project was successfully completed, with 99% of the genome sequenced to within 99.99% accuracy.
- China launched the Shenzhou 7, becoming only the third nation to launch a manned spacecraft.
- The CIA admitted that there was no immediate threat of Iraq obtaining any NBC weapons, stirring a major controversy in the United States and accusations that the White House had lied in order to start a war in Iraq. Despite this, George W. Bush still won a second term in November’s presidential election.
- In April, the First Battle of Fallujah was fought between American and Iraqi insurgent forces. After a month of heavy fighting, the US was forced to withdraw from the city. Seven months later, the United States and New Iraqi armies made a second attempt to capture Fallujah, this time winning the Second Battle of Fallujah.
- The first privately built manned spacecraft, the SpaceShipOne, was launched from Mojave Spaceport in California.
- The Cuzco Declaration established the Union of South American Nations (USAN).
- The Indian Ocean Earthquake caused tsunamis that destroyed large parts of southern and southeast Asia, leaving tens of thousands dead.
- France and the Netherlands vetoed the European Constitution, stalling the expansion of the European Union.
- Hurricane Katrina destroyed the American Gulf Coast, including the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. This led to a sharp increase in the price of oil that the fuel industry would never fully recover from.
- Scientists began an attempt to culturally uplift bonobos at the Great Ape Trust in Iowa.
- The Tulip Revolution occurred in Kyrgyzstan, overthrowing the government and leading to democratic elections.
- Race riots broke out throughout France after the accidental deaths of two Black Muslim teenagers, leading to 20 days of chaos and forcing the French government to declare a state of emergency.
- Following a raid on their northern border, Israel went to war with the Hezbollah organization in Lebanon. Despite a month of heavy air strikes against Hezbollah positions, Israel failed to destroy the organization or kill any of its leaders.
- The first cybernetic limbs were given to veterans of the Iraq War. These are later considered to be the first Cyborgs.
- North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon, spurring international criticism and ultimately leading to multinational talks with the United States, Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea that would last on-and-off for years.
- Ethiopia invaded Somalia and went to war with the Union of Islamic Courts on behalf of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (STFG). By the end of the year, the UIC was forced out of Mogadishu and retreated toward the Kenyan border.
- Fidel Castro passed control over to his brother Raul before entering surgery to treat an unspecified “stomach ailment”, identified years later as Diverticulitis. Raul would remain de facto president until Fidel’s resignation two years later, after which he would be officially elected.
- The European Union celebrated the 50th year since the Treaty of Rome by admitting Romania and Bulgaria. Meanwhile, conflicts over energy supplies caused relations with Russia to worsen to their worst point since the end of the Cold War. By the end of the year, the Treaty of Lisbon, a replacement for the failed European Constitution, was signed in Portugal.
- The United States sent reinforcements to Iraq, complementing the existing (but dwindling) Coalition Forces. The move proves to be a success, bringing the war largely under control.
- China successfully tested an anti-satellite ballistic missile over the Arctic, sparking international condemnation not only for developing such a weapon, but also for creating unnecessary hazards for existing spacecraft and the International Space Station. China later signed a series of economic deals with Sudan, despite international condemnation of the Darfur Genocide. The move sparks calls for nations to boycott the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
- The radical Islamist group Hamas wins the parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territories, leading to international sactions and sparking conflict with the opposition party, Fatah, for control. The Palestinian Civil War rages in the streets of Gaza for months before Hamas finally forces out Fatah loyalists, who in return secure control of the West Bank. While the Gaza Strip remains ostracized, sanctions are lifted on the West Bank and some speculate that separating the moderates from the radicals in Gaza could in fact lay the ground work for creating an actual Palestinian state in the West Bank.
- A crisis arose when the Turkish military threatened to overthrow the government to preserve the republic’s secular constitution over a dispute between secularist and religious politicians over a controversial presidential nominee. Ultimately, the secularists and the military conceded and allowed the religious majority’s nominee to be elected.
- Nine years after the Kosovo War and two years after Montenegro broke away from Serbia, the UN administrated province of Kosovo declared its independence. Russia and Serbia immediately condemned the move. Russia would later veto Kosovo’s attempt to join the United Nations.
- The Indian Parliament finally ratified the Indo-US Nuclear Pact of 2006, allowing the Indian and American governments to trade nuclear technology. China criticized the move as hypocritical considering India has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and resulted in a cooling of relations amongst the three powers.
- Despite a self-destructive Democratic primary season and a tight race, Barrack Obama managed to win the US presidential elections, ending nearly a decade of Republican rule and becoming the first African-American president. Although incredibly popular at first, his election sparks a widespread backlash from conservatives which eventually transforms into the Tea Party movement.
- The Olympic Games in Beijing - amongst the most watched in Olympic history - became a worldwide sensation and a grandiose demonstration of China's new economic might. Between this epic success and the launch of Shenzhou 7, many commentators around the world wondered if this year marked the beginning of a Chinese Century.
- After a decade of economic mismanagement by both governments and corporations, the Housing market bubble bursts. Several major banking and investment firms declare bankruptcy, the stock market crashes, and a major financial crisis ensues. The Great Recession begins.
- The Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric power station in the world, was completed in China. It quickly becomes an icon of China’s new preeminence on the world stage.
- The United States and other G20 Powers agree to coordinating economic relief efforts, while the world economy finds itself resting upon the unimpeded growth of China, India, and South America. The United States passes a massive stimulus package, which has only a moderate effect, dampened as the ripple effects of Great Recession spread and cause the collapse of the American automobile industry.
- The International Criminal Court begins its first trial, against a Congolese warlord, and issues an arrest warrant for the President of Sudan for the part he played in the Darfur Genocide.
- Protests break out throughout Iran following the reelection of the hardline conservative president as the opposition Green Movement claims the government fixed the election. The government attempts to enforce a media blackout, but are thwarted when the opposition - largely made up of educated young adults - uses recently developed internet-based social networks to communicate with both each other and the outside world. Though the protests eventually subside after several months, the Green Movement persists long afterward.
- A revised version of the European Constitution, the Treaty of Lisbon, was ratified by the member-states of the European Union, despite protests from the public that the ratification process was rushed and illegal. EU leaders selected the first permanent President of the European Council, a position nicknamed the "President of Europe" by the Media, though power still rested with leaders of the individual states and the European Commission-President. Meanwhile, Iceland applied to join the European Union after its economy was ruined by the Great Recession.
- A major earthquake strikes Port-au-Prince, Haiti, completely destroying the city and killing over 150,000 people. The disaster sees a large and high-profile response from the international community, marred by difficulties getting supplies into the city and failure by many countries to send the aid that was promised until months later.
- The big-budget science fiction film "Avatar" breaks the record set by "Titanic" 12 years earlier to become the highest grossing film to date. While wildly popular, the film fails to win the Best Picture Award at the Academy Awards.
- Coalition forces withdrew from Iraq, signaling the end of the Iraq War. The United States left behind a token force and a tenuous peace marred by Saudi and Iranian influenced factional disputes, and focused more of its manpower and energies on ending its involvement in the Afghanistan War.
- An explosion at a British Petroleum deep water rig off the coast of Louisiana caused a massive oil spill, releasing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over four months - the largest environmental disaster in history. The resulting environmental damage completely reverses progress made in the US' economic recovery and decimates the Gulf Coast's tourism and fishing industries - further castrating a region still recovering from the hurricanes of 2005.
- China surpassed Japan to become the world's second largest national economy, though it still lags far behind the wealth of either the United States or European Union. At the speed it is growing, many analysts predict the People's Republic will either match or surpass the United States by 2030.
The Post-Universalist Era (2011 – 2010)
As the War on Terror neared its end, the United States found itself broken and battered, its prestige tarnished and power questioned. As America focused more on domestic issues, regional powers and organizations began to take responsibility for their own problems, with mixed results. In Asia, India and China continued their rise to Great Power status: India at last moving to resolve the Naxalite insurgency, while China flexed its muscle in the financial world. In Africa, the fighting in the Sahel and Horn of Africa continued, although with a glimmer of hope as certain areas achieved some stability. Southern Africa was a different story, however, collapsing into war early in the decade and deteriorating into ethnic chaos by the end.
- After 30 years of service, the United States ended the Space Shuttle program. Since NASA did not have any manned spacecraft ready to replace the shuttles, the US government turned to several private firms and hired them to operate their own spacecraft on NASA's behalf, acting as taxi services. Chief amongst these are aerospace start-ups SpaceX and Sierra Nevada, along with veteran companies like Boeing, Orbital Sciences, and United Launch Alliance.
- Within nine months of the US/Coalition withdrawal, violence erupted in southern Iraq between the government and Shia militias. The government requested American assistance, which they were promptly denied. They were able to pummel the militias into submission and afterward accused both Iran and Saudi Arabia of stirring up the violence in the first place.
- Despite continuing violence in Darfur, a referendum on independence was still held in southern Sudan, which voted in favor by a wide margin. Two weeks later, the region issued a formal declaration of independence as the Republic of Southern Sudan. In a speech to the UN General Assembly later in the year, President Salva Kiir Mayardit lobbied for the independence of Darfur, recognition of Somaliland, and international intervention in both Sudan and Zimbabwe.
- After years of lingering in practical nonexistence, Zimbabwe at last collapsed into itself. As war swept through the country, three factions emerged: a pro-western government in Bulaweyo, a staunch nationalist government in Harare, and a group seeking annexation by South Africa based in Pretoria. The conflict is popularly known as the Zimbabwean Civil War, or the Fourth Chimurenga.
- By the end of the year, High Definition TV had become the standard model in many American homes. Late in the year, autostereoscopic televisions (ATV) - the replacement for the unwieldy "3D" televisions introduced a year earlier - began to compete with HDTV as an alternative, while industry insiders announced that HD would be fully replaced by holographic 3D displays (HTV) by 2030.
- Despite two years of increased funding and military support, police throughout the “Red Corridor” of eastern India have been unable to crush the Naxalite insurgency. The government in New Delhi announces plans to increase funding for infrastructure projects throughout the affected areas – some of the poorest and least developed regions of India – and limited military deployment to supplement the overtaxed police forces. Ironically, by the end of the year India surpassed Japan to become the world's third largest national economy.
- An earthquake devastated Tehran, crippling the Iranian government and economy. An international movement, led by India and the other SAARC nations, assisted in the reconstruction effort. In the meantime, the Iranian capital was moved from Tehran to Isfahan. The failure of the conservative government to handle the crisis on its own weakened its popularity amongst the Iranian people, allowing the Green Movement to grow even more powerful.
- China launched the Tiangong 1, the first in a series of small space stations the Chinese Space Agency developed in preparation for building their own space station. For the first time, there is more than one occupied space station in orbit simultaneously. Commentators in the United States fear that America is falling begin in the space race and blast the government for abandoning plans to return to the Moon by 2020.
- Although some fear it may have been done in too much haste, the United States and NATO completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan late in the year. Many accused the United States of abandoning the region, having been unable to crush the Taliban or wipe out al-Qaeda, although on both counts the criticism was mostly unfounded: negotiations had already begun this year to integrate the Taliban into the new democratic system and the main al-Qaeda organization based in Afghanistan/Pakistan had been all but obliterated while many terror attacks committed in the organization’s name were now being conducted by “franchise” groups that used the name but had little to do with the original organization.
- Despite several years of virulent opposition, Barrack Obama was re-elected, thanks in part to his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, having made a dramatic rightward shift in his rhetoric during the campaign and an upswing in the economy over the year leading up to the election. At the same time, the Democrats also lost control of the US Senate to the Republicans while maintaining a slim majority in the House of Representatives, ensuring a deadlocked government for years to come.
- A conference was held in Juba, Southern Sudan to examine the international response in the ten years since the Darfur Genocide began. While the main phase of the killing ended years earlier, the fighting in what has been termed the Sahel War persisted, despite the presence of United Nations, European Union, and African Union peacekeepers. The presidents of Chad, New Sudan, and Ethiopia urged the international community – especially the African Union – to make a greater effort to end the conflict.
- Mass protests erupt in Iran when all of the opposition candidates are barred from running in this year’s presidential election. Coupled with the government’s disastrous response to the Tehran earthquake and simmering public discontent, the Green Movement’s protests swell to sizes not seen since the last election. Unable to handle the sheer size of the protests, and fearful that the Green Movement could turn into the revolution it failed to become four years earlier, the clerical leadership in Iran agrees behind the scenes to a restructuring of the government, abolishing the position of Supreme Leader – whom many blame for allowing the Green Movement to gain so much strength – and instead giving that office’s powers directly to the directly-elected Assembly of Experts. The Assembly agrees to let the opposition candidate, Mostafa Kavakebian, run and he goes on to win the presidency by a landslide.
- With the war in Zimbabwe raging out of control, the African Union voted to deploy a peacekeeping force to bring a speedy conclusion to the conflict. It would be another year and a half before peacekeepers from Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, Uganda, and Libya finally arrived. In the meantime, Zimbabwe’s neighbors deployed their militaries to the border in an attempt to contain the situation.
- Warner Brothers became the first major studio to premiere a full-length feature film as an Internet download. Despite fears that it would harm the film’s gross, The Hobbit Part 1 became the top box office winner three weeks in a row and would later be the best-selling DVD of the Christmas season.
- As part of a survey of Iraq in the aftermath of the Iraq War, it is revealed that Iraqis have the largest percentage of agnostic or non-religious people in the Middle East and the most supporters of secular democracy after Turkey. While there is some surprise in media, those familiar with the situation inside the country are not surprised. This report, as well as the end of the war, establishment of an independent Palestine, and the downfall of Iran’s economy, spurred one newscaster – perhaps prematurely – to declare “Radical Islam is Dead”.
- The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched the Vimana 9, making India the fourth nation to launch a manned spacecraft. Shortly after, the ISRO formally requested to participate in the International Space Station and was accepted, on the grounds that India develop, construct, and launch its own new addition to the station. India’s rapid admission was protested by China, whose requests to join the project were rejected twice by the ISS’ sponsors.
- After 2 years of delays, the East African Community issued a common currency, the East African Shilling and set elections for the first East African Parliament to occur in mid-2015. The East African presidency was also implemented, initially rotating amongst the member states, with Tanzania chosen to have the seat first.
- Iceland was admitted into the European Union and participated in the 2014 parliamentary elections. The European Socialists and its allies in the Progressive Alliance won a majority, electing former British PM Tony Blair. President Blair begins a Union-wide campaign pushing for Turkey’s prompt admission. He receives a backlash from many throughout the Union, but manages to galvanize support in southern and northern Europe, reigniting interest and support in Turkey itself.
- For the first time, the Interactive Achievement Awards were broadcast on ABC with the same coverage usually reserved for movie or television award shows. In the United States, the videogame industry had by this year become the second most profitable media industry and continued to grow steadily.
- By the end of 2014, millions have emigrated from southern Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi to elsewhere in the country, many to Texas, Florida, or Georgia. Although the national economy has improved since the Great Recession began, the slow abandonment of the deep south’s Gulf Coast continues to hurt the government’s approval ratings. The government itself is largely deadlocked thanks to a split Congress, while the Republican Party following their defeat in 2012 suffers a major split between moderate and far-right conservatives.
- After an increasingly agitated and controversial election season, the religious coalition Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal won the majority of seats in the Pakistani Parliament, defeating the Pakistan People’s Party. Angry young Pakistanis, many supporters of the PPP, rioted in Islamabad and Karachi. The Pakistani president declared a state of emergency and imposed martial law. At the urging of India, China, and the United States, party leaders met and agreed to form a coalition government. This did little to end the rioting, though, which continued for another ten weeks.
- In a landmark move, the Prime Minister of Somaliland was invited to be an observer at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Maputo, Mozambique. While not an explicit or formal recognition of the country’s independence, many saw it as a fundamental step toward one. The Somali Federal Government protested, arguing that only it was recognized as the legitimate authority over all of Somalia.
- Protesting the First World’s failure to curb global climate change and America’s failure to rehabilitate New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina, the radical environmentalist group August 23 vandalized the Statue of Liberty in New York City. Using 23 pneumatic potato guns mounted on the decks of three sailboats, the ecoterrorists fired nearly 500 paint rounds at Liberty Island before being arrested by the Coast Guard. It was determined later that the damage caused to the landmark would cost $900,000 to repair.
- Doctors in New Zealand successfully conducted the first ever implant of a self-contained artificial lung. The breakthrough was seen a possible solution to the millions around the world suffering from lung cancer and other breathing disorders. Futurists and transhumanists suggested that, considering the advances in prosthesis over the last 15 years, it might be possible to develop a full prosthetic body by 2030.
- The Indian military and police scored a series of major victories in the campaign against the Naxalites, arresting several high profile members of their Politburo. Combined with an increased government presence and an upsurge in jobs thanks to government funded infrastructure projects, support for the insurgency begins to slowly drop amongst the poor rural population in the Red Corridor.
- ITER, the world's first nuclear fusion power generator, was brought online several months late in France. It proved to be a complete success and was hailed as an example for a new wave of nuclear power plants in the 21st century. The media, though, spread fears of possible dangers from nuclear waste rather than the benefits of clean cheap energy, creating negative public opinion.
- Over the course of seven launches beginning in 2015, Bigelow Aerospace completed the world’s first manned private space station. Constructed from a set of three BA-330 transhab modules, Bigelow offers the station’s use for anyone willing to lease or rent it, with transportation and resupply handled by Boeing and SpaceX. In the popular imagination, the station is nicknamed the “world’s first space hotel”, although that is technically not the case.
- An extended drought struck the southern Amazon, leading to massive forest fires. The Brazilian Army was called in to help fight the fires, which ultimately consumed more than 1,000 square miles of forest – larger than the 2007 California wildfires. Environmentalists and the Media played up the disaster as yet another example of global unmitigated climate change.
- Due to previous bickering between Commission-President Tony Blair and the outgoing President of the European Council, EU leaders agree to appoint Tony Blair Council-President as well, forming a unified European presidency. Negotiations move forward between the EU and Turkey, with the latter expected to ascend within the next five years.
- In the US presidential elections, Governor Meg Whitman of California, a moderate Republican, wins the race to the White House, taken by many as a sign the Republican Party has returned from the political wilderness it found itself following the 2012 election. Both parties, meanwhile, maintain respective control of the Senate and House of Representatives.
- Orion 2, the first manned flight of NASA’s successor to the Space Shuttle, was launched on a mission to the International Space Station years behind schedule and billions over budget. NASA renewed its contracts with SpaceX and Sierra Nevada to continue servicing the ISS on NASA’s behalf, while also exploring the possibility of using commercial transportation services for an eventually return mission to the Moon, now planned for around 2027.
- The two halves of Cyprus were united as the United Cypriot Republic thanks to the efforts of the President of the European Commission, who had spent the last three years brokering a new peace deal. This effort had been bolstered over the last year by the new President of the European Council’s support for Turkish ascension to the European Union, bringing Turkey back to the table. Turkey immediately recognized the new state – despite nationalist opposition at home – and the united Cyprus was accepted as an EU member-state alongside Macedonia and Croatia.
- At a ceremony held in London, the United Kingdom became the first nation to officially recognize the existence of the Republic of Somaliland. Ethiopia, Canada, France, Southern Sudan, and the United States quickly followed, but so did an immediate protest from Somalia, which again stated its position that Somaliland is, was, and rightfully should be apart of their state. The government in Somaliland declared a national holiday and celebrations poured into the streets of Hargeisa.
- Astronomers from Hawaii, Chile and Argentina announced the discovery of the first confirmed “Earth Twin” – a planet with a similar size, atmosphere, and climate to that of the Earth – orbiting the star Epsilon Eridani, 10.5 light-years away. At least seven different science fiction films were released over the next two years detailing the first manned mission to the planet, nicknamed "Gemini".
- Although fighting persisted throughout Afghanistan and western Pakistan, the conservative government in Kabul successfully convinced the Taliban to participate in the democratic process. This was only a half-victory: many Taliban fighters refused to disarm, and the result was a series of druglords and warlords laying claim to much of rural Afghanistan while the Afghani military struggled to maintain control of the few major cities it had secured. Much of Pakistan and Afghanistan had become lawless by the end of the decade.
- With plans on track for a common market to be fully implemented by the end of 2019, talks began on further South American integration. Foremost on the agenda were introducing a common currency and a South American Constitution.
- The Prime Minister of Russia was shot while campaigning in Volgograd. Authorities immediately targeted Chechen separatists, detaining a dozen and subjecting them to “extreme interrogation techniques” before the true culprit, a disturbed Russian ultranationalist, was finally arrested while attempting to plant a bomb at Volgograd train station. The Prime Minister eventually recovered, but resigned shortly after.
- Thirty-three Libyan soldiers, part of the African Union’s peacekeeping force in Zimbabwe, were ambushed and killed by a truck bomb planted by nationalist forces. Shocked by the sudden loss of life, the Libyan government announced it would no longer participate in the operation. Shortly afterward, Kenya, Nigeria, and Angola also withdrew, forcing the African Union to cancel the operation.
- For the first time, a Bollywood film opened as the #1 box office film in the United States. The movie would later go on to receive nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay, although it did not win either award.
- Scientists announced that, thanks to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the hole in the atmosphere’s Ozone layer over Antarctica had shrunk considerably. If recovery continued at the same pace, it was predicted, the ozone layer would be fully recovered by 2075.
- The first attempts to biologically uplift – meaning, to genetically enhance a creature’s cognitive faculties to near human levels – dogs began in the United States, France, and Argentina. The ultimate goal of the experiments was to improve the animals’ usefulness in therapy, as guides, and in law enforcement.
- Over thirty years after its initial application to join and more than a decade of intense controversy over it, Turkey was at last admitted into the European Union. The influx of new voters and MEPs in this years European elections resulted major gains for both the European Socialists and People’s Party, creating concern amongst some that the European Union was quickly forming a two-party system. The European Socialists and its allies maintained control over Parliament, winning Tony Blair a second term in office.
- In an attempt to curb the violence in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana began clandestine joint operations with the goal of tilting the war in the pro-west faction’s favor, code named Operation Cecil. Missions included passing money, intelligence, and weapons to Bulaweyo while also conducting assassinations and unofficial air strikes against Harare.
- China launched a manned circumlunar mission, the third nation after America and Russia to do so. The mission sparked criticism against NASA and the US government by the media for failing to meet the 2020 due date set by President Bush for returning to the Moon. In a speech at Cape Canaveral, the President urged NASA to return to the Moon before 2030.
- A border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea turned violent, leading to a month of bloody combat. Although the African and European Unions successfully negotiated a ceasefire, they failed to resolve the initial problem. Meanwhile, the failure of the Somali Federal Government to resolve the social problems in southern Somalia or to prevent Somaliland’s secession spurred a movement to outright dissolve what remained of Somalia.
- After years of deterioration and the best efforts of the government to avert disaster, the last glacier atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya, East Africa finally melted. The President of the East African Community declared the event a travesty and called for increased effort by the international community to combat global climate change before other natural wonders could be ruined.
- As part of a negotiated settlement, Western Sahara agreed to withdraw its membership in the African Union and give up its claims to independence, in favor of becoming an autonomous province within Morocco. The newly organized state, the Federated Kingdom of Morocco and Western Sahara, was then admitted into the African Union, uniting the entire continent under the organization. While applauding AU leaders for negotiating a solution to the Western Sahara problem, commentators pointed out that the AU was still unable to deal with more pressing issues, such as the wars in the Sahel and Zimbabwe or the AIDS epidemic.
- With the Fourth Chimurenga entering it’s ninth year, the movement calling for United Nations intervention grew in strength with the addition of India, which called for a UN peacekeeping force to be deployed as soon as possible. While there was some talk, little was actually accomplished in New York. In Africa, the war began to spread across the border into Mozambique due to fighting amongst the Shona people, who have been split over the increasingly ethnic conflict.
- Goldman Sachs reported that, while China had not yet surpassed America in economic power, it would do so by at least 2025 and definitely so by 2030. The same report went on to point out that India was not far behind, and that both nations were on the precipice of reaching developed status. Several months later, Forbes Magazine announced that a Chinese businessman was at the top of their list of the world’s 400 richest people. *
- In the US presidential elections, the Republican Party defeated the Democratic incumbent by a landslide, promising to reestablish American political, economic, and scientific preeminence in the world. The Republicans also won control of the House of Representatives, but managed to decisively lose control of the Senate.