*Disclaimer: Dates of certain events in this story have already passed. This is a story and not a prediction, nor does it contain factual information on the dates that have passed* The Road to War
China and South East Asia
In the first decade of the twenty-first century droughts began spreading across eastern Asia, specifically in South East Asia, and southern China. This harmed the agricultural output of these nations. South East Asia was hit even harder. The amount of rice grown each year declined. Eventually it was so low that the amount that grew each year was less then the amount consumed by the local populace. In countries throughout the region such as Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos all put a moratorium on the exportation of rice. Most of these nations had government held reserves of rice just for this kind of emergency. However, by the winter 2014 the rice reserves of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam were exhausted. This began would eventually be called the Great Famine in South East Asia. With the food supply being at famine levels, a massive wave of immigration began. They fled in all directions. About 50% of them fled north to China.
China was having a food shortage as well, but it was not yet as severe as it was in the south east. The cities in eastern China had been growing, and the urban population expanding. By the time of the Great Famine in South East Asia 50% of China’s population was living in urban areas. China had put a , reduction on the amount of food crops it would export in order to maintain a larger food supply at home. They also began a minor rationing system.
The increased migration of those in south east Asia to China caught the attention of the Chinese government quickly. The migrations began being more closely monitored in the spring of 2015. By the fall of that year, Beijing knew that it couldn’t ignore the growing influx of famine refugees. The refugees were putting a strain on the already rationed food supply. Not only did the number of mouths to feed increase, but there was also an influx of diseases coming from the region. The famine was leading to malnutrition in south east Asia, making the people more susceptible to diseases such as the various forms of influenza, Avian and Swine flu in particular. These diseases were spreading in the south eastern provinces of China.
This prompted China to take action against these countries. In Winter of 2015, China closed its borders to all travel to and from Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. Despite these actions, immigration continues to grow. In early 2016 China began placing armed soldiers along its southern border with Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. The southern side of the Chinese border began to be cluttered with camps of refugees. These became breeding grounds for diseases. In the spring border crossing attempts began to grow violent. Large groups of refugees attempted to cross the border at once, trying to overrun the Chinese soldiers. This led to massacres on the Vietnamese and Laotian borders. The Vietnamese and Laotian government ordered and apology from and to compensate the families of the victims killed. China not only refused to apologize but also threatened military intervention if Laos and Vietnam refused to control their own population. Chinese forces along the border increased as tensions rose between the three powers.
The keg ignited when about 2000 refugees in Laos tried to cross into China near the Mekong river. This was the biggest massacre of all, with over 1500 casualties of Laotians, Cambodians, Thais, and Vietnamese. This would later be referred to as the Mekong Massacre. Chinese forces were given the green light to cross the border into Vietnam and Laos. The Laotian and Vietnamese militaries were easily over powered with superior numbers and superior equipment. They fought back, but it was futile. By the end of Spring all of Laos and Vietnam were occupied by Chinese military forces. China never declared war, so they had no intentions of making any kind of peace treaty. When Chinese forces entered Ho-Chi-Min city, they deposed the government and set up a temporary Chinese military administration. The same was done when Vientiane was captured.
China established new governments in the two countries, hand selecting pro-Chinese members for the government. After the new governments were established the Chinese military remained in the country for an indefinite period of occupation. After seeing what happened to Laos and Vietnam, Thailand and Burma began focusing on controlling its border and preventing people from leaving their countries.
The Baltic Crisis and the crippling of NATO
In the later part of the first decade of the twenty-first century saw a global economic down turn. No region of the western world was hit harder then eastern Europe. Nation after nation needed to be financial bail out. Many of these nations received loans from the International Monetary Fund. However, most of these nations were not able to repay their loans.
The Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were the first to go under. In the summer of 2013 the governments of the three nations declared bankruptcy. These governments could no longer pay their police and military, and anarchy broke out. Rioters threw bottles and bricks through windows and there was massive looting. Members of the former government tried to organize a new government but without money they had no power to hire soldiers or any kind of security forces. 2 days after the collapse Russian military forces entered the Baltic states under claims of protecting those of Russian citizenship and Russian ethnicity in the Baltic states. Within days Russian forces occupied the capitals of Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius.
When news of Russian forces invading the Baltic states reached the media, and emergency meeting of NATO nations was held in Brussels just hours after Russian soldiers entered the Baltic States. They were debating if this action called for military action of NATO. Some claim that the collapse of a member nation does not call for intervention, citing the Collapse of Iceland in 2008. However, other arguments were that they were attacked by a foreign power, a clear call for action. Others did not want to go to war with Russia, and refused to support any kind of action. Turkey did not want to get involved in a war with Russia, while Poland supported action against Russia, but not full fledged war. While the NATO nations were deliberating, Russian forces were occupying more and more of the Baltic nations. Finally, it was decided to first take a non-military action. They sent a threat to Russia, stating that if they didn’t withdraw from the nations of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia by July 1st(10 days), then NATO will have no choice but to declare military action against the Russian Federation.
This created what would later be called the Baltic Crisis. Russian forces continued to move and establish control within the Baltic nations. On June 27th, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey voted to leave NATO, and was effective on the 28th. On the 29th, France declared that it will not participate in any military actions against Russia, and on the 30th Demark, Norway, Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania each declare neutrality despite NATO obligations. When July 1st comes, NATO declares that they are going to send their own forces to the Baltic States. On July 5th, American, British, and German ships carrying soldiers floats off the coast of the Baltic states. When they get there they are met by the Russian Baltic Fleet. This creates a standoff between the NATO fleet and the Russian fleet. For 5 days there is a standoff.
On the 10th the United Nations security council stepped in and negotiations between the remaining NATO nations, Russia, and the members of the former governments of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. The first agreement in the negotiations is that there should be no war fought over this. Russia protests, but they eventually agree that members of the former governments of the Baltic nations shall set up their own governments without foreign involvement. The IMF gave an emergency loan to the Baltic nations, just enough to sustain their governments for 3 months after the establishment of a new government. Russia was allowed to continue occupying these nations, except for their capital cities. The NATO nations are allowed to keep their naval forces off the coast of the Baltic.
By the beginning of October the Baltic nations created new governments, thus forcing Russia to pull out. The Baltic governments are just barley able to function. Just enough funds to keep security within themselves. In January of 2014 their cash line from the IMF was cut. They would be out of money in less then a month. Russian President, Vladimir Putin, made an offer to the Baltic states. Russia would purchase the right for the Russian Navy to dock at the Baltic ports of Klaipeda, Riga, and Tallinn. A second part of the deal was that these nations would withdraw from NATO. Desperate for cash, they comply and withdraw from NATO.
The Baltic Crisis ruined the relations between the NATO nations. By spring of 2015 only 6 nations remained in NATO: The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Belgium, and Portugal.
The Rise of the ‘Putin” Doctrine
In the first decades of the 21st century, Russian foreign policy began to be forged around the idea of military intervention. Although not as blatant as American Interventionism, this was seen as a remodeling of the Brezhnev Doctrine, which had called for the Soviet Union to intervene in any Warsaw pact nation if anti-socialist actions were occurring. A new doctrine of foreign policy began to grow during the first presidency of Vladimir Putin, one that rang familiar to that of Brezhnev. The ‘Putin’ Doctrine was identified as being in the school of what was becoming known as neo-Brezhnevism. This ‘Putin” Doctrine, though unofficial, was that Russia had the right to intervene militarily or economically in any neighboring nation that was performing actions that were harmful to Russia or Russians in that country.
Several sources can be cited for the rise in this doctrine. In the mid to late 90’s, along with the early 2000’s the Russian military had to take military action against Chechnya. Though this was not a ‘foreign’ affair to the point that Chechnya was part of Russia, but they still had to intervene in the region because actions in that region were clearly anti-Russian. Another source for supporting this doctrine was Russia’s invasion of Georgia in the 2008 South Ossetia War.
In 2013, Russia under the second presidency of Vladimir Putin militarily intervened in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania after the collapse of their governments. After a standoff with NATO, they eventually agreed to pull out of NATO. In 2014 Russia purchased the right for the Baltic Sea fleet to dock in the largest port of each of the Baltic Nations. Along with this they also forced the Baltic nations to exit NATO.
The United States and Neo-Isolationism
The 2010 midterm elections in the United States marked a turning point in American politics. With the House of Representatives under Republican control, and Democratic control of the senate weakened, were all signs of a conservative revival. This would continue into the 2012 Presidential election, with Republican candidates General David Petraeus and Governor Chris Christie beating Democratic incumbents Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Patraeus/Christie- 277 Obama/Biden- 261
The Republicans campaigned on reducing the size of government by reducing spending and lowering taxes. They also campaigned on ending the combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2016. They managed to cut down the budget quite significantly, but first taking on the infamous Defense Budget. With a general as president, they first went after the foreign aid portion of the Defense budget, which consisted half the defense budget. They knew they couldn’t remove all foreign aid, but they first removed all nations that are not directly allied with the United States, leaving NATO nations, Israel, Japan, South Korea, and several other countries on the foreign aid list. They also tackled the other half of the defense budget, namely trying to spend more efficiently.
In the summer of 2013, President Petraeus faced his first crisis. He didn’t back down from Russia, but in the end it looked as if Russia got its way, obtaining several ports along the Baltic Sea.
The situation south of the border was looking more and more desperate, and that the US might have to take action, but President Patraeus was hoping to hold off what he felt was an almost inevitable collapse of Mexico. He feared the same for Pakistan. It was also felt that Afghanistan would probably collapse if it were not for the United States and NATO holding it together. In the later part of his administration, the United States would also cut down on military bases abroad, there by cutting the budget and the debt.
The Decline of the European Union
The beginning of the twenty-first century saw the growth of international organizations. One in particular was the European Union. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the European Union began to expand into eastern Europe. By 2010, the only European nations not members of the European Union were: Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Turkey, and Russia.
However, out of its 27 member states, 11ere not using the Euro currency, which saw great devaluation in between 2007 and 2010. Many nations, especially Germany, were wishing to opt-out of the Euro. The financial crisis of the second decade of the twenty-first century saw the European nations tightening their spending belt. These fiscal reforms in Europe were made after the near collapse of Greece in 2010. However these reforms were not without consequence. Across Europe there were massive protests from unions and students. The greatest of these was in Greece, with protestors going violent every day. France was a close second. France adjusted its national retirement age in the fall of 2010, there were massive protests across France, setting the country into an energy crisis. Other fiscal reforms in Europe included privatization of mail services, and even the lessening of government involvement in health care.
These reforms led to less international spending as well, which lead to the Baltic Crisis of 2013. These nations were refusing to spend much on foreign financial aid. This lead to the collapse of the Baltic Countries and their exit from NATO after the crisis. The Baltic Crisis nearly destroyed NATO, leaving only 6 nations left. Nations began to find ways to opt-out of the Euro. In 2015, the German Parliament passed legislation that they said would, “Temporarily suspend the use of the Euro” in Germany. However, this act would not go into effect until 2017, giving the German government enough time to print up a new currency referred to as the “Neu-Mark”. The legislation didn’t give specifics on when they would return to the Euro. The drafters of this legislation said they intended to return when “The Euro’s Stability was restored”. Similar legislation was passed in Belgium and the Netherlands, and in 2016, the European Parliament forced this action on Greece. Despite the decline of the Euro, there was still expansion of EU membership. In 2016 Croatia, Iceland, Macedonia, and Turkey were accepted into the EU, but did not immediately introduce the Euro for their countries. Other nations that joined between 2004 and 2007 were putting transition to the Euro, fearing its instability.