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Scenario: The World at a Glance

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The primary concerns of most first-world nations during the 21st century's second decade were poor economic growth and particularly in Europe, high immigration.

While the global economy narrowly avoided a double-dip recession (and possible depression), growth for the majority of G8 nations remained extremely low for a number of years. Those governments with huge deficits such as the UK and Spain made a number of deep cuts in public spending in an attempt to bring their balance sheets under some sort of control. Social unrest occurred in a number of cities particularly Madrid and Paris in April 2013 and Greece eventually defaulted on it's debts and subsequently dropped out of the Euro around the same time. In an attempt to reduce immigration, a number of EU member states placed increasingly severe restrictions on what benefits citizens of EU and non-EU countries could claim from their host governments in the first five years of residency.

Terrorism-wise there was only notable incident. In July 2014, an improvised car bomb detonated prematurely in the centre of Paris. At seven, the death toll was comparatively light but the attack gave greater energy to Europe's numerous Far Right political parties.

The political mood of the electorate in a number of countries swung increasingly to the Right and many commentators noticed a new wave of Nationalism sweeping the continent. In the UK, an increasingly populist Conservative Party won a majority in the 2015 Parliamentary elections. While their claims of power were greatly exaggerated, the Far Right did achieve some victories in Europe, particularly the British National Party who won their first parliamentary seat in the General Election (however, it should be noted that the majority was extremely slim and the vote had to be counted twice).

In the United States, Barak Obama won a second term in office despite a vocal and last-minute attempt by the Republican and Tea Parties at defeated the Democrats. Sarah Palin did run for candidacy but was passed over for a more popular Mitt Romney.

June 2013 witnessed Taiwan bare the brunt of Typhoon Matsa, leaving the capital in ruins and inflicting heavy casualties (approx. 16,000 including the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Chief of defence staff). The People's Republic of China immediately dispatched humanitarian aid and those businessmen the PRC had been nurturing and influencing in the past few years spoke openly at accepting Chinese assistance. While the US was welcomed openly, there was clear opposition by the Taiwanese against China as they were fully aware of the PRC's desire to bring what they saw as an "errant province" back under mainland control. However, the persuasive words from members of Taiwan's business sector combined with incompetence from the ruling party quickly changed public opinion. Recovery was swift and within a year, Taipei was once again the seat of government. The PRC now has a strong but subtle grip on Taiwan but most importantly now also has public opinion on its side. The US is watching the situation carefully but is silently quite gratefully that a confrontation with China has been avoided.

Frustrated by iran's continuous refusal to submit it's nuclear program to international scrutiny as well as Russia and China's attempts to prevent a Security Council resolution, 2013 also saw Israel launch a number of airstrikes against of suspected sites deep in Iran. The raid was particularly difficult to conduct due to the distance between the two nations as involved trespassing Jordan airspace. A number if countries in the region expelled Israeli ambassadors - although Turkey made great pains to indicate that their expulsion was in response to violations of international law and not from any sense of fraternity with other Arab nations. The successfulness of the raid is still being debated as while Iranian ambitions were not doubt curtailed the Israelis lost four aircraft (1 from Iranian anti-aircraft fire and the rest crashing in the desert after running out of fuel). The Obama administration publicly rebuked Israel, as did the rest of the Security Council.

Two of modern history's most notorious leaders died in 2015. Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe succumbed to a stroke in May after xx in power. Control of North Korea officially passed to Kim Jong-un after the passing of Kim Jong-il two weeks later. A change in policy was noticed almost overnight with the resumption of the Six Party talks and a relaxing of tensions between the two Korea's. However, this didn't last long. In November a North Korean artillery battery opened fire on Yeonpyeong Island, the same island that come under fire in 2010. When questioned about the attack, the North merely stated they were responding to provocation by the South after an armed gunboat drifted into disputed waters in the course of assisting a damaged fishing boat.

The sole casualty of the shelling was a nine-year-old schoolgirl and a picture of her shattered body quickly became a powerful propaganda tool. Despite calls from the US and China to show restraint, the South responded with a much more massive artillery barrage. No lives were lost. No answer has yet been given by the North for their sudden shift in intentions but Western analysts believe it may have been in response to an attempt by the remaining original revolutionaries to wrestle power from a western-looking leader.

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