The background radiation levels were high enough that no one wanted to risk personnel to go and put out the oil-well fires that now burned across the Middle East. The fires, coupled with the loss in production infrastructure, crippled OPEC in particular and the oil industry at large.
Oil superpower status began shifting away from the now-fractured Middle East to the politically volatile countries of South America, the politically blacklisted superpower of the United States, and politically weak countries of Canada and Norway, as well as several African nations.
Decreased production led to shortages throughout Europe and Asia; oil prices skyrocketed, threatening energy production and the global economy; and investigation of alternative energy took off. In particular, even though there was a renewed, Cold-War style fear of nuclear weapons, the outputs and efficiencies of nuclear power enticed developed, energy-hungry countries to begin investing in new plants. Companies also redoubled their efforts to make solar power more commercially viable.
Following the Second Gulf War, terrorist groups underwent an interesting transformation. Those without significant, established sources of funding and supplies disappeared almost overnight. The idea that the United States would simply nuke its enemies into submission convinced a number of smaller groups to close up shop or, at least, turn their sights elsewhere—like the other, less-militant “western powers” of Europe and Japan.
Larger, better supplied terrorist groups—and nations like North Korea and Iran—simply stepped up their efforts to acquire nuclear weapons of their own. Russia suffered a number of devastating strikes during this time—aimed not at civilian centers but at older bunkers where Soviet-era decommissioned warheads were stored. An undocumented number of nuclear devices went missing during this time.
Global Power Dynamic
After the fallout settled, both literally and figuratively, the G8 (excepting the United States, making the council a G7 variant) decided to place sanctions against the United States for its decision to employ nuclear weaponry. Because of the economic might of the United States, the sanctions were minor—and never enforced—but the message rang loud and clear.
United States’ citizens began protesting the sanctions, pushing for more separatist actions. Expatriates were called home, cutting business leadership out of developing nations; Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was given sweeping power to crack down on illegal aliens—especially suspected terrorists; a conservative Supreme Court upheld a Presidential Declaration that the Constitution and Bill of Rights apply only to American citizens, granting sweeping authorization for the use of violence to maintain national identity and security; foreign nationals were forcibly expelled from the country; and non-citizen, suspected terrorists were rounded up and brutally tortured—with tentative public support—or, at least, the public’s willful “blind eye.”
While the United States maintained “open” diplomatic relations with other global powers, the country took major steps to remove itself from the global stage. Instead of trying to act in a global, peace-keeping role, the United States shifted its focus to internal control and stability—particularly energy independence. This fracturing of the global political scene made possible later global problems which, ultimately, escalated to become World War III.
All because humans couldn’t figure out how to get along. Ironically, if the United States had focused inwardly at an earlier date, rather than attacking Iraq, the entire collapse of humanity might have been avoided.
Again, written by Jonathan Richards.
Read Part 1!