The Lights Out International Timeline


There are some minor points that need to be raised.  This timeline is based on Lights Out, a novel written by David Crawford (the timeline was written with permission), and makes two important assumptions - the EMP pulse affected only North America and that the US did not immediately lash out at all possible suspects.  The remainder of the world is untouched.  I will not be touching on anything within North America, but American forces and suchlike outside CONUS will be mentioned.  It’s closer to ‘Without Warning’ than I wanted, but the logic tends to go the same way.


Regardless of what you think of the USA, removing the world’s sole superpower has massive effects…


Day One – all communications with North America go silent.  Large parts of the internet simply collapse – the servers are based in America – or fragment.  At first, outside governments believe that it is a hoax or a hacker attack, but slowly the truth begins to circulate through the remains of the global news networks.  Secure communications are established with non-CONUS American bases – Pearl Harbour, for example – but they are as in the dark as the rest of the world. 


Rumours are flying around the world – the BBC broadcasts confirmation that it is impossible to contact anyone in the USA – when a secure hardened link is finally activated from the USA.  The Vice President of America (the President was killed when Air Force One went down) confirms that a massive EMP has struck America.  Further links establish that large parts of Canada and Mexico have also been hit. 


The European Governments, panicked by the sheer scale of the disaster, declare a state of emergency and order all banks to close.  European, Russian and Chinese nuclear facilities go on alert.  Chinese and Russian diplomats worry about the US blaming them for the EMP and lashing out with its remaining nuclear weapons. 


American/NATO officers in Afghanistan and the Middle East are briefed on the crisis.  With the White House secure network badly dented by the EMP, command devolves upon CENTCOM and Pearl Harbour.  American military forces are warned to prepare for immediate withdrawal – they will be needed at home – and to go to defensive ROE only.  NATO forces follow suit.


Day Two – the news hits the airwaves with emergency broadcasts from European Governments, which are rapidly picked up by Arab, Chinese and Russian media networks.  A BBC camera crew, flown into Washington, reports that the US has been badly crippled for the foreseeable future.  Overhead images of burning American towns and cities, skirmishes between police and gangsters and worse get out into the world.  The story is blown out of all proportion by the media, but no one can disguise that the US has taken a massive hit. 


The European banking system is frozen.  Far too much European money is bound up in Wall Street, which has been effectively destroyed.  Crowds are surrounding banks and demanding their money, which gets them absolutely nothing as the governments have shut the entire system down.  Rumours spread wildly as anarchists, radical factions of one kind or another or worse spread out onto the streets.  London, Paris, Berlin and many other European cities see violence and unrest on a massive scale. 


Matters are worse in the Middle East.  Once Al Jazeera broadcast confirmation of the US’s effective destruction, massive crowds ran onto the streets to celebrate.  Every Middle Eastern state, with the exception of Israel and Iraq, sees massive demonstrations, gloating over the destruction of the USA.  The Gaza Strip becomes a nightmare as militants clash with Israeli troops, while rumours spread that Israel, without its powerful protector, will be unable to last much longer.  Similar riots and uprisings are taking place in the West Bank, while in Lebanon militant forces bombard Israeli settlements with rockets and mortar fire.  The IAF flies strike missions in response, but politics ensure that there are limits to what they can do.  Israel is mobilising for war…


Egypt and Saudi Arabia both see massive demonstrations that shake the existing governments to their foundations.  (I had this section planned before the Egyptian Crisis began, so it may be out of date.)  Egypt’s military government tries to crack down, but with the Muslim Brotherhood scenting victory, it proves impossible.  Many of the junior officers and recruits are considering going over to the other side.  The Saudis try to push for a crackdown and fail, realising that they cannot completely trust their own army.  The clerics are carefully distancing themselves from the regime, preparing to dictate terms to the princes.  (As they did in the Siege of Mecca crisis, years ago.)  The smarter princes are gathering their families, chartering private aircraft and flying off to their mansions along the Spanish coast. 


In Iraq, the loss of the United States shakes the government badly.  It was already a fragile coalition.  Without the US supporting the government, the Prime Minister blinks when anti-US demonstrations appear in Basra.  He knows that they are supported by Iran, perhaps even controlled by Iran, yet moving against them could mean civil war.  Matters aren’t improved by the American decision to start pulling out the remaining troops in Iraq, leaving the Sunni and Shia wondering who is going to start the civil war first.


The hardliners in the Iranian government have effectively taken control and are contemplating a world without the US.  If the US leaves the Middle East, they calculate, Iran will be the most powerful state in the region.  The chances for booty have never been greater.  Iran starts activating terrorist sleeper cells in Iraq, Saudi, Bahrain and Palestine.


In China, the Chinese Communists have a nasty problem.  Their economy was dependent upon the United States, which won’t be buying anything from China for the foreseeable future.  Their economy has, in effect, evaporated.  The government has cracked down hard on all forms of communication, but all they have done is start spreading rumours far and wide.  As more and more Chinese realise that their jobs have vanished, the prospects for social unrest have never been higher.  The Chinese cannot afford to even pay the army.  Grimly, they start dusting off plans to invade and recover Taiwan.  Perhaps, they reason, that will distract the public for a while.


Day Three-Ten – there is further rioting in many European cities.  The British Government has cracked down hard on the violence in Britain, with tens of thousands being shipped off to makeshift detention centres.  The British are also looking at emergency contingency plans for rationing food and other supplies.  The news media is generally onside, but rogue internet bloggers and suchlike are spreading darker rumours.  The British Government does not have a secure majority and needs to tread carefully.


The French are in a worse state.  The government is faced with a strange combination of general strike, student protest and rioting among the immigrant populations.  There are so many rumours running around that the riots are growing nastier, each one encouraging the violence to get worse.  A similar process is taking place in Germany as the impact of the economic crash starts to hit.  Millions of jobs are being destroyed by the sudden collapse. 


In the Gaza Strip, the Israelis have advanced in several armoured columns, hoping to destroy the insurgents before they can bleed Israel to death.  The ROE are very loose – absent America, Israel cannot afford to take chances – and there is a steady diet of incidents, which the Arab news media can blow up into atrocities.  There are elements from Egypt, Syria and even Saudi Arabia crossing the border – the secure border crossings in Egypt have been opened – and joining in the fight, along with a constant stream of arms.  Some of them include American-designed anti-tank weapons, which take a heavy toll of Israeli tanks. 


The fighting in Palestine tips the balance in Saudi Arabia.  The king abdicates his power and hands it over to an ‘Islamic Council,’ composed of the most fundamental princes and clerics.  The new government immediately takes control and orders counter-measures to the Shia uprisings in the east.  They also order the American and European expatiates to leave the country.  The new government puts together an invasion force for Bahrain.  The Shia population is restless and the Sunni royal family is terrified, not entirely without reason.


American forces within Iraq and Saudi Arabia have pulled out completely, first to Kuwait and then to Bahrain.  CENTCOM does not expect Bahrain to remain tenable as a base for much longer, suspecting that Iran intends to cause trouble.  So far, American forces in the Middle East have faced relatively few attacks, but no one expects that to last.  Every soldier, sailor and airman is now irreplaceable. 


Pakistan’s government topples as a wave of protesters leads an attack on the government.  Radical Islamic factions have allied with factions in the military, producing what can best be described as an Islamic military dictatorship.  The new Pakistani government declares all border crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan closed, in effect cutting off most of the lifeline from NATO to forces within Afghanistan.  Pakistani forces, which have secretly been in contact with the Taliban for years (the Taliban was partly a Pakistani creation), start slipping more aid and comfort across the border.  The Taliban starts to enjoy a new resurgence in Afghanistan. 


Day Eleven-Fifteen – In Britain, the rioting is mostly under control.  The government has assumed emergency powers – with the vocal support of the Queen, although Prince Charles had to be sat on to prevent him from dissenting sharply – and has interned a large number of suspected radical factions, ranging from the BNP to radical Muslim factions.  This has provoked charges of racism and suchlike, but the government is largely ignoring such complaints.  A handful of terrorist attacks, mostly minor, have helped to harden attitudes.  Britain is also serving as the clearing house for Americans trying to leave Europe, although no one is quite sure where they will go.


The rioting in France, however, is getting worse.  The French Government is coming apart at the seams, which means that radical factions are sometimes encouraging the chaos to try to make matters worse.  Iranian-backed terrorists pour petrol on the fire by attacking police stations and military units, in some places pushing the police out completely.  The Netherlands is facing what can charitably be called a racial war, with radical nationalist factions battling it out with radical Islamic factions, while most of the population is caught in the middle. 


The Saudi Army crosses the causeway into Bahrain and effectively annexes the state, despite objections from CENTCOM.  The locals greet the Saudis with a hail of rocks and stones – and weapons supplied by Iran.  The Saudis respond with brute force, tearing the small state apart.  Iranian fighter jets clash with Saudi jets over the Gulf, while Iranian forces prepare to attempt to cross the state and counter-attack.  The Saudi invasion also sets off riots in Basra that very rapidly turn into a civil war.  Elements of the New Iraqi Army attempt to hold the state together, but the new Iraq wasn't held together very securely.  Basra rises up and ‘asks’ for help from Iran, shattering the Iraqi state.  Many Shia-dominated army units go over to the other side.  Sunni units withdraw towards the Sunni Triangle and prepare to defend the Sunni population.  Both sides ignore the remains of the USN as much as possible.  The US goes to defensive ROE only.


In theory, the Iranian Navy is no match for the Saudis, even without the USN backing the Saudis up.  (The remains of the Fifth Fleet are pulling out, leaving the Middle East to its own devices.)  In practice, the odds aren’t as bad as it seems; the Iranians have more determination and a complete willingness to use suicidal tactics.  They prepared to face the USN; the Saudis are vastly less powerful.  A handful of naval battles results in the destruction of most of the Saudi Western Fleet, leaving the coastline exposed.  Iran doesn’t have the capability to mount a full invasion, but raids – some of them quite nasty – start taking place.


The Iranian Army has occupied Basra and is threatening to advance into Saudi.  The Kuwaiti Government – what remains of it after most of the Royal Family fled – is offered a flat choice between surrender (and joining Iran’s new alliance) or being invaded and crushed.  The Kuwaitis choose surrender, allowing the Iranians to advance to the Saudi border.  The Saudi Government sees armoured forces on its border and starts to panic, setting off a whole new chain of events.


Day Sixteen-Twenty – The crisis in the east has sparked off the final fall of Egypt’s government.  With cries of ‘death to Israel’ ringing in their ears, the new government starts feeding Egyptian troops and weapons into Palestine, where they engage Israeli forces.  The Egyptian Air Force launches strike missions against Israel, joining a growing Scud bombardment from Lebanon and Syria.  Jordon is in chaos, but starts feeding troops and supplies into the area too. 


Israel’s worst nightmare is coming true.  Without the USA, Israel has only a limited amount of supplies, including ABM missiles.  Intercepting each Scud – a low-cost weapon – costs Israel an irreplaceable Patriot missile.  The Turkish Air Force helps out by flying missions against Syria, but the Turkish military is facing massive problems at home and is unwilling to push the issue further.  Anyone else who might be able to help is either unwilling or unable to do so.


The Saudis start preparing their ultimate fallback position.  Years ago, the Saudis funded the Pakistani atomic bomb project in hopes of creating an ‘Islamic Bomb.’  They bought nuclear-capable missiles from the Chinese while storing the nukes in Pakistan.  Now, orders go out to Pakistan, ordering them to deliver the warheads as soon as possible.  In order for Saudi to deter Iran from pressing any further, the Saudis need those nukes.


Israeli intelligence is very good and the Israelis pick up on the move.  The Israeli Cabinet doesn’t believe for a moment that Iran is the only envisaged target for nuclear attack.  The new Saudi Government might have its hands full with Iran, but it is bombarding the airwaves with anti-Israel statements and promises to support the other Arab nations in liberating Palestine and exterminating the Jews once Iran is defeated.  The Israelis suspect the worst – and, with the constant bombardment wearing down their defences, their military cannot guarantee their safety.  After hours of discussion and argument in the Israeli Cabinet, the Israelis decide to strike first.  The choice is between committing mass murder - perhaps even genocide – or being exterminated. 


The strike is launched two hours later.  Israeli aircraft punch through Egyptian and Syrian air defences and deliver their deadly cargo to a number of targets, concentrating on cities and troop concentrations.  Israeli missiles are launched towards Saudi, Iraq and Iran – again, cities and military bases are targeted.  There is no warning of the strike and, even if there was, there was little the targets could do about it.   Millions die in the first explosions alone, while millions more die in the following weeks and months.  The entire region simply comes apart.


In Palestine, the reaction is immediate and futile.  The Israelis have forgotten all their normal ROE, launching strikes against any target and effectively attempting to kill as many Palestinians as they can.  Disease and deprivation kills millions while the Israelis pull back and wait for their enemies to die.  The remains of Egypt’s military is wasted on futile strikes against Israel, rather than attempting to restore order.  The Turks complicate matters by sealing their borders and launching an invasion of Northern Iraq, planning to settle matters with the Kurds once and for all.


Matters are worse in Pakistan, for Indian intelligence also picked up on the nuclear move.  The Indians have been on a hair-trigger since the fall of Pakistan’s government and its replacement with an Islamic regime.  Now, with Pakistan's nukes seemingly on the move, the Indians panic.  An attempt at settling the issue diplomatically fails and so the Israelis try to destroy the nukes before they can be used.  It fails; the new Pakistani regime decides to launch the remaining nukes before they can be destroyed.  They launch and nuclear fire blossoms above four Indian cities and several military bases.  India’s retaliation, launched minutes after the first warning comes in, takes out all of the major Pakistani cities and military bases.  The Indian Army soon follows, invading Pakistan; intent on dealing with the threat once and for all.


The Chinese Government, facing growing civil unrest as the true economic situation is revealed, starts surging forces forward to invade Taiwan.  They calculate that the world has been distracted by the unfolding Armageddon in the Middle East and India-Pakistan and that they can launch the invasion without being stopped.  As the first forces move into position, the Taiwanese detonate a nuke of their own and warn that any attempt to invade will result in mutual devastation.  An hour later, the Japanese follow suit, signing a treaty with South Korea and issuing a sharp warning to North Korea.


Balked, the Chinese Government orders a crackdown on the growing protests in the streets.  It grows badly out of hand as some Chinese troops turn their guns on their superior officers and start a mutiny.  The Chinese Civil War has begun.


Day Twenty-One - Thirty – The European Governments have loudly condemned the Israeli attack, although there is an undertone of quiet relief in some quarters.  That isn’t enough to stop the rioting and chaos.  The destruction of Mecca has inflamed every Muslim in Europe, allowing radicals to direct them against their hated enemies.  The chaos in many European cities turns to outright civil war.


The knock-on effects have reached Algeria and most of North Africa.  The Algerian government topples in the wake of the atomic blasts, as local fanatics are upset that the government is refusing to stand up to Israel because Israel might hit Algeria next.  The result is even more chaos as the population flees from the cities and out into the countryside, which cannot really support them.  Others are boarding boats and fleeing to Europe.  Some are refugees with nothing, but the clothes on their backs; others are armed and dangerous terrorists and former army soldiers intent on joining the insurgency in France.  Every European state with a Mediterranean coastline receives thousands of refugees.  Matters are complicated by the fact that some refugee boats are escorted by the North African navies.


This causes a major policy shift in the French Government.  The National Front, the strongest surviving political party, ends up with a majority, allied to the French Military.  The gloves come off.  The French Navy is ordered to sink all refugee boats without warning or mercy.  The Algerian ships that attempt to defend the boats are ruthlessly sunk.  By nightfall, the Spanish, Italian and Greek navies are also deployed, sealing the coastline.  The Algerian government launches a handful of Scuds across the Mediterranean, but the French launch air raids in response and threaten nuclear strikes.


The chaos in French cities is tackled head on.  Martial law is declared and the French military seals off the worst of the chaos, isolating the different sections of the insurgency from one another.  As the noose tightens, the French create detention centres and start moving captured insurgents into holding areas, although few prisoners are taken once the French discover some of the more horrific scenes from the insurgency.  The Germans, more reluctantly, take comparable measures. 


In Russia, the government – which has managed to secure itself fairly well – makes NATO an offer it can’t refuse.  NATO forces are trapped in Afghanistan after the nuclear strikes and political strife – trapped, cut-off and facing destruction.  The Russian offer is simple.  NATO forces can withdraw through Russian-held territory and leave Afghanistan to chaos.  In exchange, the Russians want economic agreements and a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.  NATO reluctantly agrees and the pull-out begins.  Behind them, the resurging Taliban starts hammering away at the remains of the government.  No one expects it to last for long.


The Middle East has degenerated into a hellish blood swarm.  Refugees are fleeing everywhere, seeking an illusionary safety.  The major governments of the region have collapsed, leaving power in the hands of local strong men.  The remains of the once-proud armies have broken down into local warlords, while Islamic clerics are trying to form an Islamic state.  It’s a fool’s dream.  Without technology and an active state, the Middle East is largely untenable.  Cannibalism and suchlike spreads rapidly, adding to the downfall.  Eating human meat is not healthy. 


Most of Africa’s nations have collapsed in the wake of the economic crash.  Some of them were only propped up by western support, intentionally or otherwise.  Others had major political problems simmering under the surface.  South Africa, in particular, collapses into civil war when the economy collapses, with blacks and whites fighting each other, desperate to escape the chaos.  There’s no safety for anyone. 


Pakistan is a death zone.  The majority of the population died within the first week after the nuclear attacks.  The government is gone.  The only order in the region comes from the Indian Army, which is unwilling to provide much assistance to the local population.  Waves of desperate refugees flee northwards or westward, but few get anywhere safe.  Most die while on the move.


The Chinese Civil War has started to take on shape and form.  There are no less than six major factions – two communist parties that claim to be heirs to Mao, three warlords (former Chinese military officers) and a democratic faction, based around Hong Kong – and quite a bit of foreign interference.  The Japanese in particular are watching closely, supporting the democratic faction.  Japan’s economy has toppled and the Japanese desperately need raw materials.  Perhaps they can take them from China.


Day Thirty-One – Fifty – the chaos in Europe is slowly brought under control.  The French and German militaries have crushed most of the insurgencies.  Hundreds of thousands are behind the wire in most major European countries.  Franco-German forces have entered the Netherlands and Denmark to assist in restoring order after the local governments lost control completely.  The captured insurgents – a label that includes thousands who happened to be Muslim and in the wrong place at the wrong time – are a problem that needs to be solved.  The French solution is to ship them all to North Africa and toss them overboard.  Most European governments follow suit. 


The British Government has started a massive program to rebuild the country – in reality, to keep paddling until the economy can be rebuilt.  Hundreds of thousands are drafted into an expanded British Army; others are assigned to work parties to help clear up the streets and repair the damage.  There is a rationing board, a travel allowance and relatively little freedom.  Criminals are drafted into doing the most dangerous work and shot out of hand if they refuse to cooperate.


A joint task force – British, French, German, Russian, Japanese and Australian – has been dispatched to the Middle East, where they secure the oil wells and refineries.  (The Israelis avoided damaging the oil wells as much as possible.)  The area is effectively annexed to the joint force, with the remains of local authority swept away.  The long-term plan is to resume shipments of oil as soon as possible.  The post-EMP world will need oil.


Europe has also started a massive program to find and build items that can be used in rebuilding the United States.  The reasoning is simple; with America out of the picture, Russia could move in and cause trouble in the East.  The EU has already had to abandon the Ukraine and Byelorussia as a Russian sphere of influence.  What will they want next?


Israel has quietly started to expand its borders as far west as the Suez Canal and up through Lebanon.  The Jews in Europe are desperate to leave – the insurgency targeted them specifically – and Israel is happy to give them a new home.  There is very little opposition.  The few remaining survivors are pushed out again.  Turkey has effectively annexed Northern Iraq and parts of Syria.


Russian forces have moved south into Georgia and imposed a Russian-friendly regime by force.  Other Russian spearheads are pushing down into Northern Iran, with the intention of eventually annexing the remainder of the country.  After the Israeli strikes, Iran is almost completely defenceless.  The Russians are positioning themselves for future influence. 


The Chinese Civil War is growing worse.  There is mass starvation and famine in the cities.  In a desperate bid to win, one of the warlords unleashes nuclear weapons upon his opponents.  The other sides retaliate in kind, going down in a MAD scenario.  China disintegrates into a confused struggle for bare survival.  Taiwanese troops land along the seacoast and bring what help they can. 


Without China, North Korea is doomed.  They decide on one last roll of the dice and launch missiles into the south and at Japan, most of which are intercepted by American-designed ABM units.  One explodes, revealing that it carried a nuclear warhead.  The Japanese strike back with their small arsenal of nuclear weapons, destroying North Korea as an organised state.  Southern troops head north and attempt to restore order.  It isn’t easy.  The North has been a prison camp for far too long.


In Afghanistan, the Taliban has surged forward and taken Kabul.  The President of Afghanistan was taken alive and slowly brutally tortured to death, along with many who supported the American-backed regime.  Women are forced back under the veil and minor warlords are targeted for extermination.  All signs of the American occupation are destroyed, apart from the weapons and bases.  The remains of the Afghani Army either switches sides or retreats to the north, where the Russians are offering to support them.  The Taliban is also extending its control into Northern Pakistan, ignoring the border.  It never meant much to them anyway.


Day Fifty-One – One Hundred – The Treaty of London is signed between Europe and America, after a great deal of horse-trading.  The Europeans will produce materials the US desperately needs to rebuild after the EMP.  In exchange, the US will dispatch much of its remaining air force – mainly carrier-borne aircraft that were away from the US when the EMP struck, as well as legacy aircraft – to Europe to strengthen the European defences against Russia.  Elements of the American army – mainly armoured forces – are also dispatched. 


The relationship between the EU and Russia is complicated.  Russia and Europe are cooperating in the Middle East, but at loggerheads in Eastern Europe.  While the EU was prepared to sell out the Ukraine and Belarus (having no choice in the matter helped the decision) it was unwilling to allow the Russians any formal influence further west.  Complicating matters was that the EU needed supplies from Russia, which in turn needed economic and technological support from the west.  The EU moves a powerful armoured force into Poland and draws a line.  For the moment, the Russians decline to cross.


The pre-EMP European Union has collapsed.  The only things that made it workable were the absence of a real enemy and the American security guarantee.  Now, the major powers in Europe are all semi-fascist, operating in a close alliance to defend themselves and rebuild after the economic shockwave.  The smaller powers have no choice, but to go along with them, despite mutterings about a new German Empire.  All states have introduced some form of conscription, using untapped levels of manpower to start rebuilding.  It’s going to be a long hard slog. 


In the Middle East, the die-off has claimed nearly 90% of the pre-EMP population.  The remaining population, such as it is, is making its way to the areas held by western troops and begging for assistance.  No one is particularly interested in helping, although some powers do offer help in exchange for labour.  The major threat is a possible Taliban advance from the north into Iran, something that worries the Russians more than the EU.  The Russians play power politics in Afghanistan in semi-cooperation with India.  The situation is fluid and highly unstable.


The Indian Government has started what is, in effect, a purge of Muslims within India.  Those who agree to leave peacefully are transported to Bangladesh or the remains of Pakistan, where most of them will die within the next few weeks. Those who don’t – and try to fight – are brutally crushed.  There is strong public support in India (outside the Muslim communities) for such actions.  The Indians are also trying to rebuild from the damage inflicted by the war. 


The Taiwanese have been slowly working to rebuild China.  It isn’t an easy process, even though the most powerful warlords destroyed themselves.  The Communists had built up an unsustainable economic position and it collapsed along with the US.  The Taiwanese do what they can – restoring civil order and suchlike – but hundreds of thousands more will die in the next few years.  The average person’s life has become a misery.  There are also reports that the Russians intend to take advantage of the chaos by annexing parts of China to the north.  On the plus side, Tibet has largely liberated itself from Chinese domination.


Japanese and Australian forces have invaded Indonesia and captured the sources of vital raw materials.  The Japanese in particular are in desperate shape.  Their economy has effectively collapsed too and they need raw materials to have any hope of rebuilding.  Both sides dig in for countering an insurgency, although they both hope to avoid one. 


Most of Africa has continued its steady spiral down to hell.  In the north, a loose coalition of Islamic forces has managed to gain control of North Africa.  It won’t last, however, as the coalition is falling apart.  Civil war rages unchecked through the middle of Africa, including all the usual issues like genocide and religious slaughter.  The South African civil war fragments the country, creating a number of minor states, including a white-dominated state that excludes all blacks. 


A handful of European – mainly French – troops have arrived in Nigeria to take control of the oil wells.  Apart from that, there is little interest in either intervention or peacekeeping.  The chaos in Africa will have to burn itself out.


Day 101 (Lights Out Finale) – The pre-EMP world order has been shattered.  Europe is a semi-fascist state that has carried out a massive ethnic cleansing progress, occupies part of the Middle East and faces Russia across a growing divide.  Russia has extended its control over Iran and Central Asia.  Israel has claimed a vastly-expanded domain in Palestine, including Suez.  India is fighting an insurgency in Pakistan and facing a resurgent Taliban.  China has been torn apart by civil war…


In short, the world has gone to hell.