!!! POTENTIAL FLAMEBAIT. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. !!!
Another -punk/paleofuture scenario, this time taking the most ridiculous and horrifying parts of 2000s (9/11 - Arab Spring) future predictions. That means Eurabia, full polar ice cap melt, China takes over the world, Jesusland, the works. Credit to Beedok and SRegan of AH.com, and YNot1989 of dA for giving me the tools necessary to make the base map.
DISCLAIMER: I do not actually believe this is what the future would be like. This scenario is not serious by any stretch of the imagination. Think of it as Fallout for the early 21st century. I don't want debates in the comments section over whether or not this is realistic or not, because I'm telling you now: it isn't.
September 11, 2001 is considered by most historians as the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. On that day, nineteen men attacked the most powerful nation on Earth and changed the world forever. The attack, conducted by the Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda, destroyed or severely damaged several targets, including the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and the United States Capitol.
The blow was painful for the United States. Thousands of people were dead, including hundreds of Congressmen. The United States immediately pursued a policy of stamping out terrorism throughout the world, the so-called War on Terror, which eventually led to wars against Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. The war was extremely divisive, with the left and right believing that the other is destroying the country.
In the meanwhile, the rest of the world was also changing. Mexico fell into chaos as drug cartels successfully muscled out government forces in the north and began their war against Mexican and American authorities. Western Europe experienced tensions between immigrants from the Islamic world and local Europeans who believed that their culture was being destroyed, leading to a wave of riots throughout major European cities. China ascended as the dominant economic power in the East, challenging the United States for control of the world.
The 2010s ushered in even more disasters. North Korea imploded in civil war in 2010, and the rogue state was absorbed into China. Sea levels continued to rise as the growing Chinese economy pumped even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The wars in the Middle East drained the United States of blood and treasure, with no end in sight. Russia successfully absorbed Belarus and Vladimir Putin declared himself the new Tsar of the Russian Union. The governments of the Arabian peninsula were overthrown by Islamist revolutionaries pouring in from Iraq and Iran, and founded the New Caliphate. The South American Union, under the leadership of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, was established as a counterbalance to American power in the west.
The Second Depression, the signs of which were present in 2008, hit hard in 2011. Unemployment in the United States and much of Europe skyrocketed to levels as high as 20%. Rioting broke out throughout the country along partisan lines: Republicans blamed Democrats and Democrats blamed Republicans. Neither presidents Hillary Clinton nor John McCain could stop the country from sliding further and further into chaos and destitution. Indeed, their attempts were rewarded with impeachment by the opposition. By 2013, American military assets had to be brought in from the Middle East to stop the rioting, but this only exacerbated partisan tensions and led to the establishment of armed paramilitaries throughout the country. In response, the government turned more and more of the assets developed to fight the War on Terror on domestic threats. By 2016, the United States was in a state of extreme political instability and violence.
The 2020s would be the worst in 21st century history. The bird flu and swine flu epidemics swept through the world, killing millions around the world. The invasion of Mexico by the American government, an attempt to both rid itself of the drug cartels and to galvanize the country under another opponent, became another endless guerrilla war. Attempts to unify the European Union only fragmented it, with the more religious eastern European portions believing that the west had been thoroughly “Islamicized.” The New Caliphate went on a jihad throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, quickly filling the vacuum left by departing American forces. The Caliphate and Russia became extremely rich as oil reserves ran dry throughout the world, allowing both nations to command extremely high prices. Indonesia and Malaysia turned to Islamic fundamentalism and united under the Nusantara sultanate. Sea levels continued to rise, creating a migration crisis the world over. While many coastal cities in the First World responded with levees and domes, those in the Third World sank beneath the waves.
The Second American Civil War began in 2025, when the Republican Party tried to pass an amendment to the Constitution which banned “extremist” religions such as Islam. The so-called “blue states” publicly declared that they would not uphold that law, and that they would attack any federal forces which tried to detain Muslims in their state to be shipped off to the Guantanamo Bay Prison Complex. A nuclear attack in Washington D.C, which killed the president, sent the country into outright martial law. When federal authorities attempted to arrest a group of six Muslims in Michigan, whom they suspected of conducting the attack, they were attacked and detained by state troopers. Washington responded by declaring Michigan a “state in rebellion” and sent in the military. Michigan, and its Democratic neighbors, responded with secession. One by one, blue states throughout the country seceded from the Union, forming the Democratic Republic of North America. The United States government did not recognize this new government, and instead declared war against the DRNA.
The Second American Civil War was contained for the first two years, but quickly spiraled out of control. As the federal government, which had become the new Christian States of America, looked to be victorious, the Chinese began backing the DRNA in order to ensure that the former United States would be divided. The eastern portions of Europe, under the urging of anti-Islamic immigrants, formed the European Alliance and declared a crusade against the now-majority Islamic European Union. This crusade, aided by the Russians and Americans loyal to the Christian States, dragged the New Caliphate in to defend the European Union. The Nusantara Sultanate invaded Australia in an attempt to gain land as their country was drowned by rising sea levels. World War III had begun.
World War III, fortunately, did not involve any nuclear weapons, as the combatants were afraid of a nuclear holocaust. However, the war, combined with plagues, nuclear terrorism and global warming, killed hundreds of millions around the world. Ultimately, the Chinese, the Caliphate and the DRNA would emerge victorious from the conflict, which ended in 2035. Both China and the Caliphate would remain the two dominant powers on Earth throughout the 21st century, as the remnants of the United States and the European Union busied themselves with rebuilding and coping with this new world. The global flooding, known by later generations as the Deluge, reached its peak after the war when the last of the world’s ice caps melted.
The world of 2051 is an amazing, yet horrifying place. Technology is both advanced and primitive. With petroleum gone, what is left of the developed world relies on solar, hydroelectric and wind power. Biotechnology and cybernetic enhancements allows people to live and stay fit up to 150, if they could afford it. The Internet is integrated into everything, even contact lenses, and neurological implants are commonplace. Robots are ubiquitous in rich communities, and most militaries are majority autonomous. However, most of the world lives in shantytowns built in response to the Deluge and WWIII, where the most advanced technology coexists with machinery a medieval peasant would be familiar with. Earth’s ruined industrial base means that most people, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America, are poor subsistence farmers who can afford little more than a horse and plough. Because of poor sanitation, plagues such as bird flu still occasionally ravage the Earth. The toxic environment does not help; the air is poisonous, and the seas are acidic, destroying possible food sources and causing medical disorders the world over.
The two American successor states are decidedly unpleasant places to live in. The Democratic Republic of North America, which united with Canada during WWIII, is a neo-Soviet dictatorship under the control of the various labor unions and academics who sided with the DRNA during the Second American Civil War. While the DRNA is officially secular, it does persecute Christians, which have become associated with the Christian States to the south. Like its neighbor, the DRNA is a highly militarized state, prepared for the inevitable war which would decide the fate of North America. The Christian States, on the other hand, is an outright theocracy. While it has come to accept Catholicism as a Christian religion because of political pragmatism, many Hispanics in the Christian States remain in a state of semi-slavery. This is a better lot than homosexuals and non-Christians, who are killed as soon as they are found. The Christian States despise the “heretics and sinners” of the north, and Christian States politicians always declare that the United States will be reunified under the Cross and Stripes.
The rest of the world fares little better. The New Caliphate is an authoritarian theocracy which has conducted a campaign of destroying anything deemed anti-Islamic or Western, and after the disappearance of oil, has regressed into reliance on slave labor augmented by the newest green technologies. The European Union, in reaction to WWIII, has become decidedly anti-Christian, and the damage suffered because of the Deluge and the war is a very poor dictatorship under the control of Islamic politicians. Russia and the European Alliance have turned to Christian theocracy and extreme racism in reaction, and in either state a person can be killed for owning “heretical texts.” China remains under the control of the Communist Party, which has entrenched its control during WWIII and brutally crushed any resistance. It has created and maintained its sphere of influence by controlling much of the world’s remaining industries, a head start it maintains through the practical enslavement of its massive population. Latin America is a more socialist dictatorship, and its attempts to rapidly industrialize like the Chinese have destroyed the environment it had left over from the Deluge.
With the remaining resources of the world running dry, the nations of the world prepare for World War IV. During WWIII, there were undertones of a resource war, but now a war for food and water may be the only choice some countries have. Such a war would be one for survival, not ideologies or politics, and the terrible weapons that were kept in the vaults during WWIII could finally be used.