On June 28th, 2014, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is assassinated by Ukranian nationalists during his visit to Donetsk. The Russian government immediately blamed Ukraine's government for conspiring with the nationalists to conduct the assassination, an allegation that would later turn out to be true, but used the assassination as an excuse to demand that Ukraine all but surrender its sovereignty to Russia. This led to a month of diplomatic crises, as alliances coalesced over fears of a third world war. The Chinese were concerned about Japan's remilitarization, while the Japanese were concerned about China's bold attempts to seize disputed ocean territory. The Russians and the Chinese moved closer together, fearing encirclement by the Western powers.
On July 28th, the Russians declared war on Ukraine. In response, the European Union's member states declared war on Russia, but the United States remained neutral; it was the NATO member states that declared war on Russia, not the other way around. As a sign of solidarity with the Russians, the Chinese declared war on the European Union, and demanded that Japan stay neutral. The Japanese, knowing that the Chinese were more concerned about them than the European Union, began to mobilize. Chinese strategic planners knew that the Japanese could not be allowed to mobilize, as that would make their home islands nearly unassailable, and executed the "Xi-Liu-Fen" Plan: a military strike against South Korea with the aid of North Korea, thus providing a beachhead through which China could invade Japan. The invasion of South Korea prompted the United States to declare war on China, thus plunging most of the world into war.
Fears of mutually assured destruction, the widespread presence of ABM systems and the belief that the war would be over soon kept the war conventional. Unfortunately, the war was not short. As the months dragged on, more and more countries joined the fray. Iran joined the so-called Eastern Powers in October of 2014, and India joined on the side of the Allies in 2015. Fighting spread all over the world: South Africa attacked pro-Chinese Zimbabwe on behalf of the Allies, Israel waged war against Egypt. The civil wars in Nigeria and Syria continued. The biggest front, by far, was the Asian Front. The Allies conducted several landings across the Chinese coast and Korea, but with the destruction of the most advanced weapons systems early in the war, fighting became dominated by ground forces. Neither the Allies nor the Chinese could muster the forces necessary to break through one anothers’ lines, so fighting became largely static. In Europe, the European Union was left to fend mostly for itself, and while the Russian Army was ill-equipped to fight the war, the EU was likewise. Both sides made few gains against one another.
The tone of the war changed in 2017. European governments were overthrown by far-right nationalists that wanted peace with the Russians and the creation of a stronger, nationalist Europe. The European governments surrendered to the Eastern Powers, but this did not stop Europe from plunging into civil war between the loyalists and the so-called “White Army.” But what seemed like a final victory was snatched away from the Eastern Powers. Brazil joined the Allies after a Brazilian ship, the Portuguesa, was sunk by a Chinese submarine. Fearing Brazilian manpower, the Chinese attempted a bold offensive against the Allies, which failed. Brazilian forces started landing in China, pushing the Chinese back. Then, the population of the Eastern Powers revolted against the wartime governments. In Russia, the desperate government launched what remained of it aging nuclear arsenal at the United States. They succeeded in hitting a few military installations and Allied troop concentrations in China, but in return the Americans destroyed much of Russia’s military. The Russian state collapsed. This was slowly followed by the collapse of China. Tired of war, China’s people revolted against the military government, and soon a democratic government was put in place and negotiated a ceasefire with the Allies. On November 11, 2018, WWIII ended.
It is now the year 2037. The world has just suffered from another great financial collapse, one that has led to suffering worldwide and the rise of radical politics. The United States remains the premier power in the world, leader of the Global Alliance (its replacement for NATO) and the other Allied powers. The Americans, along with the Japanese, maintain the order established at the end of WWIII. This is a difficult task, as the UN mandates remain undeveloped and violent, and new challengers to the current world order arise. South Africa has been taken over by its hypernationalist military, and is waging a war of expansion against Central Africa, despite the condemnation it has received from the UN. India, displeased with its share of the spoils after WWIII, has elected an ultranationalist government that seeks to recreate the Indian empires of old, at the expense of its neighbors. The totalitarian European Front remains an international pariah, its white supremacist and reactionary Christian ideology inspiring other far-right groups around the world to fight against the current order. And last, but certainly not least, the rise of the Dragon Party in China could easily lead to another world war. Led by a former Chinese colonel who was inspired by the teachings of Falun Gong, the Dragon Party believes that the Han Chinese are the destined masters of the world. Already, the Chinese are conducting mass persecutions of Muslims and Tibetans within their country, and there are clear signs that the Chinese are rebuilding their military in violation of post-WWIII treaties. They called World War III the war to end all wars, but now it seems that a fourth world war is brewing.