Here's a scenario continuing from the end of Heinlein's "Solution Unsatisfactory*", one of his pieces that he wrote in 1940 that's set towards the end of the second world war where a new radioactive dust weapon first ends the war and secondly provides the mechanism for the establishment of a a world empire. Since it's written in 1940, 1945 in this story looks a bit different. For starters, both the United States and the post-Stalin Eurasian Union stayed out of the second world and the Reich's festung Europa was rather more intact than in our 1945. 2012 of course looks rather different.
* An explanation for those who haven't read it before. In the story, a group of american scientists invents a new unstoppable radioactive dust weapon for the war effort. Eventually, it is tested and the results are so horrifying that when it is used in battle, we get immediate German and Japanese surrenders. After the end of the war. The Eurasian Union, a renamed soviet union attempts it's own death dust program and gets slapped down.
THE NEW WORLD ORDER
Since it's establishment as a body to prevent a hostile power from employing the atomic death dust, the roles of the Commission have dramatically expanded. So too has the number of staff serving it. Besides just pilots keeping the peace of the world there has emerged a vast army of bureaucrats. What was once more than an organization for weapons control has turned into a bureaucracy serving a world empire. This has translated into an expansion of Commission roles into public health, economic regulation, running postal services, etc. It's got a rather wide jurisdiction since most of what is the global south in our world is either under American "protection", or was at one point or another. Even non-commission nations such as the Eurasian Union and Canada are subject to Commission regulations with the legal justification being based on a need for "security".
Governance of the commission, is in theory supposed to work like the United Nations of our world, but without a security council veto. In practice, there's the United States with it's special veto role, and then there's the many nations under it's "protection" voting to back it. As a result, it's more of a debating society and rubber stamp forum. As befits it's largely ceremonial role, the Commission has even more pomp and fancier headquarters than the United Nations.
AMERICA AND IT'S LITTLE BUDDIES
The United States is the ruler of the world and knows it. America is a brash and imperial hegemon. The culture is brassy and excessive, yet clean-cut. Picture a mix of the 1950s with the clean-cut and corporate portions of 80s popular cultures with the sleekness of Ikea and apple in one. A mix of prosperity, higher birthrates(To make sure there's more young men to manfully fill the ranks of the legions) and a revival of smug prosperity theology-style evangelicalism have made America about a generation behind on most 'moral' issues. Segregation continued until the 1990s in portions of the lower south, but black schools and neighborhoods had been given equal funding for decades before full integration. Also, the process of integration has gone rather smoother without 1) mass third world immigration to increase competition for jobs 2) the deindustrialization of the United States has been avoided thanks to a more protectionist economy.As the one nation allowed to have a military, thanks to convenient interpretations of various treaties the United States uses it's role as hegemon to secure economic deals that keep much of the planet poorer and backwards with most of the wealth being funneled it's way. Most of the world is barely allowed fishing boats, much less a coast guard. The fact that the military-industrial complex both keeps the economy humming, along with providing a way to unify America's young men through their 2 years of national service is just a bonus.
With most of the planet as a captive export market and source of cheap resources, the American economy has done better than OTL -- standards of living have continued to rise and not fallen behind. Even though, it's a world that's about 10-20 years behind technologically, relative to tech level the average american lives rather better than OTL -- America is rather less class-ridden than in our world. Think the difference between an office manager and a janitor in 1970 Japan instead of of our current society of winners and losers. A european-style welfare state, with modifications for American culture(generous workfare along with certain policies that euro Christian Dems would favor) is in place. Trade policy is of course radically different -- America makes it extremely hard for goods from outside to enter the US, but uses the Commission to block protectionism in the rest of the world. Also, various treaties prevent foreign companies in their home countries from having secrets or nations from preventing buyouts of local companies. This means there's alot of 'partnerships', where local companies end up sending their profit to whichever company they're a subsidiary of. The buyout of what was the Japanese auto industry at gunpoint is merely the biggest and most blatant example.
Cheaper oil has had the side effect of making a _larger_ move to the sunbelt and west than OTL. However, the rustbelt hasn't rusted out. Instead, they've done more automation of the factories and modernization. Of course, it helps when US companies headhunt the best around the world to work for them. Detroit avoided a period of near-collapse thanks to the big three all having better design staff. This doesn't mean the industrial giants that in OTL were complacent and ended up producing shoddy products and got eaten alive by German and Japanese competition produce good products, it just means they're mediocre as opposed to awful.
Large-scale third world immigration of the sort seen in our world post-1965 didn't get started. America is homogenous with mixed results(less crime, but far worse cooking). However, the United States is more than happy to welcome rich foreigners, skilled technical types, scientists, professionals like doctors or lawyers in.
Europe, from portugal to the baltic states has never been occupied by the soviet union, but is clearly an american vassal. America has done it's best to keep it this way, with large amounts of legal pressure being used to delay any equivelant of even the early EEC forming into the early 1980s. As an American economic colony, Europe has done worse than OTL and even now still hasn't recovered to prewar relative standards of living. Standards of living range from portuguese in parts of northwest europe to even worse than Romania in south and eastern europe. Inequality in Europe tends to resemble latin america.
South Africa allows black people with money to vote and does less petty harassment than our world's apartheid regime, but is still mostly segregated. Pretoria encourages black South Africans to move to the countries of "independent" Africa. This has worked to a degree -- South Africa runs only about 2/3 black and dropping. Part of it is energetic encouragement of them leaving via nice cash payments, and another part is an earlier demographic transition among black africans.
India is too large to treat exactly the same as the rest of America's empire so it gets special treatment. Turks may have mastered the art of being irritating, but the residents of America's Raj have turned Good Soldier Svejking and using bureaucratic tendencies to snag up foreigners into a fine art. Compared to certain more troublesome portions of America's empire, India is doing well -- The United States stepped in to replace the British and didn't change much, outside of being more willing to use local quislings and display even more hypocrisy. This relatively happy state of affairs may not last -- the eternal muslim insurgency shows no sign of ending and in recent years kooky kali cultists have started picking up recruits among the lower castes who are opposed to the American Raj. Compared to our world, India is a generation behind economically. The boost from increased capitalism was countered by constant muslim trouble in bengal and the northwest autonomous area and a less integrated world economy.
THE AMERICAN EMPIRE
Much of the the third world has ended up under American-run "Mandates" or "sponsored states", with the aim of preparing them for independence in theory or modernization in the case of Mexico, Turkey, etc. Depending on the area in question along with the mindset of the assigned 'advisor', this translates into either French or if lucky British style colonial rule combined with lots of investment. Granted, most of this is extractive or in industries that need cheap labor, but there's been much more capital put in to the third world than OTL and economic integration of the region has been pushed. There is the downside of the economic development as mentioned above being more focused on what will enrich outsiders and there are still efforts to try preventing competition with American industries --- these range from buying out local competition, offering talented people citizenship or extralegal measures in certain cases. As a result, economic growth has kept up with population increase rather better than OTL. Of course, the more rapid urbanization combined with 'helpful' American advisors talking about demographic transitions means there's many fewer people. Incidently, national borders are somewhat different than in our world's third world.
American dominance over the third world is autocratic, if legalistic. America's 'advisors' are willing to order anything from massacres to the dusting of cities as a means to maintain control. Nowadays, the theory is that encouraging terror will help induce obediance in the masses. This has led to new black uniforms, which include gas masks for the soldiers and legal reforms of the various "mandate" governments to allow for judicial torture as a punishment, along with bringing back public executions.
Unfortunately, the political spectrum in most of the areas under Washngton's dominion tends to be either puppet dictatorships under the guise of legalism or sham democracies. At least, the United States has it's advisors and imperial bureaucrats put serious effort into trying to prevent corruption and cronyism in local civil services. This is a good chunk of why the third world's usage of aid money has been better-handled than OTL.
Censorship is of course the norm for the mandates and sponsored states. Television, radio news and pre-movie newsreels always present protection by the United States in a positive light. All of the publishing companies in the mandates are owned by local governments, and thus make sure any literature that's published isn't subversive. Most fiction is acceptable, provided it's not an excuse to push "radical" ideas, or the catchall phrase of "obscenity"(mostly used as a justification for when they don't want to admit to arresting people for political reasons).
Of course, the areas under American "protection" have seen rather more American missionaries and spread of popular culture from the US to elsewhere. After all, there's othing like Commission regulations preventing countries from trying to be culturally protectionist to create market demand. Besides just popular culture, American norms re: gender equality have spread over more of the planet than OTL with positive results on women's rights -- this is part of why the demographic transition happened so much further. Muslim responses to America forcing the Saudis to allow missionaries in the holy cities has been rather energetic. American responses tend towards the "use lots of firepower", "dust mecca after one too many protests" and "go out of their way to insult local sensibilities"(sewing caught jihadis into pig corpses) style of handling muslim trouble. As you can imagine, this isn't exactly the wisest method to handle things.
While the impacts of having a world empire in place have been mixed, Africa has generally benefitted. The Republic of Congo's government is just as nasty and prone to chopping off people's hands as King Leopold's Congo was but with more capitalism and money actually being spent on building industry. Yes, the "mandates" or "sponsored state" governments are authoritarian and economically extractive but they're more honest and steal less than OTL's kleptocracies along with lack of tolerating warlords. Also, there isn't OTL's problems of constant civil wars. Simmering low-level revolt in troubled areas but nothing on par with the history of much of OTL's post-colonial africa. As a result, sub-saharan africa's standards of living tend to be low-end latin american level. However, as of late rising expectations and better education have produced those who want genuine freedom for africa...
Rhodesia is actually doing well all things considered, which is a rarity in this world and is up for consideration of being moved to sponsored state status. With americans watching him, Ian Smith actually had to live up to his promises of enfranchising the civilized blacks, and Rhodesia currently has a black PM(it had black opposition leaders in the 1980s and again in the late 1990s.
Under the guidance of their American overlords, Afghanistan has advanced to the level of modernity and social cohesion of 1930s Turkey. Not knowing what they've gone through in our world, Afghans are surprisingly ungrateful to the United States.
Turks practice the amount of sneering insolence and deliberate incompetence that won't get them shot. Compared to our Turkey, it's an open military dictatorship but at least women tend to be doing better and it's upper middle income. Our world's Kurdistan issue was avoided thanks to increased wealth.
Latin America is a zone of american client states and is both richer and rather more culturally americanized than OTL. One side effect of this americanization is that there are many more protestant converts, with the totals ranging from 15% in Mexico to 68% in Brazil. The local criollo elites have perfected the perfect mix of smug elitism, and subtle barbs that won't (usually) get them shot by the local contingent of marines when they require local laborers and don't feel like paying bribes to local elites. Unfortunately, the political continuum in the region ranges from Junta to 1970s PRI Mexico style one-party state. American troops frequently end up putting down insurrections in the region, and face trouble from religiously motivated insurgents -- the marxists of the 50s to 80s have given up after losing heart, while the main ideological source of troublemakers comes from pentecostals tired of being ruled by the colossus of the north. Latin American immigration hasn't really gotten started, since the United States is less open to nonwhite immigration unlike OTL.
Indochina has been a trouble spot for the past 60 years. Certain more hardline American military administrators have considered the ethics and logistics of moving say half of Indochina's population to Afghanistan -- put all of the addled eggs in one basket or just dusting the entire country and just relocating the afghans to Indochina.
The Eurasian Union still consists of it's 1945 borders which roughly are the pre-1938 Soviet union and Mongolia. Moscow and Ryazan have both been rebuilt. The "Fifth Internationalists" who took over following Stalin's death in 1941 were replaced by a group of 'reformists' led by Beria who proceeded to demilitarize and do economic reform while keeping a lid on dissent at home. Since then, the E.U. has liberalized a bit: It's worse than LDP Japan in say 1965 in terms of freedom of speech and ability of elections to effect anything, but it's looser than OTL's PRC. the economy these days is mostly capitalistic, even if there are some technocratic features -- in terms of wealth, it's about as rich as OTL's Romania per capita. E.U. bureaucrats, have de facto reintroduced protectionism by subjecting american goods to excessive customs provisions. This Has Been Noted, but as long as the Eurasians remain demilitarized, President Lieberman won't add to the numerous issues on his plate.
Japan still includes south sakhalin, taiwan and it's islands in micronesia. Also, it's rather less reformed than OTL's postwar Japan -- the emperor is still divine, it took until the early 1970s for Japanese politics to get as honest and open as OTL's 1950-90 period of LDP rule and Japan is even more sexist than OTL. Besides being less democratic, without cold war reasons for investment Japan is rather poorer than OTL; think say on par with OTL Taiwan in terms of standards of living.
Without a korean war to justify American investment, Korea is much less stable and prosperous -- the economy is roughly about as wealthy as Malaysia's per capita and since the 1990s it's moved from having open military rule to an 'illiberal democracy' where one (right-wing) party rules through rigged elections and occasionally locking up popular opposition candidates right before the elections.
The Republic of China is capitalist, corrupt and quite poor compared to OTL. It took until 1970 for the warlord period to be conclusively ended, and even with drastic economic reforms, China's economy is about 20 years behind OTL in terms of development. Ah well, at least traditional Chinese culture is doing better -- despite American missionaries best efforts, a China with a healthier traditional culture is less of a mission field than our PRC. The recent uptick in Chinese economic growth, which is based mainly on selling to the mandates or other countries and not the well-protected American market is the major economic news of the early 2010s. There are some americans expessing concerns at this, but as long as China stays quiet and doesn't try trade shenanigans like the Eurasians, American diplomats generally don't say anything.
Technologically, this world varies from 10 to 25 years behind OTL in most areas. Areas that depend on the military or space program are the most affected with rocketry, computers, networking, aerospace in generall all lagging quite a bit. Biotechnology, materials science and medicine tend to only lag a decade. However, there are supersonic jets crossing the oceans and much wider usage of nuclear power -- without any sort of threat of nuclear proliferation there's more reason to expand nuclear power.
The space program has advanced much slower than in our world. The first satellite, a beeping ball of tin was launched by NASA in 1992 and American companies are launching communications satellites. In fact, these days they're even talking about expanding the (slowly) growing satellite radio and TV networks into new markets in Canada and Britain.
There was a massive, unexplained earthquake in the Tarim Basin in 2003. Neither the Chinese or Eurasians claim to know anything about it.
However, a side effect of America's monopolizing all the resources via various unfair trade treaties has been to promote Japanese, european and Eurasian investment in "alternative energy" and ersatz technology, so that those two areas are in places which use them much more widespread and 15 years ahead of our world. So far, the United States doesn't notice the potential geopolitical inplications of these technologies, which is a fact that the Eurasians and others try to keep going. After all, once they're free of America' resource blackmail they'll be able to do things like say nationalize American companies in their territoriy(Japan would like their car industry back) or even radical steps.
In the deserts of western China and the steppe of Central Asia, scientists from the more independent players meet on a regular basis. Back in 2007 in the dead of night a beeping ball of tin was launched. In October of 2012, an American radio propaganda/"news" satellite simply just disappeared. American observers blame micrometeorites on it, while the Eurasian and Chinese ambassadors exchange knowing looks at once another.