Alright. Let's continue the reuploading of old content with this map.
This map is quite loosely based on an old AH.com scenario which had it's gimmick Japan moving south with my own spin put on it to create more divergences than the original scenario. Currently, this world is digging out of "The Grand Slam" and adjusting to the rise of the Three Dragons as the new world hegemonic power. Things are a bit chaotic, governments tend to be weaker due to financial chaos and the fashion is more rebellious. No weird drugs or virtual reality, though.
Initially, world history followed basic trends of our world's Great War and the aftermath. Japan lost Taiwan and Korea, and The Chinese Republic got a measure of legitimacy by being one of the powers at Versailles. The ottomans and Austrians got dismembered. China got reunified in stages with western backing and began to have (slow) economic growth. Japan's military was discredited by the loss, which would have positive effects in the 1930s, but as of the 1920s merely created a large left-right split. The roaring 20s happened and imploded in an orgy of financial collapse like our 1920s.
Things got a bit interesting in the 1930s. The depression hit roughly as bad as OTL in most parts of the world. America got it worse than OTL, due to Zangara's bullet failing to miss. On the positive side of things Japan did manage to avoid going ultranationalist. America under first the Taft then Wallace administrations was a bit too busy to get into the second great war. France fell but took longer due to less Nazi luck. Hitler made lots of boneheaded desisions. Chinese, Japanese and Korean support ensured that allied victory happened despite America's failure to get involved. The war ended after Rommel had Hitler killed in 1944 and surrendered. Results were mixed, though. Half of yugoslavia, Czechia, all of Germany, slovenia remained free. The USSR made baltic, finnish, romanian, polish, Serbian, Greek, slovak and Albanian puppet states. America's refusals to enter the war or give postwar aid combined with moralizing rhetoric demanding the end of the colonial empires created a degree of resentment in Europe. The Wallace administration's extensive economic, as well as to a lesser degree social reforms created a worse right/left split than existed in the 1950s OTL. This meant the beginnings of a three-way struggle for influence: The "liberal blo" of America plus the British Empire, the "Nationalist bloc" of the Two Dragons, Japan and the states of Europe plus the comintern. The cold war was on.
Initially, it was a struggle against communism but multiple presidents(Taft, Wallace, McCarran, etc) alienated the other big non-communist powers. Europe's states moved to the right after the war. This rightward move plus lenient occupation of Germany(no denazification and no attempt to break German nationalism) further alienated Europe from the United States. Even relatively pro-America britain developed a serious anti-american tinge to it's politics. Two Dragons became Three Dragons in 1960, after Japan fully entered the alliance following it's detonation of an Atomic Bomb. The USSR stumbled along, with Khrustchev not being overthrown and allowed to continue his limited economic reforms. The soviet economic stagnation of our 1970s, instead began in the 1980s and it wasn't until the late 1990s that problems inside the soviet union got bad enough to force reform. A more polarized America experienced a stronger conservative backlash in the 1960s than OTL. For starters, Ronald Reagan(D-CA) was elected in 1972, and he was followed by Larry McDonald(D-GA) in 1980. Those two presidents did massive financial liberalization combined with drastic economic moves in a corporatist direction plus turning the existing draft into a truly universal conscription system. The financial burden mixed with poorly thought out deregulation created a massive crash in 1987. This crash was what would end America's superpower status and usher in two decades of economic chaos all over the world.
Recent history has involved The "Grand Slam", which is the term used that conflates the economic depression of 1988-1997 along with lost decade of 1997-2008 the into one single era. This is the time of America's fall and East Asia's rise. While most of the planet was mired in depression, the Three Dragons and their direct vassals(Indochina, Malaya, Phillippines, Siam) were enjoying reasonably high growth rates. America's fall was first caused by neoliberal economics combined with a bigger debt burden. The second factor ensuring that America's fall was irreversible was President Chandler's(D-VA) decision to intervene in Mexico following the 1994 election's devolving into civil war between PRD and the ruling PRI party down there. Things just got worse with the rigged 2003 Mexican plebscite on joining the US(To be fair, the plebscite proposal is the fault of congressional democrats. President paul attempted to kill the idea). With the capitalist powers's economies imploding, Romanov's Societ Union got another lease on life. This allowed the perestroika reforms to be successfully implemented. Glastnost was tried but quickly rescinded after unrest. Romanov's regime survived because he was smart enough to withdraw troops from eastern Europe, an example which still get brought up as a comparision to America's... problematic Mexican adventures.
Recent years are looking more optimistic, though. The leadership of the Three Dragons is rising to the challenge of world hegemony better than America did when it gained that role after the second great war. The Three Dragons are more responsive to local concerns and willing to work with the locals than America ever was. The recent election of President Mike Gravel(R-AK) and the 2010 signing of the Tuxpan accords by the US government and the leading rebel groups in Mexico are both positive signs. The agreement provided for more development aid and amnesty for the rebels. The model was the successful easter sunday agreements ending the ulster troubles. Meanwhile, in eastern europe some of the ex-communist states are actually managing to stay democratic. Besides ending the guerilla campaign, President Gravel's economic reforms have ended the lost decade, and even managed to end the ongoing double digit inflation. In fact, Premeir Putin and European Chancellor Nau have managed to come to the beginnings of a new entente. So far, it is just reduction of tariffs between the soviet bloc and the European Union plus reduction of nuclear arsenals. The hope is that the risk of nuclear war between the Soviets and the European Union's nations is now ended.
The world's new superpower, is the economic, political and military alliance in East Asia, which is called The Three Dragons. These three nations are right-wing, capitalistic democracies and all are richer than the equivilant area of OTL. Korean and Japanese per capita GDP is around $60,000 while China's is around $18,000. Also, more populous -- There are 160 million Japanese, 95 million Koreans and 1.5 billion Chinese. This is a world that avoided the megadeaths of the warlord era and Pacific war. Japan never went politically insane and by the 1930s became a politically turbulant, less corrupt, more left-wing democracy than our Japan. Japanese popular culture is if anything even more strange and decadent than OTL, without the US occupation to affect mores which surprisingly means less tentacle porn without the baleful influence of moralizing American occupiers. The three dragons are in the process of replacing America as the world's cultural hegemon and all 3 nations's popular cultures. This has been reinforced with America's implosion. Outside of a cultural level, the Three Dragons have stepped up to the plate to replace America as the biggest superpower. Yes, their status as hegemon is weaker and more delicate than either the British or the later American world-empire was but around a decade and a half in, they appear to be doing a better job than America.
America has not has a good last decade or so. It's a broken-down, politically unstable, ex-superpower and now a vassal state of the Three Dragons. Standards of living are about half of what they are in OTL and inequality on par with Brazil or Chile. Think of the United States as Chiapas with the bomb. President Chandler's decision to intervene in Mexico just made life worse. America is a more bitterly divided nation; without American involvement in WWII the far right has fascistic elements while the left is more extreme and militant. This boiled over to open unrest and street fighting between "Red Brigades" and Pastor Manning's "Angels of the Lord" christian gangs in parts of the nation, which didn't really stop until the Tuxpan accords. Incidently, the combined population of the US and former Mexico is 390 million people instead of 420-430 million due to a mix of enforcement of immigration law(no amnesties/tolerance of illegal immigration), combined with dieoffs in Mexico, the collapse of America's healthcare system, etc. At least things are looking up with the election of a leader who is able to do long-awaited reforms. President gravel's ending the draft, restoring lost civil liberties, reining in the federal reserve, plus his outlined plans for his second term are all popular. He is truly a uniter and not a divider.
Other vassals of the Three Dragons include the "East Asian treaty organization", an economic and military grouping. EATO states are Indochina, Malaya, Siam, The Phillippines, Indonesia, Burma, Ceylon, Papua New Guinea, Sikkim, Bhutan and Nepal Candidates for becoming the fourth dragon include Indochina, Siam or the Phillippines. All three are modern, but are not yet up to Japanese or Korean levels. The other states are all either not modern enough, too small or not a good cultural fit(read: muslim) for being the fourth dragon. These states all benefitted from a mix of following Three Dragons economic advice as opposed to neoliberal globalization combined with lots of Japanese and Korean investment.
The Three Dragons have three allies which are open apartheid states. The leaders in Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing lack western idealism on human rights and care more about oil and minerals. This suits Salisbury, Algiers and Pretoria just fine. South Africa and Rhodesia still remain states dominated by the Rhodesian Front or the National Party, but there was more reform of the system than we saw 1948-1993 in otl. There is a sizable group of blacks who have citizenship and equal rights attained due to service in the army/security forces/police. The trendline is heading towards black rule, but rule by long-term veterans of the security forces in a fascistic regime. Besides South Africa and Rhodesia, the other big reactionary white-ruled state is French Algeria. This is a fascist dictatorship ruled by the para colonels, the harkis, those elements of the french right who fled to algeria following the revolution of '68 and various local muslim loyalists.
The gulf oil states are loyal allies of the Three Dragons. Abu Dhabi, Hashemite Arabi, Qatar, Bahrain amd Oman all consider the Three Dragons to be the protector of the Arabs. This has been the pattern since Japan sent arms to aid Hejaz in it's war against the American-supported Emirate of Nejd in the early 1950s. The Japanese armed proved quite helpful for the war of Arabian reunification. Without Saudi Arabia's oil money providing funds for wahabism all of these states, and to a lesser extent the rest of the Muslim world are more secular overall. Iran is also allied to the Three Dragons due to both the Soviet Union's carving out a puppet state out of Iranian Azerbaidzhan right after WWII combined with the CIA's attempted coup against Mossadegh. When China offered to protect Iran, Mossadegh jumped at the offer since both the capitalists and communists opposed Iran's interests but China represented a state that could work with Iran's new republic. Iran is a politically turbulant democracy with a large split between Nationalists, Islamists, socialists and western-style liberal reformists.
Other Three Dragons allies include some of the more right-wing regimes in Latin America. Chile, Guatemala, Panama, Cuba, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Colombia all consider Brazil's alliance of left-wing democracies a poor fit. All of these rightist states are democracies. Cuba, avoided communism and is now first world. Besides the latin allies, there are a few african allies(Ethiopia, White Nile Republic, Biafra, National State of Mozambique and Equatorial Guinea) which have chosen to align themselves with the rightist Three Dragons as opposed to their former, collapsed American allies.
The soviet Union exists but is a battered shell of it's former self. The government is communist, economic growth is slow and there is still not much in the way of civil liberties. Krustchev getting to continue liberalization until the early 1970s gave the soviet Union 10 years of breathing space they lacked in OTL, but things still got bad in the 1990s. Thanks to the reforms done under Premeir Romanov it has turned into more of a consultative system and the rule of law is much more fair and less corrupt than our soviet union ever saw. The law is still harsh though. They do now allow "non-exploitative" small-scale capitalism. Things got bad enough in the 1990s, that the Soveits withdrew from most of eastern Europe. Like the soviet union Romania, Albania, Slovakia, the baltic states, Finland and Bulgaria are still communist and resemble their pre-1989 selves. Azerbaidzhan is a headache for the soviets due to islamist terrorists causing trouble. The Soviet Union's decision to turn the part of Iran which had the most fundamentalists into a puppet state is something that their leaders have come to regret. The soviet Union's Nigerian, Cameroonian, Congolese and Somali allies are nothing more than increasingly anarchic embarassments.
Ex-Soviet eastern Europe got it's independence 1997-2002 and tends to be poorer than our eastern europe. Part of it is the longer soviet rule, and the other part is the ongoing bipolar struggle for influence in the region. Although, in recent years the struggle has quieted, and there is more east-west cooperation between Berlin and Moscow. The richest area in ex-soviet europe is the Republic of Serbia which is pretty much a smaller and less diverse version of Tito's yugoslavia. Incomes are around 1/3 of European norm there. The worst of region is Poland, which spent 1995 to 2007 locked in a bloody civil war between the communist government and catholic rebels. Greece and Hungary are middle of the road as far as failed ex-communist states go. The Athens government in Greece wonders why Free Greece still refuses to reunite with it. Free Greek objections include the massive population disparity(9 million Greeks as opposed to 2 million Free Greeks).
The United States of Europe extends from Portugal to Poland is more integrated and unified than ours. For example -- there is a common European military, along with the militaries of the individual states. This is a more militarized, nationalistic and racist Europe than our world's European Union. It is also far more anti-American than ours -- Europe's leaders and voters remember America leaving them to fend off the fascists alone along with failing to stop eastern Europe from going red. Besides Anti-Americanism, the other big unifying glue is a pan-european myth of being stabbed in the back twice and nostalgia for when Europe had a unified Germany leading it. As you can imagine, the resulting nazi apologia and popular whitewashing of hitler's crimes doesn't play well on the other side of the atlantic. This more nationalistic Europe, has chosen it's immigrants differently -- instead of Turkish or morrocan muslims, Europe let in copts, biafran Christians, indonesian Christians, latin american immigrants and in the last two decades slavs from ex-soviet states. The only members outside of Western and Central Europe are "Free Greece", a microstate consisting of Cyprus and Crete along with a very christian Lebanon(there were population transfers after the second great war). On the positive side of things, Yugoslavia avoided communism and it's civil war. However, on the negative side of things, the end of Franco's Spain was... messier than OTL.
Europe's allies consist of a few nationalist dictatorships. Syria, Iraq, Morocco and Tunisia are europe's arabic allies. They are all party-states on the Ba'ath model. Turkey isn't much different than our world's turkey except for being more secular.. In Africa, The West African Community and the Republic of the Congo are Europe's african allies. The WAC is a corrupt authoritarian state that is like a large version of senegal minus elections. Egypt is one of Europe's most important allies and not too different than ours right now, besides in the ideology of the current rebels trying to oust the regime.
India includes Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Commonwealth of India is a very loose confederation only held together by granting extensive local autonomy to the provinces and princely states. In practice, this means that there is no common national citizenship, and each area has the right to set it's government. it is less tied together than our Swiss government but moreso than our European Union. It is poorer and more polluted than our India, though. Besides the Maoist insurgency in the northeast, there are permanent muslim insurgencies in Bengal and the northwest.
Brazil's discovery of offshore oil fields in 1999 made it cease to be the nation of tomorrow and begin advancing in the ranks of the powers. It is the least developed of the great powers, but is catching up to The Soviet Union and Europe. These atlantic oil strikes combined with economic reforms in the 1990s and 2000s finally got them off of the 200 year long cusp. The mix of modernization of social services, infrastructure, the educational system along with beefing up their law enforcement have all paid off. In this poor and anarchic world, Brazil's GDP of $13,000 looks relatively better than OTL. Yes, Brazil is still deeply unequal and prone to class/race troubles, but Brazil's economy is growing and, unlike most of the world it largely avoided the depression. There are fewer slums and more shopping malls.
Brazil's allies include a richer Argentina, Venezuela and Uruguay. All three states avoided OTL's post-1950 FAIL and managed to end up lower tier first world by now. Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and the central american allied states aren't that different from OTL.
Britain still tries to be relevant and has a commonwealth with the white dominions along with a few stragglers like Sierra Leone and the West Indies Federation. Newfoundland is STILL not a Canadian province. The dominions inside the commonwealth all use their old flags with the union jack in the corner. Ireland had Collins instead of De Valera, so it avoided our world's 20th century stagnation. The Commonwealth is roughly as centralized as our world's European Union.
The world economy is the same size as OTL but differently distributed. East and southeast Asia all do far better. The United States, eastern europe and India all do far worse. Most of the rest of the planet isn't radically different when it comes to economics. Technologically, it's the same. The bigger burst of cold war tech spending along with a wealthier east asia made up for the long depression. The internet is only now starting to take off. However, smaller computer networks like minitel, compuserv, AOL do exist along with a bigger BBS scene than our 80s or early 90s ever had. Usenet is doing better than OTL, with the pre-1993 gradual expansion continuing until now and no "Eternal September"