Background: The American Commonwealth

The USA is no longer a legal entity. A popular "statism" movement saw the election of a single-issue president, who legally and peacefully oversaw dissolution of the federal government. All American states are now countries (independent nation-states):

  • their governors are now presidents
  • the dominant party in each New Country is "nationalist" (does not imply right-wing)
  • they are individually recognized by the UN, Olympic Games, etc
  • there is no significant political will to re-unite, instead there are shows of goodwill like the "American Commonwealth Games"
  • previous agreements and treaties between the USA and other countries are dissolved unless at least one New Country opts-in (multiple opt-ins are allowed)

Which minimal set of states would the Republic of California rely on?

My understanding is that California is not self-sufficient. It relies on other states (now New Countries) for essential resources like water. What is the smallest set of New Countries (and non-US nation-states) that California could/would rely to meet the material needs of her residents?

I've become aware that, for example, California's water needs are not simple and change may be required, so for the purposes of this question I'm happy to focus on resources and needs as they exist now, rather than projections and works in progress.

What political arrangement they come to is obviously a narrative decision, I'm just trying to isolate the material relationships.

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    $\begingroup$ Most of the states of the USA are not viable as independent countries. Basically, only Texas and California are well positioned to survive alone. Anyway, how the world will cope with the suicide of the richest and most powerful country, followed by the collapse and radical restructuring of the entire world economy, is the plot of a massive series of novels, compared to which War and Peace would be a thin novella. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 18:19
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    $\begingroup$ One of our sites policies is a prohibition on brainstorming or questions with many valid answers. As you have shown, it's very easy for a worldbuilder to come com up with many answers to this question. While exercising creativity like this is an essential part of worldbuilding it's not suitable to ask such questions on this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 19:22
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    $\begingroup$ Now that your query has been closed, it might be a good idea to focus on how to fix it with the idea of reopening it. It was closed for being opinion based, which means that literally hundreds of potential responses are equally valid. You should consider narrowing your question. Since SE is a one focused question, one best answer kind of forum, you might want to focus a specific scenario. Like, if you want to focus on the military, you could choose to narrow things down to NATO or East Asia. We do allow multiple separate queries about the same world, so you'd be welcome to ask (cont) $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 19:26
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    $\begingroup$ (cont) another question about ideology (CSA revival? Northern Tier joins Canada?) or historical or cultural bases (New New England? Breadbasket of America?) I'd recommend deleting your answers and incorporate them into separate queries. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 19:28
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP I'm not sure that initially your point about economic independence is required. It's tempting to view everything through the lenses of globalization, but it's not necessary for survival. Montana, for example, would be very hard pressed to exist on the world stage - but it doesn't need to. It can feed itself and a great deal more. However, your general point is very valid. The OP would do well to research what basic commodities (steel, coal, food...) are the imports and exports of each state. That would define the initial alliances and jealousies. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 0:07

2 Answers 2


Baja. Hawaii. Apache / Navajo / Hopi confederacy.

California maintains close relations with its neighbor to the south Baja California. Hawaii has effectively become a dependent province of California though a movement there wants Hawaii to become part of Japan. The large inland Indian confederacy retains close ties to California in a manner that is politically unpalatable for the chaotic former states that used to house the Indian nations.

Water sources that go through neigboring states are secured through threat of military force. California is a force to be reckoned with. When the Nevadans thought they would hold the water of the river hostage by refilling Lake Mead, the reply was a month long military occupation of Vegas by a joint Californian / Navajo force. This event led to (yet another) regime change in Nevada and no further threats to water destined for California.

California energy needs have been met by a massive augmentation of nuclear power. California is not quite self sufficient as regards uranium but what it cannot produce on its own it can trade for with the Indian confederacy. The expansion of nuclear power also means an expansion of desalinaton which does much to provide water independence for CA.

-- The majority of Californian economic activity is now with Mexico and Pacific rim nations.


Water is life

a water treaty between all of the new country this side of the country will be requiered for the water situation of the colorado river. especially with nevada as they are now the one with the hoover dam. this need to now be a binding treaty with all of the new state using the colorado river. By how it is going today, the current system of repartition doesn't work and would definitly be a point of contention, especially as now everybody is a sovereing state.

it is possible that california can try to do a deal similar to the egypt and the nile, who today stand as an outlier in water right, being that they have priority and control on the nile flow despite being downstream. California being by FAR the biggest economic power in that configuration they can probably negociate themself a deal like that for only a few favour to the others (and by strong arming them.

Export brain not product

as for export, you could assume that california got deal with texas as those are the two biggest state regarding the tech industry, allong with new york if the financier stayed over there, a free trade agreement at least in that sector would probably make sense ot make it so the american software & tech stay number one everywhere in the world. it would be for those three state a way to get huge cash influx from everywhere.

they would de a huge partner of the EU as said eu is entierly dependent on american software as it stand. I do consider the EU as a single entity here as you would mostly need to deal with the european market itself and rarely have to pay attention to each individual menber.

the cultural industry would also be a huge export, to all english speaking country, along with country that have already channel to translate the moovies themself if you give them exploitation right.


This is where thing are tricky to calculate and can go all the way you want. but my best guess would be japan, corea & china for most manufacturing , and probably a few state in the farming state of the US to keep everybody fed at a decent price.

Edit: i should add that an exact number is not possible to give. i given the list of the bare minimum state actor you would to stay in touch with for everything but food.

it is really up to you on what food standard do you want your californian population to access. if you are ok with a shift in what's available then maybe mostly buying from asian country could be a way to distance yourself from other state for food import. (you won't grow shit in california, at least not in the number needed, not with the water available.) if you want the american diet to stay the same, then you might just need to have deal and accord with about all the state.

also, i don't see it in your question, but is movement free in the commonwealth? because otherwise all of those doubly, if not triply landlocked country are FUCKED. and in general it will make any logistical movement an absolute nightmare.

  • $\begingroup$ thanks! I will definitely investigate the political/economic relationship between egypt and the nile, it's literally downstream as you say $\endgroup$
    – user100347
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ Your welcome! Usually water international water right are almost always "the guy upstream can do whatever he want" and egypt is almost the only one who did go against that claiming "historical importance" of the river to its people, and with heavy backing of the brits it did go through, but it is still heavly discussed as more barrage are build upstream. $\endgroup$
    – shas
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 13:13

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