My project is set in an alternative Earth: let’s call it Earth-2. The Earth-2 history takes a different path in 2017. Here, a Big Historic Event happens. After that, for the first time, the human race realizes that the best way to survive the technological adolescence is thinking like a “planetary” species.

The Big Historic Event doesn’t involve:

  • a technological revolution
  • so a sudden farewell to the oil-based economy
  • great geopolitical shifts
  • a single existential risk that could exterminate a divided mankind (alien invasion, cosmic threat...)

So a slow and complex process of economical-military-social conflicts resolution begins. The World leaders agree to cooperate under the ONU flag to resolve the current crisis scenarios (from Middle East and other geopolitical issues to more generale scopes like unequal wealth and environment).

But, of course, a good story needs a conflict. So not everyone agrees. Let’s think of North Korea, for example: it would simply not be included since the Great Leader bases his power on the isolationism. That could be a problem since PRK is a nuclear power.

But which others (state and non-state) actors would be able to threaten the birth of this new era of peace and cooperation? Who would have the motivation and the means to turn the men against each other again?

(thank you and sorry for bad english)

  • $\begingroup$ In 2017? That's extremely unlikely. How do you convince, for example, the people of the United States to lower their standard of living so that the people of, for example, Bangladesh can increase theirs? How do you find a political structure acceptable for the Islamic Republic of Iran and the fiercely secular French Republic at the same time? $\endgroup$ – AlexP Dec 22 '16 at 17:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AlexP And then there is Israel, which is pretty much surrounded in an idealogical sea of enemies. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Dec 22 '16 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ Please read Samuel Huntington's book "The Clash of Civilizations" to understand why this is unlikely $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Dec 22 '16 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ Somehow Texas seems like a valid answer here. $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Dec 22 '16 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ For this not to involve a giant geopolitical shift seems in the realm of the impossible. $\endgroup$ – Erin Thursby Dec 22 '16 at 20:54

So...as a student of political science and international relations I have to say that the answer is...everyone.

Think of all the conflicts we have today.

  • Syria
  • North Korea
  • ISIS
  • Uighurs in China
  • Tibet
  • Hong Kong/Taiwan vs China
  • Dictators in Africa
  • Drug Cartels in central America
  • Russia and Ukraine

...I could continue on for...well a long time but I think you get the point.

The world is a really big place. And there will always be charismatic leaders with a personally gratifying agenda that destroys peace and personal freedoms.

I guess my main point is that your scenario is basically unrealistic based on what we know of humanity to date.

We have international institutions to mediate conflict. The UN for example. It generally doesn't work in conflict scenarios because usually the powers that allow for the UN to exist are involved in the conflict in some way. Strong nation states are not likely to EVER give up their sovereignty to that degree, and even if say the United States said they will abide by the UN's decisions...who is going to make the US abide if they don't want to do so?

Your problem isn't going to be finding enough people to break the global peace, its going to be finding enough people to make breaking the peace a problem in the first place.

To reiterate. Humans are naturally inclined to separate themselves and in many situations be selfish...its part of our evolution. Sure we sometimes fight it but...

You should read up on the concept of relative deprivation as it pertains to political science. It may help you set up your scenario.

Now. All that said you can simply state. The world it this way. You are after all the author, and a bad premise doesn't necessarily mean a bad story...but when your premise is not consistent with reality...don't try to explain it too much. That tends to make things worse.

  • $\begingroup$ I think you got the nail on the head for global governments. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Dec 22 '16 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ I'm in a full brainstorming phase and you're absolutely right. This is a bad premise. Thank you all for making me see sense. I'll working on it :) $\endgroup$ – Lupetto Dec 23 '16 at 9:22

Your question is fairly broad, and the premise is, frankly, naive.

Even if a global threat were to present itself (alien invasion, asteroid incoming, etc.) not everyone would react the same way to it, and uniting against the common enemy is actually not as much of a given as you think.

For example, let's take the asteroid scenario: NASA identifies a large asteroid incoming: it will hit us in 3 years, and effectively wipe the human race off the face of the Earth, at least as we know it. The optimistic thing to have happen here is that the USA shares this information with the world's government, which then band together, and send out a mission to destroy, or redirect the asteroid in question.

However, in the real world, here's what would most likely happen:

  • Various American leaders would dither about whether to share the information or not. After all, this might cause panic at an inconvenient moment, and maybe waiting a few months would be best. Worst still, what if the scientists are wrong, and they then sound like fools?

  • The world eventually finds out about it and disagrees about how to proceed:

    • The Russians think we should simply shoot nukes at it.
    • China agrees with the US that they should send a team out and land on it, but only if the team is 50% Chinese, and the rocket engines are built in China.
    • India wants to get in on the action, but only if they can be guaranteed that a certain percentage of the equipment will be built in their nation.
    • France and Germany want to cooperate, but can't quite figure out how to work together.
    • North Korea claims that the asteroid is Western propaganda, and that the mission being put together is actually a clever ploy to get a spy satellite up over their glorious nation. They threaten to nuke the mission launch site unless their scientists are involved in every level of the mission planning. In fact, they want to lead the project altogether.
    • Clerics in a certain part of the world claim that God is punishing mankind for their wicked ways. They are certain that the asteroid will only kill those who refuse to convert to the true religion, and encourage their followers to cripple any effort to stop the asteroid at all costs.

Do you see where this is going? There's no way in hell that you're going to get the world to drop their various shenanigans and work together. Not for a long time - likely never. It's simply too ingrained in us to be selfish, carry grudges, and seek our own interests, even in the face of complete disaster.


Of course, we could simply give you a list of countries that, in 2016, have isolationist or opposing tendencies but that would be rather speculative (and not fair, really).

Instead I will give a list of reasons for why certain countries might not have any interest to engage in a global coalition.

Game Theoretic collective action problems

The most obvious reason are collective action problems in the style of the prisoner's dilemma or, slightly less dramatic, the trust game (so-called Stag and Hunt). The idea is that even if all countries agree that only collective action can save the day, there will still be incentives for each country to not provide any resources (financial, military etc.) and free-ride on the other countries. If all countries come to that conclusion, collective action will not be possible.

Leaders acting against their people's interest

Another possibility why some countries might oppose participating in a broad coalition of countries trying to save mankind might be because their leaders act against the self-interest of their people. This is especially likely if a country is led by a self-interested (and unmoral) dictator who is too old to suffer from the consequences that failed collective action might bring about and who does not care about saving his (on average) younger people.

Cooperation is not in the people self-interest

This being said, even democratic countries might not cooperate. In particular, aging societies where the median voter is relatively old and will not suffer from eventual consequences of isolationist policies might go with her self-interest and vote for a government that chooses not to provide any resources for international coalition.


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