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The Third World War (2167-2174) came with a cost that not even the grimmest of warmongers could have predicted.
Years of tensions, treaties, counter-treaties, cross-over alliances and mistrust and jealousy boiled for decades and in the end, like the Great War, it took a relatively small infraction to kick things off...and lead to 573 million casualties.

China perceived a slight from the world when the other security council nations voted to consent to the wishes of the UN to allow the dissolution of permanent membership. Never mind that this applied to all nations, this sat very unwell with the by far largest and most powerful economy in the world and China saw it as necessary to reclose it's borders, after years of gradual opening, and call in it's debts.

Russia seized the opportunity of China's diminished world status by reigniting a border dispute and moving peace-keeping troops into the disputed oil rich lands. China sent their own peace-keepers but blitzed the Russians from above sparking war between the nations.
Non-nuclear ballistic warfare erupted leaving many border cities and towns in a permanent no-go status.
Attrition was the order of the day and both sides fought to a standstill on the Great Northeastern Front. Russia sued for peace and with further demands on China's military elsewhere, China agreed to a peace on condition that the Russians refuse asylum to China's enemies. Russia agreed.

Brazil wished to affirm its place as the biggest economy in South America at this time also, and in repaying its debt to China, it extracted debts from the surrounding nations that had borrowed heavily to elevate themselves from poverty, but with Mexico reluctant to pay, feeling that if they did, they would also have to pay back the US, refused to entertain Brazil's demands.

Mexico had long unofficially run the Central American trade routes and they took a stand with their superior numbers in Panama and Guatemala to cut off some of the supplies to Brazil with the counter-demand that Brazil stick to the original repayment plans of the borrowing nations.
Brazil, backed with the Argo-Uruguayan Federations approval declared Mexico's sovereignty forfeit and war was upon all this continent that had so carefully and painstakingly taken itself out of the relative dark ages. Sao Paolo, Monterrey and El Salvador all had the nightmare of nuclear weapons visited upon them. Neither side wanted further nuclear activities, but both sides kept their fingers not too far from the button.

Vietnam was the first nation to outright declare it's inability to repay the Chinese and the Chinese declared war.
Vietnam was of course a member of the Indochinian Peninsular Council and its neighbors stood in solidarity.
So it happened that Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia found themselves besieged until the USA and Japan voiced their objections. China tried to barricade Japan by sea, they could not have predicted the Oceanic nations to rise towards the end of the War as they did and led by Australia they achieved quite a coup with the demolition of the Siege of Japan.

China sought help and received it from the United Arab Council, which provoked tensions from the EU and the ongoing negotiations and all progress between the EU and the UAC was evaporated. The UAC's alliance with the United Eastern Africans gave superior numbers, but inferior fighters and blood was drawn all over the Middle East, Northern Africa and Southern Europe. Chaos.

Ireland was obliterated due to its strategic position on the Westernmost part of Europe and the Netherlands lost half of its land to the sea. The Holy Land was left in an unholy mess as the EU concentrated it's long range attacks on Jerusalem and the borders of Croatia and Romania saw some of the heaviest artillery conflicts in the entire conflict. This was bad but this was war, and thus far the rules of engagement had been held true, but that didn't last.

The war escalated from a most unlikely source. France were the first to drop the nuclear weapon in this conflict, against the wishes of the EU Council of War and almost crippled Turkey completely. Britain and Germany joined with the Scandinavian nations along with the US and in an effort to appease the United Arab Council of The Middle East and Africa, they removed all protection from France and expelled her from the Union.

France was crushed. Their former Allies let the East have free reign at them without any hindrance. This was under the condition that no nuclear weapons were used. France was almost an empty shell, with only Paris remaining firm. The Turks biggest ally, again against the host Unions wishes finished Paris off for good with the biggest nuclear bombardment in the history of Mankind.

The EU and the UAC called a truce and consolidated their lines and the bombing of Paris led to the beginning of the end of the War.
Once equilibrium was restored to central Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa. An uneasy peace, but peace none-the-less.

With China having agreed peace with Russia, the Oceanic nations joining with Japan and the US to present a firm united naval front, completely controlling the Yellow Sea, with Europe no longer sending troops to Asia and with the UAC and the Northern Africans consolidating and withdrawn from all open conflict, a much expected impasse was reached and China sat down for the Zurich Conciliatory and signed a binding peace agreement.

Brazil and Mexico with the eyes of the world upon them withdrew hostilities and needed arbitration to settle their disputes but eventually the final conflict raging was too quenched. The world had yet another victory to cheer.

The newly formed Untied Nations reinstated China as a member, the new format required 3 delegates from every nation with each having an equal vote on global concerns, again with all decisions binding to all nations.

PEACE! But the butchers bill was extremely high

The devastation visited upon the continents left very little unscathed completely.
Australia and New Zealand were largely untouched despite their combined forces lifting the Siege of Japan in the later years of the War. The United Global Front was established to systematically rebuild and was financed by tithes from every country.
Ireland was sunk almost completely into the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean became nothing but a grave for the masses as the millions of Southern European and Northern African combatants paid the ultimate price for their regions involvement.
France never fully recovered and the United States lost a fifth of their population. China suffered the biggest losses, totaling 150 million whilst the Russians were hit as badly if not worse than they had been in the First 2 World Wars combined.

The US had never found itself as stretched as it was and like an elastic band, slammed its troops back home, bar a nominal force in each area to help keep scavenging and other post-war maladies at bay.

Canada, Switzerland, South Africa, Iceland...some of the few nations that were left in peace during these earth shattering years.

A lot has happened since then, a lot, but it has happened peacefully. With terrestrial natural resources diminishing, Space Travel became a revisited global fascination. Oh for sure there were nations such as the US, Germany, China and Russia that had never completely abandoned their pursuit of Space travel, but their larger focus was domestic, and it was this domestic focus that ironically forced them to look above for answers, for the planet was starving, and replenishment was essential.

Necessity is the Mother of invention, indeed so.
Interstellar travel was eventually achieved, and mining colonies on rich but undesirable, desolate moons and plants from neighboring systems were set up, and suddenly Earth had all it needed for sustenance for the next 40,000 years.

Then First Contact was made. But it wasn't made by us. A delegation from the Galactic Federation had arrived at Earths nominal capital, the New United Nations Headquarters in Geneva. All they wanted was to talk...and to give us a warning

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