This is a setup that I’m going to use for my December 16th Special, and possibly other things if the mood strikes me. Fishbreath is welcome to it as well, if he so chooses. Anyway, we’re going to setup a bit of alternate history, because it’s fun and because I need a justification for a Secret Project. All alternate histories need a Point of Divergence, plus a bunch of consequences. Our point of divergence is August 21, 1991, when the August Putsch succeeds in toppling Gorbachev, and putting Gennady Ivanovich Yanayev in power as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union does not fall, and manages to retain most of its holdings, with the exceptions of East Germany and Poland, thanks to some rapid moves by NATO. East and West Germany are more-or-less happily reunited, and Poland is a part of the new frontline. Greatest salient ever. The Baltic states and the Ukraine are very unhappy, but not strong enough to do anything about it (yet).
But wait, there’s more chaos afoot. Efforts to (finally) protect Poland and East Germany from a returning Red Menace left NATO unprepared to intervene in the Persian Gulf, when one Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Flush with success, he gambled further, striking south again in an effort to grab some oil from those perfidious Saudis. The resulting fights for the oil fields of northern Saudi Arabia left them aflame for weeks, driving up the price of oil, and providing a handy influx of capital to the troubled Soviet Union, as well as some handy extra leverage against the Ukraine. The Iraqis have been mostly pushed out of Saudi Arabia, and by now (2014), the price of oil has stabilized at something reasonable given American shale oil and Soviet reserves. Reunification of Germany has helped with manpower reserves, but overall hurt their defense budget. Advance NATO contingents are now forward-deployed in Poland, squaring off against the Red Army.
Other fun facts: Luchtburg is a nonaligned state that has bought too much Soviet equipment for the Americans to be happy with them, and too much Swedish equipment for the Soviets to like them much more. Brazil and Argentina have formed an alliance to promote economic development and support indigenous military development1. They’re both promoting big growth through spending, and military expansion including some significant naval buildup. The Middle East is as unstable as ever, with the Saudis angry about Kuwait, the Iranians and Iraqis at each other’s throats, Syria attempting to crush a revolt, and Egypt as stable as ever (which is to say, not at all). Borgundy is a NATO member, and proud to make good old security guarantees to the Poles, even if they’re fifty-odd years late.
And now, our crisis. The current General Secretary is one Vladimir V. Putin, who is attempting to suppress an uprising in Western and Central Ukraine. NATO’s forces in Poland are on alert, and generally predisposed to the south. Meanwhile, in the Baltic states, additional forces have been deployed to pre-empt any sympathetic rebellions. To the eyes of NATO, this resembles the sort of aggressive prepositioning that the Soviets are fond of. A countermove must be made, and Borgundy’s special contribution will be in position shortly.
Join us for a special feature on December 16th, commemorating the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, as we take a closer look at this special contribution.
1. Fishbreath comments: fortunately, neither Sweden nor the Soviets are likely to stop taking my money.
Discuss at the 2014A discussion thread.