After a decade of stagnant economic conditions, widespread unemployment, and rampant inflation across the western world, a little known political party calling itself the World Society is elected to power in France. Its platform promises a return to the golden socialist age and gains traction with large-scale spending programs and increased taxation.
Throughout Europe, the World Society quickly takes root. Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Denmark all elect governments aligned with the ideals of the World Society.
The European Union, now fully controlled by the World Society, demands all industrialized “First World” nations share their wealth with the developing world via a worldwide tax system on securities trading and corporate income.
Following the rejection of the previous year’s demands by the United States, Great Britain, and Australia, the EU moves to impose a battery of tariffs and trade sanctions to force compliance. Russia and China join the World Society movement, declaring that the era of capitalism is finished.
Four years of tariffs and sanctions fail to break resistance from the United States and Great Britain. The developing world continues to buy American products, and restored American leadership starts the basis of a replacement to NATO, named the Freedom Alliance.
After negotiations between the World Society and OPEC break down, EU and Russian troops mass on the Turkish border. The OPEC countries quickly form the “Middle Eastern Alliance” and marshall their forces to defend Turkey, putting aside hundreds of years of conflict between Arab, Turk, and Persians.