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Subject: The Twiglet Zone rss

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Nicholas Barker
United Kingdom
London
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A PBEM game currently being played and reported on at http://s7.invisionfree.com/New_Barker_Blog

I will add new session reports here also.

Turn 1

1945. Much of Europe lies in ruins, devastated by WW2. The UK, France and West Germany are staunch allies of the USA and bastions of freedom in these troubled times. On the other side of the Iron Curtain, the Soviets have installed puppet governments in Poland and East Germany and have influence in other Central and Eastern European countries. Elsewhere, Australia is another sound ally of the US but Communist stooges hold sway in North Korea. Desperate to raise their prestige, the Soviets invite international observers to watch the launch of their space satelite - an event which leads to fury in the Kremlin when the rocket explodes on the launch pad. Meanwhile, the peace-loving US sends aid and assistance to its friends in Israel and Iran, mindful of Soviet interference in Iraq and Syria.

1946. The Soviets assist their cronies to power in Syria and Iraq. Crisis stalks the Middle East as for some months it looks as though the fledgling state of Israel will be attacked by the Arabs. But shuttle diplomacy by the UN Secretary General, backed by threatened United Nations sanctions, pays off, and war is averted. A triumph for the recently-created UN. Disgruntled Syrian army colonels, with CIA assistance, stage a brilliantly successful coup. The old gang and their Russian advisers are thrown out, the ex-president is shot after a brief but fair trial, and Syria signs a defensive alliance with the US.

1947 Dismayed by the loss of their Syrian client state, the Soviets increase their influence in the region to the point where they control Saudi Arabia. A gallant pro-Western coup attempt in Saudi fails.

1948 While the West is distracted by belligerent noises from the enigma that is China, the Soviets launch a massively supported coup in Iran and the Shah has to flee to London. With Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia in the Soviet bloc and only Israel and Syria aligned with the West, the Russians currently dominate the Middle East.

1949 The Russians blockade West Berlin. Overstretched in the Middle East, the US is unable to provide more than token assistance and starving Berliners agree to join East Germany. The West German government fails a vote of no confidence and the Socialist government which replaces it is no friend of the Americans. The US somewhat belatedly develops a doctrine of containment and brings Italy into its sphere but this is offset by the abdication at gunpoint of King Michael of Romania and yet another country slides into the iron grip of the Communists. Meanwhile, there is little activity in Asia, although both sides maintain a presence in the region.

End Turn 1 results: -2 VP (Russians ahead by 2 VP)

Turn 2

1950 Following the disaster of the blockade of Berlin, fellow travellers and open Communists have almost achieved power in West Germany. But the country is - thank God! - swayed by the Truman Doctrine and the Red influence is replaced by a policy of measured neutrality. Elsewhere in Europe the news is less good, as Socialists come to power in France and the Communists win power through election in Italy. The world is, however, thrilled when the USA, with the assistance of ex-Nazi scientists, puts the first satelite into orbit.

1951 Vietnamese Communists succeed in their rebellion against the French and take control of the country. Russian influence buys them a stooge dictatorship in Pakistan but the US takes swift action and no sooner are the Commies in power than they are overthrown by a US-backed army junta, and democracy in Pakistan is saved. Worldwide tensions rise and fears abound that the superpowers are increasingly close to global nuclear war. Just one or two more armed conflicts may tip the scale.

1952 The dominos start to fall in South East Asia as Communist regimes, assisted by Vietnamese military cadres, grab power in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. To the open fury of the USSR leadership, the USA makes full scale "Duck and Cover" civil defence preparations for all-out nuclear war. The world now trembles on the brink of nuclear armaggedon. One more incident and the buttons will be pushed.

1953 As decolonisation gathers apace, new, Russian-backed, tin-pot dictatorships emerge in Nigeria, Zaire, Indonesia and Sudan. The peace-loving USA ignores this blatant provocation and engages in peaceful scientific research. That summer, the Foreplay VII rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral and carries a labrador, called Trojan, into space. Trojan bravely manages three circuits of the earth before his barks are heard no more.

1954 Although nuclear tensions remain dangerously high, the Soviet leadership, stung by Trojan's orbit, invite scientists, journalists and fellow travellers to view the launch of Sprjz III, which will launch a satelite into orbit. Sadly, Sprjz III blows up on the launch pad and the entire team of scientists responsible for this further humiliation are despatched to work in Siberia. Meanwhile, the US and Japan sign a mutual defence pact, pulling Japan firmly into the Wesern orbit and ensuring democratic freedom and stability for Japan in future years. All known and suspected left wing types in Tokyo are rounded up and jailed.

There is a revolution in Formosa, which causes little international interest, although the rebels are annoyed by growing US-Chinese rapprochement. Deeply concerned by growing Soviet influence in West Germany, the US concentrates aid and political pressure on Bonn and is rewarded with a treaty of friendship. Throughout the Communist world questions are being asked about why Moscow has been unwilling, unlike the US, in past years to demonstrate any military power, and Russian prestige falls. Nuclear tensions ease slightly but the future of mankind remains on a knife-edge.

+5 VP at turn end (ie the USA is 5 ahead on VP)
 
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Nicholas Barker
United Kingdom
London
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Turn 3

1955 A Red Scare sweeps the US and suspected Commies are hounded out of key positions. Unfortunately those sacked include many competent foreign policy experts and US policy starts to take on a leaden-footed aspect. Still, there is good news to report as France allies with the USA and a Russian-backed coup in Panama fails ignominiously. Russia announces a new Five Year Plan.

1956 Jordan falls into the Soviet camp and Communist influence increases in West Germany. Lebanon accepts in US military advisers, and US influence grows in Greece. America hosts the Olympic games in Las Vegas. For a time there is concern that the Soviets and their allies will boycott the games but in the end they turn up and the event is a huge success, which increases US prestige. The Free World gathers in lots of gold medals while the Red athletes perform badly and a number defect to the West.

1957 De-Stalinisation continues and the Soviets switch influence from Eastern Europe to France. A war breaks out between unaligned India and US-sphere Pakistan. The war goes disastrously wrong for Pakistan and the pro-US leader is overthrown and replaced by a pro-Soviet junta. Russia now dominates Asia. Things have never looked more bleak for the West.

1958 The battle for control spreads to South America, where a left wing government comes to power in Brazil and falls into the Soviet sphere. NASA, however, continues to break one barrier after another and successfully carries out a Lunar Probe mission, which again raises US prestige. There are rumours that the Jordanians - with supporting contingents from Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia - were considering launching a surprise attack on Israel but decided not to in view of the US-backed regimes in Lebanon and Syria, and the continuing neutrality of Egypt, which would have made the venture a high risk gamble with little chance of success.

1959 Cowed by their previous failures, the Soviets secretly attempt a third satelite launch and this time it is a success, and the scientists who have been working on the project in Siberia are rewarded with extra helpings of turnip stew. NASA 's attempt to keep ahead in the Space Race by getting a man into space are unfortunately held back by technical problems. Events elsewhere continue to go against the USA. The Soviets expand influence into Venezuela and revitalise Communist Party cadres in the UK. And Nasser comes to power in Egypt and immediately aligns with Russia. Questions are being asked by US client states about the superpower's lack of military activity.

End turn -2 VP

Turn 4

1960
A dynamic, young, anti-Communist Pole is elected Pope John Paul II. Amid increasing unrest and discontent with the Russian-backed leadership, Soviet influence in Poland crumbles and Western influence grows. But not for long, as the Soviets harshly re-take political control with a massive show of force. Allende comes to power in Chile, giving the Soviets yet another South American state. Action is needed in America's back yard and money is pumped into the Voice of America broadcasting service. So effective is this that the Soviets lose all influence in their previously controlled states of Brazil and Venezuela.

1961 While the Soviets increase their strangleholds on Chile and France, they become sucked into a Bear Trap in Iran, a guerrilla action consuming the lives of thousands of young Russian conscripts and with no end in sight.

1962 Unfortunately, the Iranian quagmire proves only temporary and resistance to the Soviets suddenly collapses. While the USSR is distracted in putting down the freedom fighters, the USA increases its influence in the key state of West Germany. Soviet-backed guerrillas make some progress against the forces of the legitimate government in Cuba but are halted by well-timed and effective UN intervention.

1963 The Soviets are now dominant in Europe but as yet lack full control. Even so, the situation is causing major cracks to appear in US confidence. Elsewhere, the US backs colonial rearguards, who wrest control away from the Soviets in Vietnam, Thailand, Angola and Zaire. The Soviets respond by increasing their influence in Peru and Zaire. Not to be outdone, the USA installs puppet governments in India, Libya and Greece.

1964 The Soviets sponsor a failed coup in Syria and global nuclear tensions again stretch almost to breaking point. The US increases its influence in the UK, Greece and Benelux, bringing all of them under its control. The Russians finally manage to launch an animal into space, a monkey called Georgi Bushki, which is said to be highly intelligent, but the world has lost interest in the backward Russian space programme and the event causes little interest. Meanwhile, a US-backed government takes power in Brazil and the left-wing Willi Brandt comes to power in Germany, slightly increasing Soviet influence there.

VPs -16 (Ouch - a dreadful turn for the US)
 
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Jason Matthews
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Nick,

A terrific read. Thanks for posting it!
 
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Nicholas Barker
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Thanks, Jason, I enjoyed writing it. Final installment below.

Turn 5

1965
North Korea launches a surprise invasion of South Korea but after some hard fighting, with the US intervening from its bases in Japan, the North is beaten off and an uneasy truce prevails along the original border. The US military is drawn into a quagmire in Vietnam and, while men, money and resources are poured in to no effect, concerns grow about how the USA is falling behind in the increasing missile gap.

1966 For a while, all eyes are on South America, where Chile and Peru are Soviet client states, and only Brazil is aligned with the free world, and US prestige falls further. At this moment, the Soviets launch an arms race and the overstretched US economy and military are unable to cope.

The end, when it comes, is rapid. A small, Delaware-based missile subcontractor goes into receivership, exposing a complex web of bribery and fraud in linked US military contractors. Faked accounts are uncovered at Lockheed, revealing a black hole of $250 million. When Lockheed defaults on its previously AAA rated bonds, other US defence company loans are downgraded.

The Senate is discovered to be riddled with corruption, and a Communist cadre is discovered in Congress. The CEO of a state bank in Texas disappears and his bank collapses. A domino effect within the reeling financial system sees the collapse of JP Morgan and the Dow Jones falls by 70% in a week as all confidence is lost. The Federal Reserve steps in to bolster confidence but the dollar is down by 80% and foreign buyers refuse to purchase US-backed loans. The Fed runs out of gold and can do no more. There is panic buying of food in the US cities. Transport is at a standstill, as oil cannot be imported and paid for.

By the end of the year it is clear that the once-vaunted capitalist system is a failure, a hollow sham which for years fraudulently covered up its inability to create or allocate wealth efficiently. President Johnson escapes an impeachment charge to seek political asylum in Switzerland, where it is rumoured that he has billions in secret accounts. Amid the turmoil, a new and charismatic leader, called Malcolm X, emerges, who turns the US, not without resistance from the old guard, away from the failed doctrines of the past and imposes, with the assistance of Comecon, an effective, Marxist economic plan. All industries and property within the US are taken into public ownership and undesirable elements are purged or transported to Canada.

2006 Looking back on the decades following WW2, it is interesting to see the extraordinary levels of self-delusion which existed in America and the almost pathetic belief that the capitalist system actually worked. The economic collapse of 1966 exposed this sham and in the decades since then the US has enthusiastically embraced Communism. Although there have been the usual bribery and corruption scandals associated with any failed state, the US has made great strides and its economy has recently been compared quite favourably to that of Romania.
 
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Rob Doupe
Canada
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Well done, Nic.

I'm off to buy my copy of Twilight Struggle.
 
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Steve McIlhatton
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Damn.. I NEED this game!
 
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castiglione
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This is the Sistine Chapel of AAR's.
 
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