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The Psychedelic Deadlands

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  • #16
    Are you referring to the new timeline or the original one?

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Manchu View Post
      Hard to imagine the US developing into a global great power while split between the Union, CSA, and westerly powers.
      A) Huh? There were only two powers by the mid 20th (US and CS).
      B) The setting is not responsible for your failures of imagination or historical investigation. The natural resources, infrastructure, and manufacturing capabilities of the US are absurd by global standards. Even just the part that was never part of / associated with the Confederacy. Fuel, minerals, plants, food, and the means to exploit them can be found from Maine to Oregon; unified with a continent spanning rail system, everything can get to anywhere quickly and cheaply. Add in a large population of healthy and hard working people and you've got a massive industrial base just waiting to get up to speed. A juggernaut that the rest of the world could not match.
      I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

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      • #18
        I can begin to see the context of your signature.

        The 19th-century U.S. did not have the infrastructure of a great power. Prior to the ACW, the country was not even a nation-state. In the original fiction, the Confederacy was powerful enough to endure the the Union’s military capacity and become its politically permanent, geographically immediate rival. Regardless of any subsequent economic development by either, the resulting cold war on the North American continent would by itself contain the global ambitions of both American states so long as the top-level agenda item for each remained checking the other. Existing great powers would as a matter of course exploit this tension to fight their own military and commercial proxy wars in North America as they continued to vie for international hegemony. Contrary to your exceptionalist mythography, little to nothing would prevent the great powers from exploiting North America just as they did other regions rich with natural resources such as South America, the Middle East, and Africa.
        Last edited by Manchu; 07-22-2021, 02:48 AM.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Manchu View Post
          The 19th-century U.S. did not have the infrastructure of a great power. Prior to the ACW, the country was not even a nation-state.
          That is just factually inaccurate.
          The US North East of 1860 had (arguably) the second most developed manufacturing infrastructure in the world. By 1870, assuming a continuous war, that would have become the most developed.
          The South had several manufacturing centers, especially near rail hubs like Atlanta, that had scaled up to European levels of production by 1863 (real history). Since they were not burned to the ground in the Deadlands timeline, they would have continued to develop and expand over the course of the conflict, resulting in a manufacturing ability to rival any region in Europe.
          Originally posted by Manchu View Post
          In the original fiction, the Confederacy was powerful enough to endure the the Union’s military capacity and become its politically permanent, geographically immediate rival.
          Because of extensive supernatural activity that disadvantaged the Union far more than it did the Confederacy; by design, since creating a permanent rival nation was a goal of the supernatural overlords.
          Originally posted by Manchu View Post
          Regardless of any subsequent economic development by either, the resulting cold war on the North American continent would by itself contain the global ambitions of both American states so long as the top-level agenda item for each remained checking the other.
          True, but that is the clever twist of the original fiction. By 1900, the US and CS had externalized their competition, focusing on enhancing their place in the wider world. A process made easier by the incredible abilities, and inspired conventional infrastructure development, of the New Science wave (a.k.a. Mad Science).
          Originally posted by Manchu View Post
          Existing great powers would as a matter of course exploit this tension to fight their own military and commercial proxy wars in North America as they continued to vie for international hegemony. Contrary to your exceptionalist mythography, little to nothing would prevent the great powers from exploiting North America just as they did other regions rich with natural resources such as South America, the Middle East, and Africa.
          Nothing aside from extreme xenophobia and violent resistance to "furrin interference". Which, amazing coincidence, has been the trend for the last three hundred years.

          It is important to understand that US/CS diplomats and politicians have the same arrogance, narcissism, and refusal to see themselves as 'lesser' as their European cousins; backed by the most advanced war fighting in the world (European military observers were shocked by the carnage, determination, and tactics of the ACW; read their letters). The European powers would love to have kept the Americans fighting each other for decades, but actually doing it would have required them to engage in risky covert operations that could easily have backfired into armed conflict with one or both nations. A risk exacerbated by the return of magic and the (to them) inexplicable focus of that magic on the West of North America.
          I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

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          • #20
            The interference of supernatural powers doesn’t blunt the outcome. However it came about, the Union was left sharing a border with a state posing a constant, urgent threat to its security. And likewise for the CSA. In actual history, a unified Federal Republic focused on rebuilding the country as a nation state developed severe nativist politics. It’s not clear to me the same would have happened if two extremely hostile states remained locked in a desperate rivalry, especially where one had always looked to foreign powers for potential aid.

            I’ll concede that the mad science factor makes it difficult to gauge the credibility of the scenario, given that the scenario is fundamentally incredible.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Manchu View Post
              The interference of supernatural powers doesn’t blunt the outcome.
              It was the only explanation for the outcome. The manufacturing capacity, logistic infrastructure, and massive manpower of the Union made the outcome of a protracted conflict inevitable: Union victory.
              The CSA had some manufacturing capacity and logistics infrastructure, which both underwent massive growth during the war, but even at their peak they were no more than a third of the Union's. Even overturning slavery (the reason for the rebellion) to free up manpower, and increased material assistance from the UK, could not overcome that disparity.
              The CSA, without magic, only had two hopes for victory. The first was a crushing series of decisive military victories that caused the Union to lose heart and quit the conflict in the opening months; they came closer than most want to admit, but Lincoln was stubborn and canny enough to maintain support for the conflict. The second hope was a world power politically accosting the Union to surrender, backed by the serious threat of military action by that world power. The only world powers that might have cared were European powers, and none of them cared enough to make themselves vulnerable in a military conflict with the Union.
              By 1863, Magic is the only path to victory the Confederacy had.
              Originally posted by Manchu View Post
              However it came about, the Union was left sharing a border with a state posing a constant, urgent threat to its security. And likewise for the CSA.
              Possibly. I would argue with the description 'urgent'. But it is possible that, like 16th and 17th century Spain and France, the US and CS would be powerful neighbors and rivals with a political history that would encourage them towards armed conflict, but a number of reasons to expend their energies competing abroad. A competition the Union was already engaged in through various foreign adventures - like Commodore Perry's mission to end Japan's self-enforced isolation in 1853-54.

              The US was not considered a Great Power in the mid-19th century. And that was fair, since the US didn't achieve that level of power (if not influence) until the late 19th century (1880 to 1890). Diversion of efforts towards defense on the mainland may have held that ascension back by as much as two decades, but it would not have stopped it. Foreign powers missed the opportunity to prevent US prominence by 1850 and I am unsure if domestic issues, short of total destruction, could have prevented it.
              Originally posted by Manchu View Post
              In actual history, a unified Federal Republic focused on rebuilding the country as a nation state developed severe nativist politics.
              That statement reflects an ignorance of the first 85 years of US history. An ignorance I do not have the time to address, so I shall merely note it for your own educational investigation.
              I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

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              • #22
                Given one can only pass along knowledge one already possess, it is evident here that lack of time is not the limiting factor.

                The metaphor of rivalry between France and Spain is basically inapt. The instant case is a single country split through ongoing, immediate hostility. Each perceives the other as an existential threat by definition. Realistically, no other issue could rate as highly on the agenda of either as struggling against one another. As in reality, this would include suborning every other potential political or economic issue (notably including xenophobia) to that end.

                If the conceits and fiats of fantasy fiction provide for settling that logically necessary tension, so be it. But all else being equal, this situation would not afford the belligerents the privilege of fighting each other or anyone else by proxy on the other side of the globe. Whether we can agree about that or not, it can be left aside.

                By whatever hook or crook, I think the idea of taking the American cultural icon of the Vietnam War and overlaying it on a “domestic space,” say Louisiana, is very in-step with Deadlands. As an alternate history scenario built around the ACW not ending or ending inconclusively, it is pretty plausible. One could have a Creole “nationalist” insurgency funded by the Union and even the involvement of the French government and military, perhaps by invitation of the CSA, with the violence spilling over throughout the Gulf into Mississippi and Texas. You could even have Beauregard as kind of American Ho Chi Minh (by posthumous inspiration or family legacy).
                Last edited by Manchu; 07-22-2021, 07:41 PM.

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                • ValhallaGH
                  ValhallaGH commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Given the history of Spain and Portugal, we cannot agree on your assertion.

                • Manchu
                  Manchu commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I cannot hope to respond to a mere insinuation.
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