a Ferdinand event is the trigger event, trigger events don't happen in the void, they require things to be primed. The last drop as you call it. The thing that commits everybody to a course that cannot be taken back, where if it didn't happen things might defuse, or wax and wane and maybe trigger at another time, but when it happens the whole thing comes to fruition.
I hadn't thought of a Putin assassination. The guy strikes me as knowing enough to be prepared for that. Though it does make me realize that when he steps down, has a heart attack or gets killed that those shoes are not going to be easy to fill, even with his inner circle to manage the situation the next person in the seat will be Putin Lite and that's going to hurt the whole course of the country as well as relations and agreements with other countries who based their relationships on the character of Putin as Leader.
My feeling on the Ferdinand event is:
Of all the Damned places it will go down, it will be North Korea.
hear me out.
I'm Figuring the US preferrs to keep it cold with Russia, and that the EU faces destabalisation as other referendums have the bigger more stable economies from pulling out rather than continue to be donors to the failing ones. The economic upset and trade bickering resulting means spill over into NATO and UN relations, effectively filibustering any attempts to do anything useful.
Meanwhile Russia will protect is people in former territories like it protected the Crimean territories recently spreading its boarders again. And Trump will respect Putin for it and informally not get in the way while not commiting to anything. The EU will be too much a mess to do anything. (if in the off chance it's Hillary as president it may still go this way, but more because Hillary won't go in alone on Russian, the rest of NATO need to commit at least 50% to the opporation, we can't foot the bill for this otherwise, maybe some sanctions, blah blah blah, but nothing really hostile.)
But heres the thing, Trumps got a bug up his butt about China. It's part that he publically blames them for "taking our jobs" and so has to appear to at least hold that grudge, but He's a bully too, and bullies know damn well they can't allow anyone the chance to become a potential rival.
Funny thing is that China and Russia, you can't really crap on one without it bothering the other a bit. So Putin may be the thing that keeps Trump in line with regards to China.
So Putin grooming his replacement while still managing things from the background might still keep things in place but on the edge. But when something happens to the Great Marshal of North Korea...
If he dies of ill health or is assassinated without a son of age to take over... North Korea will be an atomic power, in complete chaos, and china their primary support and advisor who is already starting to show a bit of impatience with North Koreas actions may just decide they are the best choice as the one who have assisted so much in the past to stabalize the regions. Essentially absorbing north Korea.
I can imagine South Korea losing it's shit over that, and Japan won't be too impressed either. Both of whom have treaties with, you guessed it, The US whose Leader has a hate-on for China already, but China absorbing a Nuclear and heavily militarized nation... It's pretty much giving permission to react. Meanwhile china was not at a point where they were power enough to be the other super power to the USAs superpower. But China plus the North Korea military might be enough.
The US v China issue strains Russian US relations in eastern Europe. While a China, Russia, North Korea would be a powerhouse that could steamroll a struggling US stretched a bit from dealing with a middle east mess, tossing in Europe, and Canada, Aus, and NZ, things get a bit more World Warry.
Brazil and venezuela collapsing, and central american refugee crisis making a mess of south and central american and creating problems on the US southern boarder, and the middle east now free of a lot of attention goes to hell. The middle east will never be an organized faction in this fight and they aren't likely to pick among the others to side with it'll just be a mess of multiple civil wars with ISIL stirring the pot inside and outside the region, getting them all to deplete themselves while they expand their territories by offering food and infrastructure stability in the storm. Meanwhile terrorist activity keeps hitting areas in europe and even egging stuff on in Pakistan India relations causing tensions over Indian borders which are already problematic for china and India.
I'd wager northern africa will have some troubles with the Middle east and ISIL terrorism, it might even stress the central african nations enough to have bases from other countries though trying to remain neutral.
It's not going to be as clean as Axis and Allies was, this may have 3-5 factions and the combat will range from things like we see in the middle east now, to coldwar style conflicts with cyber attacks and insertion teams to disrupt infrastructure and military forces. There will be very few 'front lines'. Though international waters and space may well become areas of conflict as well.
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