Draka Done Differently:
Let’s take S.M Stirling's POD and have a little fun with it. The Dutch enter the ARW early and lose the Cape Colony for their trouble. After the British eventually grant the Thirteen Colonies their independence, they attempt to invest in their new territories in order to secure them. The British Loyalists from the Thirteen Colonies are granted property in this new colony in order to make the population base more robust. Whilst the original Dutch colonists are annoyed by this and attempt to Trek elsewhere, they are eventually assimilated by the expanding colonial population. With a Great Britain now more interested in investing in Africa, things really begin to change. Has borrowed some things from B.Munro/Quantumbranching' Draka Dewanked and Draka Vs Russia scenarios.
History happens and we move on to the year 2013.
The United States is the leader of the alliance for democracy. An ATL War of 1812 took place that was more organized and due to a previous mishandling of Quebec during the ARW lead to Francophone Canada seceding and then being absorbed by the USA. The US did expand much like OTL but the British, who still held onto Western Canada, were able to keep Oregon and took Alaska. A more expansionist US was more susceptible to move into Latin America. The USA is now a majority Catholic nation and officially bilingual. Slavery was finally abolished in the 1860s after the CSA gained independence in the ACW. Further immigration from across Europe and Asia has made the USA a very cosmopolitan and complex society. However due to the Protracted Struggle, society is also more conservative and militant. Due to a higher proportion of Catholics and more sexist attitudes, the US population is very high and has yet to fall below replacement levels. The US is also far more involved overseas and has some territories overseas in the Pacific. The US held the Philippines for several decades and even accepted them as states until they lost them to the Japanese shortly before the Great War. The US is the cultural centre of the Alliance for Democracy and like OTL has set up a significant media empire in California. This has also allowed them to keep control of propaganda for the entire Alliance. Media is closely watched by the government and censored accordingly in order to protect national and Alliance security.
Russia developed somewhat differently and during the 19th Century, did a better job of industrialising before the Great War broke out. During the war, the Russians lost a lot of territory in the west to the Germans before seeking a truce. After the new border was set, a revolution broke out to address the inadequacy of the Tsarist regime. Soon enough the revolution turned radical and forced the Tsar to abdicate. Thankfully the provisional government managed to keep some control and held off the Socialist and Dominist revolutions. With some support from outside, the Russians finally stabilised their nation and put one of the former Tsar' more distant relatives on the throne. The new Duma formalised their constitution and reformed the government into a more democratic system. Russia is now a proper parliamentary democracy. Russia is a major manufacturing centre of the Alliance and is prized for its still abundant natural resource base. Due to being surrounded by enemy states on all sides, Russia is also a highly militant and paranoid state that has invested in missile defence systems and automated defences the most. Recently a new political party has risen that is closely tied with the Orthodox Church and has risen on the wave of popular religious revival to gain influence in the Duma. Their political stance is very belligerent and heavy handed and calls for even greater industrialisation, militarisation and a return to more traditional Russian values.
Between these two, they have roped together numerous other states into an international power bloc dedicated to progressive democracy, traditional capitalism and liberal politics. They have strict 'democracies only' policy though they are happy support the development of potential member states that are making a noticeable and definite effort towards proper representative democracy. There has been trouble in a few states such as Gran Colombia which is democratic on paper but very oligarchic in practice and upsets many of the more idealistic members of the Senate. La Plata is approaching the USA in terms of GDP/capita and is often used an example of AfD advantages and ideals put into practice (even of they're not an actual member state).
The British Empire has been through a lot and suffered a lot of bad publicity for inadvertently giving birth to the Domination of Draka but despite this and the loss of most of their African territories, the British have made a clear comeback and risen to power once again. The British, like the US opened their borders to refugees from Europe after the Great War and the Empire has always been a refuge for ex-serfs seeking Asylum from the Draka. The British Empire is now a federated entity that has enfranchised and developed its colonies to an extent where they have been granted voting privileges in the Imperial Parliament. The division of India into numerous different constituent kingdoms has kept them from simply dominating the empire. However whilst the Parliament and society are post-racial, they are also very stratified with clear class distinctions. Whilst suffrage is universal, there are now somewhat unofficial standards of education and wealth that must be met if anyone wishes to enter into any form of politics. British culture is also somewhat more cosmopolitan, a cultural revival in the British Isles was added to a growing new Imperial identity that incorporates characteristics and fashions from across the empire. Thanks to the labour base India provides, the Empire has also become the world's source of mass produced crap. However customs do tend to slap a 'Made in India' logo on so that 'Made in England' can still be seen as a sign of quality production overseas.
One of Britain's closest allies is the Empire of Brazil. Brazil successfully developed and even expanded territorially and was the most powerful nation in South America. The US began projecting power over Latin America ever since they took Panama and Brazil has always been one of the few states to remain outside their orbit. Brazil is now a fully developed and advanced nation. They are also pioneering several new Green technologies that can safely exploit their natural resources and environment. Brazil's new Parliament is mostly divided between the rural Conservatives and the urban Progressives which are made up of the richer elements of society. The Emperor of Brazil is still a very powerful political figure and has been investing in the Progressives for several years now. Brazil was tied to Britain during the Great War where their economy became intrinsically entwined with Britain's. Britain then provided the money necessary for proper high-tech development.
This power bloc is known as the Imperial Bloc and is composed of the nations that dedicate themselves to more elitist governments, socialistic economies and interventionist politics as well as social and cultural integration. Though still definitely democratic, the Bloc opposes several of the AfD's policies and has been at odds with them on several occasions. The more powerful members of the Bloc have been hard at work developing their other member states and the results have been rather promising. The Greater Dominican Republic is still a bit backward with a clear social and wealth disparity but they are a functional state now.
The Domination of Draka is a nation reviled by most and feared by many. Built upon the backs of millions of brutalised slaves, the Domination has risen to power with great speed and vigour. Their economic strength is often seen as nothing short of a miracle and has done a brilliant job of properly exploiting the vast resource wealth of Africa. For a short time during the Great War, the Draka ruled nearly the entire continent before their overstretched forces were forced out of North Africa and nearly down to the Equator before they rallied. The border between the Draka and the British is as heavily fortified and guarded as such a massive border can be but there is always a problem of runaway serfs slipping through the cracks. The Draka have since reformed themselves slightly and reasserted control over their vast empire after the years of uprisings in the 30s. Draka society is a very weird and complex mix of progressive and traditional ideals. It is highly racist and stratified with every non-ethnic Draka citizen being legally enslaved. Duels are a common feature and reinforces a very traditional concept of honour, schools are segregated and all land is owned by the state but rented to the public for their use. However at the same time they are accepting of homosexuals and bisexuals so long as they fulfil their child quota at some point in their lives. Technological advancement is also a very important facet of Draka society though their is still a split in their Senate between the industrial oligarchs and the plantation clan families. Scientists in the Domination have been working tirelessly on biological technology. The Draka were never very adept with advanced computer tech like the AfD or IB but have been making magnificent strides in GM technology. New medicines, food products and designer pets have emerged from their laboratories and some are discussing biological warfare or even designer humans.
Due to butterflies, Germany united larger than OTL and during the Great War managed to advance from the Pyrennes to the Dneiper. Germany is still the undisputed master of Europe and has taken advantage of this to make itself a truly powerful state. The radicalism of their politics and the rise of their own Dominist party has made the Reich an autocratic and oppressive state. There is still a Kaiser on the throne who was picked from one of the more secular branches of the Hapsburgs but he is now a clear figurehead for the Chancellery who control all facets of society. German secret police are everywhere in Europe and alongside the propaganda machine keep control over the continent. Society is stratified, militant, highly traditional and slightly paranoid. Cameras and wire-taps are everywhere, a picture of the Kaiser and the Chancellor are in every home and massive vidscreens in the town squares blare out propaganda for the public. Whilst not subscribing to slavery Germany does have large populations of Untermensch who are often given the worst jobs and accommodations in the Reich. Life in Germany's satellites is a wary existence with the German army and secret police breathing down your neck and Big Brother constantly keeping his eye on you.
The third big Dominist power is the Empire of Japan. Like OTL Japan modernised, militarised and expanded but was far more successful at it. Japan is now a vast and militant nation ruled by the military who maintain the Emperor as a figurehead and the Diet as a puppet to legitimise their rule to the public. Japan has enthusiastically adopted the methods of the Draka in order to keep their Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese subjects in their place. Japan has received some of the worst resistance to their rule and during the 70s, employed some of their most brutal methods to put down rebellions. Japan has only just emerged from the economic embargoes that were put in place by the AfD and IB in response to the open atrocities committed by Japan during that period. Japanese society is very traditional with a huge emphasis on large families, gender roles and the honour system. Since the alliance with the Draka duels of honour have become a common thing in the Home Islands once again. Japan does still export its culture and has become famous for some truly bizarre and often disturbing animation (the concept of tentacles was developed later than OTL but appeared anyway. Japan is also the Iron Triangle' source of quality high technology and the one who provided the IT systems the Draka needed for their GM digital sequencing. Japan has once again shot into the upper levels of the global economy and happily exploits the labour of its colonies to mass produce goods for export.
These three nations formed the Iron Triangle which is built upon the belief that certain races are supposed to rule other other races. All subscribe to a master race ideology and use truly authoritarian methods to maintain their rule which has been termed Dominism after the largest and most powerful member of the Triangle. Despite the disgust many nations feel towards these three they do have other allies. The Confederate States did drift away from the Draka despite the aid given to their War of Independence but have returned to their camp now that the US has shot so far ahead of them and become a genuine threat. They still oppress their black population but do it through legislative and judiciary discrimination and bonded labour rather than outright slavery. Peru on the other hand uses Draka and Japanese money to help keep their Amerindian population in its place and work hard to convince their white population to keep having lots and lots of children.
Technology is far ahead of OTL due to the higher proportion of the globe being developed. Cybernetics and adaptable antibiotics have made medical technology far more efficient and helped rocket the global population to 10 billion. Thankfully at the same time GM crops are keeping the world fed. Enormous corn and wheat plants with stalks the size of trees provide plenty of food. New desalination methods allow nations to irrigate far wider areas than ever before and provide plenty of drinking water. The first nuclear fusion plant was activated last year in the USA though it looks to be even more capital intensive than the older clean fission plants. Every nation is weaning itself and its allies off of fossil fuels and setting up as many urban green spots as they can. New construction materials are allowing high rises to reach truly massive sizes that can house hundreds of thousands at once. However this world is also more authoritarian. Street cameras are everywhere and the slightest sign of dissidence can lead to arrest. The media everywhere is screened by government officials and there is no internet equivalent though every power bloc does maintain a more regional and version that they usually censor when they consider it appropriate. Military technology is also more advanced with body armour that could stop a knife, advanced locking systems for personal firearms, smart ordnance rounds and even experimental power armour, hover tanks and mecha. Space is the new arena and every Bloc has set up at least one moon base, orbital habitats and several asteroid mining colonies by now. Orbital elevators (1 for each power bloc) have made travel to orbit far easier and are covered in photovoltaic panels to provide a massive and clean energy source. Mars has at least five shiny new bases on its surface (2 for the AfD, 2 for the IB and 1 for the Triangle) with another still under construction. The three powers are currently meeting for a formal referendum and partition of the planet. Every power also maintains a substantial fleet of armed spacecraft that constantly patrol their regions of space.
This is also a world that has its collective fingers on the launch buttons. Earth's orbit is littered with ICBMS and killsats all pointing at their respective rivals and enemies. The world leaders all watch for the inevitable slip that will start the Final War and some even anticipate it.