Its 2007, and theres a bit of a feeling of discontent in Germany, which now finds itself the worlds fourth largest power in terms of GNP. True, theyre still a more influential country that Japan, but its a bit of a downer. Perhaps they should have intervened in Russia during the 1950s crisis? Or tried to bring East-central Europe into a tighter union?
In any event, no point in crying over spilt milk. Largely post-imperial (although still exerting a lot of influence in ex-German Africa) and pretty democratic the Kaiser is almost as much a figurehead nowadays as the British monarch Germany still is the dominant power of Europe west of Russia, but its been a while since its been really politically feasible to use the stick rather than the carrot.
The European Union is stuck at roughly 1980s EEC levels of unification anything tighter is seen as a German Plot For Domination and the French, while still retaining their economic ties with the rest of Europe, are trying to put together their own club of nations, in the form of the interest group/chowder and marching society known as the Latin league. This is annoying, but after 23, 39, and 65, it has become gospel in German politics that as long as they dont try to obtain their own nuclear arsenal, the French should be allowed to go to hell their own way.
Russia is the rising power, having made a painful transition from Czarist rule to one-party rule to functional, if rather turbulent and corrupt democracy. If they can avoid simmering separatism from going to a boil, (theyve already had to give some autonomy to the poor and mostly Muslim provinces of South Turkestan) they have a chance of catching up with the US sometime this century. Russian orthodox televangelists, governments about as long-lasting as those of Third Republic France, and almost as many automobiles as the US (Russia, rich in oil and with lots of vast open spaces, has embraced the open road as living standards have gone up).
The Japanese Empire, having finally pulled out of Manchuria in the 80s, is holding on grimly to Korea in the 10th year of the emergency. Although a modern country, its a poorer, far more militarized, and much less cutesey nation than OTL. Relations with the Chinese republic (one-party nationalist regime not much nicer than Saddams Iraq. But being screwed over by the Russians and the Japanese for three decades will sour any nation) are
oor. A loud youth movement, puzzlingly lacking in appreciation of wa and respect for the samurai tradition, is making a lot of fuss over the Korean situation.
The British Commonwealth is still afloat, but the Grand Project to create a federated Empire to counterbalance the Germans bogged down in the 60s due to acrimonious disagreements over who was to pay the bills, Indian notions that its majority share of population entitled it to a bigger voice, and the Canadian well, we can always hide in the shadow of the US, cant we? escape clause. Still, there remain ties closer than OTL, and presently forces from the UK, India, and elsewhere are hunkered down in the Persian Gulf, to forestall any further Turkish efforts at regaining stolen territories. (The successful grab of Kuwait in the 90s left serious egg on the Commonwealths collective face).
The US is still the largest economy on earth, although the Russians are closer than anybody has been since the start of the 20th century. A bit less populous than OTL (no baby boom, and although the immigration pipeline stayed open longer than OTL, it also took longer to reopen when closed) and with rather worse racial problems, it does have a somewhat sturdier social safety net (put together in fits and starts over half a century. There was a depression of sorts, but not the global catastrophe of OTL) and although it has a rich tradition of political corruption, the truly vicious Democrat-Republican split of OTL does not exist. (For one thing, its the Republicans which are the party of civil rights for minorities).
Although the US hasnt been in an important war since the Spanish-American one, it is not truly an isolationist country: it maintains close ties with the Commonwealth, aggressively backs free trade and US corporate interests world-wide, and maintains a keen interest in keeping up technologically and militarily with the Joneses (especially since the Germans detonated the worlds first atom bomb in 1953). And, of course, it keeps a close eye on its Latin American front yard (French fishing in American waters, and its cozying up to such distinctly anti-American regimes as the Brazilian dictatorship, has not been received favorably).
There are presently something like eleven nuclear powers, and the lack of some sort of official forum to allow jaw-jaw rather than war-war has been felt, leading to the piecemeal development of various international organizations, agreements on international law, official annual big-power meets, etc. Various UN-like organizations have been proposed, but so far nobody has been able to agree on the details.
Africa, where colonization was delayed from OTL by 20-30 years, is more heavily industrialized and has more infrastructure and a somewhat better educated population than OTL, but its already had a crop of governments gone un-democratic, although its still too early to tell if things will go as badly. Angola is currently split in two squabbling halves, and German and Commonwealth forces are cooperating to maintain order in Rwanda-Urundi.
Communism never got a foothold in this TL, although there are a variety of socialist parties and various left regimes in Latin America and elsewhere. Perhaps in response to the environmental space left open, there are several powerful anarchist movements, although understandably none actually runs a country. Italy has a particularly active and sometimes violent-one.
There was a sort of slow-motion space race of sorts as Bigger And Better rockets and near-orbital planes were developed in the wake of the Event of 53, but sheer expense and the rather alarming difficulties in getting past the moon led to its tapering off by the 90s, with the Japanese show the flag expedition to the moon in 97 writing the coda. The US, Russia and Germany continue to mess around with near-earth stuff, and the idea of a Glorious Joint International Mission to Mars has been kicking around for a while, but the cost projections remain too alarming.