The Second Great Depression was far more than merely an economic crisis. It included a diplomatic crisis that morphed into a series of conflicts one step removed from the fabled World War III of Twentieth and Twenty-First Century fiction. The Western World had maintained dominance for a century, with Western laws commanding the seas and international relations via the United Nations. But the economic crisis weakened that world, and many foes rose up to challenge it. Russian ruthlessness, Chinese calculation, and Middle Eastern extremism vied to replace The West as ruler of the world, just as the first primitive artificial intelligences began to see everything around them and understand both life and death. It was a crisis of economic integration, geo-political power, cultural dominance, and the very definition of life as we knew it. There are so very many ways it could have gone all wrong. The fact that we are here today at all is proof that we found a way through it. That alone is victory enough in my book.