I'm getting tired of this one. All Bush's fault. Things were a lot more fun when the only making the Americans squawk was a bimbo and a cigar in the Whitehouse with Bill. So lets create another world. In this (more perfect) world, Bush choked on that pretzel and Cheney had a heart-attack after reading his wife's purple prose.
The new president (Nancy Pelosi, we're stretching time here, but so what) got the congress and the house and everyone else, to pull the troops out of Iraq, and somehow convinced the UN to take over. (Fantasy land...) and the Iranians, in a sulk, decided they'd better toe the line a bit, and let the inspectors in. They also admitted that the reason they were so intent on getting nuclear reactors was because the oil WAS running out, (is running out) and they wanted to be able to keep their electric grids up and running.
Most people believed them, except Israel, who announced it was going to attack Iran. Saudi Arabia yawned, while the new US president suddenly cut off all financial aid to Israel and Africa. "Unless you give the Palestinians their own state, you can just get your funds from the UK", announced Pelosi, in her toughest, LA accent. And to the African states she said, "No more buying arms from Russia, you losers. It's time to clean up your act." And in an unprecedented move, she also raised taxes on oil companies and said any oil company doing business with dictators or thugs would be taxed at 150%. This meant oil shot up to 18$ a gallon in the US and Europe. The Europeans were used to this, and just gritted their teeth.
The Americans, too involved in the latest TV shows, cried 'foul!" but didn't react. But a manufacturer from India, Tati, introduced a car that ran on water, and suddenly the Tati company was the richest on earth, surpassing Philip Morris, Dow, Microsoft and Shell. The Indians, flush with their new fortune, dragged Dow to the courts and prosecuted them for the Bhopal disaster. Dow was dissolved and was bought by the Chinese.
Of course, the arms and oil companies all over the world were supremely vexed. They had been raking in gadzillions with the various and sundry wars and oil price spikes. Even the Saudi’s lost their bored look and started to send envoys to the US in order to try and get them back into buying oil. Chavez, who had long been a thorn in the US's side, lost his seat as president, but was elected supreme high chief of social advancement and the Colombians gave him his own TV show, so he was happy.
Cuba, no longer blockaded, suddenly became a millionaire's playground, as they flocked there for low-cost liposuction and face-lifts. The island of Cuba was now richer than Monaco, and joined with Switzerland, Luxemburg, the Caymen Islands, the Isle of Jersey, and Monaco in an exclusive club - the UTMOST (Un-Taxed Millionaires Or Such Types) which so angered the reactionary revolutionists left over from Castro's supporters, they formed and army and easily took over UTMOST and formed the LOST club (Leftists Or Such Types) and forced all the companies (and stars, billionaires, and such types) to pay all their back taxes.
The money went into an educational fund for all the schools in the whole world - providing creationalism was NOT taught. The result was a surge in educated people, making most television shows obsolete, but a whole new slew of inventions and advancements saw the light of day. In the Arab world, the collapse of oil sales led to a huge upheaval, where the women took over and created democracies. Only women could run for office though. Men were expected to learn to cook, clean, and work in the garden.
Child labor was abolished, and all children were enrolled in the schools financed by LOST.
In France, Sarkozy's wife (Carla) decided she wanted to live in Monaco, so they ousted the royal family and installed themselves in the palace. Monaco became part of France, which pleased no one, except Carla, who took to wearing a tiara and putting diamond studs in her guitar. The English, after seeing that, decided they would keep their royal family, after all, and annulled the vote which stripped them of their titles. They did, however, take all the royal residences but one and turn them into housing for the poor.
E-books became insanely popular, and the Iskander series, once an underground cult book, suddenly became a humungous best-seller, especially popular with the Macedonians. "Time for Alexander" went on to beat even the bible in terms of sales.
Global warming was arrested, (as were Bush and Blair who were also convicted for war crimes). And poverty and famine was eradicated as the western world learned that fair taxes and eating less was good for everyone. And Tati's cars were a big hit with everyone.