The Empire State was formed almost immediately after Texas secession in 1930. Led by popular President Fiorello La Guardia , the Empire State has rapidly become the focus of political and economic power in North America (which has led to a fierce rivalry with the Industrial States of America). The Empire State covets the ISA's industrial capacity, while the ISA would love to have New York's status as the North American continent's leading political power and chief trading center.
The mutual rivalry between the Empire State and the ISA can only lead to further conflict, especially considering President La Guardia's recent alliance with the notorious sky pirate, the Black Swan; she and her band will certainly find targets of opportunity westward of the Empire State. When challenged about the Black Swan, La Guardia points out that the Red Skull Legion has been based in the ISA for years and is almost certainly "encouraged" by the ISA's government.
This economic rivalry is exceeded only by the clash between the Empire State and the Nation of Hollywood. Each claims to be the center of culture in North America, contentions that have created tension between the two nations. These tensions were exacerbated by a botched trade negotiation between them; Hollywood responded by threatening an embargo of entertainment properties (movies, radio shows and so on). Since that incident, Hollywood has treated the Empire State with suspicion, and neither side shows any signs of backing down.
The Empire State cannot focus on its western border for long; with the recent air strike into Manhattan by the Confederation of Dixie, the southern passages into this nation are more heavily patrolled as President La Guardia considers reprisals. Speculation abounds whether the strike offers proof of Appalachian complicity, a nation of long-standing neutrality. The so-called experts are in disagreement, and the lack of real authority in the Appalachian Mountains argues against trust between a "wet" and a "dry" nation.
Additionally, the Empire State has the nation of Quebec to the North, serving as a haven for bootleggers and pirates, and an unconfirmed neutrality agreement with the Atlantic Coalition and Maritime Provinces states.