My first diary about XCOM: Enemy Unknown was all about my failure to perform well on the Classic difficulty with the Ironman option turned on, so I went back to Normal and started a new campaign, but I kept the Ironman active in order to introduce an extra challenge element.
The most shocking thing about the start of the battle against the aliens is how underprepared humanity really is when it comes to fighting any sort of advanced race.
In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the initiative, even if it has the backing of the most important countries in the world, it has limited funds, archaic weaponry, access to just a handful of soldiers and, weirdly, very limited knowledge of what’s happening on Earth.
It’s interesting to note that the same is true in the real world, where futurologists predict that any civilization that’s actually advanced enough for interstellar travel might be able to wipe us out without any significant resistance and then exploit the planet how they like.
Our weapons are based on delivering kinetic energy via rather crude physical objects to our targets and we have little in the way of actual protection on the battlefield.
Basically, the only real-world advantage that we would have in case of an alien invasion is our very good satellite and air information coverage, which was developed with military operations in mind and would allow an initiative like that in XCOM to react quickly to any sort of alien incursion.
This is where Enemy Unknown fails when it comes to the game setup, because it only offers the player one satellite uplink and limited interceptors to use, without explaining clearly how and why the player does not have access to the almost limitless air and space power of the various countries in the world.
A word of advice: get another satellite under construction as soon as possible and invest in them early and often.