The next war is coming, for sure

It is a certainty that in the near future a great war will break out. There are many convincing arguments for this proposition, e.g.:

  • our planet is overcrowded. That means more aggression
  • the purchasing power of the middle class is declining
  • the division between rich people and the poor increases constantly
  • the situation in most islamic countries and in black Africa is hopeless
  • war has always been present in the last 10.000 years of human history.

Which countries are the most powerful?

  • The United States because the army is strong and experienced
  • Russia which has furthermore a strong leader
  • China has an enormous army and a leader with supreme power
  • Turkey has a strong army, is a very nationalistic country and his leader dreams to restore the Ottoman Empire.

Which countries are weak?

  • The European Union with no real army, no true leaders and a bureaucracy which is characterized by indecisiveness 
  • The Arabian countries
  • Africa

What can we expect?

First of all, some tragic event must be the trigger of widespread aggression. Europa will be taken by surprise by Russian troops in a sort of blitzkrieg. The United States will take no action because this country has nothing to loose and does not want to take the risk of a nuclear war. Moreover the United States criticizes the European Union for neglecting his defence during the last decades. Turkey seizes the opportunity to occupy the Middle-East as far as Morocco. Possessions of wealthy oil sheiks are confiscated and allocated for a Marshall plan for the Middle East. The new European Confederation, with Russia included, makes a deal with the Ottoman Empire  to recolonize Africa so that the African people can live in peace, prosperity and welfare. China watches on, takes no initiative except for empowering his authority in Asia. The United States accepts the Chinese strategy and focuses his foreign policy to take power in Latin America.

There is a chance that this wars will not lead to many casualties. But if some leaders, such as the choleric French president Macron or the  unpredictable Donald Trump, react vehemently against the Russian conquest, then an human-initiated Apocalyps could break out. In the other case Europe, the countries in the Middle-East and in Africa will undergo resigned the new political situation. The Russian and Turkish armies will not encounter much resistance.

A warning from a former director of the CIA

A former director of the CIA, George Beebe, describes in his book "The Russia trap: How our shadow war with Russia could escalate to World War III" (2019), how a confluence of circumstances can lead to a world war that nobody wants. Beebe warns against a too simple representation of things, such as the assumption that Russia is an ambitious, aggressive state that wants to expand its power. This would be comparable to the Second World War with Germany as the aggressor. The situation now looks more like the First World War. Even then, nobody wanted that war, but the Sarajevo attack was the trigger that led to a terrible escalation. Then there was no aggressive state that wanted to expand its territory. Beebe sees the cause of the First World War as a 'system problem': the combination of all sorts of factors led countries to the war, such as new technologies that were seen as a major threat, alliances between countries, conflicting interests and wrong perceptions of the intentions of "enemy" powers.

We are now in a similar situation. After the end of the Cold War, a vacuum developed in Eastern Europe. This was filled by an extension of NATO. This was a threat to Russia. In the perception of the Russians, their country is surrounded by hostile states, whose purpose is to change the regime in Russia and to ruin their country. With new technologies, both the Western countries and Russia are trying to harm each other or undermine the domestic situation. There will be a real cyber war back and forth. Even the American elections have been influenced by the Russians.

The cyber war can easily escalate into a Third World War. We can hardly defend ourselves against this. If our computer system is hacked, then we can detect it, but it is virtually impossible to take preventive measures. So it is possible that an enemy power hacked the American satellites, cut down the power supply throughout the country and sabotaged the nuclear installations. If this is discovered, it is too late. In this situation, the principle of mutual deterrence, such as during the Cold War, does not apply.

Both the West and Russia have become very vulnerable in this internet age. According to Beebe, this situation is very risky. Something bad has to go wrong and escalation follows. We can already see that Russia and the US have conflicting interests in Syria, Ukraine and Iran. Here too, a "system problem" can easily arise and we are in the Third World War without anyone considering it desirable.

juliaan van acker, march 19th 2018 (update september 11th 2019)


   © Juliaan Van Acker 2024