Experts believe that the current state of tensions between various major powers on the world stage has brought the planet closer to World War 3 than it has been in over five decades. That time frame would include the harrowing Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, where the world’s foremost superpowers, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (the Soviet Union), had a showdown over the placement of ballistic missiles in Cuba by the Soviet Union. That confrontation lasted 13 days but ended with the Soviets pulling the missiles out of the island nation in the Caribbean. But now the world again appears to be precariously perched on the precipice of global conflict, with just one military, political and/or diplomatic mistake separating adversarial nations from global conflict.
In an extensive report on the looming threat of World War 3 last week, The Sun revealed that not only could the entire world be hurled into a devastating multinational war due to some trigger incident in extremely tense regions like Ukraine and eastern Europe, where tensions between the U.S.-backed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries and the Russian Federation (today’s version of the minimally larger Soviet Union), have escalated in the last few years (and intensified in the past few months, as the Inquistr has reported), but also in areas like the South China Sea (where China’s naval encroachments in the region have Pacific nations on edge) and the Korean peninsula (where recent missile tests by North Korea has earned a show of force by the United States). Additionally, as experts explained, there are other players on that world stage — Pakistan, India, Iran, the Islamic State terrorist caliphate, or an as yet undetermined rogue state — that could send an unsteady world into an escalating war that would eventually involve multiple parties and threaten World War 3 and, perhaps, even a nuclear strike or exchange.
Britain’s Admiral (Ret.) Lord West, told The Sun, “Basically none of us know what is going to happen but we are in a more dangerous, chaotic and unpredictable time than any other in my 50 years in the force.”
Admiral Lord West offered a vision of a United Kingdom-less European Union that could spiral into dissolution, causing untold devastating economic chaos amongst its current members, making the region ripe for political turmoil and even potential realignments of allegiances, not to mention military intervention by opportunistic states (like, for instance, the Russian Federation moving into the Baltic States or some other eastern European nation along its extensive western border.
“I can see bits of Europe breaking up and when Europe gets into a mess,” Lord West said, “twice in the past we’ve had to go in there and clear it up with immense loss of blood and lives.”
The one common denominator in all the various potential scenarios leading to conflict (except for possibly a nuclear exchange that could potentially occur between the adversarial states of India and Pakistan) is the supporting or dominant role the United States plays. Whether it be through various alliances like the mutual defense pact with NATO or with South Korea and Japan, the presence of the U.S. as a major supporting player — and an ally if war were to break out — is a tempering agent that undoubtedly prevents nations like Russia, China, and North Korea from engaging in little more than military rearmament, posturing (through tests, drills and exercises) and aggressive rhetoric.
Besides the major players’ or their proxy organizations’ possible involvement in what could be a World War 3 trigger, there is also the chance that a confrontation between world powers, or smaller powers aligned with the world powers, could lead to a major conflagration. The current multi-state, multi-coalition set of conflicts ongoing in Syria and Iraq are an example of a precarious situation where a military mistake could quickly escalate into a serious problem between many parties.
Future war expert Peter W. Singer wrote in The Daily Telegraph last year warning of the possibility of a minor incident or accident starting World War 3.
“As in the past, it is perfectly possible that a third world war could start with a small event, or even by accident.”
He further explained.
“One of the many Russian bomber planes now probing NATO’s borders could collide with an RAF [Royal Air Force] Typhoon, prompting an aerial skirmish the likes of which the world has not seen for decades. Indeed, the skies over Syria are starting to get dangerously crowded, with Russian jets flying near US planes on bombing runs, and sparring with NATO air defences in neighbouring Turkey.”
Back in November, such an incident occurred when a Russian bomber was shot down by a Turkish jet when it entered Turkey’s airspace and failed to heed numerous warnings to leave the area. Although tension mounted between Russia and Turkey (Russia having denied its aircraft had entered Turkish territory), as was reported by The Independent, the incident never got beyond the political and diplomatic sniping and the repositioning of Russian naval forces.
As the Inquistr reported last month, Iranian involvement with Russia in Syria and the Middle Eastern nation’s current escalation of naval harassment incidents against the U.S. Navy have become worrisome. Some, like former GOP congressman and retired Army Lt. Col. Allen West, believe that the elements for World War 3 are already in place in war-ravaged Syria.
Then there’s the fear of a politically unstable nation like Pakistan, which has a nuclear arsenal, being run one day by religious or politically motivated fanatics who wouldn’t hesitate to use the nuclear weapons at their disposal. There is also the continuing fear that North Korea’s constant bellicosity towards South Korea and the United States will one day become an open act of war, perhaps through the use of North Korea’s own cache of nuclear weapons. Lastly, there are nations like Iran and terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda, not to mention quasi-states like ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), that could develop (as in the case of Iran) or acquire nuclear weapons somehow and employ them in an attack that could precipitate conditions conducive to World War 3.
So can the involved nations pull themselves back from the brink of a multi-nation conflict? Thus far, they’ve been able to avoid a clash that might become a reason for war, satisfying themselves with proxy skirmishes and sabre-rattling. But experts agree that there are many areas of contention in the world, each of them holding the potential to ignite into what could become World War 3 at any given moment.
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