World War III
WHO, WHERE & WHY
“I don’t know with what weapons world war III will be fought, but world war IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” — Albert Einstein
Abdul Rasool syed
Polemics concerning the probable occurrence of third world war, nowadays, form the major part of many a political and academic discourse. According to strategic and war affairs experts, prevailing global conflicts involving major world powers may snowball into a full-scale war at any point of time. This very development would eventually lead to the beginning of third world war. Here, the question arises who may be the potential initiators and what may be the circumstances that would result in third global war. This piece is aimed at addressing such questions and providing the readers with a factual analysis of the possible forthcoming events leading to world war III.
Given the current global crisis as well as US chronicle, America can safely be dubbed as number one among the possible initiators of third world war. Chronological record shows that whenever there is a conflict anywhere in the world; nine times out of ten, it is the US that is involved in some capacity. It has a long history of engineering coups, toppling regimes and backing juntas in many parts of the world. Some examples of such interventionist foreign policy include: Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Congo (1960), Dominican Republic (1961), South Vietnam (1963), Brazil (1964), Chile (1973), Iraq (1992 and 2003), Syria in 2011, and finally Ukraine (2014). Currently, the United States is aggressively pursuing its campaign of putting “maximum pressure” against Iran so as to make it capitulate to America’s dictates. In addition, in order to exercise its domineering influence, the US maintains hundreds of military basis in a number of countries. This policy of policing the world and constant warfare could easily escalate into a global conflict. Modern geopolitics is a delicate balance of power and, in many ways, similar to a game of chess; the piece is moved quickly and the powers can quickly rise and fall, the fact of the matter is that the more conflict US instigates, the more likely it is that it would be responsible for third world war.
China, another economic and military giant, may also create circumstances that would lead to WWIII. Many of those who follow China’s expansionist move in South China Sea believe that if any time, the third world war starts, China would certainly be a reason behind it. China’s policy of extending territorial claims on foreign territories as well as its artificial island programme has brought it into direct conflict with Vietnam, South Korea, Philippines and Japan. And, because of heightened tensions in the region, Vietnam is employing all its resources to build up its army to match its strength with People’s Liberation Army. At the same time, Japan is also considering to re-arm itself. On top of it, the re-integration of Taiwan has been a long, cherished dream of Bejing. However, it can be safely concluded that if China attempts to annex Taiwan, the move would, for sure, invite the US wrath, and the ensuing tension might spiral out control.
In addition, the US and China of late have not drawn any tight connection between the trade war and ongoing disputes in South China Sea. As relations between the two countries deteriorate, one country or the other might up the ante beyond dollars, words and legal filings. Indeed, if China and the US conclude that their trade is at substantial risk, and similarly agree that a conflict is inevitable, then would decide to take off the gloves in South China Sea.
Another big player in the potential third world war may be a revisionist Russia. After the Cold War, Russia-US relations were relatively stable. In 1990’s, former Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, and his American counterpart Bill Clinton developed a strong relationship that brought the two erstwhile adversaries closer. Yeltsin’s successor Vladimir Putin also enjoyed a somewhat similar relationship with President Bush. The two leaders stood side by side in 2005 Victory Day parade. Today, however, Putin’s soaring influence in the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe has caused the two countries to be at draggers drawn against each other.
Israel, a sworn friend and indispensable ally of the United States in the Middle East, can also pave the way for third world war. Israel’s relations with its immediate neighbours are not cordial. Its aggressive and hawkish posture on Palestinian Muslims is, certainly, bound to invite a befitting response from the Muslim world. And if this happens, America, while keeping up its tradition of interventionism, might come to rescue Israel. This very situation, thus, may lead to the breaking of WWIII.
Iran, a country that is often painted in the Western media as an unstable yet very aggressive regime can also contribute to the beginning of world war III. Iran, equipped with abounding hydrocarbon resources, skilled human capital and unparalleled expertise in science and technology enjoys hegemonic influence in the Middle East. This is what makes the country an anathema for America as well as its illegitimate child, i.e. Israel. That is why America is putting economic and military pressure on Iran in order to clip its wings of power in the region. Besides Israel, Iran could also enter into conflict with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main competitors in the region. However, any attack on Turkey would directly involve North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) into the conflict since all the members of NATO are obligated to come to the aid of Turkey under article 5 of the NATO Charter. On the other hand, any strike on Saudi Arabia, would, certainly, may ensue in US intervention as Riyadh is Washington’s key ally in the region.
However, Iran is not devoid of allies; it enjoys all-out support of Russia and China since the interests of both, that is, to limit the US influence in the region, converge and, therefore, they find Iran as a valuable ally to further their respective agenda in the Middle East.
Kim Joung Un’s North Korea, which is in possession of nukes, intercontinental ballistic missiles, hydrogen bombs and other arms, also poses an enormous threat to the world. Kim is constantly found threatening South Korea and the United States. One miscalculation could trigger a devastating war in this region.
Historically, both North Korea and South Korea have been pawns in the cold war that engulfed the world from 1950s till the fall of the mighty Soviet Union. China and Russia have been patrons of North whereas the US and its Western allies patronized the South.
Of all the conflict zones on the planet, this one, according to war experts, has the makings to trigger the global war pulling China and Russia on the one side and US, Japan and other western countries on the other.
Syria, currently teetering under the claws of a drawn-out war, is also a potential trigger of the third global war. In Syria, the major world powers, e.g. the United States and Russia, are fighting through their proxies. Both are providing, money, men and material to their respective allies. President Assad main goal in the beginning was to wipe out the opposition and prevent the civilian war from escalating into a global conflict; unfortunately, the exact opposite has occurred that has dragged world powers into a local conflict and hence, turned the local conflict into a one of global magnitude. Consequently, Syria becomes one of the countries where the third global war could possibly break out.
Finally, both India and Pakistan also have the potential to become initiators of third world war. Both are nuclear powers that also nurture intense antipathy against each other. Both have fought four wars over Kashmir that is classified as a nuclear flashpoint; meaning thereby that it has the potential to stimulate nuclear war between the two countries. Thus, nuclear war in any part of the world, for sure, would bring disastrous consequences not only for the region where it takes place but also for whole the world.