A war involving many large nations in all different parts of the world. The name is commonly given to the wars of 1914–18 and 1939–45, although only the second of these was truly global. Since 1756, the modern-state system has experienced four global wars; The Seven Years War, The French Revolutionary Wars, World War I, and World War II. The longest global peace came between 1815 and 1914. World War I, also known as the First World War, the Great War, or the War to End All Wars, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. It has now been seventy years since the last world war.
Self-proclaimed ‘messenger of God’ Horacio Villegas believes nuclear war will break out very soon between 2020 – 2023. Villegas warned the US & NATO leaders (of 2020) would attack Russia over Ukraine, which may be triggered by a false flag event. She also predicted that it would bring Russia, India, North Korea and China into the deadly global conflict.
The world remains jarringly dangerous. While this uncertainty does not always result in opportunities for other states to step up, it does increase the chance for miscalculation in crisis and non-crisis situations.
What are the many ways a World War III could begin tomorrow?
India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan could go to war again for any number of reasons. If a Pakistani-sponsored terrorist group makes another attack, India’s patience could wear very thin. Either state could engage in some adventurism in Afghanistan, perhaps in response to the activity of non-state actors. But if Pakistan suffered a serious conventional defeat, the use of tactical nuclear weapons might seem like the only way out. If that happens, all bets are off.
East China Sea
Over the past two years China and Japan have played a dangerous game around the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Both countries claim the islands, and each has deployed military forces in their vicinity. A naval or air incident could create an upsurge of nationalist hostility in both countries, making it difficult for either Tokyo or Beijing to back down. Moreover, both countries have struggled to control the activities of nationalist groups, leading to additional potential flashpoints. The United States is bound by treaty to defend Japan. If a conflict between China and Japan erupts, the United States may find it difficult to avoid entanglement. In context of any kind of sustained combat between Japanese and Chinese forces (not to mention an aggressive Chinese effort to land on the islands), the United States would almost certainly become involved.
The South China Sea
The United States has already had a number of uncomfortable confrontations with Chinese naval and air units in the South China Sea. If an operator lost his or her cool, dreadful consequences could ensue. Similarly, as the United States steps up its involvement with Vietnam and the Philippines, it could become entangled in Chinese military operations against either country.
North Korea is undoubtedly the most serious foreign-policy crisis facing the world today. The DPRK’s success in developing ballistic missiles, combined with the diplomatic inexperience of the Trump administration, have created an extraordinarily dangerous situation. Having repeatedly conducted missile and nuclear tests over the last decade, North Korea is showing no inclination to collapse under U.S. pressure. The United States has responded with diplomatic incoherence, as senior officials often contradict each other within hours of making statements. To complicate the issue, North Korea and the United States both have substantial incentives to pre-empt; the United States in order to destroy North Korean communications and installation before the missiles can leave the ground, and the North Koreans in order to avoid such a fate. This situation could easily lead to miscalculation by either side, and the potential for war that could draw in Japan and China.
An accidental confrontation between NATO and Russia aircraft could lead to bad tactical decisions, with one or more planes shot out of the air. On the other, a dramatic shift on the ground in Syria could force the hand of one of the supporters of the proxy combatants. This could get ugly, as France, Russia, and the United States have very different views about how the future of Syria should look. If any of the three decide to intervene in favor of their preferred factions, the situation could very quickly come to resemble a game of chicken, with airstrikes, no fly zones, and secure enclaves providing the points of conflict. Serious fighting between external powers in Syria could quickly draw in Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, and potentially spread to other parts of the globe.
Iran & Saudi Arabia
Conflicts in the Middle East almost always contain the seeds of great power conflict, even if those seeds rarely bloom. As the civil war in Syria has shambled towards it conclusion, attention has shifted to the confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia still seems to have an itchy trigger finger, and it seems eager to find Tehran’s hand behind every setback. For its part, Iran continues expanding its influence in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. Could Riyadh and Tehran contain their war? War has broken out in the Gulf before without engulfing the rest of the world, but Riyadh has demonstrated a clear willingness to build a diplomatic and military coalition against Iran, perhaps going so far as to include Israel. With Russia reasserting its position in the region, it’s depressingly easy to imagine great power conflict.
Russia & Ukraine
Currently, the two countries are in a state of war: the Russo-Ukrainian War began in 2014 following the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. After the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, the successor states’ bilateral relations have undergone periods of ties, tensions, and outright hostility.
Both sides came to believe that the other had more drastic intentions. Moscow is convinced the West is bent on isolating, subjugating, or outright destroying Russia. One in three Russians now believe the US may invade. Western nations worry, with reason, that Russia could use the threat of war, or provoke an actual conflict, to fracture NATO and its commitment to defend Eastern Europe. This would break the status quo order that has peacefully unified Europe under Western leadership, and kept out Russian influence, for 25 years.
Fearing the worst of one another, the US and Russia have pledged to go to war, if necessary, to defend their interests in the Eastern European borderlands. They have positioned military forces and conducted chest-thumping exercises, hoping to scare one another down. Putin, warning repeatedly that he would use nuclear weapons in a conflict, began forward-deploying nuclear-capable missiles and bombers.