World War III?

I have often wondered, how likely is a World War III? I know it have been over 65 years since the last world war. And that amount of time alone would make it seem less likely. Also, the threat of nuclear weapons being used, give it less appeal to world governments, I think.

Yet, from time to time you do hear people bring it up (esp. with nuclear weapons). So how likely is it to happen (1) soon, or (2) ever again?


Well, I think humanity being what it is, there will eventually be a WWIII. However, I don’t think this would happen until either: A) multiple countries developed some sort of missile shield to negate nuclear weapons to avoid that massive and very real threat OR B) One country in control of nuclear weapons fires them off somewhere for crazy reasons (North Korea springs to mind, but perhaps also Pakistan as it gets closer and closer to becoming a failed state and Muslim extremist groups take over more and more.)

The world war 3 that has had people concerned for the previous forty years is not likely to happen, its more likely a repeat of either world war one or two would be more likely, conventional with occasional usage of nukes.


It depends on how you define ‘war’. I think it’s arguable that the Cold War was WWIII, though a low intensity war in terms of military power. The Chinese revolution and the Korean war were the most violent of the military battles. America thought the Vietnam conflict was another battle of the Cold War, but maybe it wasn’t. And there were any number of insurgencies that all through the Third World that can also be seen as the violent side of the Cold War.

And don’t get me started on Bush’s bullshit “War on Terrorism”… too late. I personally think that if Afghanistan and Iraq had been pacified more easily after the initial combat, the Neocon steamroller would have gone ahead into invasions of Iran, probably Syria, and anyone else in that neighborhood who didn’t cough up whoever and whatever we wanted. For a while there, Bush was very heavy on the “either for us or against us” rhetoric, until it became clear that practically everyone was against us.

Ever again? It’s pretty much a certainty. The only likely alternative is that humanity becomes extinct.

But I don’t see one happening soon.

Riiiiiight. Would that “everyone” include the eighteen-odd countries presently forming the ISAF in Afghanistan? :rolleyes:

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Sorry I wasn’t clearer. I was thinking about Iraq rather than Afghanistan in tern of nearly universal disapproval.

And not undeserved, really. What was the point of that invasion, again?

To give The Daily Show material.

To grab the oil; to grab the profit from the oil; to deny the oil to China; to interrupt the oil supply and create a price spike; to reshape Iraq into a libertarian free market paradise; to destroy the culture and history of Iraq and turn it into a blank slate; to destroy Iraqi secularism; to force Christian missionaries into the country; to kill Muslims; for Bush to show up Daddy; to prove that wars could be fought with smaller forces; to turn Iraq into a base for the eventual general conquest of the region; and various other goals. An incoherent mess of goals; poorly coordinated, poorly thought out, poorly carried out, and not particularly internally consistent goals.

I don’t see a likely WWIII scenario as long as the US remains such a dominant military power. I mean, no one who would be likely to fight us would actually want to tangle with us. Our allies are powerful, our own military resources are even more powerful, we are actually able to project that power globally and no one else who would be a potential enemy can do that today.

Once America starts to seriously decline, especially militarily, then I think that eventually it will bring back the conditions by which large regional wars could spread to become a world war. What you need to make a world war possible is a lot of countries with some sort of military and economic parity who also have regional and global interests that intersect and who form alliances to try and protest those interests. When those interests come into conflict, and there is no clearly stronger party, then the potential for large scale war comes into play.

Unless someone else (like the EU) steps up after the US starts to decline and builds it’s military to the point of the same level of dominance that the US has enjoyed and continues to enjoy right now, it could happen. It’s not going to happen soon, though, and nuclear weapons might provide some of that parity even after the US fades back…again, for a time at least.


I could picture India and China going at it before anyone tries to take on the U.S.

When Austria laid down it’s ultimatum on Serbia, I don’t think they realised that the war would engulf Europe. The figured that it would be a short war, win a couple battles against the Serbs, and maybe Russia. Then everyone would go home.

WW2: same thing. Both the Japanese and the Germans thought that their expected enemies wouldn’t have the will to oppose them. (Germany thought that no one would pay more than lip service to his absorption of Poland, and Japan thought that if they grabbed enough territory to give them “defense in depth”, the western powers would decline to press matters further.)

I think that WW3 will happen if, and when, one major power (or alliance) fails to gauge correctly how much the other major powers are willing to oppose it.

If I answer your question at face value, others here so far seems to express many of my sentiments.

However, if I answer your question based on the concept of securing the hearts and minds of others, political and economic power over others (individually and/or collectively), that sort of thing, WWIII started back in the late 1980s and exploded in the mid-1990s. WWIII is currently hot and heavy all over the globe. Although you can’t see the bombs flash, the pressure waves hit your chest (in the split nanosecond before vaporization) or feel the searing paint of a bullet, war is already here. The most easily identifiable part of it is cyberwar, and yes, people are actually physical casualties of cyberwarfare.

This. We’re in a sort of Pax Americana of sorts, where world wars won’t really happen, because we’re literally more powerful militarily than the next 2-3 countries combined.

If the US is involved, nobody’s going to get into a force-on-force shooting war, because the side without the US WILL lose in today’s age.

What we’ll see is a continuation of the asymmetrical warfare that we see in Afghanistan and saw in Iraq.

Oddly, one could make a case that the adventurism in Iraq and Afghanistan serve a purpose keeping the large-scale peace, by keeping the US military well funded.

Actually Saddam already allowed Christian missionaries into the country.

Definately not the EU. The European is and will remain an economic superpower for a long, long time but it will not ever be a military superpower comparable to the USA. Not only is the European population increasingly becoming older but the European military spirit was slain on the trenches of the Somme and Passchendale, on the long retreat from from Stalingrad to Berlin, and the bombings of Cologne and Dresden. Europe has since focused on technologically advanced but small militaries with limited projection capabilities. Look at the controversy caused in Germany, which once furnished the finest army in the world, when one air strike in Afghanistan accidentally killed some civilians. Simply put, the people of Europe have neither the manpower, nor the spirit, nor the money to be a military superpower.

This is why the US must remain a military superpower as long as possible to prevent another descent into an era of small wars which has already happened since the fall of the USSR. In my opinion the US must cultivate an alliance with India and possibly China if it democratizes and establish a democratic-capitalist world order to form the base for a lasting peace.

The first two world wars were Euro-Centric. I don’t see another major war happening in Europe anytime soon.

Africa had a HUGE war that most of the world has never heard about.

So what you will need to get to WWIII is a well known location with some economic value.

I would put the best place for this to happen at India versus Pakistan. However without nukes Pakistan cannot hope to take on India.

India versus China isn’t likely as the Himalayas are too great a barrier to provide for anything more than small campagins and then only when during the summer months or late spring, early fall.

The Middle East presents the area most easily able to draw in countries from all over.

The Yom Kippur War proved that the USA will not let Israel be drivng into the sea, so the Arabs would have to be confident, they could take on Israel and beat it in a matter of days.

Also added to the fact is the Arabs are divided and while none of them like Israel, they don’t much like each other. Israel is a convenient distraction to have around.

North Korea is not an issue for a long term war. The North Koreans could do a lot of damage, but China knows the USA and to a lessor degree Japan will not tolerate an attack on South Korea, and would respond. China doesn’t any powerful nations near them, so the second North Korea attacks, they’d do damage, but China would likely pour in troops and over throw the government and install a regime more to their liking.

So to get to WWII, the best bet would be India versus Pakistan and throw in some nukes and then somehow get that conflict to spread west into the Middle East