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Is some form of world war still possible in this day and age?

This is a discussion on Is some form of world war still possible in this day and age? within the Military Strategy and Tactics forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by rip The dictatorship of the ruling communist party which is no longer in fact communist with its ...


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Old October 25th, 2011   #76
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The dictatorship of the ruling communist party which is no longer in fact communist with its total monopoly of power and its desire for complete control of the very thoughts of the Chinese people. This is the real problem.
...

But getting back on the subject of the thread, WW III will probably start someday just like in did in WW I. It will start from some unexpected event with unintended consequences. A surprising unplanned event where responsible governments quickly loses control of the situation because the nations involved jockeying for power thought that joining power blokes and strategic aliments would protect them when mutual trust was the only thing that could have save them
Authoritarian governments in general are a cause of concern, not necessarily because of the people at the helm, but because of the nature of authoritarianism. It supports itself, and the dictator is beholden to him/herself and whomever keeps him/her in power (i.e., the military, the police, whatever). The dictator is not necessarily beholden to the people. Because of this, dictatorships (including absolute and near-absolute monarchies) are "loose cannons" that may fire at random (and sometimes for personal reasons, as WWI shows). So what's to say some dictator doesn't build up a large military (such as Hitler did) and then use it to try to gain and annex territory, and spit at international law (such as Hitler did)? This is why any country under a dictator should be watched - just in case it turns belligerent. While democracies have their biases, they seem to be more stable and willing to step back if things get hairy. (However, democracies will often pounce if attacked.)
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Old October 26th, 2011   #77
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Authoritarian governments in general are a cause of concern, not necessarily because of the people at the helm, but because of the nature of authoritarianism. It supports itself, and the dictator is beholden to him/herself and whomever keeps him/her in power (i.e., the military, the police, whatever). The dictator is not necessarily beholden to the people. Because of this, dictatorships (including absolute and near-absolute monarchies) are "loose cannons" that may fire at random (and sometimes for personal reasons, as WWI shows). So what's to say some dictator doesn't build up a large military (such as Hitler did) and then use it to try to gain and annex territory, and spit at international law (such as Hitler did)? This is why any country under a dictator should be watched - just in case it turns belligerent. While democracies have their biases, they seem to be more stable and willing to step back if things get hairy. (However, democracies will often pounce if attacked.)
I think some of the differences between the way the U.S. sees the world and the way that China sees the world, using it as just one example among many, can be seen very clearly in the respective oaths of allegiance that each makes when they inter military service.

Now I know that this varies a great deal from one country to another based upon many things both historical and the nations belief systems of that country. In fact I am very interested in the different oaths that each nation requires and would to like learn more about them from the countries I do not know.

You would assume that the oath would go to the heart of the issue of both governance and loyalty. When you swear an oath it should be to that thing which you hold most precious, more precious than anything else in the world. You are swearing that you are willing to fight for it, to kill for it, and if necessary to die for it.

In my country, when we swear an oath of alliance, we swear to uphold the U.S. Construction, the supreme law of the country and then the nation for which it stands. We do not swear to uphold a man, a dynasty, a realign, a race, or to preserve some kind of mythical sacred land myth but to uphold the law above everything else. For those of you who are not familiar with my country, the reason why this is, as an emigrant country, we are made up from peoples who came from all over the world. People who originally had many different religions and still do. People who had many different histories which were in the past often in conflict and must be forgotten. And people who had many different ideas on how to live life and in that we are still sorting them out. It is the law above all that binds, units, and defines us as Americans, not blood or history. I am sure that other counties have their own way of finding and displaying their unity and I would be interested to learning them.

The Chines soldier swears his allegiance to the Communist Party. Not to his country, his race, or anything else that an outsider like me can see or comprehend as being Chinese. Is it because if it were not for the Communist Party the country would fall apart and fall into chaos? With all of the their collative history, their enduring culture, their hard working can do attitude, and their very strong since of being Chinese, it is only the Communist Party that can or could unit them? As an outsider I find this hard to believe. But then again, I am an outsider and always will be one.
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Old October 27th, 2011   #78
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So are we talking about a scenario for WW3 where the Chinese leadership goes Reich and tries to annex territory? I think there are many more likely scenarios for WW3 than that, mostly because China doesn't need more territory and already gets what it needs through trade. As the population gets richer it might get aggressive over trade rights but any invasion would look more like a military campaign for regime change than Hitler's annexations, a blockage, or severe posturing.
It could certainly start a regional conflict since the countries in the region that China would gain something from annexing are building up their militaries and also have treaties and alliances.
That all said, trusting that because China doesn't have a constitutional democracy a tyrant will naturally come to power and lead his minions in a delusional campaign to rule the world is too pessimistic.

Rip, my friend, I love your enthusiasm about America, though I think you need to justify that enthusiasm with the facts rather than your facts with that enthusiasm. The good news it, it's doable! America is a good thing, but I think you need to "show don't tell". But as a treat for you, America fuck yeah-team america - YouTube
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Old October 27th, 2011   #79
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So are we talking about a scenario for WW3 where the Chinese leadership goes Reich and tries to annex territory? I think there are many more likely scenarios for WW3 than that, mostly because China doesn't need more territory and already gets what it needs through trade. As the population gets richer it might get aggressive over trade rights but any invasion would look more like a military campaign for regime change than Hitler's annexations, a blockage, or severe posturing.
It could certainly start a regional conflict since the countries in the region that China would gain something from annexing are building up their militaries and also have treaties and alliances.
That all said, trusting that because China doesn't have a constitutional democracy a tyrant will naturally come to power and lead his minions in a delusional campaign to rule the world is too pessimistic.

Rip, my friend, I love your enthusiasm about America, though I think you need to justify that enthusiasm with the facts rather than your facts with that enthusiasm. The good news it, it's doable! America is a good thing, but I think you need to "show don't tell". But as a treat for you, America fuck yeah-team america - YouTube
I know that my question was off the mark of the thread but I have the question and do not know where to put it. Am very interested in the different ways people come together and form a national identity. Ideality is the most mysterious and complex of all human attributes and it often collides with every point on international discussions we take up on this board because of the instinctive need which people have to defend their identity often at all costs. In many ways ideality is an irrational concept but people often act irrationally and that fact must be taken into account when predicting future events. The example I used of how the American identity is formed is an unusual one and I know that it is not the norm because most nations are very old and not migrant ones. I was not proposing it as a superior form. I do not know what a superior form might be? I just really wanted to know how others form their national idealities. It was not breast beating exercise. Sorry if I was not clear.

When I learned of the Chinese military oath it got me thinking. At first I could not understand it and I began to wonder how many other ways different people approach the same question. It is not often that I have to admit to my complete ignorance.

As to the main part of the thread “is WW III still possible” I thought that I fairly well dismissed the Idea that WW III would be a fight for dominance between the U.S. and China and gave the reasons why I thought it was unlikely. I never even brought up the idea that China wanted to go conquering about the world like Genghis Khan.

It is not a secret that when a country becomes fairly wealthy it usually loses the desire to acquire new poorer and underdeveloped territories. An act, which would for a time at least, make them poorer as a consequence of merging with their new territory. They would then have to invest a great deal of theirs capital to bring that new territory up to the same standard as its own.

Small land accusations for strategic reasons might be worth the price or if they have a lawless border area and it was causing problems for them maybe, but not large poor ones full of unhappy people. The most successful acts of conquest in history are by poorer nations concurring richer ones and then stealing their wealth. China is on the way to becoming a wealthy country without the need for conquest and conquest could very well destroy that bright future which is now within their grasp and they know it.
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Old October 27th, 2011   #80
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I know that my question was off the mark of the thread but I have the question and do not know where to put it.
The questions you raised could be classified as psy ops, maybe. I'd love a section on this forum of that, as I think it would be interesting to bounce ideas off each other.

For now, I think we should digress back to the thread topic =p
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Old October 28th, 2011   #81
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The questions you raised could be classified as psy ops, maybe. I'd love a section on this forum of that, as I think it would be interesting to bounce ideas off each other.

For now, I think we should digress back to the thread topic =p
All of you have made some very valid points but I think one of the threats to security at the moment rests within the US and Europe. That is the lack of willingness or inability to deal to current economic crises. The EU is on the face of it attempting to deal with the sovereign debt issue that has arisen around Greece and possibly Italy. But on the other hand the US is not doing anything about its debt issue and there is uncertainty about US defence budgets and how deep will defence be cut. Some commentators have made the point that US lawmakers are only concerned about where to put the line in the US deficit around the US$14.7 - US$15 trillion mark. What is not happening is US politicians and government actually addressing the deficit itself and the fundamental issues that are driving said deficit higher. There is no silver bullet, one quick solution to the problem and as long as it remains unaddressed IMHO it is an increasing national security issue for the US.

The US has a large military with expensive equipment and very large overheads. At the moment some doubt whether it is up to fighting 2 wars as is its doctrine. They are having to reduce both personnel and equipment. Replacement programs for old equipment have been cut. There have been reports of civilian spouses of in theatre combat personnel having to go on the food stamps because the pay is not good. All of this saps the morale of your service personnel, and it also impinges upon recruits for an all volunteer force. In times of economic hardship the forces are seen as a good option when work is hard to find, but its not a good look when your people back home like wife & kids for example are having to take welfare to survive whilst your dodging bullets.

So if there is a major conflagration involving the US or more pointedly say the invocation of ANZUS, for example, the question has to be asked; given the current level of US debt and the apparent lack of substantive political will to address the fundamental issues pertaining to said debt, will the US have the cash to fight a war in the Pacific and another say in Europe or the Middle East at the same time as per current doctrine?

Now at the present point in time I would argue this would equally apply to Europe as well. Yes they fielded a force in Libya, but most, if not all, of the EU nations and NATO members are having financial difficulties and are cutting militaries. So same question, do they have the cash to field a reasonable force?

Just something else to throw into the mix.

Last edited by ngatimozart; October 28th, 2011 at 04:26 AM. Reason: typos
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Old October 28th, 2011   #82
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All of you have made some very valid points but I think one of the threats to security at the moment rests within the US and Europe. That is the lack of willingness or inability to deal to current economic crises. The EU is on the face of it attempting to deal with the sovereign debt issue that has arisen around Greece and possibly Italy. But on the other hand the US is not doing anything about its debt issue and there is uncertainty about US defence budgets and how deep will defence be cut. Some commentators have made the point that US lawmakers are only concerned about where to put the line in the US deficit around the US$14.7 - US$15 trillion mark. What is not happening is US politicians and government actually addressing the deficit itself and the fundamental issues that are driving said deficit higher. There is no silver bullet, one quick solution to the problem and as long as it remains unaddressed IMHO it is an increasing national security issue for the US.

The US has a large military with expensive equipment and very large overheads. At the moment some doubt whether it is up to fighting 2 wars as is its doctrine. They are having to reduce both personnel and equipment. Replacement programs for old equipment have been cut. There have been reports of civilian spouses of in theatre combat personnel having to go on the food stamps because the pay is not good. All of this saps the morale of your service personnel, and it also impinges upon recruits for an all volunteer force. In times of economic hardship the forces are seen as a good option when work is hard to find, but its not a good look when your people back home like wife & kids for example are having to take welfare to survive whilst your dodging bullets.

So if there is a major conflagration involving the US or more pointedly say the invocation of ANZUS, for example, the question has to be asked; given the current level of US debt and the apparent lack of substantive political will to address the fundamental issues pertaining to said debt, will the US have the cash to fight a war in the Pacific and another say in Europe or the Middle East at the same time as per current doctrine?

Now at the present point in time I would argue this would equally apply to Europe as well. Yes they fielded a force in Libya, but most, if not all, of the EU nations and NATO members are having financial difficulties and are cutting militaries. So same question, do they have the cash to field a reasonable force?

Just something else to throw into the mix.
Though everything you say is true I have seen many crises come and go where no one at the time anyone could see a solution and yet the world is still here. People will be hurt, people are being hurt, progress slowed, dreams deferred if not abandoned but do not confuse a loss of comfort be it physical or mental with survival.

What effects will it they will have upon national security? As far as it concerns nation to nation security it can be summed up as that it diminishes everyone to some degree and is not likely to be a deciding factor. The Great World Wide Depression of the 1930’s didn’t stop WW II from happening. But its effect on the internal dynamic of countries could be, is some cases, dramatic. Would Hitler have come to power without the economic collapse of Germany?

The difference between a normal economy and a war-time economy is the consumption part of the demand verses supply equation. The demand for war materials is unlimited while the consumption of normal goods by people is very limited by war time demands. During the war there is a shortage of labor and everyone has a job. There is very little to spend their money on so it is saved for a later day. After the war there is great pent-up demand for consumer goods which is fueled by savings and not credit. And so the economy then booms for a while. A time where the danger then becomes inflation which can be controlled by governmental monetary policy and not deflation which we are facing now. A condition for which there are few governmental tools to adequately address.

In short, if we are talking about a major war like a possible WW III I do not think that the current economic crises would be a significant factor.
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Old October 29th, 2011   #83
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I do have to agree with a number of recent statements and I would summarise them in my own way.

Currently global competition is within a system and although more wobbly due to massive and largely unplanned restructuring, is still relatively stable.
We hear great powers being referred to as Stakeholders, but I think simple old fashioned Shareholders is closer to the mark. It that sense "competition" between powers is just good old Board Room Battles, where the executives struggle for influence and control of Global Inc.

As long as Global Inc holds true, things should be fine, if however it should fail and fall apart, you then have a vacuum that all players will seek to fill and to do so aggressively.
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Old October 29th, 2011   #84
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I do have to agree with a number of recent statements and I would summarise them in my own way.

Currently global competition is within a system and although more wobbly due to massive and largely unplanned restructuring, is still relatively stable.
We hear great powers being referred to as Stakeholders, but I think simple old fashioned Shareholders is closer to the mark. It that sense "competition" between powers is just good old Board Room Battles, where the executives struggle for influence and control of Global Inc.

As long as Global Inc holds true, things should be fine, if however it should fail and fall apart, you then have a vacuum that all players will seek to fill and to do so aggressively.
I think competition is good. Is this a value judgment based upon my culture and experience, yes it is? I have seen many benefits from competition in my life both in technology, science, commerce, and even in the field of politics. Who will get to the moon first. But there must be rules that limited the ways and types of competition which can be conducted and they must be enforced equally be they for big players as well as for small.

Then the trick is what kind of rules gives the maximum gain for everybody over time (that is; what set of rules allows people to be the best that they can be, at whatever they are best at doing) with the least cost coming from the rules. There are always costs that come with rules even with very good rules, nothing in this world is free. And whatever point that is, it is always shifting as the world around the rules constantly changes. So they have to adjust but one of the benefits of having rules is stability. Nothing is easy.

The world economy is changing very fast and no one understands it and we may need new rules. The rules are not keeping up but I do not have any great ideas of my own to make them better. I certainly do not want to go back to centralized top down economic control. We all know that that doesn’t work and crushing the international trading system of almost free trade could only make things worse.
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Old October 30th, 2011   #85
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As the current situation unfold is there any other defense treaty like NATO? no. That why I don't see a world war happening again anytime soon. Unless China, Pakistan, Iran, N Korea, Russia, and Brazil join alliance highly unlikely.
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Old April 16th, 2012   #86
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If you're referring to a conventional war on the same scale as the First or Second World War, in that all of the major world-powers are involved in total war, divided among two opposing alliances. The simple answer is no. The concept of deterrence as introduced during the Cold War prevents any major conventional conflicts, as any major conventional gains between world powers would either be prevented by or -if successful- followed by a retaliatory nuclear response. The World will not see another conventional war of that magnitude.
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Old June 23rd, 2012   #87
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Yes, I think it is very likely that there will be another world war, though it is true that nuclear arsenal reduces the chance that any moment a war could break out. The nuclear deterrence is effective, but it is not necessarily true that a strong conventional war between major powers would be viewed by both sides as a prelude to a nuclear option. The reason being, that even before nuclear arsenals came into the picture, we didn't imagine our war with Japan would escalate to the point of firebombing the civilian population. I don't think anybody truly imagined we would evolve into the systematic destruction/burning of millions of civilians. Likewise, I think there is this naive thought that we have a higher control over ourselves then we really do. North Korea must have believed that they could torpedo a South Korean submarine without a nuclear response from the U.S., and they were right. But it would be easy to see how South Korea or the U.S. could have hit back, and eventually things escalate into a full scale war. A few mistakes here and there, by luck, major powers enter into it. Everybody may think they would never revert to nuclear weapons, and because of this thought, whether it is an accurate thought or not, the war escalates. And perhaps nuclear weapons are assumed not to be an option, as North Korea assumed there would not be a nuclear response, and as Iran has assumed that we wouldn't use a nuke to take out there sites. Because of the lack of serious notion to use the nuke, nations may assume they will not be used, and as a result, wars can escalate, rapidly. I think another major world war is likely within our lifetime. It may be a major conventional war, with everybody knowing the rules--no nukes. Humans have shown incredible restraint when it comes to fighting. I have seen heated fights with the fist, but no groin shots or eye pokes despite the heat of the moment--knowing the rules instinctively.
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Old June 23rd, 2012   #88
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And perhaps nuclear weapons are assumed not to be an option, as North Korea assumed there would not be a nuclear response, and as Iran has assumed that we wouldn't use a nuke to take out there sites.
The big difference between both countries is that though North Korea may not have missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, she has nuclear devices that can be used for retaliation against U.S. forces in South Korea, assuming these are not destroyed in a U.S. strike. With Iran its different as many would agree that she hasn't even decided to have a nukes programme but is only ensuring that it has the capability to do so if a decision was made and therefore can't retaliate with nukes. Which begs the question - shouldn't the U.S. be devoting greater attention to North Korea rather than Iran and which country presents the greater 'danger' and 'threat'? Or, is the difference in treatment and approach driven by the fact that North Korea has the means to retaliate? And if Gaddafi had not given up his WMD programme some years ago and had made progress in developing nuclear tipped missiles, would the West have been so keen to intervene in Libya last year?

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Old June 23rd, 2012   #89
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We all live in a global economy. It is unlikely that China would declare war on the west since its own economy is absolutely dependant on trade ... and visa versa.

Resource wars are always a possibility. In fact you could probably make the claim that most wars are resource wars.

The superpowers squaring off in the middle east over the last of the oil reserves remains a possibility I guess.
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Old June 25th, 2012   #90
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We all live in a global economy. It is unlikely that China would declare war on the west since its own economy is absolutely dependant on trade ... and visa versa.

Resource wars are always a possibility. In fact you could probably make the claim that most wars are resource wars.

The superpowers squaring off in the middle east over the last of the oil reserves remains a possibility I guess.
But are the last of the oil reserves in the ME? Brazil has discovered large fields. I think I read somewhere that there are more in the southern oceans as well....correct me if I'm misinformed please.

The US has it's oil shale and Canada has it's oil sands.

I think, if it's over resources, oil will not be a significant player. It'll more likely be over unpolluted arable/grazable land as well drinkable fresh water, after all, we cannot eat or drink oil. Yes, we are used to living with products made from oil but, they're conveniences more than necessities when it comes down to survival.

If anything is initiated in the ME, it'll probably be of an ideological or religious issue. These things seem to be more of an issue over that way, especially now that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt appears to have one that election with the army still holding sway over things.
I think initiating a war is more emotive than anything else...who has the biggest and best sort of thing.......

......your thoughts on this folks?
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