Great, a discussion with teeth about my favorite study subject!
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Never underestimate/bet against man's penchant for miscalculation.
Originally Posted by Evil Q
^Or just plain stupidity.
I'm not sure, but, in my opinion, a modern-day, multinational conflict on the scale of WWII wouldn't last too long before one of the nations on the losing side started threatening to use nukes. The war would probably end rather quickly after that; either in negotiation or annihilation.
If history is any example, I wouldn't agree we would have gone through the 65 years since the last World War and now without something a lot nastier turning up. The main reason we didn't, oddly enough, was everyone's worry that it could go nuclear so easily. Between WWII and Korea, the US Air Force's idea was to simply nuke them into the stone age, a bit much to fight one little country in 1950.
Originally Posted by JediAthos
There's enough instability in the world today that like you Tysy I wouldn't discount it entirely. I certainly hope not, but between Kim Jong Il, that psycho in Iran, and Hugo Chavez there's enough crazy out there that ya just never know.
The biggest danger of a Nuclear war, rather than a World War is instability at the top. There is an old miltary axiom that when the final 'we may go to war, be ready to defend yourself' order goes out is that you have just placed the peace in the hands of the least stable officers you have in command on both sides.
With nukes this is heightened. Every WWIII scenario that goes nuclear starts with two nuclear powers duking it out. On one side, you have a fear of losing, on the other you have the 'use it or lose it' mentality. A missile still in it's silo when the war ends is not considered conservation, it's something that 'might' have swung the tide to your side.
But countries with nuclear weapons that also have unstable leaders makes it that much worse. It's one thing to have two relatively stable leaders at war, it's another when one of them has a limted grasp on reality. The leader of Iran sounds like a Fundamentalist Christian who believes that 'God' will let him strike, but stop the enemy from striking back. Kim is a wannabe movie director who, like any director believes he can shout cut, and reshoot the scene to his liking. Sort of like the General in charge of the Gaza city El Arish when the Jew flanked him in 1967. He went to the Jewish General, told him he had cheated, and had to go back and start all over.
Originally Posted by Tysyacha
Let's say, for the sake of argument, that there will be a World War III.
1. Who will be fighting against whom? (The "War on Terror" doesn't count...)
2. When will this war take place, approximately? The 2000's or the 2100's?
3. What will be the major issues involved in WWIII? Why do we go to war?
4. What will be the final outcome?
I have to think a little harder about my speculations, so I'll be back later.
If a new war comes out, I do not think it will be a World War because the world is not as badly polarized unless you take the third world versus the first.
The flash points are far too many to mention. In 1990, a man Named James Dunnigan wrote a book using the US as the template for why we would go to war again. One of them, the one most considered unlikely was 'A Persian Gulf State attacking another'. Or as we remember now, the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq.
Originally Posted by Mandalore The Shadow
Yeah and soon my vote is initial conflict between us (America) and China... or North Korea the possibilities are endless.
Actually, if it's in the Pacific, it would be SEATO. But remember that both world wars were caused by treaty alliances that forced others to join in. Russia the Brits and France all had alliances, but France also had one Serbia, for example. Both France and England had alliances with Poland.
Originally Posted by jonathan7
I doubt it, America and China are far too financially dependant on one another it would take something truly catastrophic to cause war between the two. I would very much doubt that China would come militarily to North Korea's aid if they did something stupid enough to cause America to 'go to war' with North Korea; although call my a cynic, but I think China and America like having North and South Korea, as its the most highly militarised border in the world, meaning both countries can sell weapons to the regime's they support.
Something many people seem to have forgotten, is the most valuable resource is fresh water, which in certain parts of the world is harder and harder to obtain, I think future wars could break out over who controls certain water sources.
Part of the Oslo Accords signed by the Israelis and the Palestinians addressed this immediately. Also, as Tom Clancy pointed out, some wars are started between trading partners. the Franco Prussian War had France and Germany doing the most trading. Japan's largest supplier of 90% of their war materials was the US. The old jokes about them hitting us with scrap iron we sold them.
So who are the most likely? I do not see a world war, as I said, there is not enough polarization among the more technologically advanced nations. Europe is sick of full scale wars, the Russians economy would collapse if they tried to prosecute a full scale one, and china's or ours would not support one lasting more than a few months. Picture both sides spending a billion dollars a day each on just supplying the troops would drain the coffers like a collander.
I can foresee a lot of small wars, and hopefully they will not go nuclear. Only a major war between fully capable nations would lead to serious nuclear war; NATO versus Russia, SEATO versus China, China versus Russia, that kind of thing. Countries like Iran Korea and Israel in the mix does not make it better, because it would go full all out nuclear between them, a minor thing on a global scale, though catastrophic on the theater level.
If the UN had some real teeth instead of being an oversized debating society, we could avoid it by disarming everyone. In fact President Truman called on the Un to do ust that in 1947, when the US had fewer nukes that Iran North Korea and Israel combined.
The biggest problem is now there are far fewer nukes than there were in say 1986. That brings up a more worrisome problem.
You see, we balanced on the knife blade through the last three decades of the 20th century because neither side could guarantee having anything to come home to when the missiles flew. That was called mutually assured destruction. But that is no longer the case. If every nuclear arsenal were fired right this second, only about a third to half of the warheads laying around in 1989 would be fired, and the planet would survive, but the world wide economy
To quote Ian Malcom from Jurassic park when someone spouted the 'save the planet' line, we don't need to worry about the planet, we need to worry that we would change it enough that we as a race would die.
Mt St Helens released almost 40% as much energy as all the weapons needed to cause nuclear winter, Tamboa and Krakatoa each released more energy than every nuke ever envisioned.
So World War, no. Small sometimes nasty evern nuclear wars? I could bet on one of those with nukes in the next geeration.