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ucme's avatar

Which nations in your opinion would be the instigators of any third world war?

Asked by ucme (50031points) January 10th, 2010

If indeed any such scenario were ever to come into fruition. It could be that the much vaunted war on terror could escelate into such an outcome. Or the Chinese could flex their military muscle leading to catastrophic repercussions. Will, in your opinion, the long threatened & dreaded 3rd world war actually ever happen. Let’s hope not, ever the optimist.

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38 Answers

Sarcasm's avatar

It’ll be all Uruguay. I’m calling it right now.

Blondesjon's avatar

The U.S.comes to mind.

dpworkin's avatar

It’s all asymmetrical warfare now. World Wars are a relic of the 20th Century.

OpryLeigh's avatar

The only nation that really scares me in this sense is North Korea. No offence ment to any North Koreans amongst us.

dpworkin's avatar

North Korea could cause terrible danger and difficulty, but a World War?

ucme's avatar

@Blondesjon Well I probably should have stated that the yanks, for the sake of fair play, should be excluded from the equation. That’s a gimme.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@pdworkin Maybe not but they still scare the bejasus out of me!

ucme's avatar

Kim Jong is way to wonely & isolated to have any global clout. A dangerously deluded despot , sure. A harbinger of doom on a global scale, doubtful.

BluRhino's avatar

Newfoundland. Think about it; they are under any political radar. No one knows what goes on there, nor even gives a fig.They are coastal, with many ports for illicit shipping traffic. They are geographically located within missile striking distance of US (east) coastal cities.They could get away with almost anything and no one would know. Once they launched, we would suspect the likely suspects instead, (newfa-what?) launch in retaliation, and bada-boom, its done.

janbb's avatar

@ucme I like the word “wonely” but what does it mean?

ucme's avatar

@janbb It’s Korean for lonely. According to the movie Team America world police anyhow. Just my little whimsy. Incidentally, not in the remotest bit racist. Merely quoting a funny line no more. Just thought i’d clear that up.

wonderingwhy's avatar

the only think I could envision, today, as likely would be if the middle east were to suspend supplying oil as a whole, no superpower would allow the others to reestablish flow unless they felt they could not be cut from the supply (promises don’t count).

If another world war comes about it’s likely to be tied to resources. I don’t see the world as a whole going to war over anything less significant, though that’s not to say it couldn’t happen, common sense isn’t all that common after all.

Qingu's avatar

Surprised nobody’s mentioned Israel.

What with their constant threats to start bombing Iran over nuclear enrichment.

filmfann's avatar

The first Iraq war came pretty close to a World War, figuring how many nations were involved. However, we usually think of WWIII as involving some exchange of nuclear warheads, so that would probably be Iran, Korea or China. Korea and Iran would end up wussing out, but China would believe their numbers would beat whatever we could do.
The answer is China, and probably over Tibet or Hong Kong.

dpworkin's avatar

That was a pretty offensive remark @Qingu. Please don’t bother defending at, at least to me.

ucme's avatar

@filmfann Yeah if ever that cataclysmic day arrives I do agree the Chinese will probably be a major influential force in the proceedings.

laureth's avatar

@filmfann – A score of countries sending a few soldiers to Iraq does not a World War make. Now, if there were fighting all over the world, it would be.

There are some who say that the Napoleonic campaigns actually made for a First World War, since there was fighting at various points on the globe – making the Greatest Generation the actual fighters of WWIII.

BluRhino's avatar

Over 700 years ago Nostradamus “saw” biological warfare missiles launched over the North Pole onto the North America continent. ( that would make it China) Of course, we all know no one would ‘win’ a nuclear shootout; the planet would be a wasteland. A biological, nerve or some other short-term solution would be preferred, to allow occupation (a win). Who has such capabilities?

Jude's avatar

@BluRhino Newfies are more opt to give you a toothless kiss on the cheek and perhaps, ask for a swig of Screech. Giv us a bitta dat luh. ;-)

BluRhino's avatar

@jmah Maybe their rockets will be full of that Screech; and they mightn’t hit us from there at all anyway….(and thanks for that!)

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’d agree with @pdworkin that the mass warfare seen in the 20th century is unlikely at any time in the near future. A nasty regional conflict involving WMDs is much more likely.

China, under it’s present government, is not a threat. In fact China is probably likely to assist the US if the PDRK starts anything. PRC is really only supporting PDRK as a counterweight to the US support of Taiwan.

If Pakistans present government falls to the Taliban, with their limited nuclear arsenal intact, they may start something with India or try to smuggle-bomb a western target (they lack long-range delivery capability). Again, expect US, PRC and India to crush them.

Iran is playing the nuclear card, IMHO, for internal consumption. The theocracy is extremely unpopular with younger people in the urban areas. The ayatollahs are doing this to “create” an external threat to propagandize internally. If they get too close, or actually test a device, expect a preemptive strike from somebody.

As the oil reserves in Saudi Arabia, Iran and the other Gulf states drain out, expect trouble as their social welfare programs and internal security erode. Without the petroleum to attract western interests, there could be long and nasty civil or regional wars.

Russia might make a bid to grab back some of the former Soviet states, they have shown this tendancy in Georgia recently. A regional issue unless the US, EU or PRC intervenes; unlikely. Russia is modernizing her military largely as a matter of internal self-respect and maybe to act as a regional “player” again. The traditional Russian geographic interests for the last 300+ years.

China could implode in civil war over the huge inequalities in wealth that have developed since abandoning communism (except in name). Again, the threat of nuclear weapons (with ICBM capability) in unknown hands. China has had traditional claims on territory in Vietnam, Laos, Burma, India and Pakistan. A more aggressive government might make a grab for those. Of course there is Taiwan also, more likely to be settled peacefully under some “special status” agreement.

There is the ongoing tensions between Israel and the neighbors. It will be the usual bickering and shooting unless the US completely backs away (unlikely in the short-term).

Expect the US to be backing down from unilateral superpower status. With the staggering national debt and increasing demands for domestic programs, the US is likely to start going the route of Great Britain in the mid 20th century. Mothballed CVNs, scrapped bombers and a return to isolationism. This will create a power vacuum that regional players will strive to fill. The EU may be forced to step up its military presence in areas. China will assert a sphere of influence in the western and southern Pacific. India will try to assert a naval-based authority in the Indian Ocean. Piracy is already becoming an issue, possibly leading to armed merchant vessels as prior to the 19th century.

There is a slight possibilty of armed skirmishes in the Arctic Ocean as nations grab for undersea resorces. Canada is currently building armed ice-breakers to back up her assertion of territorial offshore claims.

I apologize for grossly exceeding the scope of the question. Just my semi-educated guesses based on history and 30+ years of direct involvement.

ucme's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Not at all a full & frank answer cheers!

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@laureth Maybe WW4? The British- French conflicts in the 18th century were worldwide, as were the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century.

Sandydog's avatar

Any future world wars are going to be over finite resources and the most important are oil and water.
The Chinese have already said that they could take a hit of 200 million and still “win”.
Will there be a war?
I think it will depend on how the resources actually spin out.
If as forecast by some they get really scarce then China could make a grab.
The chinese are already buying up swathes of land in Africa, so that they dont go short.
One hopes that peace and sense will prevail.

JLeslie's avatar

When 911 happened and we went into Iraq (I don’t mean to imply they are related, I am just talking about timing and how the administartion at the time presented things) I thought to myself this could become a world war. An over-reaction, but it felt like something big and very bad could develop to me. So, in that case, if it had become a world war, who is the instigator? Saddam for being genocidal in the past? Osama for being a terrorist? The US and other countries who allied with us for going to Iraq?

laureth's avatar

Saddam’s not going to instigate anything for a while. ;)

JLeslie's avatar

@laureth what I was thinking was I don’t think any countries are going to try to take over a lot of countries like Germany during WWII. If there is some sort of WW I would guess it might come from one of the super-powers over reacting to a particular situation. Let’s say we go into Iran, because we feel an immenent threat, and other countries get involved like Israel, Russia, parts of the EU and other middle east countries. I guess it would be considered a WW if it involved so many countries? But did Iran really instigate it, or was it the overreaction of the US and others that really brought it up to the level of WW status?

Honestly, history is my worst subject. I think my opinion is worth nothing on subjects like this, mostly I have a lot of questions and any scenerio that pops in my head I feel like I need to bounce it off of those more learned who understand international policy and war better than I.

UScitizen's avatar

Israel is already doing everything in their power to start world war III.

dpworkin's avatar

@UScitizen That is a woefully uninformed remark.

DominicX's avatar

Well, since Germany started the first two, there’s no reason why they couldn’t start the third…

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@UScitizen Israel has been fighting for its existence since 1948. The neighbors attacked four times and were defeated. Most of the players in this region now at least agree that talking is better than shooting. Israel has demonstrated a willingness to trade land for peace, it’s basically the devil in the details now.

Israel has also demonstrated the effectiveness of the policy “if hit, hit back harder”. The ayatollahs in Iran are the one’s doing the shit-stirring with their insane rhetoric, needless uranium enrichment program and funding of Hezbollah and other such groups.

If there is another major conflict in this region, I seriously doubt if Israel would be the instigator. As for a preemptive strike on the Iranian nuclear facilities, Israel does not have the capacity to do it alone. Her aircraft do not have the range to carry an attack payload that far and return without refueling over Iraq or Jordan. Allowing refueling aircraft into that airspace would require US complicity or direct support.

jerv's avatar

I think that most nations are incapable of starting anything more than a regional conflict. The real question is who is going to start something that will annoy the US into escalating it.

If you had asked me a couple of years, ago, I would say just about anybody (France, Iran, Iran, China, North Korea, Italy, England, Canada, Mexico…) could provoke us. Things have calmed down a bit since ½0/09 though, so I am no longer as worried about that.

Right now, I think that the biggest threat of a major war is from the Far Right within our own nation inciting something abroad and then dragging the rest of our nation along for the ride when somebody decides to take things to the next level.

mattbrowne's avatar

@DominicX – There are plenty of reasons.

mattbrowne's avatar

Most likely nation? Probably China.

janbb's avatar

I wouldn’t speculate on what nation it will be or if there will be one, but from my understanding it almost certainly won’t be China. At this point, China’s and the United States’ economic futures are so intertwined that I don’t see them engaging in a war against each other.

Qingu's avatar

@pdworkin, if you think pointing out that Israel is likely to start a war is “offensive,” I’d like to know why.

They have repeatedly threatened to start a war with Iran. I don’t understand how reality can offend you.

dpworkin's avatar

We disagree.

Qingu's avatar

Disagreeing is one thing; I think it’s kind of bizarre that you found my remarks “offensive.” But whatever.

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