Tensions are high around the world. Some believe that the superpowers of the world are about to collide in a massive world war. Others envision a war with China or Russia in a one-on-one scenario. Either way, most know that something big is about to occur. Unfortunately, this might be sooner rather than later.
The truth is that a one-on-one scenario is highly unlikely. Instead, a scenario of multiple nations clashing in a world war is probably what we should expect. Literally, it would be World War III. Keep in mind that what follows is simply one scenario of many. I have been asked repeatedly about how I see the coming world war playing out. Honestly, I can see several different scenarios. I believe that if a world war were to break out, much like World War I, many of the nations involved will be involved as a result of their political and economic entanglements.
Before I provide the scenario, I need to provide the context. I have challenged myself to use mostly recent news and these sources will be cited throughout the article. This article should also demonstrate that we should be looking at events as interconnected pieces instead of as a singular event. It should also be noted that this is neither a worst-case nor best-case scenario. Instead, it is simply an exercise to help some see a bigger picture.
I want to start by reiterating an idea written about in RELOADED: An American Warning.
“Have you ever noticed how throughout history, when the balance of power has shifted between two nations, a battle always seems to occur between them?”
Recent headlines demonstrate a problem in this regard. Headlines like “G20 Summit proves China in control of world economy, not United States” or “United States slowly drifting away from global centre” or “China Eclipses the US to Become the World’s Largest Retail Market” and so on. We are watching a power shift; should we expect a battle?
Consider the definition of “World War”: a war involving many large nations in all different parts of the world. This is actually much closer than many would like to believe. Consider the Baltics, the South China Sea or the Middle East. Also consider that over the last decade, both Russian and Chinese officials have repeatedly hinted at the idea that world war is not only possible but probable. The possibility of a world war is evidenced almost daily anymore if one were to simply review the material.
You probably know about close encounters the Navy has had with the Russians as of late. You may also be aware of the tension between Iran and the United States. China and the US have their issues as well. Everyone knows about North Korea by now and other nations will pop up from time to time in the news. What many don’t realize is that several of the nations you hear about in the news are actually very close and have agreements that bind them to one another.
Chinese and Russian naval forces recently began joint exercises in the South China Sea. While these are actually an annual event, the stakes seem higher considering China’s recently militarization of man-made islands in the region and the opposition of their actions by the international community. These particular exercises are a show a force and include Chinese and Russian surface ships, submarines, planes, helicopters, and amphibious armored equipment. What makes this interesting is that these exercises are being held in contested waters – right after an international tribunal rejected Beijing’s historic claims to the resource-rich area. Seth Cropsey, ex-Deputy Undersecretary of the US Navy writing on behalf of the Hudson Institute recently suggested that conflict was imminent as tensions between the two military superpowers (US & China) reaches a boiling point. However, as demonstrated by their rhetoric and military cooperation, Russia would more than likely be right by China’s side in some way shape or form.
The problem is that Russia would probably come to the battlefield with a few friends as well. Consider some of their strategic alliances. On August 16, the governments of Russia and Iran publicly stated that Russia had deployed fighter jets at the Iranian airbase in Hamadan and that sorties were executed against military targets in Syria. What is important to note here is not the use of their airbases or airspace but instead, stronger military cooperation between them. This is because, since its Islamic Revolution, Iran has never allowed another country to station military troops on its soil – until Russia.
Granted, this could have been for any number of reasons, but their cooperation is much more than a few jets. Iran and Russia have been working together on the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant as well as its expansion. Their contract includes an option for six more reactors, which could be built at other sites sometime in the near future. Again, this just demonstrates a growing entanglement. Of course, we know that Iran has been eager for war with the U.S. for some time now. Russia wouldn’t even have to ask them.
Furthermore, we have documented the close ties between Russia and Syria’s Assad for years. Vladimir Putin seems dead set on keeping Assad in power and at all costs. Since 2011, when the Syrian conflict began, Russia has provided diplomatic and military support to the Assad regime. This has included casting vetoes multiple times to prevent the adoption of U.N. resolutions aimed at nudging Assad from power and military intervention on behalf of Assad by launching airstrikes against American backed Syrian opposition forces seeking to bring down the regime.
People need to understand the tangled web that is weaved here. It’s not just Russia. China also has its hands in this area. For example, China does ample trade with both Iran and Saudi Arabia and is considered a key client for both. At the same time, according to a high-ranking People’s Liberation Army officer, China and Syria have discussed having the Chinese military provide both humanitarian aid and training to Syria. Now factor in that Iran and Syria have a long history of friendship and strategic alliances. Syria is usually called Iran’s “closest ally“ and the two have had strategic ties since the Iran–Iraq War.
This brings us to Pakistan. Tehran is aiming to influence the Pakistani political arena through hosting prominent political and religious figures and by funding Shi’ite institutions. There are some in Pakistan that do not like this, but it is more than likely irrelevant. The China-Pakistan alliance is said to be “higher than the mountains and deeper than the seas”. China and Pakistan have a formalized relationship dating back to 1963 with the signing of the Shaksgam Valley agreement. It has only grown since that time due in great part to the strategic advantage it provides China in regard to India. Of course, these agreements are diplomatic, nuclear and military in nature.
I mentioned Saudi Arabia a moment ago. Many in the United States consider Saudi Arabia as an ally. Forgetting the connection to the Clinton Foundation for a moment or the alleged funding of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, one should consider that China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia have all recently signed new economic and military agreements linking the three countries together. A vested mutual agreement on such a level should not be ignored. Furthermore, people should take note that Pakistan and Russia are set to hold their first-ever joint military exercises later this year according to media reports.
There are a few wild-cards to throw into the mix as well. For clarification, I do not consider these to be wild-cards at all, but the media seems to consider them as such. The following are more than likely strategic necessities in the bigger picture and I believe you will begin to see why as I lay this out.
North Korea is the buffer between South Korea and China. North Korea has been talking about world war for years. However, as evidenced by Taiwan, China is not happy about having a U.S. influence so close to their borders. Perhaps it’s because this “influence” usually comes with hardware. Taiwan has recently accepted a $286.6 million arms deal involving 13 sets of Phalanx close-in weapons systems (CIWS) and other equipment from the U.S. Additionally, we recently discovered that after many years of delay, the United States will finally approve the sale of advanced MK-48 heavyweight torpedoes to Taiwan as well. To say that China is not happy about this is an understatement. The reason I bring this up is that when we talk about South Korea, we must understand that they get similar help but that it comes with nearly 30,000 American troops on top of it.
China has publicly stated that the July agreement between South Korea and the U.S. to deploy a missile defense system was not a good move. However, this is part of why China keeps North Korea under its wing. Zhang Baohui, the director of the Center for Asian Pacific Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong said that “For China, North Korea is a necessary evil” and that “China has to maintain the survival of the North Korean regime. That’s its fundamental quagmire.” For context, Chinese leader Mao Zedong once described the relationship with North Korea as close “as lips to teeth.”
China is not alone in this “necessary evil”. Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok is only 180 miles from North Korea’s nuclear weapons test site. For the same reasons that China will not take strong measures against North Korea is the same reason that Russia won’t either. Neither wants to see the North taken by the pro-American South because this puts the U.S. on the borders of both.
Another supposed wild-card is Turkey. However, the rhetoric from Turkey’s government as of late has not exactly been pro-western. The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, recently lashed out at NATO, saying the alliance is not fully cooperating with Ankara. In fact, during an interview with Sputnik News, he hinted that Turkey would consider military cooperation with Russia who is proactively opposing NATO’s presence along the Baltics – even though Turkey is currently a member of the NATO alliance. Cavusoglu said, “It seems to us that NATO members behave in an evasive fashion on issues such as the exchange of technology and joint investments. Turkey intends to develop its own defense industry and strengthen its defense system,” he said. “In this sense, if Russia were to treat this with interest, we are ready to consider the possibility of cooperation in this sector.”
Venezuela has fallen off of most people’s radar as of late, but I believe that this is a mistake. Recently, the media in Brazil and Venezuela reported that Iran had supported a Venezuelan program in 2009 to develop missiles and chemical compounds following the sanctions imposed on Iran during that time. I have written about Iran’s involvement in Venezuela numerous times over the years. As a matter of fact, as recently as late September, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro claimed that his country was being lashed by a US economic war aimed at toppling him. Cuba echoed the remarks. This may not seem like a big deal, but it shows they are eager for a fight. Of course, we also need to consider their big brothers.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated that between 2011 and 2015 Venezuela purchased $373 million worth of Chinese weaponry. This makes Venezuela the leader in China’s Latin American arms sales. It is also important to note that their 2012 deal for weaponry ensures their arms relationship will not end anytime soon. Of course, it’s not just weaponry though. According to field data provided by Global Business Consultants (GBC), a Caracas-based energy consulting firm, China-Venezuela production of oil as of late 2015 was about 171,000 barrels per day. China has both a vested and strategic interest in Venezuela, but then again, so does Russia. Russian companies are already producing more oil in joint projects with Venezuela than their Chinese counterparts. Again, according to field data provided by GBC, Russia-Venezuela production as of late 2015 was 209,000 barrels per day. Neither the Russians nor the Chinese will give this jewel up.
Indeed, there are rumors about China wanting to back away from Venezuela due to their economic struggles. However, China’s Foreign Ministry has denied such rumors and says that the relationship has “brought about practical benefits for both sides.” In fact, China committed to investing up to $20 billion into Venezuela within the next decade in 2015 and hosted Venezuelan economic officials in Beijing as recently as August.
The point is that both Russia and China have a vested interest and agreements that both would be reluctant to let go of. Sure, we could talk about smaller nations and/or proxies such as Cuba but the point is pretty clear. Now, when you factor in the tensions in Northern Africa and the nations being pulled into the South China Sea debate, it does not take much of an imagination to see how one miscalculation sets off a firestorm that leads to a world war. It is my contention that these nations would simply come together for mutual aid, defense, and satisfaction. We should all be paying much closer attention.
One must also look for the reoccurring anti-American trend. Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and even Venezuela all share intense anti-Americanism; which makes them allies of sorts. This anti-Americanism extends to groups that the U.S. funds and/or supports such as NATO. In fact, Adm. Vladimir Komoedov said that Russia, China, India, and Iran should form an anti-terrorism coalition that is not aligned with the “aggressive” NATO and such a force could defeat the Islamic State in a year. India was invited, but considering their entanglement with the United States; that seems unlikely. The reason I bring this up is that NATO is a problem for nations like Russia and Iran due to the United States element. When I think of “NATO”, I think of it as America and its entourage. We must remember that according to NATO statistics, the U.S. spends more on NATO defense than any other nation involved. Out of the 28 nations, the U.S. provides up to one-quarter of NATO’s budget. The U.S. also puts up more bodies, and this will probably expand. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon has been working a plan to position more American troops, tanks and other armored vehicles full time along NATO’s eastern borders to deter what they consider “Russian aggression”. They reported that “The U.S. has already been intermittently rotating about 4,200 troops in and out of Europe since 2014, on top of the roughly 62,000 U.S. military personnel assigned permanently on the continent.“
So how could this play out? Thermonuclear world war on an apocalyptic scale? Probably not. Though some nukes might be used during such a war, the goal of any war is to win; not die. I don’t think any superpower has a desire to destroy the species, natural resources or themselves.
However, based on the entanglements listed herein, I can provide a pretty bad (but reasonable) scenario: The U.S., India, Australia, Israel, Britain, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and what is left of NATO go to war against China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba. These wars would take place in the Baltics, the Middle East (in through the horn of Africa), the South China Sea – eventually spilling into the South Pacific and then them coming to the United States via the south. Africa, South America and what’s left of the Middle East and Europe would divide as the nations that comprise them decide which side offers both a chance of winning and a strong economic aftermath. This part becomes a bit more complicated but is secondary anyway so I will leave it out of this scenario.
In this model, most would join the anti-American forces. This is because the United States currently has a failing economy and a dollar that is spread by a central bank seemingly hell-bent on dragging down the globe while robbing it of its wealth at the same time. Many nations around the world are tired of it and have been abandoning the dollar for a while now. You should expect more of the same as opportunities for these nations arise. The U.S. also has a military about the size it was before World War II (small). Israel would have its hands full with Iran, Syria, and other Jewish hating states and unless they decided to turn the Middle East into glass (which would hurt them every bit as much as their enemies) they would fall rather quickly. Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea would fall rather quickly as well, as they would be overwhelmed in a matter of days or weeks by the waves of forces provided by China and North Korea. NATO and India would fall rather quickly as suggested by U.S. leaders because they are currently not getting the support they are repeatedly asking for. That would leave what is left of the U.S. forces, Australian forces and British forces to handle the load.
Unfortunately, these three nations would literally be up against (collectively) the largest military might the world has ever seen. For years, I have said that I do not see Britain being able to sustain a war against Russia. Now I’m not the only one. It was reported recently that the Former NATO chief warned that Europe could be at the mercy of an imminent attack from Russia with no defense plans to repel an invasion. Australia is not exactly in a great spot either because its population is entirely unarmed and they are the verge of their own economic strife. This would leave the U.S. exposed via Russian forces from the Arctic and Chinese forces from the south. People might be quick to suggest that the people would rise in its defense. Some will, but temper that idea with the fact that much of the population is both unprepared and unarmed – keeping in mind of course that roughly 80% of the firearms are owned by only 20% of the people. Now compound that with the idea that the U.S. is about to go through its own economic down-turn which will ultimately disorient, preoccupy and expose millions. I suppose I could simply say that it would be very messy.
This is scary – I know. And every day, there is another report or article that reaffirms the belief in a world war scenario. But let me remind you that this is only one scenario – one of many. And this scenario begins to change dramatically if the United States and its people become a bit more responsible, a lot more Constitutional and intelligent about things. Regardless, the point that I am trying to make is that the U.S. will not be fighting a one on one fight and there are MANY things that should be considered. The question we must all come to grips with is “if you were a nation stuck in the middle and trying to decide on a side while heading into a World War (logically speaking), which side would you choose?” The scary part for me is that there is much more to discover and this article literally just scratches the surface.
Let me close by bringing this article full-circle. If you are one of those that would still like to deny the possibility of a world war with the likes of Russia or China then maybe you will consider the words of former Assistant Treasury Secretary Dr. Paul Craig Roberts; who just so happens to be an award-winning journalist and former editor and columnist at the Wall Street Journal. He says that we’re headed for war as well. He says that both the Russians and Chinese believe they could get a preemptive first strike from the United States and that “The tensions now between the United States and Russia are higher than they ever were during the cold war. For this reason, it is very dangerous,” and suggested that “Now, we have NATO right on Russia’s border. This is a massive violation of commitments that the United States made. We now have extremely high amounts of tensions, and I think with this recent attack by the United States on Syrian troops, it has made it perfectly clear to the Russian government that diplomacy is useless, and they cannot reach a diplomatic understanding with the United States. Therefore, we have reached the point where force confronts force.”