World war

Is a Third World War lurking around the corner?

A video surfaced on November 18th, with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), having done an all-out assault at the Taiwan Strait. This may lead to a full-blown war between Taiwan and China. The Chinese state media claimed that the Chinese president Xi Jinping is preparing for war at multiple points. This comes when China and India are at logger’s heads with each other at Pangong Tso. Troops have been deployed at both the sides and dialogues are going on to deescalate the tensions. There is also a trade war going on between the US and China. For instance, India, America, Japan and Australia have signed a pact to not let Chinese company Huawei operate in these countries due to privacy concerns. This may irk China even more against India and the US. There are tensions in Kashmir with Pakistan as well which has been going since the partition.  There is also escalated tensions between China and Japan in the South China Sea over the Senkaku/ Diaoyu Islands. China has over the years, has been increasing its presence in the South China Sea.

As China prepares to go to war, in the West the outgoing US president had asked the White House officials for “options” to solve the Iran nuclear problem. His advisors, as per reports have been talking him out of it for now. Tensions have been escalating between Iran and the US after the top general of Iran Qassem Soleimani was killed in the US airstrikes in January.

With a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia, fighting may have stopped for now. But the peace brokered by Russia has tilted power towards Azerbaijan. As other countries also have their stakes in this geopolitical conflict, tensions may escalate again in this region. Turkey, Pakistan and China strongly supported Azerbaijan, while Russia had its stakes on Armenia.

In the middle east with the Syrian Civil war raging for over 9 years now, more countries have got involved. With Russia and Iran backing the Syrian government, the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are supporting the rebels. France, the UK and some other western countries are supporting what they call ‘moderate rebels.’  This tension in the middle east has caused a deterioration in the relationship between other countries like the tensions between the US and Turkey and even Iran and Israel.

With a stalemate between the US and North Korea over North Korea’s constant tests of nuclear missiles despite strict warnings from the US, maybe a cause for worry for another brimming war. In 2018, Trump was the first US president to visit North Korea but despite the Trump administrations offering a peace deal with North Korea, the country has shown little interest in peace negotiations. Earlier this year, North Korea said it will give the US a “Christmas present”, which has many worried as it may be a nuclear missile test, however unlikely it may seem.

In August 2020, Russia said that it will perceive any ballistic missile attack on its territory as a nuclear attack and will retaliate with a nuclear weapon. This harsh warning was in the official military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) and may have been directed at the US which has developed long-range non-nuclear weapons. Russia may give a nuclear response to a conventional attack on its government or military. Russian interference in the 2016, and 2020 US elections and its annexation of Crimea and war with South-Eastern Ukraine has made the relationship between US and Russia very toxic. The war between Ukraine and Russia has entered its seventh year and there is no end in sight. Even though there are regular ceasefire treaties the war may not be over very soon.

Almost every major country in the world seems to be involved in some form of conflict, escalated tensions or war which is becoming worse as the days pass. A world war seems inevitable if the tensions keep escalating as time passes. With nuclear missiles, modern ammunition and bioweapons, if this war happens, it would be more devastating than the first two World Wars. We can only hope that a peace treaty and other adequate measures are taken by countries before it reaches the threshold.