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Thread: The World War Hypothesis

  1. #1

    Default The World War Hypothesis

    So Mr. Aurkarm and I were were talking the other day. He is of the mind that global geopolitical affairs are making things ripe for a world war.

    On the heels of Turkey shooting down a Russian fighter plane and President Obama's remarks during his address today, I find myself thinking there might be something to it. For those that missed it, a key quote today was that an attack against France is an "attack against the world."

    Then we look at the myriad alliances and trouble spots around the world. We have ISIS/ISIL/Daesh/Fucktheseguys/Whatever they're called this week destabilizing the region we've been breaking for 10 years. We have Russia bombing them and Syrian rebels, only to have a plane shot down by alleged allies in Turkey. We have Canada, whose new leadership pledged to pull military forces away from that (although CBC reports that there have been over a dozen bombings since the new government formed).

    Then, of course, we have the trigger-happy United States. While we claim we're not going to put "boots on the ground," that doesn't really mean much in the end. We don't like the Middle East. We don't much care for Russia. The Middle East doesn't like Israel. We don't much like Assad's Syrian government. The Russians apparently don't like and have been bombing Syrian rebels. No one likes ISIS, and no one likes them.

    There's a lot going on, and I'm sure I've missed a lot of it. So what do you all think? Is there something to the World War Hypothesis? What's missing or what's present to swing it one way or the other? What's the catalyst to get things rocking if we're that close?

  2. #2


    Quote Originally Posted by GoldDragonAurkarm View Post
    There's a lot going on, and I'm sure I've missed a lot of it. So what do you all think? Is there something to the World War Hypothesis? What's missing or what's present to swing it one way or the other? What's the catalyst to get things rocking if we're that close?
    I don't think we're due for a world war anytime soon, because countries with military means no longer see large wars against other world powers as in their interest.

    It's easy to draw comparisons to WWI and the web of alliances that drew all the world's powers into a war at once. The problem is that major wars every other decade were still a way of life and there was a lot less in terms of living a long life and economic value to lose through a war. It's easy to forget that life expectancy in 1900 was 40-45 and people still dealt with death with regularity - it was easier to throw lives at war.

    Meanwhile, there's the fact that major powers can't really fight to the bloody end anymore because the bloody end is backstopped with ICBMs. You can't really "win" a war between major powers. If there's no outcome where you win decisively, then the best move would seem to avoid having to fight at all.

    So, I don't see a world war happening. It's in everyone's best interest to avoid it at all costs. If it were coming, we wouldn't have to speculate much about the risks - you'd need a highly irrational actor in charge of a major power, and we'd be collectively freaking out about it long before the war started.

    Inasmuch as people come up with plausible scenarios for something catastrophic to happen, those scenarios involve accidental military incidents that create political pressure that's impossible to ignore - but do we really think rational actors aren't going to try to put the breaks on and deescalate at every step up before the nuclear football comes out? So much has to go wrong, repeatedly, for a world war to breakout in a sustained fashion.

  3. #3


    I don't trust Putin as being an especially sober or rational person, but I would hope that even he understands that any nuclear exchange would most likely lead to the extermination of all life on the planet. What concerns me is not only their response to Turkey, but also to the Ukraine, as the Ukraine has cut off the power grid to Croatia. There are several events hitting Russia almost simultaneously. Putin will have to make a gesture of strength, and that will only escalate existing hot spots. I'm hoping that he takes a moment to breath and asses rationally.

  4. #4


    I do see validity in what Fruitkitty has said, however I do see it happening in about 10 years.

    This is based on something that both my High school and College history teacher said.

    The next world war is not going to be like anything we have seen before. It will start out nuclear and then go to a conventional war. It will not be a clear country of target/aggression.

    As I see it (explained in several threads before) it will start with the "group" making a point by doing an organized nuclear attack in several areas. The world powers will unite and make an organized "cleansing" of the radical sect. The out come will be the formation of an organized world economy.

    The other side of this is what Fruitkitty is saying and I do hope that major power will be able to calm hot heard and control hasty reactions.

  5. #5


    I doubt the Russians are eager for WWIII. A new cold war for sure but not WWIII.

    I really don't like Trudeau's pulling out the fighter jets. He is not doing it out of concern for the safety of the pilots or anything he just does not like the fact that Canada has a military with offencive capabilities. The "training mission" does not mean that we sent over a bunch of drill sergeants. Our special forces are taking local troops into the field; they get shot at and have shot back. But since it is training it sounds peaceful.

  6. #6


    World conflict? Unlikely. Obama certainly doesn't have the balls to challenge Putin in any meaningful way, and that's what it would take. Going back to 2008, plenty of people predicted that if Obama were elected, Russia and others would challenge his weakness and inexperience, and that's exactly what's happened.

    I do expect that the Middle East will heat up some more, Iran, their nuclear program, and Israel being the wild cards.

  7. #7


    I think the fact that Canada is participating at all is nothing more than a symbolic gesture at best. Our military aircrafts have only flown in 2.7 percent of all the coalition missions in Iraq and Syria since the war against ISIL started. Canada has contributed 6 fighter jets, 2 surveillance aircraft, and an air-to-air refuelling plane. Canada has committed to increasing the number of ground troops training local forces fighting ISIS in Iraq,

    As far as the end-the-world scenario goes, I think it's easy to become discouraged with what we see in the media. However, we receive our global information differently now, with social media and the internet being our main news sources. The images and information bombards our minds with the most recent bombings and airstrikes. The only way to compare our wartime to previous ones is to count the actual number of wars, the number of people killed in war, and analyze the trend over time. During the second World War, the human population lost 300 of every 100,000 people each year. During the Korean War it was in the 20s, before dropping into the teens during the Vietnam era. In the 1980s and 1990s, it fell into single digits. For most of the 21st century it’s been below one war death per 100,000 people per year.When we see the state of the world from the news media, there's a perception that we live in more violent times. Because if anything gets blown up or shot down, or if there’s any shooting anywhere in the world, it instantly gets beamed across the world. News is about stuff that happens. And as long as there is violence it will be at the front of the headlines.

  8. #8


    Wars of conquest are largely obsolete. The explosion of trade since WWII has made all major world powers so economically interdependent that a major war would cause such severe disruption as to cancel out any material gains. Russia, for example, is currently highly dependent on oil and gas exports – Putin’s military recent adventurism can be regarded as a way of distracting the Russian population from the economic consequences of the collapse in the oil price. Likewise, China needs overseas markets for her goods in order to maintain employment at a level that can stave off social unrest.

    Besides, the populations of sophisticated economies with high education levels tend to be hostile to sending large numbers of their sons and daughters off to die in foreign fields for questionable reasons, and global media and global travel increase cultural understanding, making it harder to stereotype and demonise your opponent than it used to be. This used to be called the “Democratic Peace” theory, but personally, I think it can be extended to any society where the government is concerned about popular opinion, even if it isn’t strictly speaking a democracy (i.e. China). Major powers tend to become so because their policy is more or less guided by pragmatism. And the lessons of WWI and WWII have not entirely faded.

    Regional wars in unstable places may still crop up for nationalistic or religious reasons, but you can expect the major powers to do their best to contain them. Worse-case scenario, we may be facing the start of a nasty regional war, but I would not expect it to spread beyond Syria/Iraq. Israel is no more popular with her neighbours than ever, but that doesn’t mean they are inclined to make common cause with ISIS. Putin clearly wants to prop up Assad, but if that gets in the way of dealing with ISIS, who have actually killed hundreds of Russian citizens, and who demonstrate a clear threat to the internal security of pretty much all nations, he may face domestic problems. That’s the convenient thing about ISIS – they’re everyone’s bogeyman. Even Iran has no interest in supporting the existence of a jihadist theocracy based on a medieval interpretation of Islam.

  9. #9


    Actually, for the first time in my life, I am worried about what would happen if we went to war. Russia has to address what Turkey did to them regarding shooting down their plane. In a sane world, it'd be fine. The Russian strike Turkey and put their place. Unfortunately, some genius let Turkey in NATO, so that means if Russia attacks Turkey, we have to ally with Turkey against Russia. Again, this will cause a World War.

    The thing with ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh is that we don't really care that much about terrorism. We just want to take out Assad because he didn't go along with our plan to run the pipeline through Turkey. There are two groups of rebels in Syria. ISIS and then the people we are arming. Russia went over to bomb ISIS, but they don't really care which rebels they bomb. Assad is Russia's ally.

    It's complicated because France allied with Russia instead of NATO after this Paris attack and they are running joint strikes against Russia.

    Anyway, I am glad the Russians are fighting ISIS, I don't really care which rebels Russia takes out. They are both Islamic fundamentalists. However, now we have this Turkey/Russia conflict and that is where we could find ourselves at war with Russia. I think I will call my Congressman to defund any war with Russia. However, I am afraid this war will hurt the US. It's truly scary times we live in.

    Obama, McCain, and Victoria Nuland need to stop playing in a foreign policy arena they don't understand. The three of them are warmongers and they are going to let a genie out of the bottle that they will have trouble caging again. Donald Trump has better ideas for dealing with Russia and Syria than those three.

  10. #10


    World war 3 is unlike any of the major wars the planet has ever had. In the past, a major war against a powerful enemy required a costly, time consuming, massive military build up in order to launch an attack with any hope of destroying the enemy. Today, any of the leading world powers could be easily destroyed by a number of countries. World war 3 is an upside-down war in the sense that the final battle is already in place and capable of destroying any enemy, with no need of further effort. In fact, it requires effort to prevent the war from taking place on its own. And yet we still look at wars in conventional terms, as if world powers could finish this war without using the nukes.

    What we call the "cold war" is actually world war 3 and it hasn't ended yet, thankfully. Russia blinked and the U.S. became the de facto world leader for a while, but China is currently overtaking that spot. Animals like us are still slaves to our fight or flight response. Flight isn't possible. Conventional fighting is nothing more than a delaying tactic. If the war heats up what possible outcome can there be? Inevitably, some country will end up in the position of choosing between surrendering to the enemy or destroying the enemy in a suicidal attack. The decision won't be based on a coin toss but on that country's god.

    What would you choose?

    I haven't given up all hope. Some part of me still believes mankind is capable of using it's mind to overrule it's animal instincts.

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