The eve of World War I saw the great empires of the day positioning themselves for one last grasp at relevancy. They were all spoiling for a fight. The world was on edge waiting for a spark to ignite the fires of war. The eve of World War II saw a world weary by war and economic catastrophe unwilling to check the ambitions of a tyrant who used promises of restoring past glory as a springboard to dictatorial power. It was a period of denial and willful blindness.
Many of the conditions that were precursors to the World Wars exist today. Can anyone deny that Russia, Iran, North Korea and to some degree China are spoiling for a fight? Are not Putin’s tactics in Crimea and Ukraine and his return to Russian nationalism eerily reminiscent of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany? Could the level of denial and willful blindness on the part of American and European leaders and diplomats be any higher where Russia’s ambitions or the growing threats posed by Islam in general and Iran in particular are concerned?
But these similarities aside, there are fundamental conditions that lead to wars and these conditions are taking shape in very troubling ways throughout today’s world. Economic survival is a primary cause for war. Russia and China are both in very perilous economic positions right now. Both nations having already undergone economic revolutions, they are very sensitive to the political perils of unstable economies. The problem with both Russia and China is that their populations have seen their standards of living increase through their quasi-capitalist economic policies. The poor who have only known poverty are easier to control than people who feel they are losing something they once had. Russia and China will both be hard pressed to avoid popular uprisings should true economic disaster strike their countries. Those who control those countries are well aware of that fact. They are also aware of the growing peril of their situations.
China has followed the bad American example of saddling an economy with risky investments and mountains of debt. But China does not have America’s monetary policy trickery to fall back on (and even America has not averted its day of reckoning, it has merely postponed it and made it worse). Russia has been battered by a collapse in oil prices, driven by increased American production and the game of chicken Saudi Arabia is playing in an attempt to destroy the American energy market. These two world powers are on the brink of economic catastrophe and societal upheaval. As history shows us, nations in such situations will go to drastic lengths to survive.
The first step is to blame others for your economic woes. Hitler blamed what he termed as the unfair reparations the Allied powers placed on Germany following World War I. I expect that Russia and China will blame America and Jewish bankers for their economic woes. There is a reason why Jews and Israel will become a prominent part of the emerging crisis as I will explain later.
The second step is to create a pretext for aggression. In World War I it was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Hitler used a contrived need to protect ethnic Germans living in neighboring countries to expand German territory. Putin is proclaiming a similar need to protect Russian minorities in neighboring countries and has used this excuse to take control of Crimea and meddle in the Ukraine. China is claiming a right to control the South China Sea and is even going so far as to construct islands on which to build air bases to defend this claim. China also still clings to a territorial claim on Taiwan, but has been unable to act on this claim due to America’s protection of the island nation. But I believe the ultimate tripwire for World War III will be Israel’s efforts to destroy Iran’s nuclear program.
Russia and China have both set the stage for this through their dealings with Iran. Russia has assisted in the development of Iran’s nuclear program and is engaged in selling them defensive weapons systems. China is selling Iran ballistic missile technology. In addition, the refusal of these two key members of the UN Security Council to continue the sanctions regime against Iran’s nuclear program prompted the pathetic deal Obama signed America on to which he then tried to spin as a foreign policy victory.
Russia and China have no intention of stopping Iran’s nuclear program. They have purposely created conditions that will compel Israel to act on its own to attempt to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, which Israel rightly views as an existential threat to its existence. This inevitable aggression by Israel will spark a regional war. Iran and other Muslim nations that have been spoiling for a fight against Israel will spring into action in an attempt to make good on their vows to wipe Israel off the map.
Russia will send more troops into the region under the guise of attempting to restore stability. They may even get a United Nations seal of approval to do so. At some point either an actual or staged event will create the appearance of an Israeli attack on Russian forces. This will prompt Russia to move substantial forces into the region to eliminate what they will describe as the aggression of Israel.
If America has not been too badly damaged by likely joint Russian/Chinese cyber-attacks on our economic, military, and power computer systems, we will enter the conflict on the side of Israel. The degraded American military will necessarily shift assets from the Pacific theater to the Middle East, clearing the way for China to solidify its territorial claims in the region. At this point, North Korea will seize what it will view as an opportunity to overrun South Korea. Japan will ramp up its militarization for an inevitable face off with China and North Korea, but would have long odds of winning any such conflict.
Putin will widen the war to the European theater, where he will attempt to reclaim as much of the old Soviet Empire as possible. There Russia will be engaged by any remaining American forces and any European nations that have the will and ability to fight.
Russia’s goal at the start of the conflict will be to drive up the price of oil by cutting off supplies from the Middle East. But the goal will quickly expand to taking actual control of the territory, including oil fields and critical shipping lanes.
China’s goal will be to distract an uneasy population with dreams of an empire. It will also be driven by the desire to claim important natural resources like natural gas and oil from beneath the South China Sea.
All of this has been made possible by the vacuum of power President Obama created by choosing to lead from behind. Many have said that America cannot be the world’s cop. But the truth is the world is a much safer place when America is on the beat. America did not start any of the previous World Wars, but it was America who finished them. The question is, does America have enough remaining power and will to be the force that will bring an end to a third World War?