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The Coming World War

  • 23-11-2021 3:19pm
    Posts: 0

    Scanning the various news websites around western Europe and the US, you would never know that there hasn't been greater danger of the outbreak of a third world war since the 1950s and 1960s.

    Two historic powers have risen again and seek to reassert themselves as pre-eminent in their regions: China and Russia. Unnatural allies, the USA's failed policy to remain the global hegemon pitches it - and Europe - into direct conflict at two primary flashpoints: Eastern Europe and the South China Sea.

    Russia maintains the largest tank army in the world. It could roll across the Suwalki Gap before anyone even knew what was happening, cutting off the Baltic states. NATO's expansion to Russia's borders is an unacceptable threat to Russian national security; the Russian Empire has always sought to dominate the Baltics, Belarus and Ukraine to provide a buffer between western Europe and the Russian heartland; due to the flat, indefensible terrain, these countries have always posed as mere highways for the invading armies of Poland-Lithuania, imperial Sweden, Napoleonic France, Wilhelmine Germany, Austria-Hungary and Nazi Germany. Russia also seeks possession of warm water Baltic ports and to secure the interests of its nationals in those states. It matters not that you don't consider these points valid: The Russian mindset is all that matters.

    The Baltics and Ukraine are militarily indefensible and NATO cannot even attempt to do so without risking a nuclear war -- because Russia has more nuclear weapons than the US, and it has the means to deliver them hypersonically. And Russia has currently amassed weapons and troops at the Ukrainian border. It looks very much like they're poised to cross and invade it any time now.

    Which brings us to China. China's navy is now larger than the US navy. It has longer range anti-ship missiles, hypersonic capability, and a rapidly growing thermonuclear arsenal. They are being very open and honest about their designs on Taiwan. As open as Hitler was on Poland. They have threatened Japan with nuclear extermination should it intervene in their conquest of Taiwan.

    So -- the board is set. Don't be too surprised if a coordinated, simultaneous attack on Ukraine, the Baltics and Taiwan is executed by Russia and China. The US and NATO can either fight or not. If they fight, they and particularly the US cannot win the ensuing two-front war. Any attempt to do so runs the serious risk of escalating into a thermonuclear exchange which will revert those of us who survive to the status of betumored medieval peasants, starving and unwashed in a cold, dark and poisoned world. Even if the war were to stay conventional, the US still loses. Every. Single. Time.

    The Baltics, Ukraine and Taiwan are not worth starting WW3 over. NATO should not have expanded to Russia's borders. A commitment must be given that NATO will expand no further. It may even be necessary to disband or shrink NATO. China cannot and will not be hemmed in. It must receive a guarantee from the US that America will not intervene during its annexation of Taiwan.

    These are unpalatable prospects for a small nation such as Ireland. Our instincts are naturally supportive of smaller nations. But the reality is that while the US was wasting the past twenty years hunting for bearded nobodies in the caves of Afghanistan, Russia and China rose again as Great Powers with enhanced nuclear and conventional capabilities, with a shared common enemy. Russia and China are empires. Real, hardcore, old school empires -- the kind that would happily relocate or genocide the entire population of Ireland in the morning if it suited them. They also have unspeakable military capabilities and the nationalist zeal to use them.

    The world map is set to be redrawn before the end of this decade, certainly by the end of the next one - and possibly a lot sooner. Democracies will fall. Alliances will be disbanded. And the world is set to be divided into three spheres of influence, all very different. If this isn't allowed to happen by means of diplomacy and a strategic US withdrawal from certain regions, there is going to be a world war that will make the last one seem mild by comparison.

    I hope I scared the shight out of you.

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,303 ✭✭✭landofthetree

    If you want world peace then cut all tariffs on trade to zero.

    It worked in Europe.

  • Registered Users Posts: 554 ✭✭✭brownbinman

    sounds very 1984 with the 3 spheres of influence

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,694 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    No offence OP but that's a load of nonsense. You're like a hype man for Russia and China - both of which have massive internal problems of their own.

    It may even be necessary to disband NATO.

    This was the point at which I rolled my eyes. As we all know when confronted by a bully the best action is to give them exactly what they want. That's how you definitely earn their respect.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,307 ✭✭✭Hoop66

    Russia may well have the largest tank army in the world, but it can only afford to take them out for a bit on a Sunday.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,694 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    Also that stat about the Chinese navy is technically correct but quite misleading:

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,421 ✭✭✭SafeSurfer

    One of the biggest threats to Russia is its dwindling population and the migration of Chinese to the Russian Far East.

    Would it be in Russia’s national interest to have an ever more powerful China on its border, one which has resolved its South China Sea and Taiwan issue and can focus on expansion inland in Asia?

    Multo autem ad rem magis pertinet quallis tibi vide aris quam allis

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,264 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran

    There are three caveats to that caveat. One is that the vast majority of those (fewer) major combatants were launched in this century, which cannot be said for the US fleet. The level of technology is not going to be higher than the US because of the age, but it is also far from the semi obsolescent force with which we have been dealing until about a decade ago. The second is that China is a regional power, that entire fleet can be focused on one area. The US has global commitments and will never be able to use the full weight of its fleet. The third is that the Chinese are still building rapidly.

    China isn't there yet, but this assessment from the Japanese perspective is sobering.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,111 ✭✭✭Ger Roe

    Whatever about the exact scenario outlined by the OP, I have no doubt that the climate change crisis will result in world war at some stage, probably earlier than many would expect.

    As land and natural resources get scarce, the grab will be on and the idea of solving the worlds problems for all of mankind won't stand a chance - it's not off to a great start at the moment anyway. It will be' might is right' and countries with little resources of their (our?) own and with a heavy reliance on other countries for energy provision and sustainable economic development, will loose out first.

    When the going gets tough, those who have the energy and resources will keep them for themselves and if they need any more, they will go wherever needed to get them.

  • Posts: 3,801 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    This won’t happen. The most climate change will do is cause higher levels of migration. No wars will happen. The op is talking about recent issues - not the future.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    The fact that a Great Power might have internal problems has rarely stopped one from waging war. Revolutionary France had massive problems and conquered all of Europe a few years later. Russia in January 1942 was on its last legs, supposedly.

    NATO cannot defend the Baltics. The alliance with the Baltic states is an unfortunate folly because it obliges the US to defend countries that it cannot defend and which are of no great geopolitical import to American national interests. I bet there are plenty of folk in defense departments all across the west who wish they could turn back time and undo the admission of the Baltic states into NATO.

    It’s mighty stuff to stand up to a bully until he incinerates your people with a hypersonically delivered hydrogen bomb. This is the predicament.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Russia and China are natural adversaries. However, as Zbigniew Brzezinski warned when analyzing threats to American security, “the most dangerous scenario,” would be “a grand coalition of China and Russia…united not by ideology but by complementary grievances.”

    This is why it will be important for the US to make preemptive concessions: because in doing so, it removes these grievances, which should allow the natural competing interests of Russia and China to come to the fore once more.

  • Registered Users Posts: 295 ✭✭Astartes

    You can add Iran into the axis of Russia and China. They won't be buddy buddy but they have a common "enemy" in the EU and the US and would coordinate with each other to the detriment of "The West" whenever such opportunities arise.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,600 ✭✭✭BanditLuke

    Putin and XI alliance is the worry tbh. I do believe we will see something similar to the picture the OP has painted within the next 3-5 years unfortunately.

    The US in my view won't send forces to halt any invasion on Europe's Eastern flank and China will take Taiwan in the blink of an eye.

    The US has many enemies but more interestingly has many more enemies who masquerade as friends, that will eventually be their downfall.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,307 ✭✭✭Hoop66

    I didn't mean to demean the Russian people, comrade. Just pointing out that Russia cannot afford to run it's very large army on a war footing for very long.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,734 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    Mod: Please do not paste videos and make sarcastic comments please. 2 posts have been removed.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,745 ✭✭✭Irish Praetorian

    Sorry the new quote system apparently doesn't allow me to split quotes.

    Regardless, to address your final point, you seem to be forgetting that us poor benighted victims of said bully do have nuclear weaponry of our own capable of delivering a more than sufficient riposte. The strength of these authoritarian regimes is also their weakness - if you don't need to answer to the populace (at least directly) then at a certain point it becomes expedient to just lie or distract them, rather than endanger your own luxury.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    You seem to assume that the decision to launch or not launch nuclear weapons would be logically made and deliberated. But this is almost certainly not going to be the case. The problem is one of unintentional escalation; the probability of a miscalculated launch by either party in an otherwise conventional kinetic war, either by a commander in the field, bad intelligence, human error, or the ambiguity of so many launch systems today which can launch either conventional or nuclear warheads. Someone in Poland launches a conventional missile from a launch system that is also capable of launching a nuke; what is the response from Russia going to be? What will the people at the other end assume is coming their way? The miniaturization of nuclear weapons is another problem -- as is the old problem of launch on warning. The fate of the world rests in the hands of deeply flawed people under immense pressure in crushing time constraints.

    I think people don't think about nuclear war because they are frightened to, and understandably console themselves by saying it's not going to happen. Or they think this type of worry is consigned to history. It's hard to imagine a nuclear war in the days of Tic Tok, Netflix and iPhones. Yet those who look closely at these topics believe we have rarely been closer to disaster.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,694 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    Firstly I don't think that you can lump China and Russia together. From a foreign policy point of view the only thing that they have in common is that they both tend to veto the same things on the UN security council (they usually back up other authoritarian regimes). In terms of temperament they are poles apart. Russian foreign policy under Putin tends to be quite impulsive and reactionary. In contrast, China are always playing the long game. The idea that they would combine forces in a joint strike is .... not credible.

    Now, will China eventually attack Taiwan? I believe they probably will in time. They are very conservative though. They are going to incrementally ratchet up the pressure over years and years. At the same time they will take soundings from the Americans to see what their appetite is like for actually defending the Taiwanese. The last thing that they would want to do is hitch their wagon to the unpredictable Russians. They are far too risk averse for something like that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 971 ✭✭✭bob mcbob

    This whole thread seems to be taking quite an old world approach to what is supposedly going to be a world war. Taking a look at the 10 Navies in the world for example gives -

    1 USA, 2 Russia, 3 China, 4 Japan, 5 UK, 6 France, 7 India, 8 South Korea, 9 Italy, 10 Taiwan.

    I think that the Asian countries, in particular Japan & India, are unlikely to sit idly by as some of the scenario's above unfold

  • Registered Users Posts: 34,245 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    I find the attitude that it's the natural order of things that certain countries will forever be vassal states of Russia to be very disturbing.

    It used to be the natural order of things that Ireland would forever be a vassal state of Britain.

    Also OP, "hypersonic", "hypersonic", "hypersonic"🙄 - do you know how an ICBM works?

    Fingal County Council are certainly not competent to be making decisions about the most important piece of infrastructure on the island. They need to stick to badly designed cycle lanes and deciding on whether Mrs Murphy can have her kitchen extension.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,871 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    Bring it on and lets have done with it. We could use a spring clean of certain regimes and population bottlenecks.

    A bit like burning the chaff before ploughing you might say.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 9,679 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manach

    For those interested the issue was summed up in the book, Thucydides's Trap by Graham Allison. The author charts (but not exclusively) the similaries between Ancient Sparta and Athens and the 30 year that took place due to their differing ideologies and interests. It was a war driven by a series of interlocking alliances and fear that one side was becoming too strong and would dominate the other. A major war is not certain, but could never the less happen as events can spiral out of control. Ireland had weathered WW2 because of its isolation and homogenity, qualities no longer applicable today.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    It is also disturbing when baby rabbits are eaten by foxes. The practice of geopolitics is deeply unfair.*

    The Baltic nations hope that they will gain protection from Russia through the EU and NATO. They have put themselves in one camp of great powers, and the other camp is eyeing them greedily. It is because of their geographic situation: they are very strategically located, as are Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. Russia does not necessarily want to conquer these countries - it just wants them locked into its sphere, because it sees them as essential to its national security, much as the US would not have tolerated a soviet Mexico or Canada in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

    This is mainly because the Russian heartland, from the current western borders of Belarus and Ukraine to the Urals, is militarily indefensible. Russia is actually a very hemmed-in country. A crown of ice covers its northern frontier, limiting access and navigation in the arctic winter. In Europe, the flat European plain is essentially an invasion highway to Moscow, and also (via Ukraine, especially eastern Ukraine) a direct route to cutting Russia off from the Caucuses and Black and Caspian seas. In addition, the Baltics and Denmark deprive coastal European Russia of Atlantic access year-round. In the Far East, Russia's only substantial port is Vladivostok, which needs to be kept free of ice in the winter months by means of ice-breaker ships; and Vladivostok is anyway largely ringfenced by American ally Japan a little further out. More broadly there are Russian fears of Chinese designs on Vladivostok and growing Chinese influence in the central Asian republics via the B&R Initiative, but these concerns have been deprioritized temporarily due to the mutual antagonism of Russia and China towards the US.

    Neutral (but NATO friendly) Sweden and NATO member Denmark are also strategically located; together they block Russia's North Sea access to the Atlantic. This is why Russia looks enviously on Gotland and war-gamed a nuclear attack on Sweden in 2016, and why the Swedish government soon thereafter circulated a document called If Crisis or War Comes; it speaks of compulsive resistance, the duty to resist, conscription, and no surrender. Conscription was reintroduced there in 2017.

    In the south-west, Russia is confined to the Black Sea and can access the Mediterranean only on the goodwill of Turkey, which literally holds the keys to the Mediterranean for Russia in the form of the Dardanelles and Bosporus. This is why NATO values Turkey so very much and why the Turko-Russian relationship is so important and historically antagonistic.

    Anyway, I think it's a big mistake to assume that the current borders of Europe represent in any way a final settled status, or that there will ever be a final settled status. I personally wish that they did and they were. I would much rather that Russia had been handled differently and had been brought into the NATO and the EU fold somehow in the 90s. But perhaps that was never possible. Due to its geography, it's probable that Russia must be authoritarian and suspicious - that the authoritarian mindset is a consequence of having such an enormous, multi-ethnic imperial territory; and that the need to have an enormous territory stems from the geographically vulnerable position of the original Russian territory - Muscovy, which essentially remains the Russian heartland today. Hence Russia will always be a problem for its neighbors and its neighbors will always be a problem for it. It is a horrible geopolitical feedback loop that our lizard brains may not be able to overcome.

    *As a small country, I fully expect that Ireland would fall back into the UK's orbit if the EU collapsed, or if America withdrew from the wider world. It would suck, it wouldn't be fair, but as mentioned, geopolitics isn't fair. Thankfully for Ireland, only the UK sees us as geopolitically important, and even then not as important as Norway and Iceland when the bombs start falling. In early 1940 notably the allies tried (and failed) to invade and occupy neutral Norway, and succeeded in invading and occupying neutral Iceland, rather than southern Ireland to secure the Atlantic (possibly because the UK was already in possession of Derry; incidentally this is one reason why Ireland frequently makes the list of most survivable countries -- we are not very important. And that is a good thing - though alas, this pertains only in a non-nuclear war. Ireland is very much a nuclear target in certain chilling scenarios.

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on

  • Registered Users Posts: 34,245 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    Russia does not necessarily want to conquer these countries - it just wants them locked into its sphere

    So that's a yes - vassal states, not independent nations.

    Remember that in WWII Ireland was considered by many to be essential for Britain's security, and Churchill at war's end said that he had considered invasion? Would that have been OK? for the greater good and all that - sure who cares about a few hundred thousand dead Irishmen in a war killing tens of millions?

    The idea that Russia needs to control or influence territory beyond its borders is laughable. It has the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads in the world. The idea that NATO presents it with a threat of invasion is also laughable.

    As regards access to the open sea - a lot of unfortunate geography there, but that's tough. It doesn't give them the right to control or invade Norway, Sweden, Turkey or anywhere else. You conveniently forgot to mention Kaliningrad, also.

    PS - misrepresenting history is not big or clever. The allies did not "invade neutral Norway" they attacked German forces which had already occupied Norway.

    Fingal County Council are certainly not competent to be making decisions about the most important piece of infrastructure on the island. They need to stick to badly designed cycle lanes and deciding on whether Mrs Murphy can have her kitchen extension.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    You seem very angry and indignant at me. I am not pro-Russia or defending the bullying actions of great powers. I am trying to explain the Russian mentality, not justify it. Ireland was not invaded by the UK in WW2. Norway would have been invaded by the UK - for geographical reasons - only the Germans beat the allies to it. This isn't a misrepresentation of history - it is a fact. It was called Plan R 4.

    What is laughable though is that you find the Russian mindset and posture laughable. It's obviously not laughable. If it were laughable, Crimea would still be with Ukraine, the Baltics wouldn't be scared out of their wits every time Russia war games close to their borders, and Ukraine wouldn't be worried about an invasion from the east. If it were laughable NATO wouldn't exist. I presume what you mean is that you don't like their attitude and think it's ridiculous. But what you think doesn't matter. What matters is what the Kremlin thinks.

    I have not forgotten Kaliningrad. I mentioned the Suwalki Gap in my very first post on this thread. Kaliningrad is a poisoned chalice that's been handed around from one power to the next, always ultimately to the detriment of everyone. It is one of the most militarized places in Europe.

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,434 ✭✭✭McGiver

    Russia didn't rise. Russia stagnates and declines. Its terminal decline is coming with developed world moving away from fossil fuels.

    China did rise.

    Russia and China coordinating attacks is very unlikely.

    Post edited by McGiver on

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    The elite in Russia are going to risk a war to ensure they don't get invaded? Isn't starting a war the greatest risk to that scenario?

    Russia having more nukes is beyond irrelevant. Both sides have more than enough nukes to makes the world uninhabitable to anything bigger than cockroach for millennia.

    And Hypersonic missiles mean the Russians live an 30 minutes longer.

    China very much relies on world trade. Does this continue if they invade Taiwan?

    However, I would VERY much like it if Europe were not dependent on Russia for energy. I can see Russia invading non NATO Ukraine and the West doing nothing

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,434 ✭✭✭McGiver

    Russia rising what a bollox.... 😁😁😁

    Name some world class famous Russian products or companies. Apart from weaponry (Mig), WMD carriers or space industry etc. Anyone? Anything?

    Now compare with China, US, Korea, Japan, Germany or even Italy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,434 ✭✭✭McGiver

    The idea that Russia needs to control or influence territory beyond its borders is laughable. It has the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads in the world. The idea that NATO presents it with a threat of invasion is also laughable.

    This exactly.

    This "We're defending ourselves from external threat" has been the Russian doctrine, propaganda and of course a lie for the last 300 years. It's absolutely laughable and of course a nonsense.

    The Russian elites have successfully deployed this mirage of an external threat to keep their own population in fear, under control and in a serf status, for centuries. Ideology in Kremlin changes, this doctrine doesn't -be it Tzars, Commissars or Presidents.

    Anyone who ever speaks this "defence" argument in relation to Russia is always confronted with the following question from me - so how did Russia acquire the largest territory on Earth? By "defending" itself? Yeah right 😁

    If you defend yourself you end up as Switzerland not as Russia!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 34,245 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    I abhor both nonsense and the doctrine of "might is right" which leaves little in your posts to admire.

    Fingal County Council are certainly not competent to be making decisions about the most important piece of infrastructure on the island. They need to stick to badly designed cycle lanes and deciding on whether Mrs Murphy can have her kitchen extension.