Will there ever be another World War?

O maestre

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I highly doubt it, unless it is a resource war far in the future were unclaimed resources are in play.

The first world war was caused by squabbling between empires, the only reason it became a world war was because of the belligerents colonial ties.

The second world war was a battle of ideology.

Both those things are dead, there are no great causes to go to war for any more, besides Jihad wich hasn't been poipular enough to entice large scale wars between nations.

Individuals are much more independent from their countries and are capable of finding information with ease, all these things along with the increased cynicism make world war seem very very unlikely. As we get more an more globalization even the concept of nations might begin to disappear, and then who knows what a world war would look like, let alone how it will be defined as such.

I had a discussion with someone in the R&P subforum where that person full heartedly claimed that cold war proxy was still global practice. The diplomatic development in Syria is the most recent evidence that it isn't. Trade and economy is now at the forefront of most conflicts. I am straying from the OT, but personally I don't think a world war will happen until new resources are found or a new energy system harnessing system is introduced to the general market, but not in our life time.
 

Rblade

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I think all of the world powers are way to dependend on eachothers trade and recources to start an all out "world war" and nobody is stupid enough to think they can control a nation they conquered by military conquest. Sure there may be battles here and there and there will be digital tugging but anything that will actually destroy any of the world economic powerhouses is also disasterous for the others.
 

Davey Woo

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I don't think there will ever be a full-scale war like the first two. As others have said 'warfare' is all information based these days, and with things like the UN there is far too much communication and diplomacy for any huge world conflict to start.
 

NSGrendel

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Wars are fought over resources.

Water, food and fuel are going to become extremely stretched over the next 50 years.

Then you have the dual truisms that rich people don't fight in wars and the world has a much larger population than can be currently sustained at the standard of living the rich currently enjoy.

You do the math.

This all assumes of course that there isn't some form of paradigm shift or failure cascade that destabilises things even quicker, like large scale crop failures.
 

darkorion69

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There will likely never be a WW3 in a model resembling WWI and WWII. The reasons are many and varied; but the most obvious one that comes to mind is that war must be perceived as more profitable than peace for conflict to become a viable option. Contained conflicts (such as in Syria) are the most warfare that the international community will tolerate economically without direct military intervention by a coalition of nations protecting their economic interests while waving flags of freedom from oppressive warlike nations.

Oppressive warlike nations (like North Korea) have discovered that saber rattling is far less expensive and nearly as effective as open warfare in getting what they want from the international community. Governments are also slowly losing their control over the ideology of their people as well, and that makes it harder to convince or coerce their citizens to go to war on purely ideological grounds. So economic grounds are slowly becoming the rallying call to warfare around the world.

The threat of future war lies in corporate worldwide armed conflict over scarce resources such as food, water, and power waged by private military corporations (sic mercenaries) on behalf of international corporate interests. However, a war backed by corporate interests will not be a sprawling worldwide affair (like a World War) that might damage or destroy valuable resources. Such conflicts will be an echo of today's governments contained conflicts each ending eventually in a diplomatic and economic accord restoring order to the global economy.

We as a species are done with large scale World Wars after seeing the devastating still lingering effects of WWI and WW2. It simply does not pay out well enough to tear the world apart. Not enough people care about ideological differences on a mass scale to warrant such a large scale conflict. The history books often gloss over the fact that nearly every war in history is economically motivated.
 

DarthAcerbus

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Either Israel will have to be drastically weakened or the Arab world will have to be drastically strengthened. The Arabs will attack Israel full force, the US will step in to defend Israel (likely with European and British allies), and Russia will likely stand with the Arabs to prevent "American oppression." China or North Korea (likely both) will take advantage of this situation to go nuts in Asia, likely dragging India and Japan into it. The lines won't be as clear-cut as in the previous World Wars, and regardless of what everyone says, nukes likely will not be used. They exist more as a threat than an actual weapon (although if North Korea does actually get its hands on a working one, who knows).

South America will continue being South America, although if the fight comes to the Western Hemisphere (which it may), they may be pulled in on the side of the Americans. Africa (excluding Egypt and maybe Ethiopia) continues to be terrible.
 

Thaluikhain

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DarthAcerbus said:
Either Israel will have to be drastically weakened or the Arab world will have to be drastically strengthened. The Arabs will attack Israel full force, the US will step in to defend Israel (likely with European and British allies), and Russia will likely stand with the Arabs to prevent "American oppression." China or North Korea (likely both) will take advantage of this situation to go nuts in Asia, likely dragging India and Japan into it. The lines won't be as clear-cut as in the previous World Wars, and regardless of what everyone says, nukes likely will not be used. They exist more as a threat than an actual weapon (although if North Korea does actually get its hands on a working one, who knows).
I agree that nuclear weapons won't likely be used, but only because nobody will take actions that might cause them to be. Nuclear armed nations don't dare antagonise each other too much. In a full scale war, they'd be used, and nobody wants that, so wars don't get to the point where they might get that bad.

For example, Russia won't get into a direct conflict with the US or a close ally, and vice versa.

North Korea can't do much of anything. Their military would be quite good at taking South Korea down with them, but not for winning anything in particular.
 

SonOfVoorhees

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At the moment islamic terrorists are causing problems and i think they will be the catalyst. There is a lot of middle east countries in chaos at the moment and it will take one thing to set it off. One would be if Israel attacked a muslim country.

I doubt we will be fighting WW3 on the same scale as WW1 and WW2. But terrorism would go through the roof.
 

tehroc

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No. Corporations rule the world these days. WW3 would ruin a lot of these corporations. The best we could get is Corporate Wars once governments collapse and only the megacorps still survive.
 

Mr.Mattress

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Jul 17, 2009
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War is an inevitable thing with Humans, but a World War 3 can only happen when extreme Nationalism are coupled with Expansionism and a Top Tier nation. So far, Nationalism is a small creature compared to his less crazy brother, Patriotism. Expansionism is a dead animal. And Most Top Tier Nations know of the horrors of combining Nationalism with Expansionism. Until the Criteria is met by a couple of Top Tier Nations, then we will not see World War 3.

But who knows, a lot of things can change at any time: Maybe American Patriotism will become Nationalism? Maybe Japan will start getting the idea that they are meant to be the Dominant world power again? Maybe Greece and the Ukraine will get Fascist Revolutions and they begin making seedy deals on taking over their former Yugoslavian neighbors? Only time can tell.
 

kurokotetsu

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Strazdas said:
DANGER- MUST SILENCE said:
That's not the way information works these days. Scientists don't write single formulas that can't be recreated on single pieces of paper. We have these things called computers. Not only are they routinely backed up, but when you "steal" information from one, it doesn't automatically destroy the original. This is why, you know, music piracy happens.

For an "Information War" to be credibly called anything remotely comparable to a World War, we'd need to see direct casualties clearly caused by information warfare. Things like nuclear powerplant control systems being sent into meltdown mode, or more likely shutting down water or power grids during the height of summer/winter.
i never implied thats how information works, merely assuemd you knew that hackers and viruses can do more than just copy information. Lets say a government designed virus infects a computer of one of the scientists. it quickly spread to other scientsits computers and backup drives during backup process, while remaining dorment, and keeping score of how many copies it has created. then it gets a signal to act, waits till it can relay all this signal to all of its own copies (backup drives are supposed to stay offline when not bkacuping), and then all drives get to delete all the info at once.
bam, no backups.
the virus would be complex, but such is informational warfare.
Yeah, that virus is almost impossible. The amount of offline backups is huge, especially considering the magnetic tapes that Google and the NSA have, which probably are never all at the same time online and have multiple copies of the information.

There is no single scientist network that can be infected and scientists not necessarily interconnect to each other directly meaning that there are a great deal of other computers and servers being infected by this hypothetical virus, so a direct count wouldn't be able to do it, since it is probable that they would infect a great deal of other machines and not only those of scientists.

In that point also, the virus won't be able to convinently remain doing the count. A single computer would only be able to keep track of the computers it has infected, or the progeny the computers that were infected before. Unless all the virs keep comunicating with each other (which would be easyly traceable, that new amount of packages, very similar, with the same origins, etc. I'm sure would be easy to identify) and somewhat you program it so that it doesn't try to infect an already infected computer so that no repeated numbers (meaning each "update" the virus would have to send a list of all infected cooputers to each other) are, then you would be able to at least more or less keep count (with all those troubles). A virus like the one you talk about can't be wholly dormant.

Then the virus would have to be multiplatform. Scientists over the world not all use a single OS, as there are Mac, Windows, Ubuntoo, Debian, Red Cap, propertary systems, with different versions all over (I myself use on a regular basis WIndows 7, XP and Debian while working) which each has to be penetrated. After finding a vulenrability, as the virus would take a lot time to spread (by sheer amount of number of backups and devices)so subsequent updates may find and close the vulnerability (these being systems that regularly update), meaning that your virus may become useless at the time of attack.

And there are a large amount of physical copies of the works that you are eliminating, so even a succesful attack on the major scientific communities of the world, a good amout of that information may be recovered (even if slowly).

Your information war (which you seem ot be sure it is happening now) seems hard presed to come by.

Stuxnet and Flame worked very differently form this proposed virs, attcking very specific components of very specific systems (either nuclear reactors or secure networks), with an specific OS (Windows), opening certain components, and almost not transmitting (well Flame opened a gate to become a Blutooth trasnmiter, but that is an specific gate for a specific form of communication), being mostly dormant. One only attacked one system and the other only copied until someone new the gate to the virus. Also, those were aimed at Iran not done by it.

Thre is an information War but it isn't a World War. No huge amount of casualties or anything. THis is just spying, which has happened a lot and will keep happning.

More OT, while MAD stands, there is no GOvernment silly enough to try it. The great powers won't attack each other because that would spell their doom, so not WOrld War while MAD stands. If a single country does not abide, well by us. But it needs to many people to be incredibly stupid to do it (not a single individual). So there will be wars, but no World War.
 

gdv358

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thaluikhain said:
gdv358 said:
1) The world powers have to be divided into two neatly divided camps

This was something that existed for the entirety of the Cold War. But since the fall of the Soviet Union there really aren't neat and even divisions between the world powers. Everyone has started to be either in it for themselves or in it for the "global community" and that isn't the kind of environment that sparks a "World War".
Not sure about that. WW2 ended up like that, yeah, but took a while to get to that point. Out of interest, would you say it'd count as a world war if the USSR, US and Japan had stayed out of it?

gdv358 said:
3) A major world power has to think they CAN WIN

When the World Wars started, both of them began on the idea that someone could effectively fight all of the other powers in the world and WIN. You look at Germany's progress in WW2 and you can see pretty clearly that they had a fair reason to think they could.
I'm not sure there. Germany flat out could not win against the UK and USSR. Japan could not win against the US. However, people in power would not accept this, they'd promised victory to their leaders. The Emperor had been promised victory, so victory had to be achievable. Likewise, to an extent, with Hitler.

gdv358 said:
For anyone who thinks differently about the balance of power right now, I leave you with this: I've been told by a couple people in the military (on both sides) that in the 90s we actually managed to lose a couple of war games against Canada - CANADA of all places. Think about that the next time you picture someone trying to rule the world.
A war game that pits the nation of Canada against the US, or a war game that pits a Canadian force against a US one?

Canadian is a small nation, with a small military and no nuclear capability of its own, but that doesn't mean it's forces are worse than comparable US forces. Notably, they use a lot of the exact same equipment.
Actually, if you look at the history of both of the world wars you'd find that the precursor to them becoming "world wars" rather than a series of smaller wars was that major alliances began to form between countries with large military forces. The alliances at the beginning of the wars and towards the end of the wars may have been very different, but they still existed. By the beginning of the second world war, the Axis powers were already starting to form (with the USSR acting in cooperation with them without being an actual member) while the Allies were pretty much anyone who didn't want to be invaded by the Axis (with joining the allies something that happened primarily in order of who was under the threat of invasion first).

Also, without the (previously) unassociated powers in Asia and North America there would have been a massive change in how WW1 and WW2 actually panned out. It's true that the UK managed to stand its ground in WW2, but it managed to do so under what was essentially a brutal war of attrition where major cities in the UK were under constant bombardment. Had Germany continued to focus only on the UK, then they would have been much more effective. Honestly, if the Axis hadn't provoked the USA and USSR then it's very likely that the UK would have fallen eventually despite their best efforts. They fought tooth and nail to prevent that from happening but the turning point in the European Theater was having the USSR suddenly breathing down on Germany's neck(in no small part thanks to the Axis getting a little cocky and thinking they could take out the USSR easier than the UK).

As for my example about Canada, yes, they have a smaller military, one that actually lacks much of a naval presence. But the point was to drive home that even smaller nations can fight us on even ground until we escalate towards nuclear weapons. The fact of the matter is that nuclear weapons don't act as motivation towards a war because no one who actually has them right now really wants to use them. If nuclear weapons were our go-to and we were going to launch them whenever things got truly hairy out there then the only two nuclear detonations to happen in an act of war wouldn't have been almost 70 years ago. The Cold War was two major nuclear armed superpowers staring each other down for decades seeing who would be twitchy enough to launch the first nuke. Neither one was willing to do it regardless of how much they may have wanted to.

Everyone likes to say "politicians and military leaders don't care who dies" but that's never accurate when you consider that the first nuclear weapon on an ICBM pointed at the United States would be aimed right at Washington. Every politician and military leader cares about when the first nuke gets launched because none of them believe that they're going to survive the counter-attack. So the idea that the third World War would involve nuclear weapons by default is the idea that the third World War would be a situation where all of the nations in question were on the brink of collapsing and no one had anything to lose anymore. Honestly, by that point, we're probably all dead anyway.
 

Mahoshonen

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It may happen. It may not. I disagree with anyone that says it's impossible, but also with anyone that says that it will occur eventually.

Many thought that a big war would never happen again in the early 1910's. And almost everyone was certain a dust-up between the U.S. and Soviet Union was inevitable.
 

Thaluikhain

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gdv358 said:
Actually, if you look at the history of both of the world wars you'd find that the precursor to them becoming "world wars" rather than a series of smaller wars was that major alliances began to form between countries with large military forces. The alliances at the beginning of the wars and towards the end of the wars may have been very different, but they still existed. By the beginning of the second world war, the Axis powers were already starting to form (with the USSR acting in cooperation with them without being an actual member) while the Allies were pretty much anyone who didn't want to be invaded by the Axis (with joining the allies something that happened primarily in order of who was under the threat of invasion first).
Certainly, in that sense, yes.

gdv358 said:
Also, without the (previously) unassociated powers in Asia and North America there would have been a massive change in how WW1 and WW2 actually panned out. It's true that the UK managed to stand its ground in WW2, but it managed to do so under what was essentially a brutal war of attrition where major cities in the UK were under constant bombardment. Had Germany continued to focus only on the UK, then they would have been much more effective. Honestly, if the Axis hadn't provoked the USA and USSR then it's very likely that the UK would have fallen eventually despite their best efforts. They fought tooth and nail to prevent that from happening but the turning point in the European Theater was having the USSR suddenly breathing down on Germany's neck(in no small part thanks to the Axis getting a little cocky and thinking they could take out the USSR easier than the UK).
Not sure. Certainly, Operation Barbarossa was a turning point in the war, but Germany simply couldn't bring Britain to defeat any time soon. Maybe in a few more years, but it's hard to say.

gdv358 said:
As for my example about Canada, yes, they have a smaller military, one that actually lacks much of a naval presence. But the point was to drive home that even smaller nations can fight us on even ground until we escalate towards nuclear weapons.
I disagree. Canada cannot compete with the US in conventional forces, because the US military is overwhelmingly larger, if not necessarily superior on a piece by piece basis.

gdv358 said:
The fact of the matter is that nuclear weapons don't act as motivation towards a war because no one who actually has them right now really wants to use them.
Certainly. Once you have nuclear weapons involved, your nation faces destruction. Much safer to sit quietly and do nothing rather than take a move that may cause that to happen 20 moves further on.

gdv358 said:
Everyone likes to say "politicians and military leaders don't care who dies" but that's never accurate when you consider that the first nuclear weapon on an ICBM pointed at the United States would be aimed right at Washington. Every politician and military leader cares about when the first nuke gets launched because none of them believe that they're going to survive the counter-attack.
Not true, the US (for example) has been opposed to decapitation strikes for decades. You don't want to kill off the only people on the other side who can order a surrender or otherwise halt the fighting.

Also, destroying the civilian leadership actually helps the military.

However, it's in nobody's interest to see their nation burn down around them, even if they personally survive.

gdv358 said:
So the idea that the third World War would involve nuclear weapons by default is the idea that the third World War would be a situation where all of the nations in question were on the brink of collapsing and no one had anything to lose anymore. Honestly, by that point, we're probably all dead anyway.
Well, yes, that seems to be the assumption. I don't see how we can have another World War without that being true.

It's not the case that humanity would be wiped out, but the great nations of the time would certainly be facing destruction.
 

rednose1

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Figure we'll always have wars , only now they are apparently called conflicts. It'll take quite a bit to set off a full blown, country vs. country deal, but it could still happen.

My money is on Japan vs. China for the start of something really major. Tons of historical hostility towards one another, both have the clout to carry out big plans, both countries capable of near fanatical levels of nationalism (but really, who isn't?), and both have designs on a bunch of rocky islands for energy reasons (and energy needs are only going up, making them more and more important).

Plus, if Japan goes to war, the U.S. goes to war. North Korea would probably join in, happy to finally use it's weapons. So now North and South Korea are fighting. Plus you have 2 permanent members of the Security Council fighting each other, who knows what that'll bring about. My money would be on U.K. joining U.S., and Russia going along with China.

Now, not saying this is definitely gonna happen, just if anything would start country on country, old fashioned boomy time, this would be it. Much more likely are these smaller-scale conflicts that people don't seem to mind as much, even tough plenty of people are still dying.
 

Leemaster777

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Kolby Jack said:
Nah. World War 2 left an unignorable, unforgettable, horrific impact on the world, and it was followed by the Cold War, in which multiple generations of people lived through constant threats of total annihilation. Then comes the information age, where billions of people all over the world are suddenly able to talk to one another at a capacity which grows exponentially each day. It's easy to see today that the younger generations are already fed up with the bullshit still left over from wars past and want to move forward, forgive and forget. The two biggest points of tension are the Middle East with Iran and the Pacific with China and it's neighbors. Iran's oppressive regime is living on borrowed time, their military sucks and they have almost NO allies. China is economically tangled with the US to the point that neither really wants to do anything to each other, and their biggest ally, North Korea, is so backwards and insane that even China hates them at this point.

I'm not naive enough to say that we're on the fast track to world peace or that we're moving past violent conflict, because clearly we aren't. But huge, grandiose wars fueled by bigotry and propoganda with death tolls in the multiple millions aren't going to happen. Anyone who thinks so is just so cynical that they've become blind to the positive trends made by people in the modern world. And that's just sad.

Well done, my friend. Well-worded, well thought-out, and not a wall of text. You deserve the highest of fives.

I concur, it's extremely unlikely that we'll ever see another World War, at least as we understand them. Power struggles will most certainly continue between nations, but with the ever-present threat of the nuke, and with the current world economy so tightly interwoven, conflict on the scale of a World War is highly unlikely. There's no benefit in it for anyone. And, sadly, the lack of benefit to conflict is the only thing that'll keep it from happening. Not "morals" or "enlightenment", sadly.