Friday, 7 March 2014

Are We on the Verge of Another War?

by Fergus Houghton-Connell

Russian soldier in the Crimea

100 years after the start of World War 1 and Europe yet again faces high tensions, albeit with different Superpowers this time. Russia vs. the USA dominated half of the 20th Century and, with the occupation of Crimea by Russian troops, it seems again that the Cold War enemies will face up to each other throughout the 21st. But, as Western powers continue to criticise Russia for its military actions, will we see another War? Or is this situation just all talk and no action? 

The tensions appear to be in a similar location to World War 1, Eastern Europe, albeit with different events. But maybe the next War won’t be fought in Europe. With civil wars popping up in the Arabic states and Africa over the past few years, maybe we could see the return of a Desert War, in similar conditions to the Six-Day War, although probably lasting a bit longer. Although, if a War were to occur with most of the Superpowers involved, perhaps America or Russia themselves could see the fighting get a bit too close to home.  

Why would another World War happen? Surely after the huge loss of life during the First and Second World Wars, it would be idiotic, nay suicidal, to fight again. In all probability, it is unlikely anyone will challenge the Russians if they were to invade Ukraine with military force (except maybe the Ukrainian army), simply because Ukraine probably just isn’t worth it. But, in the more likely scenario that energy resources run scarce, we could see a future War occur between Oil-thirsty countries such as America, Russia and China. More likely then we will see a War in North Africa or Arabia. One noteworthy point however: Hitler entered the Sudetenland to “free Germans”. Russia has entered Crimea to “protect Russian speakers and citizens”. A link then perhaps between Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia and Russian occupation of Crimea, which leads to the question,:where will the Russian occupation stop? 

The Great Depression in the 20s and 30s can, to some extent, be responsible for Hitler’s rise to power and, with the Global recession over the past few years, more and more right-wing extremist parties have been gaining support, Golden Dawn in Greece for example. Maybe we will see extremism return to Europe. Again, this is unlikely to cause a World War, mainly because the largest powers in the World have mostly recovered from the recession and have stable governments, but perhaps a small war between low key neighbouring countries could occur, sparking greater conflicts.

Vladimir Putin
The leaders are the next issue. Putin has shown no signs of compromising with America, or of giving up the leadership of Russia for that matter and Obama has been swift in following the American tradition of criticising most of Russia’s foreign policy. But putting these two aside, Kim Jong-Un is in control of a sizeable army and, most likely, nuclear warheads. If worst comes to worst, North Korea wouldn’t be pushed aside in a War. Not to mention the leaders of unstable states in Africa and even Assad could pose a threat to peace outside of his own country. 

All things considered, it’s slightly unfair to compare the situation in Ukraine with the tensions in pre-war Europe. But the fact remains that if Russia continues to intervene in affairs that America deem not of their own, then tensions are bound to rise. Perhaps not this year, or in the next ten years, but with natural resources running lower, and the need growing greater, we could see another Cold War, or worse. I will leave you with a quote from Albert Einstein, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”.

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