A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled “The world is starting to reorganize itself.” There is certainly a new order coming, but unlike the reorganization that took place after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, this reorganization will emerge from wars and potential wars. The war in Ukraine has raged for almost two years. There are indications that a peace agreement could be reached, but the conflict continues. The war between Hamas and Israel has been going on for about a month, and it is perhaps the fiercest and most relentless war ever seen in a place where fierce warfare has become an art.
It continues. I heard two people I trust very much say that Serbia is preparing for war. Serbia and Kosovo fought a bloody war in 1998-99, during which the United States and NATO sided with Kosovo and waged a bombing campaign against Serbia. I hope these sources are wrong, but I think this will happen and spread beyond the Balkans.
The Chinese are entering the margins of the Philippines. The Japanese publicly stated that they would work to strengthen Philippine defenses and assist by sending warships in the event of an attack from China. Japan also announced that it was intensifying cooperation with Malaysia. Additionally, China and India are engaged in a border war. Japan has told India it is ready to offer unspecified support.
China faces considerable economic difficulties. I don’t think it has the naval force that others think, but it is still a major power. Thus, the Japanese decision to challenge China, even with U.S. support, represents a new role for Japan in the Western Pacific, one that China may not be able to live with. The slowdown in China’s economy is also weakening its government.
Tukey appears to be politically interfering throughout Central Asia, which is a region of extreme importance to Russia. This creates a potentially explosive situation.
Tensions in Southeast Asia, the Balkans and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia are not significantly related. It’s not like World War II, where nations were tied to each other, like Germany and Italy or the United States and Britain. In this case, the spread of war was supported by common interests. In the current world system, there appears to be no connection between the various ongoing and potential wars.
This seems to indicate that a world war will not break out. But it is difficult to understand why there seems to be a proliferation of ongoing and potential conflicts without a common basis. This may mean that nothing major is happening and that the idea of disagreements escalating into wars is unfounded. But as always, there are questions I can’t answer. Why are the Japanese brandishing their sabers while the Palestinians and Israelis are at war and the Balkan states are quivering? It is not just that there is a set of realities and possibilities for war, but that they are happening at the same time.
This question may not be answerable, but the United States is probably part of the mosaic. Many reasonably believe that the United States should become more involved in wars, even if we are not directly interested in them. But the United States is the global hegemon, the world’s largest economy and the greatest military power. These factors hamper the United States in the majority of countries around the world, whether through economic ties or military alliances. The upside is that the United States has a choice. But like Britain and Rome before them, the United States must be selectively involved. The United States crushed Japan in World War II, won a war in the Balkans, helped create Israel and shape Ukraine. When we look at this list of wars and possible wars, the United States is deeply involved in many ways. So the country I left off the list is the United States, which could tragically be drawn into wars with little time to think. This is a subject that historians should consider. Now we have to wonder if my trusted friends have any idea what they’re talking about. Most of the wars we talk about never happen.