Is The World Headed Towards War?

Let me cut to the chase and say a solid and resounding NO. Why? Because all the major players have such interconnected economies it would do more harm than good. Yet I believe we are going to experience a change in the global political landscape as significant as during/post WWI and WWII. See, we live in a unique and interesting time of human history. 11,000 years ago the first agricultural societies were appearing and in a comparatively short period of time we’ve interconnected our planet so tightly that a man in Munich can date a women in Tokyo without ever seeing each other, all the while managing to spiral our planet into a mass extinction on the scale seen during the dinosaur die-off.

With the world destabilized as it is now, no war is going to save us. So, what is going to happen? A hegemonic shift. Specifically, a shift from a uni-polar political/economic world to a multi-polar community of competing superpowers. I think nothing is more telling than what can be seen occurring today in North Africa, Ukraine, the Levant, and the South China Sea. To get in to the specifics of each of the conflicts would turn this post into a book, so I’ll keep it general.

Post WWII the world was divided between red and blue, commie and capitalist. The collapse of the U.S.S.R resulted in complete, un-contested American hegemony. American foreign policy was  less imperial than it was focused on influencing markets, much different than the policies of European countries just decades before. American policy revolved around protecting and expanding global markets. If you refused to participate you would “get the stick” instead of the olive branch, and America had, and still does, carry a big stick (the U.S. military was spending as much as the next 8 countries combined in 2001). Now, was this a better path for humanity than what communism could have brought about? That is an argument for another time, but we can all agree it succeed in moving world powers away from imperialism and also stabilized global markets.

If you haven’t noticed things changed a bit on September 11th 2001 resulting in pretty much a unilateral war waged by the U.S. in the Middle East, which, in my opinion, was shamelessly geared towards acquiring control over precious oil reserves and ensuring the U.S. Dollar would continue to be the currency used when buying oil. This shift in Americas foreign policy, deemed the “Bush Doctrine”, can be associated with an increase of resistance to U.S. hegemony on almost all levels (chiefly political, economic, and military might) clearly seen today in the conflict areas mentioned above.

Why? In short because lesser world powers saw they could be subjected to a full scale American military invasion that could topple their political structure (you were particularly at risk if you were a socialist country) in the name of resource acquisition. No more Sandinista, Bay of Pigs, CIA pulling the strings BS.

Countries felt the need to “soft-balance” against the U.S. through such actions as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China’s construction of military islands in contested territory, the Eurasian Economic Union, nuclear weapons programs, and anti-Western propaganda.

This is the type of “warfare” we will experience this century. Hotspot issues resulting in countries flexing their muscles and spewing coded diplomatic rhetoric. Powerful countries will increasingly act unilaterally to get other nations to agree to their wishes, such as what has occurred in eastern Ukraine. Issues like those seen in Syria will become increasingly hard to solve as there will be more players involved in negotiations thus a form of logrolling will have to occur to solve unrelated issues.

All-in-all, spruce up your resume because a job in international relations is going to become more and more valuable.

 

 

Grayson Shor
Grayson Shor

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