World War III

People normally do not think of doomsday scenarios until they happen.

This was true of Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

Repeated warnings and mounting evidence were ignored in the highest places. In this same way, nobody thinks of the possibility of World War III until perhaps it suddenly blows up in our faces, if it will.

This article summarizes key geopolitical information in the last few weeks.

What are the chances of a third world war?

It is not so important to predict as to quantify the "chances," to identify "catalysts" in the short and long terms.

In the long term, there are three factors — polarization of opposing forces, imbalance in military superiority, and global crises, such as in economics, energy, and disasters due to climate change.

The more these intensify and gather momentum, the closer we are to the brink.

In the short term, there are also three factors — key "milestone events," warfare technology, and the role of global media in twisting information that triggers bias and anger based on misinformation.

All these are too lengthy to discuss here. We shall simply focus only on key "milestone events" that bring us closer to the brink.

On the aspect of polarization, unknown to many in the West because Western media downplay it, there are two key events triggering rapid and intense polarization — the fall of the Soviet [Union], and 9/11.

The fall of the Soviet [Union] prompted US-NATO to fill in the power vacuum in Central Asia and the Caucasus, bringing former Russian republics closer to NATO. US-NATO have two goals: first, to control energy corridors from these new pro-Western countries; and second, to establish a "ring of fire" — namely, missiles — around Russia.

The terrorist attacks in the US on Sept. 11, 2001, triggered not so much the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and perhaps Iran next, as the American mind-set and predisposition to waging wars, for whatever reasons. The mood of the White House, whether we talk of McCain or Obama, is to put its foot in the energy corridors and rattle its sabers.

The US-NATO initiatives in Central Asia and the Caucasus in turn triggered a reaction of counter-forces in self defense, two military blocs which have joined forces, a fairly recent development since 2005.

These are the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

The SCO is an alliance of China and Russia together with former Russian republics Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Iran has observer status in the SCO.

The CSTO has the key geopolitical role of developing and protecting "energy corridors" to rival those of the US-NATO, namely, gas-oil pipelines. It has as key members Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

The CSTO and SCO coordinate closely with each other.

In October 2007, they forged a military cooperation and partnership.

A year before this blood compact, they conducted joint war games. The predicted confrontation between US-NATO and CSTO-STO is precisely in Central Asia and the Caucasus, the heart of the network of oil and gas pipelines controlled by both East and West.

US-NATO protects energy corridors from Central Asia to the Far East and the Mediterranean. The CSTO-SCO protects energy corridors from Central Asia to China and South Asia.

Thus, in just a few years since the turn of the century, we see rapid military polarization between energy-hungry US-UK-EU-Israel and energy-rich Russia, Iran, and some Arab nations partnering with energy-hungry China. Energy is thus the supreme catalyst for World War III.

The many tiny former Russian republics are splintered into pro-East and pro-West. This will be the first battleground, demonstrated by the Georgian conflict.

Of course, 9/11 catalyzed the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In these wars, the US, the lone superpower, has battle-tested its latest digital weapons that have widened further the global balance of power.

The tremendous impact of these wars is the massive and rapid arming of allies on both sides by the US, Russia, and China, bringing us closer to the brink.

This powder keg can be lit by one tiny event, or a mere accident. In other words, we may not know we are in a war until we are there and the missiles are falling because of milestone weapons technology.

The rapid evolution of both weapons and communications technologies contributes to this "war stealth" that will descend upon us like a lightning bolt — low-yield nuclear artillery, tiny unmanned drones carrying anti-personnel weapons whose power has quintupled, smart missiles and counter-missiles, stealth submarines and aircraft.

Climate change and global warming have resulted in bigger and more frequent hurricanes, affecting global food security. In Texas, "monster Ike" has neutralized refineries and sea platforms, affecting US energy sources. The second biggest catalyst to World War III is food-energy security.

The most dangerous short-term catalyst is US missiles near Russia. It is as if the West is daring the East to respond. Russian counter-missiles in the Baltics are a key milestone event.

Finally, the role of Western media to induce bias based on misinformation will induce war fever among the public, especially in the US.

[Source: By Bernardo V. Lopez, Business World Online, Manila, Philippines, 17Sep08]

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