7 Brewing Wars That We May Get To See in This Lifetime
Possible wars around the world are no doubt one of the most daunting topics one could encounter. It’s scary, overwhelming, and unfortunately very real.
On top of the pandemic, as if it was not enough of a global concern, we’ve all been hearing devastating news of bloodshed from various parts of the globe. Hostility comes from every side, from invasions and civil wars to brewing warfare among the most powerful countries in the world.
We listed down some of the most talked-about conflicts that are happening now as of writing. We’ll also point out potentially destructive wars that if aren’t resolved, could possibly happen in our lifetime, including the possibility of another world war.
- Venezuela’s Civil War
Thousands of Venezuelans are in protest in the streets of the capital Caracas, fighting in support of two different presidents. Two men are in dispute over the presidency, namely President Maduro and Mr. Guaidó, causing a crisis that could potentially result in civil war.
Nicolás Maduro was first elected in April 2013. During his term, the Venezuelan economy went into decline. Then, he was re-elected in 2018 which was taken to be highly controversial, especially by the opposition. His re-election was argued to be “neither free nor fair” and the opposition did not recognize Maduro’s win; he refuses to stand down.
Amid the chaos, the opposition leader and head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, says that based on the constitution, he is allowed to step in and assume the presidency. And that he did.
About 50 countries are on the side of Guaidó, including the United States. Meanwhile, Maduro, unwilling to back down, has the backing of Russia and China.
- Mexican Drug War
In 2020, it was recorded that Mexico gained a 3.5% increase in its peacefulness, according to Mexico Peace Index 2021 indicators.
So does this mean that the future is bright for the Mexicans? Not necessarily.
There may be a decline in the homicide rate, but this is not primarily because of improved security. The reduction of violence appears to be attributed to something called “narcopeace”, wherein a certain drug cartel is able to “establish territorial control.”
The government-cartel conflict has always been a part of Mexico’s history. Criminal groups have been intervening in the elections resulting in violent clashes all for selfish gain. They continue to build political power through extortion and other means to seek control over local politicians and the people.
Innocent Mexicans are getting caught in the crossfire, and the violence is forcing thousands of people to flee.
- The South China Sea Dispute
In 2013, the Philippines filed an arbitration case against China concerning control over maritime features of disputed parts of the South China Sea.
Three years later, the Court issued a unanimous award in the Philippines’ favor. The ruling rejected China’s nine-dash line claim and other claims to historic rights saying that it is invalid under international law.
Other findings include that the Chinese reclamation of the Spratly Islands where they built seven artificial islands are illegal under UNCLOS. The tribunal also called the behavior of Chinese ships’ obstruction of Philippine vessels unlawful.
China, on the other hand, claims that the arbitration’s existence is illegal saying its ruling is “null and void, with no binding force.”
In March, China has fully militarized at least three of the several islands they built, complete with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles.
- War in Afghanistan
In 2021, the 20-year-long war of the U.S. in Afghanistan was put to a close when U.S. President Joe Biden withdrew all U.S.-led forces. The Taliban who provided sanctuary for the prime suspects of the 9/11 attacks, overrun the capital. They took over the presidential palace hours after the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
Some people believe that Afghanistan could become a terrorist-safe haven given the Taliban’s history with Al-Qaeda. Women and girls are also threatened without their rights. All these on top of a mass exodus of refugees have ramifications that could very well cause further deterioration in the region.
Moreover, the country has now been facing a humanitarian crisis with millions of children possibly going to starve.
- North Korea’s Missile Testing
Washington and Seoul return to talks about the need for a “strong response” to North Korea’s missile tests. This happened a day after the North Korean state media reported about a test firing of a “new type of a tactical guided weapon” that will boost its nuclear capabilities.
According to the Korean Central News Agency, this weapon test “is of great significance in drastically improving the firepower of the frontline long-range artillery units and enhancing the efficiency in the operation of tactical nukes”.
In other news, Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, threatened South Korea’s defence minister with nuclear retaliation if provoked. This was after South Korea commented about pre-emptive strikes against the North.
North Korea repeatedly warned its rivals that they are prepared to use their nuclear weapons when threatened.
- Iran Nuclear Deal
Tensions have risen since the U.S. withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran nuclear deal.
The deal was made in 2015 when Iran agreed with world powers US, UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany to limit its Uranium stockpile and keep its level of uranium enrichment way below the level needed to create a nuclear bomb.
When then-US President Donald Trump abandoned the JCPOA, Iran began breaching the deal’s terms saying that it allowed one party to “cease performing its commitments… in whole or in part.” By November last year, Iran had collected a stockpile of uranium and amped up its nuclear development to a level just a little below what is required to create a weapon.
The Biden administration now pledges to rejoin the nuclear deal if Iran reverses its breaches. On the other hand, Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s president, says that the US must make the first move.
When the deal started, the “break-out time” or the time needed to generate enough fissile material to make a bomb takes several months; now it’s around three to six weeks. Weaponisation can take roughly two years. At this rate, Iran could have nuclear weapons in five years.
- Russian Invasion of UkrainePhoto
Photo from npr.org
The war in Ukraine began in 2014 after Putin’s annexation of Crimea. Upon Ukraine’s defeat, the country signed the Minsk agreements, a peace accord mostly on Russia’s terms. Following the annexation, Russia hugely increased its military presence near Ukraine’s southern and eastern borders.
On February 24, Putin says that his aim is to “demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine.” He says that these advances are to protect the people from genocide — unfounded claims that continue to be a part of Russia’s narrative. Instead of calling it a war against Ukraine, Russia’s leader calls this invasion a “special military operation.”
Putin’s ultimate goal is to hinder Ukraine from joining the West’s defensive military alliance NATO, which isn’t going to happen anytime soon anyway. It is Putin’s belief that the alliance aims to destroy Russia through NATO’s enlargement towards the east. Putin even demands that NATO reverse its expansion, away from Russian territories.
Andrei Kortunov, head of the Russian International Affairs Council, says “Putin needs a victory. At least he needs something he can present to his constituency at home as a victory.”
So, are we on the brink of World War III?
That, indeed, is a valid question in the midst of these conflicts. With Ukrainian President Zelensky pleading the US and NATO to impose a no-fly zone, in other words, a direct military confrontation, leaders are quick to think that this act is tantamount to the launch of the third world war.
The age-old cliché of wishing for “peace on Earth” now sounds like an impossible dream for many generations. With simmering conflicts here and there and the world powers pushing for further dominance and territory expansion, the future may seem jarring.
It takes a whole lot of humanity, compassion, and faith to contribute to world peace. It should come from all of us, and hoping against hope, beginning from the world powers themselves.
*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from Pixabay