Op-Ed: World in Conflict: Is WW3 Next?

Mark Twain once said, “History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.” While today’s patterns of events may not be identical to the previous ones, there are a lot of similarities. 

With wars, tensions and conflicts increasing around the world, the question arises: Could WW3 happen soon? If you look at historical patterns regarding the outbreaks of major wars, a cyclical pattern can be observed. While there were only 21 years between WW1 and WW2, many historians view these wars as one giant conflict, and between then and now, there are almost 100 years, exceeding the length of a human life span. The previous generation has all but died out, so most people alive today don’t remember how the previous world wars really started and how to prevent future ones from occurring. That information is lost to the land of the dead. If people forget history, they’re doomed to repeat it. 

People have been sounding the alarm about the possibility of WW3 for years, so much so that it’s almost cliché to talk about it. However, major tectonic shifts have always occurred in the world’s power structures. Before America, Great Britain was a world superpower. WW1 and WW2 worked out in the U.S.’s favor. After many countries exhausted themselves fighting each other, the U.S. swooped in at the end and claimed victory, eventually becoming the world’s unrivaled superpower. But something has changed. America is no longer the world superpower it used to be. It’s a fallen empire, a fallen nation that succumbed to entropy. That leaves a power vacuum that some other country has to fill. Which country will be the next global superpower? As wars usually follow poor economic times, and with the worsening inflation and economic troubles around the world after COVID-19, conflict could easily strike, as it already has in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.  

Up until the recent conflicts between Russia and Ukraine and Israel and Hamas, there had been relative peace in the world. Many countries have become too relaxed and have stopped competing militarily. Weakness breeds hard times. 39 countries don’t have a military at all, and many rely on the U.S.’s support for defense, so how could they even defend themselves? 

Historical patterns can show us what may happen in the future. We may be trapped in yet another cycle of war and destruction. The U.S. recently proposed drafting women, and, in Washington State, many schools even make students take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test to graduate. Could major global chaos and conflict be closer than ever?