Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

How Far Away Are We From Another Major War?

I've been mulling this over for a bit. The surprise attacks of 1941, which postwar colored much of the security postures of the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia, were 77 years ago. The only participants left were the youngest soldiers and sailors at the time, and all of them are at least in their 90s.

The children who saw that war firsthand are almost all into their 80s.


The Europeans had a series of continent-wide wars in the early 19th Century. The rest of the century was somewhat bloody, with nation-on-nation fights here and there as well as civil wars-- even the Swiss had one. But there was not a major war for a century. Even when that war came, at least in western Europe, the front was largely static for most of the war; it wasn't until the second phase of that war in the early `40s that a significant percentage of Europe was turned into battlefields, with the infrastructure of entire nations reduced to rubble.

On the other side of the Eurasian land mass, countries have not borne the brunt of war for decades. The leadership of China has no memories of war. They seem to be growing more and more enamored of conflict as a means to an end; forgetting/ignoring that wars tend to spin out of control. What is planned to be a short, sharp war can turn into a meatgrinder of a bloody stalemate.

It's not hard to find more recent evidence of the costs of war. But nobody has seen large-scale armies fighting each other, with artillery and air support on both sides, in a lifetime.

As those memories fade, the delusions as to the cost of war will set in. The chickenhawks in several nations are gaining influence.

The Guns of August will be heard again.

8 comments:

Deadstick said...

Beautifully written, eb.

Mike R said...

This is something I have been thinking of for awhile, seems we as a species go insane from time to time and it feels like the insanity has been building. Thank you for saying it so eloquently.

CenterPuke88 said...

China/India/Pakistan. Population pressures for Pakistan and India, economic concerns for China and India, religious concerns for all three, Indian worries about Pakistani/China collaboration and Indian and Chinese internal separatist pressures. All three have nuclear weapons, substantial armies and land borders. China is critical to the West, India is important, Pakistan less so.

Open questions, will China wait for Taiwan or will that be China’s gambit to show the world that the power has shifted? What is the U.S. willing to do to protect Taiwan? If we try to support Taiwan and lose a carrier or two, the war with China is uncontained, and escalates to at least tactical nukes. Does a China at war with the U.S. encourage the Norks to push south? Whose side does Russia play? Does India decide it’s a good time to clarify those disputed border area with China? Does the Philippines simply duck and cover? What about Japan and those U.S. bases?

Mahan is generally considered a God by the U.S. military and strategists, but never clearly explained several land empires. I would expect very little sea action between China and India, and the limitations of sea power on striking a land power would be exposed in a U.S./China conflict.

Doug T. said...

That is well written, but depressing as all hell.

Thomas Ten Bears said...

Well, just as soon as the blood rises to a horse's bridle Jesus will float down out of the sky and rescue the christians who are working overtime to foment the war where the blood will rise to a horse's bridle ... I don't know, but with so many people out to make it happen it should be soon.

0_0 said...

We need a new Bill Mauldin to tell us these things again.

Comrade Misfit said...

0_0, there was a scene in the 1949 movie Battleground that showed children scavenging at an Army field kitchen in Bastogne.

My guess is that we'll see a major war in fifteen years, tops. The Guns of August may be nuclear.

CenterPuke88 said...

Comrade, South American war within 5 years, Asia within 15, global within 40.