More than a century ago, World War I was known as the “Great War.” Fought by nations large and small, it was touted as the “War to end all wars.” The balance of power before 1914 ruptured, but the superpowers of the day foolishly thought they could fight a quick war to adjust the balance of power and restore stability. Four years and over 37 million casualties later, they were very wrong. Worse still, the mortally wounded superpowers laid the groundwork for the next global conflagration. A little more than twenty years later, the earth was engulfed in World War II. After almost six years of war and about 80 million casualties, the victors finally learned the hard lesson that totalitarianism must be contained, and that evil certainly exists.
The planetary carnage stunned the world, so the free nations of the world formed various defensive alliances that have largely deterred large wars for about 76 years, but those alliances have aged and atrophied; and those free nations have drifted from their democratic moorings. International relations have become rocky and old friendships have frayed, but most disturbing is with a feckless European Union and an acutely weak and rudderless America the balance of power is severely tilted.
Now like then, the next World War will seem to start spontaneously, but to the astute there were and are many warning signs of the imminent possible global struggle. In the 1930s, Japan warred with a fragmented China and encroached on their neighbors. The Soviet Union was openly belligerent. Italy tried to take territory in Libya; Germany kept making territorial demands and then would take that territory with impunity. Finally in 1939, both Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland; and then in 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and invaded the Philippines. Pearl Harbor may have been a surprise attack, but none of it was a surprise if you were paying attention. Are you paying attention now?
The perpetual wars in the Middle East distract us and lull us into thinking those endless conflicts are the only center of instability. The Middle East is still a powder keg and more dangerous with Joe Biden’s easing of sanctions on Iran and abominable retreat from Afghanistan; and it will certainly contribute to the next World War, but it won’t start there. Russia is still a totalitarian regime with designs to increase its power, but it cannot compete economically like China. So, Russia can only assert itself militarily to enhance its influence. Our first 1930s moment was in 2014 when President Obama turned a blind eye to Russia annexing Crimea from Ukraine. Russia has been fueling a separatist insurrection in eastern Ukraine ever since with regular skirmishes, but the media barely mentions it.
Russia has been saber rattling on the Ukrainian border for years, but they now have amassed about 120,000 troops on Ukraine’s eastern border. Russia makes it clear it believes the Ukrainian and Russian peoples are one people. They already claim Ukrainian separatists want to be reunited with Mother Russia, so how is this different than Hitler’s claim he only wanted to reunite all German speaking people in Austria and Czechoslovakia.
Eastern European countries are panicked, and western European countries are concerned; all are speaking out to varying degrees. Add to this turmoil a mischievous Belarus which is basically a Russian proxy. Testing its borders with Poland and Lithuania, Belarus has been transporting Middle Eastern migrants to illegally invade their neighbors, so Poland and Lithuania are having border incidents with Belarus. Belarus is a land locked country, so it must be getting Russian cooperation to get these migrants into their country. Make no mistake, the illegal migrant invasions there and here are intended to destabilize western nations.
The border nations with Russia may have no choice but to defend themselves, but will western European nations act? The problem for Europe is that they rely on Russia for about 50% of their natural gas, so with winter coming will they risk Russia turning off the gas? President Trump warned Europe that their energy dependence on Russia was dangerous, so Biden’s approval of Russia’s natural gas pipeline is particularly devious and debilitating. If Russia indeed has designs on Ukraine, this winter will be their best opportunity. And if NATO dithers, why not reassert control over their former satellites, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia? Poland?!
Sounds crazy? The motivation is there; and the troops are in place. Why would Russia come this far for nothing? What do they have to lose? So, if Europe is plunged into war, would that not be the perfect opportunity for China to attack Taiwan while the West is already otherwise engaged?!
China has made it no secret that Taiwan is part of China and will one day be reunited. The past about year China has been increasing their military threats. Almost daily, the Chinese Navy operates around Taiwan and the Chinese Air Force practices bombing runs on their air space identification zone. China just also announced they would attack any US troops sent to defend Taiwan. China now has the largest Navy. Does that sound like they are preparing for war?! China will probably wait until after their Winter Olympics, but if Russia moves on Ukraine, China would be dumb to waste that opportunity.
All the pieces and players for another World War are getting into position, but why now? There are many factors, but the biggest reason is the United States has become indecisive, immoral, and weak. And most of all, American leadership is absent from the international stage. Biden is a bumbling old fool that commands no respect, so he cannot and will not make the hard decisions to preserve peace. Our enemies are keenly aware of his pathetic incompetence, so they know they must act while Biden is in office. Sadly, the stage is set for World War III in 2022 and there is no one to stop it. Pray for America!
“Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).
Pete Riehm is the host of Common Sense Radio heard 8 pm every Thursday on FMTalk106.5 or streaming at fmtalk1065.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on MEWE @PeteRiehm or read all his columns at http://www.renewamerica.com/.kraien© Pete Riehm
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.