Ukraine, Russia, the Middle East and the Return of World War I – US News

Today’s global tensions echo the lead-up to World War I. Could this be the end for our world order?

Fast forward a century, and the parallels are striking.

Like 100 years ago, the international system is coming unglued. …

Like in 1914, extreme ideologies are currently on the march. …

Similarly, today the world is functioning without a global “sheriff.” …

Today, the sparks that could touch off a large-scale conflict abound in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. For leaders in Washington and elsewhere, then, the anniversary of that bloody day in the Balkans is a timely reminder that the current structure of world politics is far from permanent – and that their ability to establish and preserve peace today will help determine the shape of the world for much of the century to come.

Ukraine, Russia, the Middle East and the Return of World War I – US News

“Today, the sparks that could touch off a large-scale conflict abound in the Middle East, Europe and Asia.”

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Any of those three areas could start a great-power war. Time to sit down and have a stiff drink. This is serious. What is the probability of something happening in one of those three areas in the next few years? What about the next few months? Hell, in the Middle East we could see a potential spark in a few weeks. Maybe we won’t, but right now the players in the Middle East appear to be on a path toward a major escalation. That would include the addition of Hezbollah and Syria into the Gaza war. Think it won’t happen? Well, it just might if Israel crosses a red line – the attempted elimination of Hamas. Unless a cease fire happens real soon, Israel is going to move toward the elimination of Hamas. There is no other acceptable choice if Hamas does not accept a cease fire. However, Hamas cannot accept a cease fire without changing the status-quo – removal of the blockade. But Israel would be crazy to eliminate the blockade. Unless one side blinks first this is getting a lot bigger.

Given events in Ukraine and in Gaza, many people have forgotten all about China. Before Ukraine and Gaza a lot of people were very worried about a great-power war between China and the US. But that risk has not gone anywhere. It’s as high as ever. It’s high enough to make one real nervous if paying attention.