Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Predictions of war

The Archdruid was talking about making predictions that were based on historical data, rather than thought experiments.

A not very bold prediction:

Since the 18th Century there has been at least one major world war in each century. The big ones include French Indian/7 Years War, Napoleonic, WW1 and WW2.

Only in World War 2 was any restraint shown in weapon types used - the Germans did not use nerve gas, but both nuclear and biological weapons were used.

Except for WW2, which is often argued to be WW1 part 2, the initiation of conflict came from a very unexpected direction, to the extent that the start of the "big one" is highly unpredictable.

So my prediction is that there is a high possibility (to the point of a probability, but not a certainty) that we will face a global conflict where nuclear weapons are put into play sometime in this century.

What I find interesting is that the post apocalyptic fiction that seems the most dated are the nuclear war scenarios.

And just in time for a counterpoint, an article comes out that says that it is unlikely that the United States and China will go to war:  Why the U.S. and China (Probably) Won't Go to War.  It's argument, not a bad one, is that the U.S. and China are unlikely to intentionally blow up the entire world.  My counter argument is that in 3 of the 4 world wars noted, there was not an intention of fighting out a long dragged out, empire destroying war.


PioneerPreppy said...

The only reason we are not currently at war is because America is doing a fine job of defeating itself with no outside help. Any leader in the world would be stupid to escalate a global conflict right now. All they have to do is sit back and watch us tear ourselves apart and focus on those areas we abandon. The Global police force is failing.

Our military is a wreck and going to get much worse as it continues to shrink. A few more years and all of the military leaders will be replaced by PC shills in uniform. Within another year the military reductions will shed another 200K people and 10 brigades. The navy is slated to lose another 100 ships from age alone.

I am beginning to doubt the US will survive Obummer intact and the Chinese and Russians know this as well.

All they have to do is wait and play games in small regions as US power wanes.

russell1200 said...

Pioneer: It is my understanding that the PC shills are already in place.

I think you are pushing the timeline a bit, but the amount of imperial overreach - mostly by trying to fight 2 wars and a variety of mini-wars all at the same time, all while holding onto something like 1,000 overseas military bases - is staggering.

The most foundational part of U.S. defense is the Navy, and they have been hacking away at it because it doesn't help them fight their little bush wars. A lot of this is bi-partisan, but Obama has pretty much extended the worst parts of Bush W. policy, while adding his own negative wrinkles.

Degringolade said...


I see the shrinking of the military as one of the best signs around. The corporations have their hooks into them currently and are the biggest reason we are broke.

The less military available, the less trouble they can get into. We can easily maintain an isolationist defensive posture with the smaller numbers you posit.


In my family we have a saying, "the Navy gets us into wars, the Army gets us out."

I would very much like to return to a six carrier group navy with a much enhanced Coast Guard.

I don't see how escapades on the other side of the planet enhance our security here.

All the best.


PioneerPreppy said...

The timeline is the timeline. If I was say the leader of China and I wanted to increase my power I would do exactly what they are doing. Build up my own military, make moves all over the place that are just short of being hostile and watch the Social experiment that is the US crumble. I would also get my allies like N. Korea o stir the pot as well.

And Degringolade for us trapped in the US and not part of the current diversity clan a reduction of the military is good and bad. However IF, and again I don't see any reason anyone would invade us, but if they did our ground forces would not be sufficient for defense. If the invader were say China we would need to start pumping out troops FAST, even if they called up every national guardsman, reservist, prior service reservist and junior ROTC cadet.

The best strategy an enemy of the US could do right now is flex their muscle in the places the US has no control. Sabotage politically the places the US does have some control and watch as America pulls itself apart. Then maybe grab up the West coast if circumstances make it appealing. Attacking the US would force cooperation and hard choices to be made.

russell1200 said...

Degringolade: Continental powers without a navy generally wind up trying to build one. France was a hybrid, but then you have in turn, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and now China.

The navy is the most effective way to protect overseas interests from minor local power brokers. Note that it was the buildup of German Navel power that forced the return of much of the British fleet to home waters, that allowed for the accelerated expansion of Japanese power. It should also be noted that Japan was viewed as a British ally (as was Italy) at first.

Pioneer: I think China is as worried about North Korea as we are. Way too out of control to be truly useful. If you take the problems generated by us for Israel and multiply them by 100, you have North Korea.

China is having severe economic problems. This is likely to slow up some of their expansion. Also, the expansion of Japan in the 20th century illustrates that you cannot always see where your troubles are going to come from.

On the flip side, and agreeing with you. Germany was viewed as problem by a lot of folks, and pretty much did wind up being a problem. So it's not as if the obvious never occurs.