We live in an age of fear and anxiety. An era that is defined by the moment of apocalypse. The birth of the ‘mushroom cloud’ gave birth to not just the most potent instrument of mass destruction but also an imagination that haunts the everyday living of individuals. A phantasmagoria of ‘the bomb’ that will destroy our planet earth twice over in case a nuclear missile is launched. In the context of such a threatening potential, there is a widespread belief that the bomb is meant only as a symbol, a possibility, never to be realised. The policy of deterrence, makes sure that both the parties are well aware of the consequences of starting a war. In spite of the continuous refrain of the fear of the bomb, it seems quiet unlikely with the acute development in military might of the most important nations in the world, there will be any reduction in the growing arms race. Every nation today wants a share of this ever growing military power in the name of sovereignty and ‘security’ for its own citizens. Let us then try and locate seven reasons that might lead to a possible third world war.
Over the years the immeasurable lust to occupy more and more territory has not been checked. Every opportunity that each sovereign nation state gets to encompass and enlarge its borders, they grab it as soon as possible. The middle east crisis is a glaring example of this form of territory expansion. The acute distrust of either parties to settle for an accord that will delegitimize the claim of the other is the reason behind the perpetual war. Entire towns and cities have been devastated and more than thousand civilians killed. Other potent example can be our very own Kashmir dispute, whose solution has not seen the light of the day. Such conflicts may escalate over the years, if people are disgruntled and state and civil society are at loggerheads, as to the delimitation of the national boundary. Territorial disputes therefore maybe one of the major reasons for an inevitable world war 3.
There is a dwindling tendency to non-renewable resources as they do not regenerate within the human time framework and often take millions of years for the same. In the absence of very many alternate sources of energy such as Hydroelectricity, wind and most recently nuclear, which has a very dubious status in itself, it is quiet possible that the lack of the same may result in conflicts. Given that the most powerful nations in terms of economy may get the most share in this contestation, there is no guarantee that this discrimination in distribution will be let off without much protest. Resources and its limited availability may be one of the major causes therefore for use of violent means to dominate one subject by another. Resource conflict therefore maybe another determining factor behind a possible world war 3.
Water today has become a major source of conflict with the ever increasing pollution of water bodies. The environment has dealt a severe blow as a result of intensive industrialization and urbanization. Global warming and its devastating effects has become quiet visible over the years. The change in weather patterns, lack of adequate rainfall and increasing carbon dioxide and chloro-fluro carbons in the atmosphere has led to significant changes in the landscape of the earth. The threat of the ice caps melting and drastic changes in the environment has also led to dire water scarcity in various regions of the world. Therefore it is an important element that cannot be neglected in our consideration of the causes that might lead to a potential world war 3.
The recent spread of a novel and unidentified virus, called ebola has spread to many of the Western African nations. The search for its cure has in itself been major battlefield of selection versus destruction. There is definitely a cause of concern to mitigate such a disaster but to do so by regulating their movement and taking away their right to access the outside world is not a step in the right direction. Such discrimination in lieu of curing a disease may lead to conflict and unrest which may not be contained and lead to rampant violence and aggression for the right to life and health. Diseases and medical drugs and its availability and distribution has the possibility of leading to a disastrous world war 3.
With the economic recession at its worst, and the rising inflation, the cost of food products have reached rocket high. In such a scenario, those below the poverty mark are getting lesser and lesser amount of food for exorbitant costs while those at the other extreme of the bar are accumulating all the resources and consuming as much. Further with the Green Revolution and the use of increasing pesticides and insecticides has led to not an increase in food production and variety but to exorbitant losses. This is due to various factors such as lack of irrigation in various parts of our own country, most poor farmers are not able to spend on expensive pesticides and as a result the genetically modified crops too suffer and fail. Food is one of the basic necessities of survival and a paucity in its availability has led to many revolutions and wars including the French revolution. Therefore Food plays a major role in the politics of nations.
2. Information technology
It is widely known and established that the World Wide Web is the product of the military development. The boom in the world of information technology is therefore very crucial to understand the mechanisms of power relations between nations. Information has become a potent medium to wage wars today both virtual and real. Those who are in possession of information are those who are in power. One instance of this very argument is the recent wikileaks case of Julian Assagne. What information should remain confidential and what should be shared is in the realm of a major debate today. If what is confidential is revealed and it leads to certain conflicts and unrest, then we maybe looking at a whole new kind of war based on information technology.
The most vital factor behind any possibility of a war is the growing investment in techno-science and the development of more nuanced technology and weaponry of destruction. Each country is engaged in this massive endeavor and millions of dollars are spent in the defense sector of the economy compared to food and education. This build up of arms and ammunition posits a fundamental threat to the security of lives. Even in the presence of deterrence policies there is no guarantee that a war may not be initiated. If we look at Israel and Palestine and the various western invasions on countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran we will understand how weapons system and its finest development has help kill a certain section of the pollution and acquire resources for its own use. There has definitely been resistance and as a result of this many conflicts have escalated, if any of them reaches a tipping point we maybe looking at a potential world war 3.