Shahmir Kazi describes apprehensions about future conflicts
The intense and lingering Russian-Ukrainian war has yet again brought to fore the fears of global conflict of emergence of large-scale. In this context it must be kept in view that human race is never far from war and the conflict is the flip side of the coin known as human existence. It is but a small spark that triggers an altercation with the potential to spread far and wide.
The world has not yet completed a century of coming out of a disastrous conflagration that turned it upside down and wrought changes unimaginatively complicated. In its quest for supremacy the human race developed a weapon that threatened its very existence.
The horrendous effects of atom bomb convinced a successive majority of policy makers of nation-states to shun this menace resulting in nations spending more money in trying to stop its use than what they did in making it. But even nuclear weapons failed to prove an effective deterrent as conflicts arose, spread and festered.
The international arena is witnessing the revival of great powers politics with increasing specter of these powers going to war. The conflicts have mushroomed since the last two decades witnessing quite high density wars in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and now Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
The ascendancy of militaries has become order of the day, a worrisome prospect because the militaries set themselves up for failure by preparing to fight the last war. The nation-state system is gradually imploding casting a negative shadow on a vast chunk of geographical boundaries that may not withstand the tests of time.
Fears Of Global Conflict On The Large Scale
The simmering tensions in great powers have raised the real danger of a conflict breaking out between NATO, China and Russia. Despite being in political and economic decline the Russian leadership has initiated, with far weaker cards at its disposal, a vicious game by pushing harder on Ukraine borders that brought jitters to NATO pushing it to highest levels of alert since the termination of Cold War.
The power patterns are witnessing a transformation in their essence. Asiatic countries are gradually employing their economic might and flexing their military muscle with the aim to impress upon the wilder world their claims of strategic supremacy. This Asiatic resurgence has taken more than a century, after the Japanese handed over a defeat to the Russians in the dying days of the 19th century, to mount a real challenge to Greco-Roman world.
The Chinese behemoth is vouching for replacing US as the leading power in global context. Chinese quest to reorder the global system as befits its perception is symptomatic of the similar contests in history whereby rising powers tested the status quo by using their might. In this context, prospects of a conflagration at Sea are imminent if a Japanese or American ship picks up a quarrel with Chinese Navy in Pacific Ocean that is being militarised as a result of ongoing arms race in Asia.
The Third World War may definitely unfold quite differently from the small wars the world is witnessing currently. Although the conventional strands are easy to fathom as they bring in their wake drastically improved land, aerial and naval firepower but if it is perceived that a global conflict will simply mirror them then nothing could be more misplaced than this calculation.
Future Of Global Conflict
While it is conceded that real powers can deploy forces in every domain of maneuver much unlike the Taliban or ISIS but the vastness and profoundity of arenas in which the future conflict will take place will tame the generally assumed assessment of its tools. Accordingly it is feared that the future global conflict will unleash previously unseen forms of warfare whose disruptive capability is yet to be ascertained.
The infinite resources generated by space and cyberspace are now part of the nervous systems of modern military machines. More than 80 per cent of NATO military communication is carried through commercial satellites vulnerable to attacks that could be equivalent to targeting an airfield or a shipyard.
China and Russia have developed massive anti-satellite capabilities aimed at disrupting this arrangement constraining America to allocate $5 billion in preventive measures. The crucial role this form of warfare has assumed could be gauged from the fact that Chinese-linked hacking groups managed to penetrate into a host of vitally secret information ranging from US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Programme.
Fears Of Global Conflict On The Large Scale
The Russian attacks on communications and commerce during its ongoing campaign against Ukraine and US employment of Stuxnet digital weapon system to damage Iranian nuclear research programme amply demonstrate the lethal potential of cyber technology.
Most worrying aspect of this type of warfare is that, unlike conventional or even nuclear warfare, it is operated freely without any geographical restraints. To make matters worse it is equally applicable to military and civilian arenas, either undersea fiber optic cables or domestic telecoms networks that are usually intertwined as military communications shares bandwidth with private citizens communicating via e-mails.
Hopefully such a catastrophe could be averted because its onset will tellingly signal failure of diplomacy and deterrence. Particularly the military standpoint is frightfully half-baked as it appears to be unduly optimistic about future conflict and terms it as short and sharp. The Weekender