Understand that mariner and his alter egos do not have the ability to predict anything. Mariner just reads tea leaves . . .
What makes world wars ‘world wars’ is a unification of several nations united against a group of other nations; typically the nations are spread about a bit and share partially unified political, military and economic support. Modern telecommunications have allowed a number of autocratic governments to quickly, by historic standards, share objectives, strategies and resistance to other nations that they consider to be enemies (all democracies). Below is a list of the leaders of these autocratic nations – all of which already plot support for one another in an effort to stave off pressures from democratic nations.
Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela
Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus
Vladimir Putin, Russia
Xi Jinping, China
Recep Erdogan, Turkey
There are, all in all, 50 significant dictatorships around the world but the list above actively is plotting to disrupt or weaken democratic influence in world politics and economics. One dictatorship of note is excluded because it lacks the sophistication of the other dictatorships: North Korea, who on its own is an unpredictable and uncontrollable disruption.
The fuses that will ignite destructive behavior are neighboring nations and organizations. For example, not many news cycles go by before mention is made of Poland, NATO, Ukraine, Slovakia and Lithuania – just to name nations adjacent to Russian-controlled Eastern Europe.
China has made it clear that only China will dominate the Pacific; Taiwan definitely is a fuse and, possibly, Australia. Japan has committed to support the U.S. and Taiwan if conflict erupts.
Since the Vietnam War, nuclear agreements have pushed off Armageddon but recently both Russia and China (along with North Korea) have active production of more nuclear rockets. Also, since the Vietnam War economic sanctions have held errant behavior to a degree but this is an increasingly irrelevant strategy – particularly with Russia.
If open conflict occurs, it will not be a typical bullet war like World War II or Vietnam. The war will be fought largely by electronically disrupting the internet, satellites, banks, utilities, military intelligence and international supply chains and, given the added pressures of global warming, immigrants themselves will be weaponized to cause disruption in a nation’s functionality – note Belarus already is using immigrants to disrupt Eastern European politics.
Open conflict will not encircle the planet as it did in past world wars but will be used as a distraction and an aggravated disruption while more economic and technological advantages are pursued. Count on smaller, less affluent nations to be battle zones.
What can’t be predicted is the intense interruption that will be caused by global warming. Whether there is open war or not, every nation will be tested in its own sovereignty by flooding, droughts and continent-sized changes in agricultural stability – not to mention massive human migrations and economies drained by a pure need to physically survive.
A highly speculative thought is if open conflict can be delayed until 2040, global warming may prevent any thought of war as nations shift to survival mode.
The Zees have their hands full.