The USA has been for the past 60+ years, the world power. But, ever since 2000, China has been rapidly growing in their aspiration to replace the USA as the nation to fear in a conflict. Russia, since 1991, has been stumbling around here and there in their attempt to keep up with the USA and Putin longs for restoration of the Great Russian Empire again. Turkey, just in the the past five years, has acted in its own interests outside o NATO, which gave them the military capability to project power. They are now doing that in Libya, Syria, and in the waters near Greece, where vast amounts of natural gas and oil exist. Iran, likewise, since 2010, has greatly improved their capabilities in missiles and close in getting their nuclear bombs.
The world between 2021-30, will surely have another major conflict that will impact the entire globe in some ways. This face-off will be against the USA and their allies. China and Russia mostly likely will test the US resolve and abilities. For China, everyone is just waiting for the Chinese to conquer Taiwan, which once the Taiwanese defenses are exhausted, should be accomplished. The US will be hard pressed to defend them as they promised because China could launch a missile strike on Guam and Japan, where US forces are based. Then their is the South China Sea, which the West has long ignored the Chinese buildup of islands near the Philippines. That is a match waiting to be be lit.
For Russia, the most likely strike will be against the Baltics, which were formerly part of Russia, in the Ukraine again. Both spots will be hard or the USA and others to defend against. While Poland is a forward operating base for some small US forces, it is hardly enough to halt a real Russian push in the Ukraine or Baltics.
Turkey, despite its being a quasi-NATO member, is being allowed to bully its neighbors. In Libya, vast amount of military weapons and men have supported the GNA, while Russia has done the same for the LNA. There are now 20,000 foreign troops there. Turkey, also is threatening Greece, also a NATO member with conlict has both claim sea rights to the vast natural gas and oil in the Cyprus waters and near Greece. Tensions are high. Greece once tried to reclaim Turkey as Greater Greece with their own invasion back in 1919-22. They nearly reached Ankara before they were halted and withdrew. So, there is bad blood between them.
With Iran, it is all about projecting power via proxies and directly using missile and drones armed with bombs. Yemen continues to send over missiles from Iran into Saudi oil fields to cause disruption and will continue to do this. The quest for the bomb is continuing despite anything the West can do to stop it. Israel will no doubt try to stop it with some sort of military strike, which will explode the whole region again.
Diplomatic tools are limited against China, Russia and Iran. They have proven to be almost useless and the threat of sanctions do not scare either very much. Despite the sanctions against Iran, China just bought even more oil from Iran than before ignoring the US sanctions. Nothing can be done.
World War 3 is coming.
perrya (author) on March 24, 2021:
Interesting analysis and enlightening. Now, I see why some sort of conflict will occur, both sides think entirely different. China, by expanding in south china sea, sees it as protecting its homeland, which of course is insane because it takes away from the Philippines. As for Taiwan, that is simply taking back what they think is theirs. and the Belt Road initiative is akin to a jellyfish absorbing nations economically along the way like Pakistan, some African nations, who are willing to sell their soul to the devil.
CHRIS57 from Northern Germany on March 23, 2021:
There may be a big difference between people and government of countries.
However there is a big difference in cultural attitude between countries. Whatever we project China will do in the future, it will be a reflection of western thinking. Our thinking does not include confucian philosophy (hierarchy) and taoist ethics (harmony). Actually we think almost opposite and thus we fail to make the right conclusions about China´s future behaviour (no matter people or government).
I have talked to enough party secretaries to understand their approach. I had enough open political discussions with educated Chinese to get a hint on how "China incorporated" works.
Hierarchy is a two way road. On one side people must respect their fathers, the party, the chairman. On the other side the father, the chairman ... is responsible for the wellbeing of the children.
How does a "father" take responsibility for the children by being aggressive? He can only act to be protective, defensive but never aggressive.
Again: How much territory was conquered by China in the past centuries, millenials? Any comparison possible to colonial powers and empires and now superpowers who promoted our western way of aggressive thinking? Of course not.
Economically China has a 2% trade surplus (exporting more than importing). Is this aggressive? Me think other western countries like my Germany (7% trade surplus) are real economic predators or weasels like Netherlands or Switzerland (with even higher trade surplusses than G.)
China is not a tiger or a wolf. China is more like a jellyfish, slowly moving and absorbing everything it can digest.
May be i am wrong with my conclusions. But my life and work experience with Chinese people (from the early 90ties until today) only always enforced and confirmed my attitude.
perrya (author) on March 23, 2021:
Like in many countries, their is big difference in a country's government and leadership and the average citizen. Propaganda helps steer the people to help the government achieve its aims. Due to the major buildup of weapons China has been engaged in, many offensive, one cannot help to think its military leadership plans to use them to achieve their aims, as they did with India along the border and their buildup continues there. The south china sea is another place where they have made it their lake. Taiwan would likely collapse after a week of fighting and most war games agree. Their army is huge in manpower, they can sustain heavy losses. Once China decides that it no longer needs the US economically and in trade (because of their silk road initiative) and their military is even stronger, they will project its power.
CHRIS57 from Northern Germany on March 22, 2021:
China´s way of getting things accomplished is by economic influence, never a hot war. You may be right that Taiwan may fall back to the PRC. But that will be partly if not mainly be due to economic perspectives of the Taiwan population. The US has little to provide for the island. Already now Taiwan has the smell of economic decay. China simply has to wait. Economy and culture will do the trick.
Russia is no threat to Europe. Believing there is any danger is pure propaganda fuelled by the US. As i wrote, geopolitic strategy of the US is to destabilize the landmass between Europe and Asia. Just do a little fearmongering in the baltic states, Poland and the Ukraine and it helps to destabilize.
I personally take a more relaxed view on countries like Russia or China and their intentions. My wife is Russian, so i have family ties to Russia and at the same time i still teach at a Chinese university. However i am a little afraid of what the US will be doing. There are too close ties between current administration and the military complex, just look at the old Obama gang. I hope they don´t get trigger happy.
perrya (author) on March 22, 2021:
I agree with you on China, but there will be smaller, more local wars involving the side actors and even Russia that will test the West's resolve to intervene. These small wars could spin out of control into a major one. While China does not need a war to win because of their economic clout, their military wing is much more belligerent and willing to show of force. There is little doubt that one day, Taiwan will be the first place this will happen. The other place is South China Sea as ships sail through it. Economically, Russia is not threat to the USA, but it is to Europe, as is China. Europe relies heavily on the natural gas from Russia and now they are major trade partners with China. One can see how if either tighten the economic screws as leverage, how they may drift away from American allied status. Russia is a threat in different ways, which is a smart approach for nations like Iran. Asymmetrical warfare is the future.
CHRIS57 from Northern Germany on March 22, 2021:
I see Turkey and Iran only as side actors in the US geostrategic efforts to block the landmass between Europe and China. The Ukraine is already unstable and kept this way.
In a serious conflict, contendors must have a symmetrical arsenal of means. This is not so for Russia. Russia will never be a threat on the world stage and will be no threat to the US.
Different situation with China. Already now the military superiority of the US is counterbalanced by the economic superiority of China. A small example what this means from the economic perspective:
Trade war with China brought export stops for technical equipment (something as neat as a harvesting combine for example). China retaliated by stopping the purchase of crops from the US. This in return hurt the US hard. Loss for the farmers, loss for the manufacturers of agricultural machinery. You see my point that the economic means are no more symmetrical?
China does not need a hot war any more to extend its power and influence. China´s focus is on Europe and the continent of the future: Africa. For China the US is more and more only a sales market for their manufacturing base.
I am with fellow commentator MG Singh: The US should understand that in this modern geopolitical monopoly game Russia is the only potential ally for the USA.
perrya (author) on March 21, 2021:
Well, I don't see a US-Turkey confrontation unless the US sides with Greece over Turkey. Turkey is a rogue NATO nation. China aspires to be the king of the mountain, while Russia is happy being a pain in the ass when it can. A russia-China coalition is most dangerous. Thus, a US, India, Japan, Australia may help deter China. I don't see Russia being an ally to US unless it benefits them. China is very arrogant now and I think they will take the first shot when they are ready.
MG Singh from UAE on March 21, 2021:
The principle of divide and win as laid out by the great Indian thinker Chanakya must be followed. Out of the countries as mentioned, Russia is the only one that can come on the American side and the only way the Americans can confront the other three is by making up with the Russians and breaking the monolith alliance between these four. I wonder if anybody will go with me.