Russia invaded Ukraine just a few days ago, and so did the Nazi (Germany) invade Poland in 1938 that lead to, well…, World War II. The United States dropped two nukes on Japan which made them surrender to the Allies. These nukes drove the Soviet Union (present-day Russia) nuts in the nuclear arms race, beginning the evolution of the Cold War that lasted from the early 1950s through the late 1980s. Here’s the catch: are we about to witness history repeat itself? Here are all the possibilities that could start WWIII or the next Cold War, according to experts.
Related media: The Russia-Ukraine Crisis Explained
Is It WWIII Or Cold War II?
On September 11, 1938, Time Magazine declared what was the beginning of WWII, they stated:
“World War II began last week at 5:20 a.m. (Polish time) Friday, September 1, when a German bombing plane dropped a projectile on Puck, a fishing village and air base in the armpit of the Hel Peninsula.”
This was within the week after the Nazis invaded Poland. Shortly after, the United Kingdom, France, and the allies of Poland declared war on Germany on September 3 — and the rest was history. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine (although no country has declared war on Russia). But many people around the world are asking, “is this the beginning of WWIII?”
“No, it’s not,” says Joshua Pollack, a former international correspondent for the US National Nuclear Security Administration under President Obama’s administration. “The real question is whether it’s the start of Cold War II. The answer may depend on the longevity of Putin’s regime.”
The Cold War Apocalypse
“This appears to be one of the beginnings of a second Cold War,” says Naoko Wake, an associate professor of history at the Michigan State University. “We have been seeing so many manifestations of around the globe in the recent decade.”
On Thursday, February 24, 2022, demonstrators held anti-war protest at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, after President Putin authorized a military operation in eastern Ukraine. However, international organizations such as the European Union (EU), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the United Nations (UN), are not making military interventions, currently. Hundreds of Russian demonstrators gathered in Moscow and in St. Petersburg, protesting against the attack on Ukraine.
“We’re far from World War III but a lot closer than we were 24 hours ago,” says Kenneth Weinstein, a former nominee for US ambassador to Japan under President Trump’s administration. “But if NATO is forced to invoke Article V by a Russian attack on the Baltics, Poland or other alliance members, and the Chinese move simultaneously and massively on Taiwan, while Iran launches a blistering attack on Saudi Arabia, we’d be there.”
“This isn’t the start of World War III, at least in terms of how previous world wars played out.” says Bryan Clark, a former director at the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group. “Russia can manage its operations in Ukraine to keep the conflict from escalating out of control, and the US, NATO and EU have reconciled themselves to not intervening militarily.”
Democracy Vs Communism
According to former White House global engagement director Brett Bruen, it is still premature to call this invasion “a new world war.”
“Nonetheless, there clearly is a worldwide war being waged on a range of fronts between democracies and authoritarian regimes,” Bruen says. “While they may not be fighting on the battlefield, they certainly are squaring off online and through regional conflicts in places like Ukraine and Afghanistan.”
If Russia and Ukraine are indeed brewing a second Cold War then, how long will this impact the world and even the global economy?
“Regardless of how this situation is resolved, it would engender a bitter divide between Russia and the West, triggering a new Cold War,” says Vishnu Prakash, former Indian ambassador to Canada and South Korea. “If NATO were to intervene militarily, all bets are off and could even precipitate the third world war.”
WWII wasn’t declared as WWII. It was simply known as the “World War” or the “Great War” until US President Franklin Roosevelt began using the term. However, it was officially adopted in September 1945, a month after Japan surrendered to the Allies. But Time Magazine had earlier made reference to that “World War II [has] began.” this is what’s happening right now, declaring a second Cold War before it even happens.
“The concern is that this becomes a larger-scale European conflict,” says Ankit Panda, a senior fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, as she observes “a small possibility that other states could seize on a distracted West amid this crisis to pursue escalation elsewhere. But there’s no evidence this is likely.”
Is The Second Cold War, Warm Up
Let’s say it’s going to be the second Cold War, what do we do? Duck and cover? Hell no! The clear picture drawn here is that, people all around are declaring that it’s Cold War II, and this might be what’s going to usher such a new era, regardless of what actually happens.
“This act of war is intended to rewrite history, and more concerning, upend the balance of power in Europe,” said Kevin McCarthy, minority leader of the Republican House of Congress, in a statement on Thursday.
Clark added that this could be “the start of a long-term, slow-motion global confrontation between Russia and its Western neighbors, which could be complemented by conflict between China and its eastern neighbors.”
Also on Thursday, a reporter asked US President Joe Biden whether we are about to witness a second Cold War, Biden responded “that depends,” adding that “it’s going to be a cold day for Russia.”
But as US President John F. Kennedy once recounted, “mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.”
What do you think is about to happen, WWIII or Cold War II?
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sat, Feb 26, 2022.