When asked what will cause World War III, most people will immediately say "The Middle East". Try it, it's a fun experiment. However, the truth is
most nations have known what the Middle East is like for hundreds of years, and have managed to prevent having an all out global war so far. While
it's certainly possible that this region will eventually cause WWIII, I'd like to examine three almost entirely overlooked causes that will almost
certainly cause a World War if not addressed in the very near future. If nothing else, they are each ticking time-bombs with a span of a few decades
or less before all hell breaks loose.
Diversion of The Brahmaputra River
SUMMARY: China, faced with an imminent food and water
, has proposed, approved, and begun the South-North Water Transfer Project
to divert many rivers to increase its arable land capacity. The Brahmaputra River is one of the rivers chosen for
diversion. Currently it feeds into eastern India, and is a vital source of water and tributaries there. If diverted, eastern India will be in an
immediate water crisis, both for drinking and farming, and roughly a million people stand to lose their home, lives, or both. Both countries are at
with one another, and literally millions of lives
depend on the fate of this river. If China proceeds with the diversion, India will consider it an act of war, and will act accordingly. If China
doesn't complete the diversion, millions of Chinese will end up dying as a result of water and food shortage. Both are enormously populated nuclear
powers and fully committed to their stance.
OUTCOME: If a nuclear exchange does not take place, India will most likely be defeated by Chinese conventional warfare unless assisted by equally
strong allies, such as the United States. China would follow suit, and the UN would quickly find itself polarized by two most powerful members. World
War would be the inevitable next step unless a compromise were reached. If nuclear exchange does take place between India and China, India may find
itself without allies, and destroyed by China. In a "best-case" scenario, millions will find themselves displaced or dead by the removal of half
India's water source. There is no "good" outcome to this situation.
Claims on The North Pole
SUMMARY: Few people consider the incredible impact that one country's sole ownership of The North Pole would have. It is estimated that a fourth of
the world's undiscovered gas and oil is present there, along with other strategic resources like uranium, titanium, and gold. Additionally, as global
climate change shrinks the polar caps, the North Pole will soon become the quickest sea route between 3 continents, and five major countries, each of
which claims ownership despite international law that states no country shall have ownership of the North Pole.
, and Norway
all have placed
various claims on the area. In fact, now anyone
can attempt to place a claim on the area. With such an
incredible wealth of economic and strategic advantage at stake over an area rife with controversy, it is only a matter of time before one country
attempts a squat and violence ensues.
OUTCOME: Between their planting of a flag on the sea bed, and new evidence suggesting their continental shelf extends all the way to the pole, and a
powerful military and economic backing to enforce its claim, Russia is the most likely to attempt the first squat. While Norway, Denmark, and Canada
may demand UN sanctions as a result, the U.S., threatened by both the military proximity of their traditional nemesis as well as the loss of countless
potential resources, will most likely threated military action against Russia. With the incredibly
high Anti-American sentiment
in Russia, the advent of
, and the view that America's military is significantly weakened as the result of the Iraq
war, Russia will most likely not back down until violence escalates between the two nuclear nations. This may in turn be seen as an ideal opportunity
for Russia, North Korea, and China to create a joint venture to strengthen the Russian position in the region, prompting the U.S., Candada, and their
respective allies to respond in kind. With so much at stake, it is highly unlikely the situation will be resolved peacefully.
Population Growth vs. Food Supply
SUMMARY: we've known since
that the world population
was outgrowing its food supply. Historically, countless wars have been waged in order to increase agricultural productivity.
The Green Revolution
helped to assuage this briefly, by improving grain output by about 250%.
Even still, of all the nations on Earth, only a handful export grain, and the United States provides over
of those exports. Taking into effect the increased demands on U.S. food supply by a growing population made more so through immigration,
the paving over of arable land, the finite nature of some resources, erosion and pollution, it is estimated that the U.S. will have to start scaling
back food exports as of 2020 until by 2050 there are not only will all food exports have halted, but that the American population itself will have
begun to exceed its own food supply. Food costs in America will be about 3-5 times what they are today. That is not to say that a dollar's worth of
food will cost $3-5, but rather if you currently spend about 10% of your income on food, you can expect it to account for 30-50% of your income. Costs
will continue to rise until either the demand placed upon the food supply is significantly decreased around the world (estimates place this anywhere
from 1/3 to 2/3 the population, depending on the country).
OUTCOME: Third world countries will outstrip their ability to feed themselves long before America does. Several nations survive only through
humanitarian aid, which will decrease further and further as increased demand for the dwindling food supply increases. Nations that do not completely
collapse under the weight of riots, mass starvation, and debt incurred to buy food, will find themselves flooded with refuges from those that do,
further straining the food supply of the more stable nations. As the problem worsens, every nation will likely enact a strict rationing system and
birth control measures, until even that proves insufficient to handle the load. The world will split into those willing to commit mass genocide to
feed those that remain, and those willing to go to war to prevent said genocide from happening. To the victor will go the farmland.
If anyone has questions, or additional possible causes for WWIII outside the typical responses, I'd love to hear or discuss them.