Opinion: World War III may be closer than you’d think, but not what you’d expect

Bruce Walton is the opinions editor. Contact him at [email protected].

Bruce Walton

Many may believe we live in a time filled with war. As millennials, we all have grown up with war.

Contrary to belief, we are actually living in one of the most peaceful time periods of human history. I’m sure that isn’t very comforting to know from the looks of everything, but try to put things into perspective.

War has been regulated — thanks to international policing, more democratic governments and the encouragement of negotiations for peace in times of conflict between two countries. It also helps though better global health and education so less people are stupid enough or desperate enough to risk war over charity or treaties for the health of their people. Regardless, 21st century warfare is something that many of us are beginning to see is much harder to comprehend.

There might not be a war on the Germans or the Japanese or a war on Communist nations or nations in the future (as much as we may see them now). But there is a war on concepts and ideas. There’s a war on drugs, a war on terror, a war on religion, class warfare, a war on cyber terrorism. Our enemies are becoming notions, not nations. 

Borderless organizations span across all continents where espionage and proxy wars will be the norm for every battle. Wars will be fought with soldiers who may have never known they ever enlisted. In short, World War III will not be fought the way we usually see war.

Take notice that though we may live in a time with the least amount of wars between countries, we still live in some of the most violent times. There are protests and revolutions in China and endless waves of drug cartels corrupting the governments of Central and South America. Here on the home front, we see the evolution of a police state in the U.S. A war of the elite and the poor is brewing, and we’ll see an outcome within our lifetimes.

ISIS is an organization taking residence in cities and villages. They can even enlist the help of our own citizens. These guerrilla tactics are not just being used for the battlefield but for every aspect of international conflict. Is there anyone we can trust? Is there any place we can hide if no one is wearing a uniform or under an emblem?

Our enemy is not something we are expecting to pick in a line up or be happy that they are in another country. Even toppling down its leader wouldn’t end the war. When we killed Hitler and took his resources, weapons and land, Germany surrendered. When we did the same to Osama Bin Laden, we expected the same thing, but ISIS, ISIL, Boko Haram and others took its place as the feared Islamic extremist organizations.

We need to start thinking in better ways to combat these new enemies and policies that reflect this new 21st century warfare, or we will lose a war that is either on its way or is already here. Would we even know the difference?

Contact Bruce Walton at [email protected].