World War III Has Already Happened
That's right--because the Cold War wasn't cold at all. The term "cold war" was coined by the playwrite Bertolt Brecht to describe the tensions between the capitalist (or at least modified socialist1)--or "first world"--societies with the communist--or "second world"--societies. However, this condition of tension did not stay "cold"--that is, without violence. It was not simply a state of panic, a fifty-year era of nervous peace. It was a violent time, with a war on many fronts:
- China: home of the openning shots, ca. 1945. During WWII, it was the communist forces of Mao Tse-dung that fought the invading Japanese, not the corrupt regime of Chang-kai Shek. While the war continued, we supported Mao. Once the war was over, of course, we broke all ties. This, of course, angered the soon-to-be victorious Mao.2 Which helped lead to:
- Korea: 1950-1953. The Chinese- and Soviet-backed communists of North Korea vs. the U.S. forces and South Korea. A civil war which is still only at a cease-fire stage, and threatening to blow up again.
- Cuba: 1959-1961. Wherein Soviet-backed Fidel Castro ousts corrupt, mafia- and U.S. backed Fulgencio Batista government. This is followed by the Bay of Pigs fiasco and Cuban Missle Crisis; also see The Godfather Part II cause it's just so damn good.
- Germany: 1945-1961-1989. Wherein the Soviets take over East Germany and East Berlin, and promptly begin a blockade against West Berlin, and build that wonderful little wall.
- Vietnam: 1961-1975. Soviet- and Chinese-backed rebels against the French government of Indochina (which had left in 1954). It was Kennedy who sent us in; Johnson who escalated it; Nixon who promised to end it but didn't; and Ford who finally evacuated our troops from this bloody "police action" which killed unknown numbers of Vietnamese and over 50,000 U.S. troops.
- Cambodia & Laos: we secretly bombed these countries during Vietnam; later came Pol Pot and his Killing Fields.
- Chile: September 11, 1973. CIA-backed assassination of elected president Salvador Allende (accused of being a socialist), and coup by Augusto Pinochet, a Nazi sympathizer. This move--among many others--is why Henry Kissinger cannot set foot in Europe without being tried for war crimes.
- Nicaragua: Iran-Contra Scandal.
- Colombia: 1980s. Drugs. Contras. the FARC.
- Afghanistan: 1980-1989. Soviet invasion of Afghanistan following the deposing of monarchy. A Soviet attempt to spread to the sea. U.S. backed proto-Northern Alliance, but also Osama bin Laden. In the aftermath, the Taliban is formed.
- Panama: 1989. Dictator and CIA operative Manuel Noriega is deposed by US
- Grenada: 1980s. Communist takeover leads to U.S. invasion to "rescue medical students." In actuality, we were asked by Britain to invade.
And the list goes on. What is seen, though, is that while these wars were termed "police actions," or were denied altogether (c.f. our support for Augusto Pinochet, the Iran-Contra Scandal, etc), they were, in fact, different fronts of the same war, the war that ended when the Soviet Union finally collapsed under its own weight.
Some will argue that for it to be a war, it must be declared by Congress. I disagree. War is the mobilization of national armies against an opposing force, regardless of what you call it.
And for it to be a world war, it must be global in its theater and its scope, its ideology. Both communism and capitalism sees itself as a global system.
Yes, we won World War III. But the question becomes, will we win World War IV, which already started in 1991, with the First Gulf War3?
1. Modified socialism refers to European-style socialism, as well as the U.S.'s occasional forays into government programs.
2. Do not mistake my statement for support of the Maoist regime. I do not. However, I do know that we used them and then turned on them rather quickly, and that this is not unusual foreign policy.
3. While toalight insists that the First Gulf War was between Iran and Iraq, I was always taught that this was called the Iran-Iraq War. Hence why I call the 1991 war the First Gulf War, since we will no doubt have a Second Gulf War.
allseeingeye says WW 3 - a very interesting theory, but how do you separate the current middle east wars from the wars of the cold war era. The absence of the USSR is as much a problem as the USSR being there.
My answer: The issue with the Middle East isn't a Capitalist-Communist one anymore--though it had been one during the 20th century. Now it is about the Israel question, about oil, about radical Islam vs. Western influence. The Soviets certainly had their thumb in the pie, but now they aren't the pie. What we are dealing with is the effects of Imperialism as much as the above issues. And that is larger than the USSR. It's similar to how World War I lead to World War II without being the same war.