With conflict in Ukraine between Russia and the West and disagreements between China and its neighbors in Asia, I believe the lines for ww3 are being drawn before our eyes. Pope Francis recently said WW3 has already started in piecemeal. A global conflict is eminent. 20 years is a long span. I bealive it can happen in 10 years
Many of you have probably heard the phrase, "history repeats itself." That phrase is true. War hasn't been stopped for as long as humans have existed. War is conflict. And even with democracy, there will always be power-hungry people who conflict what is advisable. Conflict is part of human nature. That is the one thing that cannot be changed.
Open war will be too damaging for all sides, China will need a while to be ready to fight proxy wars or open wars and Russia will be reluctant to act alone. Things like IS won't be anything more than local a fares, no super power likes them enough and they have no chance at defeating any of them with out another's support.
I believe that a full scale nuclear or limited nuclear war has become less productive compared to economic sanctions and free trade. China exists to create consumerism for the West, why would they destroy their economy? Russia trades on food and energy, why destroy their enterprise? Capitalism will trump nationalistic war
Thanks to WMDs the likelihood of a war between the US and allies (NATO) and any enemies of size, (Russia, China, etc.) is unlikely. People don't directly fight when they both have the ability to obliterate each other. A Russian-Chinese Alliance might be able to fight the US for awhile but neither nation possesses enough military power or financial independence to maintain a long war against the rest of the world. Plus the BRICS nations of Brazil, India, and South Africa would most likely side with the NATO armies. It's much more likely for any future global conflict to be fought through Covert methods and Proxy Wars like the Cold War was.
On the one side you have the USA and its allies, which control most of the global trade networks, have most of the wealth, and have an astounding military of both conventional weapons and WMDs. Then you have the opposition (Russia, China, ect.), which have influence in their own sections of the world, enough political clout to make things messy, and WMDs. Neither side wants to fight the other for fear of losing their current power base (maintain the status quo and such) even if they play the political game with each other to gain influence.
Modern powers fight each other with politics and their economies, not with the military.
I think the world's superpowers are becoming more hesitant to start large-scale armed conflicts. In today's highly globalized and interconnected marketplace, a declaration of war would cause massive disruptions in trade. Tomorrow's battles will probably be fought more economically. The superpowers will try to get the most trading partners, lend the most money, and have more international trade done in their dollars.
Yes it's possible, don't get me wrong. But I feel like in the next 20 years we may have smaller wars, i.e. Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, etc. But to say another world war, I don't think things will happen that fast compared to what's happening around the world right now.