MEP Bernard Guetta on the possibility of world war
Is world war possible?
Is a world war possible? A summary of MEP Bernard Guetta’s piece for Republic.
With so many unknowns it’s impossible to predict what the next year will be like. But let’s imagine a few scenarios in different parts of the world, all quite likely, given the current situation:
● China. Hospitals are full after a new COVID outbreak. The scale of the epidemic and the wave of deaths have lead to an economic crisis. Xi Jinping’s government is being threatened by rivals who have taken advantage of rising popular discontent. It is unlikely that the Chinese president will decide to step down, so the only card left for him to play is to attack Taiwan, take control of the army, and stimulate nationalist sentiment in the hope of using it to his advantage.
If it comes to this, the US will definitely intervene in this conflict, even if it acts as a mediator. And the world will inevitably witness the formation and then confrontation of two blocs: the West on the one hand, and China, Russia and other developing countries on the other.
● Ukraine and Russia. The Ukrainian army continues to push Russian troops to their borders and there is no Brutus who might change the situation in the Kremlin. It is not known what new extremes Vladimir Putin will go to, but it is quite possible that Russia will decide to resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction. Or he will try to test the strength of the North Atlantic Alliance by invading Poland or one of the Baltic countries, that is, NATO member countries that are under US nuclear protection.
● Iran. If the Iranian theocracy decides to eventually equip itself with nuclear weapons in order to improve its image and be able to further oppress the people. It is highly doubtful that Israel and the Gulf states will allow this to happen. And in the case of the bombing of Iranian nuclear facilities, most likely, an immediate rocket attack on Tel Aviv and Riyadh would follow.
● Turkey. There is a lot of talk in Ankara now that Recep Tayyip Erdogan could annex the Turkish part of Cyprus or some of the Greek islands off the coast of Turkey. This would help him rally around him a country that is tired of his authoritarianism and inflation, which is already reaching 100 percent. Such a development of events would lead to a confrontation between the NATO countries, since both Greece and Turkey are members of the alliance. And this would happen at the very moment when NATO is already in conflict with Russia, and this conflict may escalate by spring.
● Israel. Will the entry of anti-Arab far-right into the Israeli government provoke old conflicts?
● Europe. Will inflation get out of control in Europe, lead to social protests and thus weaken the EU countries?
Only in these areas can 2023 be called extremely dangerous.
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- Study: EU spent 3 times less on aid to Ukraine than on Russian oil and gas
- Why Iranian drones have become a problem for Ukraine, but won’t help Russia
- Is Turkey helping Russia evade sanctions? Overview from Istanbul
Perhaps we have already entered the pre-war period without realizing it. But this does not mean that we ought to sit back and humbly wait for things to happen.
On the contrary, we must act.
Contrary to popular belief, the balance of power is in favor of democracies.
The Chinese, Turkish, Russian and Iranian regimes have significant funds, but are also in crisis. They are being renounced by their peoples and they don’t know what to do about it.
Whereas the democratic countries managed to arm Ukraine, giving it the opportunity to repel the aggression of the largest country in the world.
At the same time, the commitment of Europeans to their Union is greater than ever. Putin helped expand the ranks of the EU and NATO with his war. Moreover:
● Central Asia is moving away from Moscow,
● Xi Jinping’s omnipotence, as soon as he became the new Mao, was shaken,
● if Erdogan decides to start a war in order to avoid defeat in the elections, it will be a very risky step on his part,
● Even Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, a staunch supporter of Vladimir Putin and a neo-liberal theorist, is losing ground due to inflation over 20% and uneasy relations with his EU partners.
Democracies have their own problems, complex and numerous, but they are not threatened by a regime crisis. Together they could put forward a proposal for a new European security architecture that provides guarantees to all the countries of the continent. Then it will be possible:
● to start a debate in Moscow, return to Ukraine its international borders and, after repelling aggression, one day usher in an era of continental stability and cooperation,
● EU could publicly call on the Chinese to provide security guarantees to their Asian neighbors and thereby initiate a process of disarmament in Asia comparable to that which Europe went through during the period of détente and perestroika.
Now that the dictatorships are weakened, it is high time to invite them to return to the principles of the UN Charter, as well as to develop the activities of the UN, its Security Council and all international organizations.
The European Union, an ally of the United States, now strong enough, united and rich enough to exist on its own, will be able to play the role of a mediator and peacemaker in Europe, Asia and the Middle East in 2023. The European Union can and must prevent the birth of the pre-war era. After all, if not the EU, then who?