It’s January 29, 2020. Donald the Impeached recently tweeted something about his bellicose former National Security Adviser, John Bolton, to wit:
This tweet has garnered Trump a little bit of ridicule, since most folks think we’re only had two World Wars so far. But this might be one of the VERY few tmes when I kinda agree with the guy… at least as far as his numbering goes.
Let me explain.
I would like to suggest that WWIII has come and gone, though we didn’t call it that at the time. We called it the “Cold War.” It started after the end of WWII, and ended when the Soviet Union ended. It didn’t go nuclear, it didn’t bring the Apocalypse as predicted – but still, millions died, were injured, or suffered displacement and hardship. It was fought largely by proxies, but there was damage on practically every continent, from Nicaragua to Angola to Vietnam. Untold zillions of dollars were squandered or lost.
WWIV, the fight to cement what George H. W. Bush called a “New World Order” under American hegemony, began IMMEDIATELY afterwards. This included the Persian Gulf War, and the deposition of a certain number of petty dictators – but it brought some unexpected blowback. Let’s say that effort ended – or rather, changed – on 9/11/01.
WWV would then be the “Global War On Terror,” including the Afghan War and the invasion of Iraq. The military parts of it are still ongoing, as its neocon instigators (who thought that a state of permanent war would be a Good Thing) intended, and we’re still sorting out the effects on our civil liberties and international relations.
Can you have more than one world war at once? Sure, why not?
WWVI is the present struggle against resurgent nationalistic/ethnic/religious fascism, which is being pushed in defense of global capital. It has its military aspects, but is more of a political/cultural/economic/social conflict. (So far, at least.) It is also an information war, being fought explicitly to gain control of a different kind of territory: inside the heads of the people, including yours. (Check and see if you’re been conquered yet.)
To make things even more complicated, this is all taking place against the backdrop of climate change. It’s clear that fundamental changes will have to be made in our political and economic systems (viz. “Green New Deal”), but it is also clear that those who profit the most from these systems have no intention whatsoever of accepting those changes willingly.
So it may be a quibble over numbers – but it can remind us that we are still a long, long way from the first World Peace.