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 Message Boards » » World War 3 - who will be on which side? Page 1 2 3 4 5 [6], Prev  
GrumpyGOP
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Periodic update of your most likely WWIII scenario, which now involves someone screwing up during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in a way that gets a bunch of NATO forces killed, causing the country in question to activate Article 5. Probably start off by trying to keep it limited to fighting separatists in eastern Ukraine, but either we kill a bunch of Russian soldiers in another whoopsie-daisy or Putin can't afford to back down, and either way, it's bad news bears.

I don't think it's what anybody wants and I don't think it's likely, but it wouldn't be the first time that a dumb mistake led to a big war.

2/2/2022 4:36:02 PM

moron
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I'm increasingly thinking this is not going to end in a military conflict. Some ukraine guy on twitter was saying he thinks it will end in a negotiated ceding of a small amount of territory to russia, and an exchange of money, which still sets a bad precedent but still is far better than a war for all sides.

2/2/2022 4:49:11 PM

GrumpyGOP
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I still think military action is the most likely outcome but the likelihood has been declining for me as well. And if they do move, I side with the experts who think they're less likely to try to take any new Ukrainian territory, and more likely to degrade Ukraine's military capacity to the extent that it won't/can't oppose recognition of the eastern republics (or possibly their annexation to Russia).

2/2/2022 5:25:25 PM

moron
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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-60257080

China saying they are going to help Russia militarily if it comes to that

2/4/2022 10:13:17 AM

GrumpyGOP
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Uh...not in that article, they aren't, nor anywhere else I've seen.

2/4/2022 12:29:42 PM

moron
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"Friendship between [Russia and China] has no limits, there are no 'forbidden' areas of cooperation," the statement reads.

Is the subtext there not “we will help them fight if needed”

2/4/2022 1:47:29 PM

GrumpyGOP
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No, definitely not. At worst it's coyly suggesting that help isn't out of the question. There is absolutely zero chance that China will comes to Russia's aid in the event that a wider war results from invading Ukraine.

2/7/2022 8:37:54 AM

daaave
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^
I don't have an opinion either way but can you explain your reasoning?

2/7/2022 2:03:09 PM

GrumpyGOP
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China and Russia aren't allies. Historically they've been competitors or outright hostile to each other. They have gotten quite a bit friendlier in the last decade or so, it's true, but they're still not allied (even informally) and there's really only so many areas where their interests overlap.

Where those interests do overlap, I'm sure they would cooperate. A crisis in Central Asia or North Korea could see them working together militarily. But Ukraine is thousands of miles from China. China doesn't have any significant cultural, strategic, or economic stake in what happens in Ukraine or Western Russia. They don't really even have a reason to care about NATO expansion in the area. No doubt China would like to see NATO fall apart, but adding Ukraine to the mix doesn't really change anything for them.

So if there's no benefit to aid Russia with the Ukraine operation narrowly, the question becomes whether China thinks there will be a general European war and, if so, whether there is any benefit to China getting involved. I think their answer is "no" to both. Even short of joining a full-on war on NATO, significant Chinese assistance to Russia in such a conflict would very quickly cement US alliances around the world. NATO, AUKUS, Japan, South Korea - all would see closer coordination and the list would probably expand to include other countries concerned about a Beijing-Moscow axis. This state of affairs would be untenable for China and essentially force them to upgrade the conflict to the global level. I don't think China wins that war, and I don't think they think they win it, either.

So basically I see a whole lot of downside to China "helping Russia militarily," and pretty much no upside. Which isn't to say that China won't, like, sell weapons to Russia - of course they would, and probably already do - but I interpret statements like "we will help them fight if needed" (to quote moron to be more substantive, one military supporting another.

2/7/2022 4:27:42 PM

Cabbage
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On the other hand (and admittedly I'm far from an expert on this (you probably shouldn't even listen to me)), if Russia invades Ukraine, I could see China taking advantage of the general chaos and invading Taiwan.

2/7/2022 5:40:57 PM

GrumpyGOP
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So I had considered the possibility and I think even voiced it earlier in this thread. But now, the more I think about it, the less likely it seems. There's problems on both ends of the equation - creating the right amount of chaos to distract us, and pulling off the invasion.

On the Ukraine side, we've got to ask, is there an amount of chaos that (a) would keep us so occupied we wouldn't come to the aid of Taiwan, which is strategically more important for us in the long term, and (b) wouldn't be too chaotic. By the former I mean, if we don't really get involved directly in the invasion, we're not really going to be distracted. By the latter, I'm referring to a range of possible scenarios in which we might be very, very busy with Russia but China would still have other concerns. A nuclear exchange with Russia might be survivable for the species and even for the countries involved, but all of Russia's fallout is making a beeline for China and they've got to deal with that. Even a conventional war, if it were general between NATO and Russia, would put the United States on a complete war footing. If we fail to get to that footing - if the country is too divided, and Fox News urges people to protest our war against the peace-loving workers and peasants of the Russian Federation, and we can't get our World War groove back - then sure, China might think about Taiwan. But if we do get that groove back, then I think it makes us even more likely to come to Taiwan's defense. The war with Russia would monopolize a lot of our land forces, but we've got a big Pacific navy, and that's all you need to prop up an island.

Then there's the other question, which is baldly whether or not China thinks it can take Taiwan in a way that makes the operation worth it. Conventional wisdom is that they still don't think so. It's a country with difficult terrain, a small (relative to China) but well-equipped military, and a population that is motivated to resist and has a lot of advantages from an insurgency perspective. Meanwhile China has been building their navy up, but it's still untested, and Taiwan's been preparing to repel a naval invasion for the last 70 years. Could the PRC effectively throw out the government of Taiwan? Yes. Can they hold the island without it becoming such a running sore that they regret it? Can they hold it without having to result to behavior so brutal that the Chinese population becomes aware of and disgusted by it? That's harder to say. I think they're sincere in their desire to incorporate the island, but I think circumstances would have to be a lot more favorable in order for them to try it. Even more favorable than a "Goldilocks" Ukraine conflict that had us just the right amount of distracted, possibly.

2/8/2022 9:04:39 AM

Cabbage
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Thanks for your thoughts! (I don't have anything to add; like I said, I'm fairly ignorant of a lot of the details in both Russia/Ukraine and China/Taiwan).

2/8/2022 9:51:40 AM

moron
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[Edited on February 8, 2022 at 5:05 PM. Reason : Lame]

2/8/2022 5:00:00 PM

 Message Boards » The Soap Box » World War 3 - who will be on which side? Page 1 2 3 4 5 [6], Prev  
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