We’ve been so concerned with climate change, the pandemic and economic distress that we have tended to overlook how close the world is to war right now. These plagues are all interrelated, of course, and tend to feed on each other, but what worries me is that the threat of hostilities (saber rattling and posturing) can easily lead to an accidental military holocaust, one provoked by a misinterpreted signal, a computer error or even a low-level rogue commander acting against his orders.
Right now, the entire Western Pacific is on the brink of a naval conflict which could erupt due to Korea, the South China Sea or Taiwan. In Europe, there is potential for trouble on the Belarus-Polish border, the Baltic States and Ukraine. The build-up of Russian forces around the latter is almost certainly a bluff, but it is a provocative move nonetheless. Provocations can be misinterpreted and quickly get out of control. And of course, there is always the Middle East.
I am very concerned about this. There is always a possibility someone will push a bit too far, or worse, perhaps not push back far enough. The second possibility does not lead to peace, it only postpones war, and it is even worse when it does come.