Thursday, February 09, 2017 by JD Heyes
To many geopolitical observers, the world has not seemed as tense as it is now in decades – not since the globe convulsed for a second in the 20th century during World War II.
Many believe tensions are so high at the present time that just one spark is all that will be needed to begin the world’s third global conflagration.
And though President Donald Trump has signaled a great willingness to improve U.S. relations with Russia that were left in shambles by the incompetent Obama administration, there are forces seemingly beyond his control that are pushing the West closer to war with the world’s largest nuclear-armed force.
As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his air force to be prepared for “a time of war,” according to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, who added that Putin is currently engaged in personal inspections of air assets to “evaluate readiness” for combat. (RELATED: Are we inching closer to World War III? Stay informed at Collapse.news)
Shoigu also said that the Russian military would be deploying air defense systems, as NATO launches its largest military exercises in years near the country’s border.
In late January, U.S. forces moved into Poland to conduct exercises on ground once dominated by the Soviet military. Some 87 heavy tanks, 144 armored vehicles and 3,500 troops took part in live-fire exercises to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to NATO, and NATO’s commitment to one of its newer members, NBC News reported.
While the exercises weren’t publicly directed at Russia, it was a message to the Kremlin nonetheless; following Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 and its involvement in the Ukraine, NATO, and in particular the Pentagon, want Putin to understand there is still an alliance in effect and it is just as strong as ever.
There are other signs of trouble around the globe:
— Syria continues to self-destruct. There, the United States and Russia are backing different factions, and there have already been near-misses and dust-ups, including the downing by NATO member Turkey of a Russian combat aircraft last fall; its two pilots were subsequently killed by rebel forces on the ground.
— The South China Sea is tense. Beijing continues to fortify man-made islands in the middle of international waters, including air defense radar and missiles. In addition, a new report details that China appears to be developing plans for preemptive missile strikes on U.S. and Japanese military bases in a “Pearl Harbor 2” type of attack, the Daily Mail reports. U.S.-China relations were not good under Obama, but Trump made campaign promises to renegotiate trade and other arrangements with China, and has angered Beijing by taking a post-election congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen; China considers Taiwan a renegade province.
— The Middle East as a whole is aflame. Beyond Syria, there are growing tensions between the U.S. and Iran, as well as Iran and other regional powers, especially Saudi Arabia, which has been engaged in a war in Yemen against Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The U.S. backs the Saudis. In recent days, a suicide craft believed to have been sent by Iran, damaged a Saudi warship in the Red Sea, killing two sailors.
The Trump administration has put Iran “on notice” over its continued ballistic missile development, reportedly in violation of the “nuclear deal” made by the Obama administration.
So there are several potential flashpoints around the globe – and a few inside the United States as well. (RELATED: Read all about the latest threats to the United States at NationalSecurity.news)
Putin ordering one of his military branches to be prepared for war could be for a couple of reasons: He really is preparing for an impending war with NATO (not likely); he wants his air power up to speed for use in Syria or Ukraine (more likely); or he is simply ensuring that his air force is ready for any major conflict, should one arise, and is sending a message to potential adversaries that he’s prepared (most likely).
Nevertheless, it’s a sobering development in a nuclear-armed world that may be sleepwalking towards another world war.