WASHINGTON DC, The United States – In 2019, the South China Sea, Ukraine, the Persian Gulf and the Korean peninsula will continue to be the hottest regions where World War III can begin, said a US military expert.
According to Robert Farley, a professor at the National Military College, in his article in The National Interest, one of the “hot spots” is the South China Sea, in which a confrontation between the United States and China develops. The two countries are involved in a trade war between themselves – the fight is taking place within the framework of economic sanctions and tariff disputes, but, taking into account the level at which bilateral relations have already deteriorated, the conflict may escalate further, the author believes.
According to the author, Ukraine is another likely place where World War III may start. He recalled the recent incident in the Kerch Strait, noting that this has caused increased tensions in the region. At the same time, the author believes that Russia is probably not interested in “violating the status quo” before the elections in Ukraine, which, in turn, may introduce uncertainty in the situation. Given the continuing tensions between the United States and Russia, Farley warns that even a small shock can destroy the region’s weak balance in recent years.
The third “hot” region, according to the professor, is the Persian Gulf. Here tensions are mounting because of US economic pressure on Iran as well as the conflicts in Yemen and Syria. Given the strategic importance of the region, any instability in this area could lead to an open confrontation between the United States, Russia and even China, the author continues.
The fourth place of tension is the Korean peninsula, despite recent US and Chinese peace initiatives, the professor writes. In his view, relations between Washington and Pyongyang could deteriorate at any time. In addition, other major regional players – China and Japan – also have different positions on the Korean issue.
Worsening relations between the United States and China “foretells disgrace” in the future and, over time, “hot spots” may emerge in other regions, writes the author. At the same time, the crisis of US military hegemony and the established world order indicate that the near future is likely to become more dangerous than the recent past, Farley concludes.