China and Russia, once rivals, have made formal alliances with each other. Not only that, both countries have made formal alliances with Iran, drawing the explosive Middle East into the global political alignments. In fact, these three countries are already being called “a new Axis.”
World Wars often come as a surprise to the people who get dragged into them.
World War I came about when the Austrian arch-duke was assassinated by a Serbian radical. Austria, which had a mutual defense treaty with Germany, went to war with Serbia, but Serbia had a mutual defense treaty with Russia, which had a mutual defense treaty with France and England. Factor in these country’s world-spanning colonies, with the American ocean liner the Lusitania wandering into the crossfire, and the result was a world war that no one really intended or expected, but which would kill some 15 million people.
Having been reading about those wars lately, I’m feeling nervous about what is happening today as we Americans are preoccupied with other things.
Russia has been massing some 100,000 troops plus logistics to support them in what looks like an impending invasion of Ukraine. In response, President Biden is sending 3,000 American soldiers to Poland and Romania, which border Ukraine.
What would be the consequence if those Americans are fired upon? What if Russia moves on the Baltic Republics, also the home of a large Russian minority with grievances? They are members of NATO, in which an attack on one member nation is considered an attack on them all. If the Russians move on Estonia, all of the European members and the United States would be obliged by treaty to go to war with Russia. Most of the NATO nations have little military capabilities these days, trusting the United States to carry the weight, so any war with Russia would be mostly on us. (Read this for the possible consequences on Europe of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.)