By, Charan Singh
Amidst the noise of the pandemic reaching(Covid-Are we headed for World War III?) its crescendo, a buzz on my phone stirred my attention. For the next 15 minutes, what transpired in the heart to heart conversation with my boss, Mr Pujari, who is also a friend, was an agreement that we could be in the middle of the third world war. This begs the question, what is the cumulative effect of war? The answer possibly lurks in revisiting the repercussions of both the world wars.
World War 1(Covid-Are we headed for World War III?) wreaked unimaginable devastation leading to a radically transitioned world order. What ensued was the end of colonialism as the people became more nationalistic resulting in the culmination of colonial revolts in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
The war shifted the balance in the world economy, leaving European countries deep in debt and making the U.S. the leading industrial power and creditor in the world.
Inflation shot up in most countries and the German economy was highly affected by having to pay for reparations. Germany and Great Britain spent about 60 per cent of the money their economy produced.
Countries had to raise taxes and borrow money from their citizens. They were compelled to print money to satiate their basic needs including buying weapons. The economy plummeted as inflation soared high.
With troops travelling all over the world(Covid-Are we headed for World War III?), influenza spread easily and an epidemic started which killed more than 25 million people across the world.
In the aftermath of World War 1(Covid-Are we headed for World War III?), unfortunately, the shoddily designed peace treaty brought about a deterioration of international economic relations, leading to the great economic depression in the 1930s that would culminate in a war (WW2) in a decade even more cataclysmic than the one that preceded it.
World War2 caused the shrinking of four per cent population in less than a decade. The allied forces, led by the U.S, became the occupiers inflicting a lot of damages. Being at the receiving end, Germany and Japan had to genuflect to maintain their sovereignty.
Efforts were made to permanently dismantle the war-making abilities of those, as factories were destroyed and former leadership was removed or prosecuted.
Allied occupations and United Nations decisions led to many long-lasting problems in the future, including the tensions that created East and West Germany, and divergent plans on the Korean Peninsula that led to the creation of North and South Korea and — the Korean War in 1950.
The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine paved the way for Israel to declare its independence in 1948 and marked the start of the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict.
The world witnessed the horror induced by the twin explosions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the fag end of WW2. The devastation compelled the world to restrain. However, the perpetual tension kept on brewing.
After the end of the cold war in the 70s which resulted in the disintegration of the erstwhile USSR, the world woke up to new dawn making the U.S the superpower for close to three decades.
The hegemonic approach of the U.S gave birth to new turmoil in the Middle East, mayhem in Afghanistan and resurgent China emerging as a dragon to gulp the world economy. Finally, the dominance of the US was challenged. And, in the race to stamp the unilateral authority the world economy touched its nadir.
The world is going through a torrid time as the pandemic Covid19 is peaking around the world. Although still, it remains a mystery to unravel the origin of the pandemic, China is inviting the wrath of many countries so much so that some countries are demanding reparations.
This begs the questions:
Are we in the middle of the third world war in disguise? Who benefits from this global pandemic? What are the fallouts of a war?
According to the genesis of the word ‘War’, it has been derived from a French word known as ‘werre’ which means a large military conflict or hostility. Another genesis is from a German word known as warzone which means utter confusion.
- Unimaginable suffering and deaths
The richest countries are the biggest hit. As on 30 th April, the world has lost 2,28,610 people. The U.S alone suffered the largest casualties. Surprisingly, China tamed the virus causing no death in 15 consecutive days. The normalcy around the world has gone kaput to an extent that half of the world is under lockdown leading to socio-economic distress.
- Economies going haywire
The economies of the world are bleeding leading to the biggest recession in 100 years. The IMF expects the world economy to shrink by three per cent this year. Markets around the world have tanked. There is acute distress in supply leading to human misery. Lockdowns are causing job losses around the world. Here, also the marauder is pretending to be the saviour by buying stakes of distressed companies.
- Looming famine
There is a huge dearth of food supply affecting millions of people. The danger of famine is looming large causing complete chaos in different parts of the world. The world is staring at a hunger pandemic knocking the door.
- Occupying territories
The hullabaloo in the South China Sea, Hong Kong, Taiwan bears the testimony of the Chinese nefarious expansionist agenda. Applying power and might, China is not leaving any stone unturned. India has already borne the brunt of Chinese shenanigans in Dokhlam, Ladakh and Kashmir.
Now, although there is a huge leadership vacuum in the world, the world must chalk out a strategy to counter the Chinese rampage or else playing the victim card, the dragon will be the sole predator without a level playing field.