Monday, November 30, 2015 at 7:16 AM

‘All the world Is at War’ Hardly Means World War III

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Nothing accounts for the dumbing down of public debate quite like hundreds of millions of people relying on social media for news and information. After all, even tweets and posts by erstwhile intelligent people often smack of snark – intended more to incite emotion than provoke debate.

Only this explains Rupert Murdoch, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, contributing to public debate in America on Syrian refugees with a plainly bigoted tweet about accepting only those who are “proven Christians.” Reading his tweet, you’d never know that wet-foot, dry-foot Cubans, who are welcomed with open arms, pose a far greater threat than Syrians, who undergo two years of vetting before they’re allowed to even set foot on American soil.

154142_600Which brings me to the snark (going viral on social-media and seeping into mainstream media) that is inciting fears about the global fight to defeat ISIS amounting to World War III.

For it’s one thing to describe the tower-of-babel bombing of ISIS, which led to Turkish fighter jets shooting down a Russian bomber on Tuesday, as Cold War II getting very hot indeed. But it dishonors the blood, toil, and treasure it took for the Allied Powers to defeat the Central Powers during WWI and the Axis Powers during World War II to describe this bombing – even with the inevitable “friendly fire” at issue – as World War III.

But I am sensible enough to appreciate that it would insult the intelligence of anyone who knows anything about the two “great wars” and this fight against ISIS to elaborate. Therefore, I shall suffice to share just a few points to counter prevailing snark masquerading as informed commentary about this fight.

  • Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 6.50.27 PMFar from escalating a world war, the shooting down of that jet merely delivered an inevitable punch to the nose of global bully Russia, which has been bullying weak neighbors like Ukraine and Georgia for nearly a decade now. More to the point, like all bullies who finally meet their match (which Turkey, as a NATO member, certainly is), Russia is retaliating with bluster, not with any force worthy of muster. In fact, President Putin is making a mockery of the strong-man reputation he spent years building up by whimpering about being “stabbed in the back,” threatening political snubs and economic sanctions against Turkey, and promising to award national medals to his downed pilots … posthumously.

Russia’s foreign minister called the shooting down of one of its warplanes a planned provocation Wednesday but said Moscow was not going to declare war over the incident.

(NBC New, November 25, 2015)

  • It would be even more foolhardy and self-destructive for Russia to pick a fight with NATO in the midst of this fight against ISIS than it would have been for Russia to go to war against fellow Allied Powers in the midst of that war against the Nazis.


  • The only way to make sense of the notion that “all the world is at war” is to buy into President George W. Bush’s post-9/11 declaration of a global War on Terror (to defeat al-Qaeda). In which case, this war against ISIS can only be a continuation of that Sisyphean “war,” – complete with the folly of the United States leading one coalition of 60-plus nations and Russia another of 3. By the way, does anyone know if we’re still fighting the global War on Drugs, that equally Sisyphean war President Richard Nixon declared in 1971…?
  • 5d8fefa8cff09b217d0f6a7067003f13_c0-176-2621-1703_s561x327In fairness to Pope Francis, only twits more interested in morsels for snark than food for thought could twist his Christmas homily on a world at war into a papal decree about World War III:

‘Christmas is approaching: there will be lights, parties, lighted Christmas trees and manger scenes… it’s all a sham,’ he said at Mass in his chapel Thursday at the Santa Marta residence where he lives in the Vatican…

‘A war can be justified, so to speak, with many, many reasons, but when all the world is at war, piecemeal though that war may be – a little here, a little there – there is no justification.’

(L’Osservatore Romano, November 19, 2015)

  • The problem, of course, is that (as any war-stricken African or informed American will tell you) the world has been at war in some fashion since time immemorial, making a sham not only of this Christmas but all Christmases past.
  • china-africa-zumaYou can be forgiven for wondering about China’s conspicuous absence from this fight. But China has so cultivated its self-serving and self-preserving policy of non-interference that it would not lift a finger to stop ISIS from conquering every country in the Middle East, so long as ISIS did not impinge on its sovereignty and was willing to supply its demand for oil. In other words, if China (instead of the United States) were the only world power capable of stopping the Nazis during WWII, Hitler would have realized his dream of turning all of Europe into a fascist paradise (e.g., free of Jews, blacks, and gays). This informs my abiding admonition about weak/poor countries, especially in Africa and the Caribbean, heralding China as a more worthy superpower patron than the United States.

China ostensibly shares the African Union’s commitment to civic nationalism, but ignores its own constitutional provisions for the protection of basic human rights and civil liberties…

China is the world’s most economically successful authoritarian government. It will continue favouring like-minded authoritarian regimes….

(Reuters, November 29, 2015)

I trust these points show why any talk of World War III, in the context of this carpet-bombing of ISIS, is nothing more than hysterical claptrap – perfectly suited for social media of course, but hardly worthy of informed debate.

Related commentaries:
Bombing ISIS masturbatory violence
ISIS blows hole in Putin’s armor

* This commentary was originally published on Friday, November 27, at

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