Saturday 3 February 2024

World War Three inbound?

estonia warns of war
Aw, c'mon!!! I was just starting to relax...

The last few weeks have seen an unsettling tsunami of warnings about a coming land war with Russia, from think tanks, defence ministers, retired generals, pundits, and badly dressed people on street corners wielding bullhorns. 

Fear mongering? I certainly hope so! 

The last thing I thought we'd have to worry about post-Covid lockdown was World War III. It's so outlandish, so outrageous, it can't possibly be true. Like Russia's newest favourite pastime (threatening to nuke the UK), it's probably hot air. Or a bit of undigested mutton? 

And yet...

The United States and Europe have been unable to provide enough ammunition to Ukraine. Everyone has been surprised by the incredible consumption rate of munitions. That has raised the fear that Western stockpiles are horribly inadequate were Russia to stumble into the Baltic States and accidentally annex a few countries.

The West has no ongoing ammunition production; it's all finite, discrete orders. The US had to provide Ukraine with controversial cluster munitions because they had nothing else. 

In October, the US started dividing its dwindling munitions stocks between Ukraine and Israel. Israeli generals have said that if the US were to cut off the supply of weapons, the incursion into Gaza would grind to a halt. 

Now the US and the UK are lobbing missiles at Houthi positions in Yemen. The Houthis have plenty of missiles and drones provided by the IRGC to attack international shipping, causing insurance to skyrocket and most ships to detour around Africa, driving up costs for, well, all of us. 

Prior to the Hamas attack, senior Iranian leadership visited Russia. Hamas and the Houthis are Iranian proxies. Iran is supplying Russia with drones and other weapons. 

The Russians bombed Syria to contribute to the refugee crisis; they are now trying to flood Finland with migrants, causing Finland to close several border crossings.

Russia has funded extremist organizations and splinter parties across the EU and in the US, in an effort to foment chaos and social strife; Russian social media troll-bot farms and willing (or compromised) media idiots intensify this. 

Undersea cables to islands off Scotland and Denmark have recently been cut by powers unknown. The Nord Stream pipelines were cut a few years ago, also by powers unknown.  

Estonia just started building 600 bunkers along its border with Russia. Poland is doubling the number of personnel in its armed forces and is raising its defence spending to 3% of GDP.

Japan is preparing for war.

Navalny died in a prison in the far north; his spouse has alleged he was poisoned by the Russian government (wouldn't be the first time). 

Meanwhile, Russia is dedicating 42% of its GDP to the military, along with large scale ammunition production. 

It's possible it is all connected. 

This Unherd video tries to make sense of it for us neophytes:

The news is so much better when it's boring.

UPDATE: John Mearsheimer doesn't think there's anything to this. He has a sober article on his Substack here. Naturally, the Estonian intelligence chief disagrees

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