Debate:Is it possible that a war could happen between two of the three most powerful nations.

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China at war with the U.S.[edit]

I do think that there could be a war with the U.S. & China sometime in the coming decades. China (LA Times article) is already preparing for war (i.e., Invading the U.S. before we invade them). Hell, China has the technology & economy to do it. I'd be pretty bad for the U.S. economically. China already holds 1.3 trillion dollars of the U.S. national debt. It's going to be pretty bad, I know that.

According to Wikipedia, China is just behind the United States in the total GDP gross rate , and growing. Opinion: China can kick the U.S.'s ass.-- (talk) 22:37, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

A Sino-American is bullshit. China is too economically dependent on the United States and the United States are too powerful for China to take on her own. A war with America means war with the entire developed world. While China has the numbers, NATO is not weak in population. Also NATO keeps an arms embargo to China which the chinese are trying to overcome by becoming friendlies with EU. Secondly the United States and the Canada are countries of continental proportions. The United States has the world's biggest military budget and a strong scientific community- meaning that the war would push for development of new and deadly weapons. Also America has the most liberal gun control laws in the planet. (talk) 23:09, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

Yes, but no.[edit]

A massive world war between major powers certainly could happen today or tomorrow, but it is rather unlikely. During and after WWII, weapons became so powerful that a major war would mean near total destruction for all parties involved (ICBMs, WMDs, etc.) That's why a major war never happened between US and USSR: both would be totally wiped out if things got serious. Neither side was capable of getting a nuclear advantage because the minutes became seconds and you couldn't guarantee all the nukes would be taken out. Because of this, America and Russia were forced to enter into proxy wars by backing dictators and guerrilla groups fighting over third-world lands (Korea, Vietnam, East Europe, Chile, Cuba, etc.) Thus, large-scale warfare as a practical tool became pretty much useless. One could argue that nukes made the world safer after it made it more dangerous, because large powers are unwilling to commit to wars with millions of people involved. However, there is another important factor: money.

Economic liberalization and globalization ensured economic dependence between countries, stopping them from joining big alliances with military goals. Instead, what trade agreement a nation signed became far more important than what military alliance it was a part of. America does not declare war on Russia because it would alienate China, which is the US's main economic partner. Russia does not declare war on US for the same reason. For countries like the US, the valuable action to take is to develop close ties to countries like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, and Iraq of course, because of the oil. Russia can counter by backing Iran and the Syrian government, which ensures the US cannot dominate the Middle East. In essence, economic globalization has the positive side effect of making the civilized world very safe militarily. The long-term threat is economic collapse. Pbfreespace3 (talk) 02:17, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

I agree with the sentiment above. It's much less interesting to ask whether a great power war is possible (of course it is) than whether it's plausible (probably not).
However, unlike Pbfreespace3, I wouldn't put too much store in economic interdependency as an effective brake (i.e. the tradition of liberal internationalism school of international relations theory), because of the very nice template of this argument failing badly in the case of WWI (see The Great IllusionWikipedia).
The main reasons for a great power war being implausible are nuclear weapons and the lack of serious strategic conflicts.
The US and Russia may vie for influence in what the Russians call "the near abroad" (the states on Russia's borders, specifically those that aren't in NATO), but a war wouldn't actually gain either Russia or the US anything, even if nuclear weapons didn't make for an MAD scenario.
Similarly, the conflicts between China and the US (Taiwan, influence in the Far East) aren't really amenable to a military solution (China wants to Taiwan to be (re)unified with the mainland, not blown to smithereens, the Far East squabbles are comparatively minor issues of territorial waters and possible natural resources).
China and Russia seem to have settled down on being, if not good then at least peaceful neighbours as Russia has been forced to come to terms with Chinese economic strength, but also comforted that Chinese attentions are turned mainly southwards into the South China Sea, not north into the Russian Far East.
As for that perennial powder keg, the Middle East, Russia really only has any pull in Syria, even if it may occasionally support the Iranians. It's actually the Iranians and the Saudis who duke it out and play a mini-version of the proxy war scenarios of the Cold War. The Saudis have not taken the increased regional influence of the ayatollahs well, an influence which, ironically, has been growing due to the US-led Iraq War. Instead of the Iranians only being able to play ball with the Syrians and Hezbollah, Tehran now has very good connections with Baghdad and though this is somewhat counterbalanced by the Syrian regime's uncertain future, it puts the Iranians at centre stage in the Middle East for perhaps the first time since the Shah was ousted and Iran became a regional and international pariah.
That said, I agree that, bar a freak accident (à la the misidentification of a Norwegian satellite launch as a missile strike or computer glitches), systemic economic problems are the main threat at the moment. (e.g. the continuing de-industrialisation of the West and its internal tensions following increased economic inequality, as well as the hollowing out of Western real wages and thus purchasing power by the style of "outsource everything"-free trade still in vogue, and of course the problems surrounding depletion of natural resources and the economic and social effects of climate change). ScepticWombat (talk) 07:30, 9 June 2015 (UTC)