Will confrontation between US and Russia lead to world war?

China Military Online
Huang Panyue

By Huang Peizhao, Pan Liang, Liu Yupeng and Zhen Xiang

US President Donald Trump suggested on April 11 that a missile strike on Syria may be imminent, warning Russia that it should "get ready" because missiles "will be coming"; thus the speculation that the US wants to hit Syria has also been pushed to a climax.

After an area of interest to Syrian government and opposition forces was suspected of being attacked by chemical weapons, Trump said that he will make a "significant decision" within 24 to 48 hours, and the deadline was April 11, 2018.

The US and Russia also staged heated arguments at the United Nations (UN) Security Council. The US, UK, France, and other countries vetoed Russia’s proposal to send an investigation team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to Syria on April 10, 2018.

Nikki Haley, the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador, said that the proposal was actually meant to protect the Bashar al-Assad government. Russia, on the other hand, voted against the plan drafted by the US.

The Permanent Representative of the Russia Federation at the United Nations, NebenziaVassily Alekseevich, denounced the US plan as a way for the West to use force against Bashar al-Assad.

According to analysis of US public opinion, the Trump administration does not want to be deeply involved in the Syrian conflict, let alone indirect military conflict with Russia because of Syria.

However, how can anyone ensure that the situation does not get out of control once conflict begins?

The Los Angeles Times said that as Pentagon planners ready a possible military response to a suspected poison gas attack in Syria, one danger has sparked special concern — whether U.S. air strikes may inadvertently kill Russian soldiers in Syria and escalate the regional war into a confrontation between Washington and Moscow.

As the hostility between the US and Russia soars, a variety of alarming threats continue to emerge.

Igor Korotchenko, a Russian military scholar and a member of the Defense Ministry’s public advisory council, said a US attack that killed Russians in Syria would compel a military response, potentially against a US plane or ship.

That could bring about a chain of events as dangerous as the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, Korotchenko said, and potentially "provoke World War III," according to reports by the Washington Post.

A Russian political expert said that if a nuclear war has to happen, then it will last no more than 30 minutes because the mutual launch of missiles with nuclear warheads will be completed within that time, according to reports by a Russian economical website.

The Cable News Network (CNN) warned that the Syrian situation involves many parties and therefore the war furnace may spill over the entire region and even the whole world.

Imagine if Russian air-defense missiles shoot down US warplanes, the command center of the Russian armed forces in Syria is destroyed by US bombs, and Russia launches missiles against the Mediterranean fleet of the US.

Envisioning that scenario, CNN is correct when it says that the danger of an unexpected situation leading to an escalation is real.

Disclaimer: The authors are Huang Peizhao, Pan Liang, Liu Yupeng and Zhen Xiang, reporters with the Global Times. The article is translated from Chinese into English by the China Military online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article are those of the author from the Global Times and do not reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn. Chinamil.com.cn does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. If the article carries photographs or images, we do not vouch for their authenticity.


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