Opinion

ANALYSIS: Could There Be A Third World War?

Defence experts react to the possibility of another global conflict.

Defence experts share their opinion on the possibility of another world war (Picture: NASA/Edited by BFBS).

From Russia, North Korea to Iran and China – Britain faces a climate of threats on a global scale.

In another series of 'Future Warfare', top defence experts look at the possibilities of the UK going into a Third World War.

Christopher Lee, a defence expert, says if the country was to go into another global conflict 'it may not start in a "traditional way':

"I think modern thinking, a Third World War would probably be a nuclear war.

"Or a war where you have nuclear release of weapons towards the end of it."

First British Nuclear Test (David Urban)
The first British nuclear test (Picture: David Urban).

Mr Lee says "we tend to think of war as in east vs west", describing it as a big confrontation between two states.

He adds that he can see a confrontation like the Iraq war happening again:.

"If you take some country which says: 'will you come and help, will you come and get us out of this mess, we're being attacked'", Mr Lee says that, depending on the British military's relationship with the country, the UK would go out and intervene.

He gives the example of Oman "who might find themselves under attack from Yemen" - adding the UK would be deployed into war.

Kim Jong Un with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia 250419 CREDIT POOL
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting in Russia in April.

Nicholas Drummond, an independent defence consultant, says "the real risk is a rogue state...

"Like Iran or North Korea acquiring a weapon of mass destruction, a nuclear weapon, and using it against a neighbour they disagreed with.

"We could find ourselves in a situation where we would have to disarm someone like Kim Jong Un or even Vladamir Putin if they started threatening a neighbour or even threatening ourselves."

But the threats don't stop there, according to Peter Felstead, editor at Jane's Defence Weekly:

"I think conflict on a global scale could become more likely given China's growing military power."

Mr Felstead said China's military arsenal was one to watch: "They're really going their own way now, they're making a lot of progress with, for example, jet engine technology and in future, they will be a superpower."

Chinese Naval review in South China Sea April 2018 PA
Chinese military ships in the South China Sea last year (Picture: PA).

Defence analyst Francis Tusa says China is preparing for something big: "They've been investing massively in new equipment."

China is building a class of Destroyers which are being named after the regional cities of China.

"They're building that many ships that they're running out of cities to name the Destroyers after", Mr Tusa says, "They are outstripping the US in terms of shipbuilding."

"They are certainly preparing for a situation where they believe they would not lose against the United States," he adds.

Mr Tusa also thinks China is trying to build up a military arsenal that makes the US "think twice" about going entering conflict against them.