A recent YouGov poll in eight major countries has revealed that the majority of people in them expect a major global conflict to erupt in the coming years.
Contributing factors are Russian disagreements with the West in Syria and Ukraine, increasing volatility around territorial disputes in the Pacific that involve China, and fear about the threat to the global order posed by a Trump presidency.
9.000 respondents across the US, France, Germany, Britain, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark were asked:
"On a scale of 0 to 10, how close do you think the world today is to a major war?"
0 signals a strong belief in the continuance of peace between the major powers, while 10 corresponds to a conviction that the world is dangerously close to a (possible global) war between major powers like the US, China, or Russia.
The results show the majority of people in five of the eight countries surveyed think the world is closer to a major war than to continued peace.
The Nordic nations Sweden, Norway, and Denmark all had cohorts who believe that continued peace is more likely, or that events could go either way and in combination, these groups make up more than 50 percent.
On the question of Russia, the Nordic countries, along with Britain, were more likely to see it as a military threat to Europe.
They, however, thought that Russia was less likely to be an economic threat.
Opinions on terrorism were also measured in the survey. Respondents were asked:
"How likely or unlikely do you think it is that there will be a major terrorist attack in your country in the next 12 months?"
Not surprisingly, the French were most likely to think a major attack will occur, followed by Britain and then Germany, though YouGov points out that the survey was carried out before the December 19 attack in Germany last year.
Of course, public sentiment is just that, and does not, in this case, mean war is going to happen.
YouGov points out in their report that the centenary of World War One is an apt time to survey people about their views on the world's current state of relative global peace.
It's also an opportune moment to point out that the First World War may, ultimately, have been at least partially caused by the participants' fatalistic belief that a major war between them was inevitable.
However, the results of YouGov's recent poll certainly do indicate a widespread uneasiness about current political trends.
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