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"Can Western Society Win The Next World War?" Topic

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1,062 hits since 12 Apr 2018
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Cacique Caribe13 Apr 2018 3:28 p.m. PST

Did you notice how I didn't say their militaries? That's because in a war of such magnitude, the military cannot do it alone.

A) So, the question here is … do Western Democracies still have the spirit to adjust and support the war effort during the next World War*, the way they were able to adjust and support the war effort for the First and Second ones?

B) Or has Western Society already lost the next World War?

(EDIT – If you don't feel like elaborating, a simple yes or no would be fine for A and B)


* Assuming it's not a simple nuke fight and everything major is over with in an hour or so.







Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2018 3:36 p.m. PST

Sorry, Dan, but this has Dawghouse and Locked Account bait written all over it.
What you are basically asking is if the people of Country X are willing to follow their leaders if they deem their country's vital interests at stake.
I would be a fool to answer that question honestly.

Cacique Caribe13 Apr 2018 3:39 p.m. PST

I didn't mention any specific country. And being that specific doesn't matter on this thread.

I am talking about a repeat of what our combined Western democracies were able to accomplish in 2 world wars, with the sacrifice and full labor/manufacturing support of the civilian population.

If all you want to say is "no" for question A, that our society would not make those sacrifices and get behind such a massive effort, I seriously doubt that would get you in the DH.


Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian13 Apr 2018 4:08 p.m. PST

Wouldn't it rather depend on who The Enemy is, and why the war is being fought?

Presumably, Western Society would be on the defensive, so why wouldn't the people rally in their own defense?

Lion in the Stars13 Apr 2018 4:21 p.m. PST

Assuming an actual in-your-face existential threat, yes.

Given that there is an existential threat that isn't in our face and we're losing to it, though, I'm not sure.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2018 4:28 p.m. PST

I can't think of a single leader in "the Western World" that the People would believe, let alone rally behind.
Naming names is where the trap lies.

A certain leader I could name, but won't, has the news media opposed to him by at least 90%, despite a 50% approval rating. Again, naming no names.
Let's assume that a war on this leader's watch begins due to a foreign entanglement. The media will be against him 80%.
Again, let's suppose that that nation's legislative branch, let's call it "Congress", must vote to authorize a declaration of war. (Let's also suppose that they have criminally refused that duty for the last 75+ years.)
A war as serious as Dan proposed should need that declaration. Right?
They will never get it.

No. We're doomed. As Kaiser Bill quipped, "It's time to put ourselves under the protection of the Siamese."

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member13 Apr 2018 6:15 p.m. PST

I'm not sure any side is capable of initiating and sustaining a world war on the level of WWI and WWII. A lot of chaos, mayhem and destruction, yes. A long and drawn out inter-continental war, no.

I believe we are seeing as close to one now with the various factions and sub-factions bankrolled and equipped as mercs/contractors. The major players will skirt around the edges, dibble and dabble in small, key patches, and look down from the sky and space and wave their conductor's baton. Those major players may bump heads and stub toes from time to time, but I don't think it is in their economic interest (and capability) to get involved in a major event.

I think the 1980s "Star Wars" scenario where you engage your opponent in an economic race/battle is most likely. The small "bush wars" being fought all over the place suck up piles of resources and basically inflict the same kind of economic pain but fall short of the widespread death and destruction of the world wars. Note: I'm not downplaying the existing casualties but we are talking thousands and tens of thousands vs. millions and tens of millions. (Only a quantitative difference, but that is the gruesomeness of war.)

28mm Fanatik13 Apr 2018 7:22 p.m. PST

Irrespective of the likelihood or feasibility of another war with the scale and scope of the two world wars, Americans can certainly be capable of supporting a war and rallying behind the flag. Gulf War I and the War on Terror in the wake of 9/11 were "popular" wars and polled well with the public. US servicemen, whether they actually saw combat or not, are revered as heroes and saluted at public events and ball games.

What Americans hesitate to support are wars entered into for dubious reasons (e.g., Vietnam) or otherwise lack sufficient rationale (e.g., Gulf War II).

And keep in mind that America's involvements in WWI and WWII were brief (much shorter than the other nations involved). There were always the isolationists and even back in those days, Americans expected a quick end to the wars and support could easily wane had the wars become protracted affairs.

USAFpilot13 Apr 2018 7:45 p.m. PST

In the post nuclear world we live in no one wins.

Who controls the information? What is real and what is fake? Those who control the information (propaganda) will make their side look like they are in the right. We all lose.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2018 7:51 p.m. PST

I fear the Western world has come close to having lost it's ability to enforce it's will upon an opponent to the level of unconditional surrender. The UN failed to win the Korean War and we still are technically at war with North Korea and face off against possible nuclear weapons as a result.

That means many who will oppose any war, too many in the West who think all value systems are equally valid ways of life. Too diverse so no matter who the war is against, a significant number of the enemy population likely live in the West.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek

Mark Plant13 Apr 2018 8:49 p.m. PST

World Wars are about ideology.

Some authoritarian regime might defeat the West on the battlefield, but only Capitalist ones. So economic structures would remain the same. Why bother?

No religion is any more unified than the West, so we won't be all forced to turn Moslem or Hindu or Whatever.

No great power exists that wishes to greatly expand its borders. China has had opportunities vs India and Korea and declined them. Russia probably should absorb Belarus, and wants the money of the Ukraine, but not outside its traditional borders.

What would a massive conflagration be about?

Gaz004513 Apr 2018 10:14 p.m. PST

OP, Hopefully yes (A) but probably (B).

It would have to be a particularly unifying enemy and threat….society seems riddled with sympathisers, nay-sayers and apologists for every scale of 'axis of evil' these days.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2018 10:52 p.m. PST

What Americans hesitate to support are wars entered into for dubious reasons

I think that's true of anyone in the West. However, given a clear issue, the free nations of the world are capable of mutual support & decisive action.

It was interesting to see the unity over expelling Russian diplomats after the use of a nerve agent on two Russian dissidents in the UK recently. I think Putin might have been unpleasantly surprised.

Personal logo mrwigglesworth Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2018 4:00 a.m. PST

Not if they drop Tide pods and condoms on us. American youths are way too weak to do battle.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2018 4:35 a.m. PST

So many things have changed.

- Most soldiers on all sides now have access to worldwide networks, I can't imagine that there would be a huge problem keeping various plans and operations secret because someone posted a selfie with top secret military plans in the background or boasted about the upcoming operation.

- Big money made a ton of money with the last economic crisis, can you imagine dozens of massive hedge funds undercutting the US financially to get a massive payoff ?

- I also suspect that whatever is left of industry, transport, merchant marine will either transfer ownership, or start to charge the various nations extortion level money or even flatly refuse to serve and claim to be an exception. Not to mention all the assets that are in "enemy" hands.

- We'd probably be up to our necks in terror assaults from every possible angle. I imagine Putin having a lot of fanboys in the US with a fetish for authoritarian rule, conspiracy theories and a seriously warped grasp on reality.

- The good news is that the Russian economy probably would crumble under a concentrated effort, as for China they are a whole other ballgame, they could be a gamebreaker if they play their cards right.

Garand14 Apr 2018 7:20 a.m. PST

THe US & the West in general, are more interested in the idea of a "just" war & this has been the trend since at least WWII if not before. Citizens want to feel like they are on the ethical/moral side of the conflict, on the "right" side, so any war or conflict that does not meet this criterion is not going to be supported enthusiastically by the majority of the population (of course what this means & how one defines a "just" war varies from person to person). I also think criticizing the youth as lacking the will to fight when it is worth it is an idea as old as human civilization, and far from unique from the current generation of old fogies viewing the young…


FatherOfAllLogic14 Apr 2018 8:21 a.m. PST

The negative comments about the 'west' written above are amusingly similar to the views held by Hitler and the Japanese in the 30's and 40's. Didn't turn out so well for their plans did it?

The US is (literally) years ahead of any other country in having the ability to project force outside it's borders: how could anyone else compete? (Short of nuclear exchange)

Americans are lazy and uninformed, but poke 'em in the eye and they'll get riled.

Cacique Caribe14 Apr 2018 10:36 a.m. PST

Garand: "THe US & the West in general, are more interested in the idea of a "just" war & this has been the trend since at least WWII if not before. Citizens want to feel like they are on the ethical/moral side of the conflict, on the "right" side,"

Lol. The enemy might not have those ethical and moral hang ups. They might be more interested in conquest, material gain and in ruthlessly imposing their will and ideology, the way mankind had done successfully for millennia.


whitejamest14 Apr 2018 10:49 a.m. PST

I think if you look at the response in the US after the 9/11 attacks you see something of how quickly the society can react, and at a time that was certainly very politically polarized.

The day before the attack was business as usual. Immediately after there was a passionate national focus on fighting back. Military enlistment skyrocketed. Voters gave the government (for better or worse) more or less a blank check to take what measures they deemed necessary to fight back.

Whether the path that was followed was the right choice or not, I can't agree with opinions stating that our society is in a place where we are not capable of fighting a serious sustained conflict. Of course the will to fight that conflict is not obvious before terrible events take place. But things change very quickly.

Similarly, the transformative effects of Pearl Harbor.

28mm Fanatik14 Apr 2018 12:36 p.m. PST

The typical American and the typical TMP member cannot be any more different.

The typical American sees wars as undesirable and a potentially disruptive inconvenience in their day-to-day lives. Therefore, it should be undertaken only as a last resort when they are directly threatened.

The typical TMP member (with a few exceptions of course) thinks that America, as the world's sole superpower, has the obligation to embark upon moral crusades and wield its immense military power as a big stick for regime change, toppling repressive governments and spreading democracy around the world.

Since typical Americans outnumber typical TMP members, the latter will not get the number of wars they would like to see, even if we do get the occasional, symbolic punitive military strikes like the ones in Syria last night. Sorry.

Lion in the Stars14 Apr 2018 2:27 p.m. PST

28mm, I'm not sure you have those descriptions on the right typicals.

There's a strong level of moral crusader among certain elements of the urban liberal. While it's likely to get me a time-out, I'd have to say Hillary was an example. I'm not sure Trump is much better, but I also take rather grave issue with people that use chemical weapons. Delenda Est levels of 'grave issue'.

Rural America has long been rather isolationist unless America is directly attacked. See the overall reluctance of the US to get involved in WW1 or WW2, until the Lusitania or Pearl Harbor, respectively.

Cacique Caribe14 Apr 2018 2:48 p.m. PST

28mm Fanatik

Wow, we must encounter radically different Americans wherever we live and travel, you and I.

Also, please remember that the question isn't just about the US, but about society in western democracies in general.


Begemot Inactive Member14 Apr 2018 2:50 p.m. PST

Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. [emphasis added]

-Hermann Göring

Just convince people they are in danger, whether it's true or not, and they will fight.

Cacique Caribe14 Apr 2018 2:54 p.m. PST


Well, it sure works in Cuba, North Korea and so many other places, for decades actually, even when there is no World War or any real blockade or attack at all for that matter.

PS. Yet, in other countries, they'll just threaten to move to Canada. :)

28mm Fanatik14 Apr 2018 3:40 p.m. PST

It's easy for people to believe what they want to these days in our age of media spin and fake news. Very polarizing, making consensus that much more difficult.

At least the statement above is one that most of us can agree on.

Begemot Inactive Member14 Apr 2018 5:10 p.m. PST

Cacique – I would argue that it worked in the run-up to USA's invasion of Iraq in 2003. Americans were fed a constant stream of tales of the threat that Saddam represented to them, from possible nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, drones that would fly over the USA delivering the aforesaid weapons, to an alliance with al Qaida. These were all exposed as lies after the invasion and are only believed now by those who refuse to see reality. Those Americans who argued then that these claims were false were labeled as unpatriotic. So what Goring said does work in places like USA, not only in Cuba or North Korea, as you claim.

28mm Fanatik14 Apr 2018 6:22 p.m. PST

I'm not sure you have those descriptions on the right typicals.

There's a strong level of moral crusader among certain elements of the urban liberal. While it's likely to get me a time-out, I'd have to say Hillary was an example.

Absolutely. Liberal internationalists advocating a more interventionist foreign policy can be just as idealistic as the most belligerent neo-cons in wanting to "make the world a better place."

But the typical American doesn't necessarily share their belief, or the OP's for that matter.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2018 7:28 p.m. PST

If we were still in Iraq now, we would still be chasing down those elusive "weapons of mass destruction".
Stuff like that is why I question the truth of last week's Syrian chemical attack.

I'm a lot more cynical in my old age. Which answers the OP's question, I guess.
20 years ago I would have swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

PMC31716 Apr 2018 1:17 a.m. PST

It depends on the threat.

On the other hand there are no militaries or societies that are in a position to conduct such a war without some serious (and obvious) build up. That includes the US.

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