on February 24, 2022
Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago. Since then, pundits and politicians have kept repeating the same warning, that we must respond cautiously to avoid WWIII. It does not seem to work. The longer Russians continue their aggression, the higher are the chances of the war spreading.
With the two previous world wars, we know exactly the day when they started. However, we can point to many previous events that led to the moment when a worldwide war was unavoidable. The fury of WWIII has not started yet, but on February 24, 2022, we passed the point, making it almost inescapable.
It was not much different during WWI
WWI arose from what seem to be eternal traditions that regional powers expanded their territories through wars. Before the war started in 1914, the Ottoman Empire had practically lost control of the independence-seeking Balkan nations. Russia was eager to help, assuming it would gain control over that territory. On the north was a weakening Austro-Hungarian Empire, hoping to regain strength by expanding into the Balkans. Further north, the newly unified Germany had grown into an industrial powerhouse that sought to expand its sphere of influence. They clashed over the Balkans, but their imperial ambitions were worldwide, ergo, colliding with Britain, which by then controlled about 25% of the worldwide territory.
Americans, just as today with Ukraine, eagerly helped the Allies but avoided doing anything that would constitute direct involvement. At the beginning of 1917, the war still had no clear winner. If the Germans won, American banks would lose the loans given to the Allies. German U-boats were tirelessly sinking merchant ships similar to the Russian rockets that are destroying the Ukrainian infrastructure today. When the Germans tried to pull Mexico into the war against the United States, Americans finally got it; they could not stay on the sideline in any major international war. America joined the war on April 6, 1917.
Today’s Americans have the same approach to the war in Ukraine. They are full of high-minded words but reluctant to provide heavy weapons and aircraft. We can speculate that with lukewarm support for Ukraine, the war might be smoldering much longer. It…