torsdag 3. juni 2021

Will the South China Sea Spark the Next Global Conflict?

“One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans,” warned Prussia’s Otto von Bismarck in the thick of fin de siècle insouciance. Lo and behold, the Iron Chancellor’s foreboding at the turn of the new century proved eerily prescient, as “some damned foolish thing” on the margins of empires seamlessly transformed the improbable into the inevitable. What initially began as the Balkan Wars over the last vestiges of Ottoman territory in Europe quickly transmogrified into the First World War following the surreal assassination of Austria’s heir-apparent, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, by the teenage Bosnian-Serb nationalist, Gavrilo Princip.

The fateful event, which at first seemed like a relatively manageable tragedy in the greater geopolitical scheme of things, set in motion a catastrophic wave of belligerent posturing and military mobilizations by a whole host of rival powers, where ascendant hawks ached for a glorious war.