If the next world war is to happen, it will most likely be in Asia and feature a clash between the incumbent hegemon, the United States, and the principal challenger, China. The good news is China does not want war now and in the foreseeable future, primarily because Beijing knows too well that the odds are not on its side. But if we look ahead 20 years from now, in 2034, the odds will have shifted significantly.
This week marks the centennial of the outbreak of World War I. WorldPost contributors such as Walter Russell Mead and Artyom Lukin have asked whether events in 2014 parallel those of 1914. Here, seven scholars from the Belfer Center at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government offer the historical lessons they see.
Only a few years ago, most western observers believed that the age of geopolitical rivalry and great power war was over. Today, with Russian forces in Ukraine, religious wars exploding across the Middle East, and territorial disputes leading to one crisis after another in the East and South China seas, the outlook is darker. Serious people now ask whether we have moved from a post-war into a pre-war world. Could some incident somewhere in the world spark another global war?