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A third world war in the foreseable future is highly implausible

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After not so many votes...

It's a tie!
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No semantical arguments, the topic is easy to understand. Any confusion about the meaning of the resolution must be resolved before the debate starts.

BoP is shared so both sides must present positive cases. However, PRO bears the biggest burden. Good luck.

Round 1
Pro

Thank you, Sum1hugme, for accepting this debate.


A third world war in the foreseable future is highly implausible

World war: A war involving many large nations in all different parts of the world 

Foreseable future: at a time that is not long from now soon

Implausible: difficult to believe, or unlikely


The likelyness and believeability of a hypothetical scenario in which a third world war breaks out in the near future is the subject of the debate. My position is PRO, which means I have to show that it is implausible that another world(wide)war will break out in the near future. PRO bears the opposite burden, he must show why it is in fact quite plausible.



I am gonna show that the world wars were possible solely due to the era in which they existed, and that todays context makes them highly unplausible.


NECESARY ENABLING FACTORS MISSING IN TODAY'S WORLD:

#1: Great empires
The causes of world war 1 and 2 were different in detail but equal in essense. Both started because powerfull empires dragged the rest of the world with them to fight wars against each other. The fighting was concentrated in Europe and smaller campaigns played out scattered around the globe. Importantly, these wars were fought on a gloabal scale because of the vast colonial empires held by the different sides. That enabling factor, imperialism, was era-specific and has long expired.

Today's lack of rivaling superpowers in close proximity to each other makes our contemporary world unfit for world wars. Without colonies, a conflict in Europe or Asia will not any longer involve Africa or South America, as developing countries won't have interests in fighting wars on the other side of the globe. Furthermore, with western Europe united in peace and Russia only a shaddow of the once dominant USSR, a European major war developing in the near future is highly unlikely. Only Asia sees hostile relations between powerfull nations like India and China who actually border each other. Even there, war is not on the horizon.



#2: Monarchy
The nations who initiated the world wars were monarchies or dictatorships. Strong leaders who rule through their lifetimes and whose nations gets inherited by birthright do not need to fear political opposition or public opinion against war. Monarchies, far more than democracies, are willing to fight wars to expand and create empires. Democracies are special. Look at Europe, Australia and New Sealand, South Africa, India or North America and you will see that democracy has stabilised once hostile enviroments and created a near total peace with no end in sight. All research unnanymusly agrees that democracies hardly ever go to wars against each other. The wars fought between democratic nations can fit in a short wikipedia article [hs]. The excact reason for this democratic peace is still disputed, but not the fact itself. Therefore, the rise and spread of democracy and humanist ideas serves to continously reduce the frequency and scale of war.



#3: Power balance
The world wars were fought between alliances with similar interests. Hitler, Mussolini and Shinto all wanted to expand and create empires. World war one was fought between nations who already had huge empires. Nations without empires (or ambitions of such) stayed neutral untill directly affected by the wars. The formation of defensive alliances prior to the wars were made with the explicit goal of creating and maintaining a power balance. Essentially, big empires allied together to defend themself against other big empires they though threatened their power, ambitions and dominant position in the world. 

With such evenly distributed political and military power, a clash of the alliances was doomed to last a long time and decimate both parties. Power balance created a fragile peace that crumbled under stress and it failed at protecting nations, as it laid the foundational groundwork that allowed for two devastating wars that devastated the world and reduced Europe to crumbles. The modern alliance Nato aims for the opposite, a total imbalance of power.

NATO is the most successful Alliance in the history of the world and it is successful because of its shared values and the commitment to collective security. That is an unshakable guarantee and I am very confident that the members of the Alliance are safe. The fact that the Alliance continuously looks at its’ structures, procedures and policies and the fact that NATO works very hard to be effective, and its’ historical success is what will guarantee that it is still here ten years from now. As the principal and most effective security framework in the world. [h2]
Comparing the military might of the world's nations sorted by power index to the Nato nations reveals alot. Nato includes the most powerfull nation on Earth, the US, as well as many other strong nations who also top the lists in terms of military power. No comparable force exist on the planet. But Nato countries are democracies and they lacs imperial ambitions, which leaves nothing to be feared for peace-loving nations. Nobody wants to rally together against the worlds most powerfull and successfull military alliance, partly because it doesn't pose a threath. Nato practically guarantees peace, and it won't disappear in the foreseable future. 




FACTORS OF TODAY THAT PREVENT ANOTHER WORLD WAR:

#1: Nuclear weapons
The most powerfull nations all have nuclear capabilities, including the US, China and India. So far nukes have proven 100% effective at ensuring peace, seing as no single war has ever been fought between nuclear powers. Even India and Pakistan, who are notorious for their early wars and continous military conflict, are forced to only ever fight skirmishes at the border, because all-out war would include a huge risk of nuclear war. This principle is known as MAD:

Mutual assured destruction, principle of deterrence founded on the notion that a nuclear attack by one superpower would be met with an overwhelming nuclear counterattack such that both the attacker and the defender would be annihilated. ...Commencing with U.S. Pres. John F. Kennedy’s administration, greater emphasis was placed on a doctrine of all-purpose flexibility, including a larger conventional ground force as well as counterinsurgency forces to deal with “brushfire wars” such as the one in Vietnam. [britannica]
The contemporary world is in the era of nuclear peace in which only smaller conflicts play out. MAD greatly reduces the chances of another great war between the superpowers. With the superpowers capable of blowing each other to ashes, a conflict between them would not see smaller nations join the war. They would stay neutral due to fear of being included in a MAD scenario. Thus, a future war between superpowers, though extremely deadly and large, would most probably not be a world war.

Not only that, nuclear arsenals drastically diminish the probability of conventional war. A succesfull military campaign cannot guarantee your demands are met when your enemy can simply order an immidiate ceasfire and pressue forward a white peace. Your armies and fleets being victorious or not does not matter when the enemy can eliminate them with a single blow by a tactical nuke. Your options would be to withdraw or retalliate, the former of which is a humiliation and the latter a dangerous escalion leading you closer to MAD. There is no clear benefit to fighting a traditional war against a nuclear power, not even if you win. 



#2: Globalization
The modern economy is global in scale and international companies and organizations controll trade, banking and commerce. This capitalistic paradise that we call free trade has lifted millions in China and India as well as other developing nations out of extreme poverty [hm]. It has also enabled the extreme wealth of the richest 1% and  been the basis for employment in most developing nations. Peace and stability are prerequisits for this global market. A third world war would disrupt global trade to such a high extent that it might collapse and never recover. Redirecting shipping and compensating for the sudden market change alone might prove an imposible issue.  No country would be unaffected, and no country would be benefited. Only devastation will follow the trails of a hypothetical third world war.

Economic superpowers like the US and China have invested billions in foreign countries's infrastructure and economy, all of which could be destroyed if any conflict were to become worldwide. Not only that, but the US national debt to China would be annuled in case of war between the two countries -- which would mean China looses it's money and the US it's status as a trustworthy target for investment. Of China's most valuable trade partners, USA is the largest and its allies comprise the next 7 on the list. Similarly, China is the largest trade partner of the US and the primary low-cost industry country in the world. An all-out war between the two superpowers would undoubtedly decimate their economy even before any shots are fired. A global conflict would be much worse. 

Russia's economy is too weak to support a large war against Nato, a fact which even Gorbachov realised when he seeked to end the expensive arms race before the soviet economy collapsed; and it also is too reliant on the exportation of oil that would obviously be cut of in case of a war with Nato. EU, Russia, USA or China fighting a war which escalates to become global is totally untenable. They all have indisputable interests in each other's economy to the point where war is no longer a viable path. It isn't worth it for any reason to initiate a war that guarantees a national and worldwide economic collapse. 



#3: Diplomacy and UN
The international community being organized in one organization helps convey the message that we aren't divided, we are a united world just with different interests. Nations can together agree together how to handle crises as they develop. The security counsil in which all major powers have a veto helps to make the posibility of world war slimmer than ever. Dangerous tensions are brought up and discussed long before the situation has time to escalate, which differentiates our world from the world of the world wars. With perfect awareness of everything that happens and everyone's position on the matter, nations can make informed decisions about how to act in order to protect their interests WITHOUT escalating the situation.

Attacking another superpower necesarily means rejecting the authority of the security counsil (as the enemy would have veto-ed your request for permission to attack them), and likely will result in loss of power and influence inside the UN. An aggressive war also shreds your nation's reputation to pieces. You will find yourself isolated and with the entire international community against you. Any gains you hope to get from winning the war will be outweighed by the long-term losses inflicted upon you by yourself when you defied international law, acted outrageously aggresive and showed yourself as untrustworthy and unreliable. These immidiate harms compound over time, letting your defensive enemy gain more prestige and influence at your expense. Thus, even if you win an aggressive war, you still lose.



#4: Geography
National borders have largely settled down, meaning nothing stands to be gained from a world war that could not be achieved by peacefull means. USA, Russia and China are all separated by oceans and mountains making invasions and large fronts necesarily favour the defender. Only skirmishes at sea or in the air are possible without pouring immense ammounts of resources into a useless war, and they also bear less risk of escalating into MAD. So even if there was to be a war, which is highly improbable, it would be a quick show of strenght and technological superiority rather than a long worldwide conflict with hundreds of millions of casualties. 




SUMMARY:
We live in a world without expansionistic empires and without fragile power balance between rivalling neighbors. Europe is now united politically, militarily and economically, guaranteeing continued peace and prosperity in the region. War is on the decline; military conflicts are becomming fewer, shorter and smaller in scale. Our world is steadily embracing democracy, capitalism and humanist ideals. Entire regions are now locked down in stability and peace, while the potential zones of war outbreaks are shrinking and dwindling in numbers. Humanity is now united in its quest to bring about total world peace and focus on solving our problems through cooperation. We experience rappid economic growth coupled with technological innovation and improving standards of living; all of which based on global peace, a peace that nobody wants to disrupt. Nations are embracing diplomacy in order to influence the world without paying with blood.

There is absolutely no incentive for superpowers to start a war. The fear of economic collapse, social and political devastation and pure bloodshed for no possible gain makes initiating a large war diplomatic suicide since there can be no adequate justification . Not only that, but nukes make impossible traditional warfare between superpowers, and they guarantee hypothetical wars cannot escalate or last long enough to become a worldwide conflict.


Humanity's combined efforts to preserve peace ought to beat the botched diplomacy of the cold war. If they didn't start ww3, why would we?



CONCLUSION:
The riskiest part of the nuclear era is over. A third world war in the foreseable future is highly implausible. 

I rest my case.



Con
  Thank you Benjamin for this challenge.

  World War Three will probably occur in the foreseeable future. There are two major points of military tension between the current world powers, and the geopolitical paradigm is shifting.

  First, let’s set the stage. There are three major geopolitical powers in the world today: Russia, China, and the United States. Russia and China have recently renewed their Friendship Treaty [1], which allows for the protection of territorial integrity. China and Russia have also recently participated in joint naval drills in the Sea of Japan [15]. It is reasonable to infer that, in the event of a military conflict, these nations would cooperate together. 

  One point of major world tension is over Ukraine. Russia has roughly 100,000 troops on and near the border of Ukraine[3]. While this could be posturing, Russia, under Putin, has already invaded, and annexed, Crimea from the Ukraine in 2014 [2]. The position of NATO on the crisis is: “A sovereign, independent and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security…In parallel to its political support to Ukraine, NATO has significantly stepped up its practical assistance to Ukraine. Immediately following the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea by Russia, NATO Foreign Ministers agreed on measures to enhance Ukraine’s ability to provide for its own security. They also decided to further develop their practical support to Ukraine, based on a significant enhancement of existing cooperation programmes as well as the development of substantial new programmes [4].”

  The second point of tension between world powers is Taiwan. The Chinese government sees Taiwan as a breakaway province, while the current ruling party of Taiwan staunchly favors independence [5]. In October, China conducted large-scale military flyovers near Tawan [6]. The Chinese President considers Taiwanese independence as a violation of Chinese territorial integrity, as evidenced by him saying: “No one should underestimate the Chinese people's staunch determination, firm will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity…The historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.[7]” While he has said he desires a one country, two systems policy, the Taiwanese government has rejected this outright. Japan has also taken a position to protect Taiwanese independence [8]. Japanese involvement would provoke a US response in accordance with the current treaty [15]. Japan has increased its defense budget by 6.8 billion dollars [10], a 15% increase from the year 2020. Australia has increased its defence spending by 4.1% as well [11]. With the growing threat of Chinese military capabilities, seven of the ten SouthEast Asian countries we have data about have increased their defence spending [9]. Historically, when China is confronted with threats to its geopolitical interests, it strikes first [13].  For example, the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949 [12], but still took part in the initial invasion of Korea in 1950 [14]. The growing strength of the nations surrounding China, it’s historical tendency to lash out against threats, and the juxtaposed commitments of the Chinese and Taiwanese governments to Taiwanese independence.

  Finally, since the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has been in a position of leadership in the world. With the economic and technological rise of China, and amidst aggressive Russian foreign policy, there is a paradigm shift occurring in the geopolitical atmosphere. China and Russia are absolutely a threat to US leadership in the world, and it is not unreasonable to predict that conflict will arise as a result. 

  In conclusion, a third world war in the foreseeable future is likely. Russia is posed to invade Ukraine, which will likely provoke a NATO response. China is committed to the re-annexation of Taiwan, and its ability to do so is slipping by the day. A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would provoke a Japanese response, which would provoke a US response. Finally, the question of who is the most powerful country is up in the air, which is the perfect opportunity to challenge US leadership and commitment to international stability.
Round 2
Pro
Thank you, Sum1hugme


A third world war in the foreseable future is highly implausible

World war: A war involving many large nations in all different parts of the world 

Foreseable future: at a time that is not long from now soon

Implausible: difficult to believe, or unlikely




First I want to add to PRO's list of superpowers the European Union, which collectively compares to USA and China while dwarfing Russia in terms of economy.


REBUTTAL:
The distinction between China's "unbreakable" claim to Taiwan and a specific warning of imminent invasion is not drawn. China wants to remind the world of its claims to Taiwan in order to uphold its legitimacy. That does not mean that China is willing to go to war against its biggest trading partner America. Republic of China has controlled the island of Taiwan for almost a century (since 1945), and yet the Peoples Republic of China has still not conquered it [7]. The chinese president imagining a unified China proves nothing. At most, PRO's argument shows that sometime in the future Taiwan will be reuinified into mainland China.

The ongoing dispute over Taiwan, for example, is ripe for troublesome misperception.....Despite all of the above, we believe that the recent clamor over China’s strategic ambitions is greatly overblown. Most of the Chinese aims that run counter to U.S. interests are in fact not global or ideological but territorial in nature, and confined primarily to the islands and waterways to China’s south and southeast. In addition, Beijing has recently taken a number of steps to cooperate with the United States on security matters: signing the Chemical Weapons Convention and nuclear test ban treaty, terminating its assistance to nuclear facilities in Pakistan, pledging to cut off ballistic missile transfers to Pakistan as well as nuclear and anti-ship cruise missile trade with Iran, and quietly restraining the North Koreans. Moreover, China is plagued by enormous socioeconomic problems, whose solution requires maintaining good relations with the world’s major economic powers—and with the United States in particular. [3]
As I said in R1, China cannot afford to break its relations with other nations at this moment, especially not with the US. My opponent did not rebutt the argument from an intertwined world economy,  diplomatic power and global trade routes; all of which are far more valuable, objectively, to China than symbolic teritorial unification. Avoiding humiliation, blockades and condemnations by the international community is a no brainer. The balance tips overwhelmingly in favour of continued economic expansion as the best course of action for the chinese government. China simply does not yet have the position it needs to comfortably challenge the US or their allies. As such, trying to invade Taiwan in the foreseable future is a highly unlikely path for China to take. 

China's military is very subpar when compared to the US military. Peoples Liberation Army is still lagging behind tecknologically while all its soldiers are totally inexperienced, not to mention that the entire military is undersupplied [ibid]. America's military budget is still about 20 times larger than the Chinese equivalent [ibid]. America has the strongest airforce in the world. Even if you divide the airforce into the four branches, every single one of them is stronger than China's airforce, and two of them are stronger than Russia's [4]. The American navy is twice as strong as China's and Russia's put together [5]. US is still the superior military force.

China will not represent a serious strategic threat to the United States for at least twenty years. [6]
China can't stand up to the US in war (except trade wars). The facts clearly work against PRO's case concerning Taiwan. China is strongly motivated towards prioriticing their own population and economy, while their military is very clearly subpar. The claim that China will reunite the entire country by conquering Taiwan is old news. That this alledged invasion will occuring in the foreseable future and end in a world war is nothing short of a preposterous claim. PRO's argument demands some serious evidence, not just a callback to China's foreign policy during the brutal reign of Mao(ism). China attacking first in Korea and Vietnam doesn't prove that China will suddenly invade Taiwan; and it definately doesn't follow that such a regional conflict leads to a world war.



PRO makes an interesting assertion that "It is reasonable to infer that, in the event of a military conflict, (China and Russia) would cooperate together". I disagree. A meaningfull alliance which helps each nation would most probably be logistically impossible for China and Russia to create and maintain effectively. Especially in the midst of an enormous war, military cooperation and coordination is not just a matter of being on the same page or having similar rivals.  The geography, vegetation and climate of siberia acts as a natural barrier for movement of military forces. A war with Nato would see Russia fight severly outnumbered and disadvantaged in Europe. In case a war like PRO describes broke out, China could not in any way make use of their over 2 million when they don't border USA or any other NATO nation. A realistic sino-american war would not involve large fronts on eurasia, it would be fought at sea and in the skies; with perhaps some naval invasions on islands like Taiwan. The thing is, Russia joining China in a war against USA makes no strategic sense, it is just creating an unnecesary new theatre of war in Europe.


That leaves a Russo-American war with American and Chinese intervention as the remaining "point of world tenstion" where superpowers could chose to clash heads. Strangely, no evidence was provided as to back up the claim that Russia wants to conquer Ukraine. Russia is very capable of crushing Ukraine in a war [3]. If the superpower wanted a large chunk of Ukrainian land they would have just steamrolled the country along with Crimea. Instead, they let Ukraine be helped by NATO to become more secure against invasions, as PRO himself stated. A potential war with Nato is too steep a price to pay for whatever Russia could expect to gain in a war with Ukraine. It is in everyone's best interest that Ukraine remains a buffer state, keeping NATO at a distance.  Both Putin himself and an article by forbes substantiate this view by explaining how Russia's current goal is to stabilize relations between the two countries [1][2].


Amassing troops at the borders is clearly another power move by Putin, just his typical style. PRO speculates that this might be a signal pointing to a coming Russian invasion of Ukraine. What his analysis of the situation fails to take into onsideration is the last few years of Ukrainian history. Ukraine is ridden with rebels and separatists. Moreover, PRO's own source is giving us the information in light of which Russias behavior makes more sense and seems less expansionistic. 

There is no sense of an imminent threat - or that Russia's President Vladimir Putin has decided on invasion. But he has spoken of "appropriate retaliatory military-technical measures" if what he calls the West's aggressive approach continues.

US military support for Kyiv, in Mr Putin's eyes, is taking place "at the doorstep of our house". Russia is already concerned by Ukraine's deployment of Turkish drones against Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine and Western military exercises in the Black Sea.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has warned that tensions could lead to a situation similar to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, when the US and Soviet Union came close to nuclear conflict.

Russia also accuses Nato countries of "pumping" Ukraine with weapons. Accusing the US of stoking tensions, Mr Putin said Russia had "nowhere further to retreat to - do they think we'll just sit idly by?" [8]
My opponent has gotten the situation upside down. Putin and the Russian leadership is having legitimate concers about encroaching military prescence from Nato; which PRO himself confirmed in R1. Cuba was invaded and blockaded untill the two superpowers were ready to make a deal; and a deal is excactly what Putin is now demanding, and what he demands in return for not acting on his threats. Framing the Russian activities as aggressive whilst NATO is defensive is just a matter of our biased perspective. Russia is nothing like the soviet union, and Putin has taken a public stance against the idea of expanding Russia into USSR borders [9]. That begs the question, why annex Crimea in the first place? It turns out, a majority of people living in this area are ethnic Russians. A referendum in 2014, contested by the EU and the US, saw 83% voter turnout and 97% voting for integrating the region into Russia [9]. It was a messy integration, not conquest as PRO implies.

Putin has maintained power for two decades by standing up to the West without taking big chances. Invading a nation of 40 million where four out of five inhabitants are non-Russian would entail incalculable uncertainties—uncertainties that might ultimately endanger Putin’s hold on power. Taking such risks would be out of character. [ibid]as
Risky nonsensical wars are not to be expected from Russia or China. Unless new information is brouht up to challenge this view, denying it is unjustifiable. 






Takeaway:
  • China soon invading Taiwan isn't proven by PRO; and certainly doesn't automatically imply a world war
  • Russia had no intentions of conquering Ukraine, so there is no potential for a world war starting there
  • China and Russia cannot realistically win a conventional war against NATO
  • An alliance between them to fight NATO is a preposterous claim without evidence
    • The near certainty of defeat/stallemate/tie makes such an alliance and war absurd on its face
    • No motivation to attack the EU or the US has been presented that would make sense of such an alliance
    • The geographical landskape prevents effective military cooperation during war
    • Neither China nor Russia can help each other directly by joining the other's war

  • The risk and cost associated with major wars far outweight the potential benefits, territorial gains included
  • The two superpowers planning a world war with Nato is an absurd notion, as they have no incentive or realistic capacity to do so
In other words: The ww3 scenario my opponent paints is highly unrealistic, and quite frankly, implausible. China and Russia won't start a third world war.




ARGUMENTS:
  • No colonial or imperial nation exists today, and superpowers are not in close proximity to each other. Regional wars will stay regional, preventing a world war.
  • Democracy ensures peace in former war-ridden areas like Europe. The rising number of peacefull democratic nations constantly reduce the risk of war.
  • Alliance blocks today are not balanced as to make the outcome of war uncertain. NATO is powerful enough to discourage and prevent major wars.
  • Nuclear weapons have already prevented a world war in the most polarized, tense and hostile world in history. MAD makes war undesireable for everyone.
  • Economy and trade is far more vital to a modern nation than winning territory or other gains in war. Preserving the economy necesitates staying at peace.
  • Superpowers are far better off increasing their diplomatic influense peacefully than ruin their international status by starting an aggressive war.
  • The geograhpy of the world is such that the superpowers are separated by oceans and continents, reinforcing the fact that war is not worth the effort.

None of these arguments were addressed or even acknowledged. Instead he makes an assertion that the US leadership in the world somehow compells Russia and China to pick a fight with the strongest alliance in the history of man. A full scale world war, complete with nucluar arsenals and national economic collapse, just to conquer some worthless territory. If any nation backs down at any point in PRO's scenario, world war is avoided. What are the chances UN won't intervene and stop the alledged situations from spiralling out of hand. I highly doubt China fighting USA would happen before the UN gets involved.




SUMMARY:
We live in a world without expansionistic empires and without fragile power balance between rivalling neighbors. Europe is now united politically, militarily and economically, guaranteeing continued peace and prosperity in the region. War is on the decline; military conflicts are becomming fewer, shorter and smaller in scale. Our world is steadily embracing democracy, capitalism and humanist ideals. Entire regions are now locked down in stability and peace, while the potential zones of war outbreaks are shrinking and dwindling in numbers. Humanity is now united in its quest to bring about total world peace and focus on solving our problems through cooperation. We experience rappid economic growth coupled with technological innovation and improving standards of living; all of which based on global peace, a peace that nobody wants to disrupt. Nations are embracing diplomacy in order to influence the world without paying with blood.

There is absolutely no incentive for superpowers to start a war. The fear of economic collapse, social and political devastation and pure bloodshed for no possible gain makes initiating a large war diplomatic suicide since there can be no adequate justification . Not only that, but nukes make impossible traditional warfare between superpowers, and they guarantee hypothetical wars cannot escalate or last long enough to become a worldwide conflict.


Humanity's combined efforts to preserve peace ought to beat the botched diplomacy of the cold war. If they didn't start ww3, why would we?



CONCLUSION:
The riskiest part of the nuclear era is over. A third world war in the foreseable future is highly implausible. 

I rest my case.


Con
Forfeited
Round 3
Pro
Forfeited
Con
Forfeited