Question about warfare...WW3

OKSTATE1

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Thinking about what WW3 might look like. All that comes to mind is massive suffering and death. Looking at conventional warfare, and using conventional warfare as a mechanism for offensive purposes, to conquer parts or all of country? Appears to me if you have a decent military, and the commitment by your people to fight forever, you will never lose. You can drag that war out just about forever. It ends up being a war of complete attrition, and who gets tired of it first? Military providers get rich and humans get run thru a horrific meat grinder.

It would be like playing a football game that goes into overtime and a game is played until one team runs completely out of players. That is not "winning" in my book.

No one can invade the U.S., most of the European countries, Russia, China, etc... and conquer them wholly or in part today via what we know as conventional warfare. I just don't see it. How does the cyber and infrastructure war expand what we define as "conventional" warfare? Does the country that first takes out the banking/financial cyberspace and the complete electrical grid collapses a country economically and also the means to feed themselves and survive, wins? The key might be the first to destroy a country not with bullets or bombs, but their ability to maintain their society? It might be the strongest weapon of massive destruction that exists. That happens in the US and you will have chaos in our own country with people just trying to feed their families and survive, and you will have criminal elements that will see tremendous opportunity to gain control and take what they want and kill who they want to survive. So many countries are over dependent on computer systems and the electrical grid.

So if an all out conventional world war was to break out, there will be great pressure on all leaders to go to the nuclear option and other weapons of mass destruction to try to end it first, as well as attacking financial/banking markets and the electrical grids.

No one can win a nuclear war either. It just seems we have reached the point most modern countries have an almost unlimited supply of bodies to throw at a war, as well as modern conventional weapons, and as long as the populace of a country is willing to literally fight to the last man standing, that country will be very difficult to beat for a very long time.

How can anyone in this modern age of warfare have a serious discussion about "winning" a war? Obviously, you can be put in a situation you have no options. But I don't see how anyone benefits creating WW3 or for that matter as Russia has done, to go on the offensive. What is scary? Russia's only way to "win" this war with Ukraine might be to go nuclear. Ukraine if it can gain enough leverage and advances on the battlefield, needs to figure out a way to give Russia an off ramp to the war while maintaining a "fair" resolution to the war that keeps the dignity of both countries and creates a lasting peace. That does not sound all that great when you first say it, but is a LONG war that could expand in to WW3 and cost millions of lives a better option? At some point Russia will have to decide if it goes nuclear, or figures out how to negotiate out of it while somehow saving some face. Maybe Russia leadership gets rid of Putin, blames him as the sole actor, and just pulls out, but that looks like wishful thinking right now.

For as enlightened as mankind should be about war, we have learned nothing.

This is why I believe peace thru strength is so important. You need a really strong military not to wage war, but so that no one will ever think about messing with you. And a country with that kind of deterrent force needs to not use the deterrent force improperly on the world stage.

How do you see this playing out? And is any conventional war really winnable against an opponent with decent military equipment and willingness to fight to the last man standing?
 
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Syskatine

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I think zero sum warfare would entail an enemy going after civilian infrastructure via sabotage. Why engage us militarily? Just take out water, electricity, internet, etc, even selectively, and it's game over.

I read an article that basically said dozens of millions of Americans die if our electrical grid is disabled. That's just electricity. WwIII won't be so gentle that we get to watch uniformed people fight it out.
 

Tulsaaggieson

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Nuclear war is nothing but destruction on such a scale that no one wins, even those who are not involved. Your description of the meat grinder can be said of war since 1800, the start of industrialized warfare. If you can neutralize the other country's ability to wage war a "win" would then follow. Every scenario for a nuclear war though ends in each other's industrial capacity to wage war destroyed.

To find out how one can win WWIII then one has to look at WWIII or the Cold War. This war was not fought directly between the two main combatants. Each country will directly fight with the other's satellite or stand in. The goal to weaken resolve to fight the war, but not necessarily degrade the main country's industrial capacity. A war like this can be waged indefinitely as long as nuclear weapons are sidelined. You win this war by forcing the other country to change its political leadership to something that is more tolerable to you.

The next WW is more likely to be another cold war, and the stakes will be just as high as the last one.