What Will Be the Future Scenario of War between the World Powers? The West still lags far behind China and Russia in the field of hypersonic missiles. The UK’s defense and security policy has undergone a major transformation in 2021. Budgets for digital technology, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity have increased, while budgets for traditional equipment and troops have decreased. There are still small, regional conflicts in the world. Ethiopia is embroiled in a civil war and 14,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Ukraine since 2014. The incursion into Syria continues and the so-called Islamic State extremist group continues to operate in parts of Africa.
On the other hand, Russian troops are gathering on Ukraine’s borders and Russia has demanded that NATO expel some of its member states from NATO, while China is also making strong statements for the recapture of Taiwan. Even if it means using force. But what will be the future of the wars of the world powers and are the Western countries ready to face the coming challenges? The time for “future wars” has come. Many aspects of the major conflicts between the West and Russia and China have so far been developed and successfully tested.
Russia test-fired a missile into space on November 16, destroying one of its own satellites. In the summer, China tested its advanced hypersonic missiles, which can travel many times faster than the speed of sound. Provocative cyber-attacks have become the order of the day, whether they are for harm or for data theft. Michelle Flourney has been the US Strategic Policy Chief at the Pentagon under President Clinton and Obama. He believes that the West’s focus on the Middle East over the past two decades has given its opponents an opportunity to increase their military capabilities.
“Indeed, we are at a strategic point where we (the United States, the United Kingdom and our allies) are coming out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, after 20 years of focus on counter-terrorism and counter-infiltration, and realize that We are facing a very tough competition between the world powers. She was referring to Russia and China, which were described by a British security survey as a “serious threat” to the West and a long-term “strategic adversary”. “When we turned our attention to the Middle East, these countries worked hard on the Western war, and they started investing heavily in many new technologies,” she said.
US Air Force operatives are conducting cyber operations
And the focus of this investment has been on cyber activities, including attacks aimed at undermining the foundations of Western society, influencing elections, and stealing sensitive data. All of this is well below the level of ‘war’ and most of it can be denied. But what if the recent tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine, or the recent tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan, turned into regular animosity? The purpose of the International Institute for Strategic Studies is to use data for China’s military advantage.
“I think it’s going to be in a very fast-paced environment that will be very dependent on the information sector,” said Mia Novens, a senior research fellow at the institute. “China’s People’s Liberation Army has created a new organization called the Strategic Support Force, which is working on space, electronic warfare and cyber capabilities,” she said. What does all this mean in practice? Any conflict will start with major cyber attacks from both sides. Attempts will be made to “blind” the enemy by damaging their communications, including satellites, and even cutting off submarine cables.
I asked Franz Stefan Gaddy, a future war expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, what it would mean for you and me. Could our phones suddenly stop working, petrol stations may dry up and bargain shops may be in chaos? “This is possible because the world powers are investing heavily not only in offensive cyber-attacks but also in electronic warfare capabilities that can block communications systems by jamming satellites,” he said. Therefore, in future conflicts, not only the military but also the society as a whole will be the main target.
SpaceX is launching satellites for the US Air Force
The biggest military threat is to escalate the conflict without planning. If your satellites aren’t working and your planners in the underground command bunkers don’t know what’s going on, the next move could be very difficult. According to Mia Novens, this will leave them with a choice between the “least” or the “most severe” reaction, with the risk of further escalating the conflict. AI will probably play a major role in the war of the future. This will reduce the time it takes for commanders to make decisions and respond, allowing them to understand information faster than ever before. Here, the United States has a standard advantage over its potential opponents.
Michelle Flourney believes it can make up for the shortfall in places where the West does not have a numerical advantage over China’s People’s Liberation Army. “One way to regain numerical superiority and make it difficult for opponents to plan defensive or offensive is to pair humans and machines,” she said. But there is one area in which the West lags far behind China and Russia. These are hypersonic missiles that can travel five to 27 times faster than the speed of sound and are capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads. Russia has announced the successful test of its hypersonic cruise missile “Zircon”, claiming that it can hit any defense system anywhere in the world.
China’s Dongfeng 17 missiles that can fly at hypersonic speeds
China first introduced the Dongfeng in 2019, which features a hypersonic glide vehicle. It can take an unpredictable route through the atmosphere, making it extremely difficult to detect. In comparison, recent tests in the United States have not been so good. The addition of these new weapons to China’s arsenal is forcing Washington to reconsider whether the United States will be part of the war if China decides to invade Taiwan.
The US Air Force is testing its AGM 183A hypersonic missile
But as 2022 draws to a close, Russian troops gathering on Ukraine’s borders are still armed with conventional weapons, including conventional hardware, tanks, armored vehicles and troops. All of this equipment is what Russia will use if it decides to retake the Balkans.
The United Kingdom has slashed its traditional military budgets for new technology. Frances Stefan Guidi says it will have benefits over a period of 20 years, but before that there will be a worrying gap.
And in the next five to 10 years, you can see Western security facing the most dangerous challenges. So is destruction and ruin the only future? Not so with Michelle Flourney. They think the solution lies in two things: consultation and cooperation with allies, and investing in the right places.
“If we combine our minds and invest in the right technologies, work on the right ideas, and develop them quickly, we can stop this war of the world powers,” she said. “We must achieve our goals and keep the Indo-Pacific region free, open and prosperous for the future,” she said.