The beginning of WWIII

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The beginning of WWIII

The author is a Washington correspondentof the JoongAng Ilbo.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China attacks a U.S. warship in the South China Sea. The U.S. Navy was engaged in a “Freedom of Navigation” operation against China which claims territorial rights to the sea. Fighters from Zheng He, an aircraft carrier named after a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) fleet admiral and eunuch who led a great expedition, bomb the U.S. fleet.

As the PLA uses secretly developed cyber weapons to block communications, another U.S. warship also suffers great damage. Thirty-seven ships, including two destroyers, are destroyed and thousands of naval forces are killed. At the same time, Iran, which has a tacit alliance with China, uses the same tactic to capture F-35 stealth fighters. Russia cuts off the internet connection to the United States to support them and invades Poland.

Of course, this is not happening in real life. It is the plot from “2034,” a novel published in the United States in March. The authors are a retired Navy admiral who served as a NATO commander and a Marine officer who served in Afghanistan. They wrote a fictional World War III in 2034 based on their military experiences. In the end, the United States and China destroy major cities using strategic nuclear weapons, and India, which remained neutral, emerges as a new power.

Given the subcontinent which has been hard hit with Covid-19, I doubt it can happen. But the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman says that he can see premonitions of “2034” in today’s newspapers.

The U.S. and Chinese fleets are in confrontation in the waters off Taiwan. On the seven major countries criticizing the inter-strait issue, China warned that a nightmare for all Western countries would begin. Russian President Vladmir Putin also warned the Western world supporting his political enemy Navalny not to cross the red line.

A fiction is only a fiction, but it is clear that Taiwan has become the most dangerous spot in the world, enough to be used as the main setting for a war. And America’s attention is focused on China. If China were to make cyber weapons, it needs high-tech semiconductors. The novel sounds even more plausible as Taiwan has the semiconductors.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, “2034” makes little mention of Korea. But if the third world war occurs, the Korean Peninsula cannot be a safe zone. Korea may be faced with the most difficult choice in history. That’s why I cannot comfortably read the novel that a New York Times columnist recommended for the coming summer vacation.
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