In terms of Russia’s recent aggressions, it is entirely possible that things could get worse. One of the fears expressed by press and pundits is that a direct military confrontation could – and some say would – kick off World War III.  That does not seem to be a reasonable assessment.

First, you need to understand how World War II happened and who was involved.  Except for North and South America – not counting sabotage and the Japanese taking control of a few American islands in the Bering Sea – the theater of war was mostly confined to Europe, Asia, and Africa.  But certainly, the western hemisphere nations were involved – most notably the United States and Canada.

There were a number of nations on both sides.  Hitler had the Axis Power – initially Germany, Italy, and Japan.  They were soon joined by Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria.  Hitler’s war machine took control of the nations in Eastern Europe – Poland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, etc.  Japan invaded and occupied northern China.

America was attacked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii – and the islands of the Pacific Ocean were serial battlegrounds.  The world was truly at war.

That would not be the case if, perchance, the invasion of Ukraine was to escalate – as it is likely to do.  And why would it escalate?

At the onset, it was assumed that Russia would roll through Ukraine like a German Panzer division.  But that did not happen.  At the very time, the new pro-Russian government was being organized in Putin’s head, we find that his invasion force is being slowed down – and in some cases thrown back.

The bravery of the Ukrainian people and the surprising capabilities of the Ukrainian military forces are turning into a game-changer.  The fact that defeat is no longer a foregone conclusion has motivated more and more nations to take actions in support of Ukraine and opposition to Putin.

Germany is now sending serious military weaponry to Ukraine.  The once reluctant nations are not booting Russia out of SWIFT – essentially blocking Russia from international trade. Multiple nations are closing their air space to Russian aircraft – military and commercial.  China is holding back any support for Putin – abstaining on the UN vote to condemn Russia.  The thought-to-be compliant Kazakhstan has rejected Putin’s call for support. 

The only nation on earth that has given support to Putin is the puppet government of Belarus – and they are now being sanctioned for allowing Putin to launch the attack on Kyiv from Belarus.

And it is not only the world governments and leaders who are lining up against Putin.  Throughout the world there are massive demonstrations and protests against Putin — including in multiple cities in Russia.

The events are moving so quickly against Putin that the possibility of boots on the ground has received a wee bit of consideration.  When asked if there was any circumstance in which American or NATO troops (which means America) would enter Ukraine, Democrat Congressman Ruben Gallego did not say “no.”  In fact, he said that if Russians start attacking the citizens of Ukraine, that could be a reason. Gallego gave voice to others who are moving away from the firm policy of “no boots on the ground.”  It also opens up other avenues of military intervention that do not require boots on the ground – such as air attacks, cyber-attacks, and paramilitary mercenary involvement – and the flooding of Ukraine with sophisticated weapons.

For all those reasons, there can be no WORLD war.  It would be the world against Russia … period.

That is not to say that the Madman of Moscow is not very dangerous.  He is.  He has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world.  Would he use it in crazed depression?  Would those around him – especially the military that would have to launch those weapons – allow him to use them?

Even if NATO forces came into direct conflict, it would not kick off a world war.  The only danger – and it is not to be disregarded – is the madman option.  And what would that entail – atom bombs hitting Ukraine?  NATO capitals?  The United States?  But no matter how much destruction and human suffering such a launch would incur, it would result in the leveling of Moscow.  When Putin noted he possessed nuclear weapons, a European Union official responded simply, “So do we.”  I do not think even Putin is that mad (at least I hope not) – nor the folks in Moscow who would have to carry out that order.  

I hope and believe that we will not see the use of nuclear weapons.  But even as a worst scenario, it would be a very short war – albeit with devastating results.  But that is not – by definition – a world war.  Putin would have no allies – with the possible exception of Belarus.

So, there ‘tis.