I sure hope at least it won't be a nuclear war, which I would think it wouldn't be. Any assumptions about the future will not come true until the future becomes the present...and the past. I hear ya there, Wok, that it sure seems hypocritical that Iran shouldn't have nukes while Israel has them. If I were to expect a major war in the future, it would probably be between Pakistan and India (two nuclear powers). Whether the US would get involved is hard to tell. That's pretty much going to be the next big war unless a good understanding could be found between the two.
I know that the following is going to be hard to swollow, but the thought came in my head a few times about this whole war thing going on. The thought was that since the entire middle east pretty much despises Israel and we're supporting Israel, we could just let them to their own war while we mind our own business. That's a thought that's came to me a few times. It's not that I'm against Israel, but I can see how America's getting into perhaps more than it could stand, politically and militarily. Yes, we could win, but with many lives lost. I remember in American history back in high school that the text book said that we were trying to stay out of WWII when it happened, and WWI - but as we see, the United States played a big part in WWII! It seems that no matter how much we wanna stay out of something, instead we end up being swept up in the greatest battles!
I think that if Pakistan and India ever go to war, the US will try to stay out of it, but it will still be swept up in the whole fray! War just seems to be becoming a way of life for everyone, except maybe Switzerland - as they stay neutral. America, however, is even more confined and safer than Switzerland. I have thought every once in a while about the possibility of America being neutral, since it did have the possibility to do so. Of course, the thing that keeps us fighting is the fact that there's always someone out there declaring war on us because they think we're arrogant and wreckless.etc..
The big 'cowboy' image of the United States is what everyone against the US seems to fear the most. We try diplomacy and it just seems to fail everytime, as it does with Israel. The amount of anti-semitism in the world is linking our alliance with Israel with the attacks we have absorbed.
If there is a World War III, I don't think that it will be global. The only way it would be global is if it went nuclear. Whether or not there will be a major war like that, we must still live while we can and not worry so much about it, though we will still be prepared for it militarily if it happens. We can only trust that our government will do the right thing, and I know that I myself don't like placing trust so easily on something I know little about! If we are an empire in denial, then I will just have to live in this empire with a false sense of security. I wish all our allies luck in everything they may encounter. England has prevailed in many wars in the past and will prevail again, as the United States will. I respect the people of that great country for their alliance with us, even if they don't quite go for what our government is doing - their thoughts are theirs and ours. I don't have 100% faith in how the government does things either, but I still try to value every day of my life by the fact that I live in a country that is based on some level of freedom. I feel proud every day that goes by that we weren't attacked and look to the next day being brighter yet.
But there's always the terrorists, which there will always be someone out there who's a terrorist - it's like crime syndicates, except with kamikazees! The fact that there will be war for a long time is made a fact by another fact: that it is extra hard to distinguish a criminal from a normal person. There will always be some place where our security is weak, and sometimes that weakness will be exploited in an attack. It's just like the risk we take when we drive to work each day through combat traffic - any one day, or hour, or second, could just be our last. But we take that risk nonetheless.
Death, to me, is just a way for us to appreciate life. It's also a lesson - that we don't miss something until it's gone. Even if things seem hopeless in the world, death is the ultimate in hopelessness for the person who dies. While living, we have the ability to deal with misfortune by striving to make things better for ourselves, our families, our communities, our nations, and our world if we can. That's a philosophy I understand, but don't use all the time. Some days I get up and just would want to stay asleep instead, especially when the day before met with misfortune.
The men who have died in Iraq fighting the evil that marched before them have made the ultimate and selfless sacrifice to protect those they do not even know. And still many more are to come, I'm sure. We're never quite prepared to lose some of us, but we're absolutely not prepared to lose all of us. In other words, if there are newer and greater threats to defend against or to avoid, life will still go on and there will always be a last alliance left to defend themselves if things get real bad. The next World War may be called Global War I, as the whole world just may be involved - but that scenario is unlikely to happen, at least in the next couple of decades. In 2040, perhaps, the world will be in the greatest fight ever. In the Star Trek timeline, WWIII occurs in that decade. It seems likely in reality that this decade will be one of great war. But it may never happen if things are done to stop it - as it is possible in these times to stop war from happening.
The human race is going through a hell of a tough time, but we are probably prepared to survive it, even if we lose some people. We'll just have to live for now - and prepare for the future - and learn from the past, but never live in the past. As far as fighting for survival and preparing for the worst, I think that there's no avoiding some level of disaster. The 'shield of America' that is our military cannot just hunt the enemy, it must also absorb the impact of their attacks. When we get through these times of great wars that may come, humanity will have to be at least a little closer to cooperation where we will all appreciate the simple things in life, like responsibility and fellowship. Someday, humanity may not need to feel like proving themselves through skill in battle but instead through skill in dealing with humanity. I hope that day comes in my lifetime.
We could even go a little further, perhaps into the 24th century, where humanity will be united, but this time against another race like the Borg or the Xindi. That will be the time for more great battles and wars - where the galaxy will consider the question, "will the galaxy ever be united?" That question, considering humanity achieves unity itself, will not be resolved for probably hundreds and thousands of years! Star Trek seems optimistic in this way - that the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans are united at the end of the 24th century! If all of humanity would be that optimistic, then trees and rainbows and fellowship would be a true image, not just one we imagine when we think of world peace! But as long as there's someone who has fear in something they don't understand, there will be war and crime. Chaos being the natural order of the Universe, humanity has only recently identified it. It will take, I'm sure, thousands of years more to see a unity of the masses. It may be our natural course of evolution that may make us humans (and elves) able to fend off chaos and fear before it takes control of us.
Humanity may advance one day to view religion as not ritualistic, but as a way to live life and coexist with others. Some people already do, but some don't. To some, religion is used as a justification for horrific acts. To some others, religion is amended to include philosophies of war and violence. Perhaps through our experiences this millenium, we will form a more evolved sense of life. But while we are doing that, we will still have to defend ourselves many more times so that as much life is preserved as possible. So we now have two immediate goals - to live life as we always do - and to defend ourselves if it comes to it. We must let time and nature take its course and I'm sure that if humanity makes it through the 21st century, that we'll all feel at least a little better about the world in which we live! I'd say that the world could use a lot more people like you dudes, who obviously know what is right and wrong! And if you dudes represent the attitudes of most people on Earth, then the future will most likely be a good one. We here all know that the most important thing is not just to defeat our enemies, but to make ourselves stronger and help our friends when they most need it! That's pretty much what makes this war on terrorism pale in comparison to these immediate priorities, though we will still fight terror if it knocks at our door!