To WWIII, or not to WWIII, that is the Question

In recent events, tension between the U.S. and Iran has skyrocketed to near world war levels. After Iranian forces shot down an unmanned U.S. drone, attacked U.S. oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, and attacked a U.S. Embassy in Iraq, America chose to retaliate. On January 3rd, 2020, President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike, without consulting Congress, on an Iranian convoy near Baghdad International Airport. The strike resulted in the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. 

Soleimani was a high-ranking general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which is a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, formed after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Being a high ranking general, Soleimani was responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations. Soleimani started his military career in the 80s during the Iraq-Iran war over time he rose in the ranks until he was one of the most famous men in Iran, second only to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

Though America saw the death of Soleimani as a victory since he has been known to order attacks on U.S. forces, Iran did not take kindly to the death of such a high ranking official. A video flooded the internet of crowds of both officials and citizens from Iran, Pakistan, and Kashmir, chanting “Death to America,” holding signs with Soleimani’s face on them and burning American flags. 

Trump saw this as a threat and responded with a warning: “They attacked us and we hit back. If they hit again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before.” Iran followed this response by launching a dozen ballistic missiles, hitting two American military bases located in Iraq though there were no causalities. After this strike, Trump held a speech where he said that it seemed as if Iran was standing down and no further violence was necessary, although he called for more economic sanctions on Iran and for NATO to become more involved. 

As the weeks have passed, the thought of World War III has sizzled out and tensions between the U.S. and Iran have diminished. However, recently it was discovered that Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down last week after leaving Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, Iran. The crash killed all 176 passengers on board including 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, and 11 Ukrainians. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that both Canadian Intelligence and Intelligence from Canada’s Allies can confirm that Flight 752 was shot down by Iranian Surface-to-Air Missiles. This event could cause tensions to rise between Canada, Ukraine, and Iran.

So the question we have to ask ourselves is simple: Is World War III imminent? Would the U.S. be helped by our allies? Would Russia or China Step in to aid Iran? These question are essential to ask before we jump to conclusions; we need to look at the facts first. First, we haven’t been in world war in almost 80 years. After all this conflict in recent years, it seems very likely that it could happen soon. Next, Russia and China are both allies to Iran. It’s possible that if we went to war, both countries would step in to aid Iran. Lastly, our allies would most likely join in to aid America. Despite the temporary calming of tensions between Iran and the U.S., we still should remain vigilant and continue to ask ourselves: is World War III possible?