If you're anything like me, you don't have an asshat's clue about the nuance of foreign policy. Chances are you've been sentient for a few presidents now -- and while you might not have liked all of them, you probably weren't terrified that they would nuke the world to win a Twitter fight with Alec Baldwin. Unfortunately for blissful ignorance, our newly elected president appears to have all the diplomatic tact of a runaway dildo truck -- causing many in the media to ask: Is Trump going to start World War III?

Are we heading for World War 3? Fears Of dangerous and volatile' world under 'maverick' President Trump
The Mirror

Donald Trump's Recipe for World War lll
Huffington Post

Will The Trump Tweet That Starts World War II Have a Typo?
Gizmodo

To be clear, this article isn't going to answer that question because I'm not some shadowy mystic having nosebleed daydreams. Instead, I've decided to do the basic digging necessary to empower you to make that assessment yourself. Let's break it down...

What Are Historical Signs Of A World War?

TL;DR Answer: Historically speaking, World War Stew comes in many hearty flavors, but the base ingredients are nationalism/anti-immigration, militarization, and industrial revolution. Then all you need to do is Crock-Pot that sucker.

Patriotism isn't a bad thing until it's mixed with mob mentality -- just ask the French crowd that smashed a case of biscuits back in 1933:

CUSTOMER CAUSES UPROAR Frenchman Mistakes Word Edinburgh for Hindenberg. PARIS. (P). Uproar ensued at the Valenciennes railway station when a customer

How goddamn silly were the French to freak out over a single word on food? Obviously we've evolved since- oh...

WAR IN IRAQ SPECIRL House cafeterias change names for 'french' fries and 'french' toast Updatet* Nen Sering.. In AHose Office Buildines FREEDOM FRIES
CNN


And if you think the country's gotten saner since then, we envy you.

...Right. I remember now. We're still idiots. Turns out food titles are a hot-button issue during times of war, which is also why the UK's Empire Biscuits used to be called "German Biscuits" before WWII. So right away we've been steadily reaching pre-war levels of grunty jingoism -- as evidenced by the United States president who campaigned on "Build A Wall." Not to mention that our current attitude toward immigration is very similar to that of the early 1900s -- a time where we actually turned away Jewish refugees because we thought they were spies.

Donald Trump Jr Follow COonaldTrumpJr This image says it all. Let's end the politically correct agenda that doesn't put America first. #trump2016 If h
Donald Trump Jr/Twitter

Then there's the technologically driven stockpiling of weapons. While militarization can't be blamed for starting the first World War, it's hard not to have a big pretty pew-pew fight when you've been stockpiling WMDs like a Bond villain with a hoarding addiction. This was the result of the late-1800s industrial revolution, which not only caused countries to innovate and increase their armaments, but undergo a populist backlash to globalization. Hey, that's a thing we have now too!

WORLD NEWS Wed Nov 9. 2016 8:32am EST After Trump and Brexit, populist tsunami threatens European mainstream
Reuters

As Winston Churchill said back in 1913, "The world is arming as it has never armed before. Every suggestion of arrest or limitation has been brushed aside..."

Donald J. Trump Blocked Grea/DonaldTrump The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world come
Reuters


"And we must elect me until the world learns never to trust madmen again!"

So yeah -- we're kinda in the same spot as before. The final missing ingredient is some kind of incendiary to get that firework flying. Historically we're talking about people and events like the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Pearl Harbor, or that Hitler fellow the Alt-Right is so fond of.

So that leaves the clear question: what will be our incendiary? Let's look at the contenders...

So, What Is Our Deal With China?

TL;DR Answer: We don't want to piss each other off because we love money. China isn't so much a threat as much as a point of orbit that everyone is circling around and feeding from, like if the sun was a big sky nipple... which I guess it sort of is already.

To the U.S., China is that really helpful co-worker with prison tattoos you try really hard not to mention. They love our stupidest movies, we have made trade with them amounting over $400 billion, and owe them $1.12 trillion in debt. In exchange, we have to ignore an incredible amount of sketchy bullshit while soullessly allowing Michael Bay to continue working.

TRANSHORMERS THE LA ST KANOGNT
Paramount Pictures


This is being filmed entirely in Mandarin.

For starters, China is brimming with human rights abuses, censorship, and an exhausting execution rate. They're also allies with North Korea -- a country perpetually lobbing nuke-y threats in our direction. Then there's the Philippines -- where the newly elected president Rodrigo Duterte is waging a bloody war on drug dealers, most of which come from China. Along with being a psycho who bragged about throwing a dude out of a helicopter, Duterte has begun to gradually drift away from U.S. relations while cozying up to Russia. And while Russia only does about $100 billion in trade with the area, they have been slowly tightening their relationship thanks to the energy resources they have to offer China. In short: everyone wants to be friends with the big kid in the neighborhood, at the price of ignoring all those missing cat posters near his house.

And most awkward of all, China and Taiwan have been battling over who runs their government in what is essentially an ongoing civil war. This is the "One China" policy that's come up recently -- which the United States has diplomatically respected while unofficially aiding Taiwan through a separate Congressional act and an unofficial embassy. Think of it like a school lunch lady slipping the poor kid a free burger; the system works fine so long as no one makes a big deal of it.

6 Honest Assessments About The Chance Of World War 3
Donald Trump/Twitter

Oh right... that....

Is Trump Going To Piss Off China By Talking To Taiwan's President?

TL;DR Answer: Meeeeeeh...

Here's the thing -- all those things I said about the U.S. dealing with China's bullshit for money can probably be said about China dealing with us. Like Russia, they weren't exactly fans of our war in Iraq, and after Trump's victory they've made efforts to strengthen ties with Mexico in preparation of possible mass deportation. So you can imagine how sore they got when our puckered president-elect took a big log on the decades-honored "One China" policy.

REUTERS Trump SPE'S U.S. not necessarily bound by one China' polley WORLD NEWS Mon Dec 12. 2016 3:21pm EST Trump says U.S. not necessarily bound by 'o
Reuters

It didn't take long for the stories to pile up, as China was seen flying nuclear-capable aircraft over Taiwan and kidnapping a U.S. science drone. The media either focused on how unprecedented the situation was or that this was a planned move on Trump's part. Meanwhile, the entire country was slapping their foreheads at what a tactless dingus our next president apparently was -- for his zero-experience background in foreign policy appeared to be catching up. How can we possibly avoid World War III when the president is openly challenging China in ways that are completely unprecedented?

Why Bush Taiwan Comments Set Off a Diplomatic Scramble By Tony Karon Wednesday, Apr. 25. 2001
Time

Oh -- look! It turns out that I know how to Google things, and we were having this exact same conversation about Bush back in 2001 when he also made a foreign policy faux pas by saying he would do "whatever it took" to defend Taiwan. And if that isn't tense enough, these comments came immediately after a U.S. spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet and caused a diplomatic cluster fuck.

Twenty-one years before this, China was attacking Reagan for publicly supporting U.S.-Taiwan relations. Because it turns out that -- whether or not you agree with Trump's position -- it's completely in line with the RNC's playbook, which condemns China's human rights violations while vowing to protect Taiwan. So while the act of making a phone call to Taiwan's president is unprecedented -- ultimately it comes from a pretty status quo level of tension.

For the moment we're safe. That is, unless Russia pushes us all into a nuclear clown show...

So, What Is Our Deal With Russia?

TL;DR Answer: Russia and the U.S. are fighting over who is the bigger international asswipe (spoiler: it's both. Both countries are huge asswipes).

Russia stuck their dicks in our democracy salad -- making them seem like the clear aggressors capable of starting another global skirmish. Not to mention that their country is plagued with sketchy assassinations, international invasions, and human rights violations.

It's okay to assume Russia is fuck-backward and buzzing with government villains... so long as we know that they think the exact same thing about us.

RussIA accuses U.S. of human rights abuses
LA Times

Not unlike America's views on Russia, many Russians see America as a hellscape of Orwellian spying, corrupt justice, and trial-less imprisonment. And if you think it's preposterous that other countries might see us that way... you're probably forgetting that the NSA, War On Drugs, and Guantanamo Bay exist. To be perfectly frank: the US of A are oblivious wangs. The kind of uncircumcised worm that flutters stickily through gym short pant holes.

This is why since the Cold War and Putin's rise to power, both countries have engaged in a pissing battle over who is the bigger international monster. The answer, of course, is both countries -- making the whole ordeal like watching two ogres fight over which one is worse at broiling babies.

Kerry on Russia: You just don't invade another country on a completely trumped up pretext
Salon

That's John Kerry (a man who supported the war in Iraq on the pretext of finding WMDs) telling Russia (a country that strongly opposed the War on Terror) that they can't invade a country. Does any of this make Russia's invasion of Ukraine justified? Of course not, but it certainly makes it easier to see why any moral authority America takes might be met with anger-chortles and rage gazing.

Think of it like an old angry married couple: if you stand back, it doesn't really matter who is MORE wrong... because both of them are insufferable jerks. And just like a bad marriage, the problem is amplified by rote conflict, which is why this toxic dynamic is worsened with anyone who has had regular dealings with Putin. Hillary Clinton, for example, has had political ties with the country for a good 20 years. And back in 2011, she was accused by Putin of using "hundreds of millions of dollars" to influence opinion about a Russian election.

Putin Contends Clinton Incited Unrest Over Vote By DAVID M HERSZENHORN and ELLEN BARRY DEC. 8. 2011
NY Times

...which happens to be the exact same time Donald Trump was humiliated by Obama at the White House Correspondents dinner:

2011 WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS DINNER Washington, DC (CSPAN HD Washington Hilton Hote cspan.oro
C-SPAN

...which happens to be the exact same time the Kremlin supposedly initiated contact with Donald Trump:

Report: Ex-Spy Claims Russia Has Been Cultivating Relationship With Trump for Five Years
Slate

GEE. I WONDER IF THAT MEANS ANYTHING.

Just What The Hell Is Going On Between Trump And Russia?

TL;DR Answer: Much like a Burning Man festival, it's super confusing, potentially illegal, but ultimately benign in a lot of ways.

To recap -- after multiple U.S. intelligence agencies released a report detailing that Putin directed a cyber campaign to influence the election in Trump's favor, our beloved new president coincidentally announced that there was totally no influence on the election and only an idiot would be mad at Russia.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump . 37m Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing. not a bad thing. Only 'stupid people, or fools. would t
Donald Trump/Twitter


Is there anything more terrifying than a man who wants to team with Russia against "the WORLD!"?

But before we could sing "Kumbaya," we got yet another report claiming Russian operatives had compromising information about our new President's financial and personal information -- specifically, that ol' T-Money had a particular predilection for the horizontal lemonade squeeze.

Report: Russian Intelligence's Donald Trump Blackmail Trove Includes (Unverified) 'Golden Shower' Details BY EN CHUNG IN NEWS Ce JAN 10. 2017 7:11 PM
Gothamist


And while this was all based around "raw" or unconfirmed and possibly fabricated information, Trump's screaming baby assertion that an intelligence report is "fake news" is really hard for the public to ignore.

Donald J. Trump grealDonaldTrump-7h Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS. NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!
Donald Trump/Twitter


That's beyond sketchy, guys. And if confirmed true would lead to Trump's impeachment and possible incarceration. If I had to rate the sketchy on a scale from "loitering teenager" to "woods clown," then Trump is an ashen Juggalo holding a gas canister. But even if it wasn't true, what makes it all so unbearable is the constant assertion by Trump that the U.S. is expected to "reset" or "restore" our relationship with Russia. Even though we're apparently at Cold War levels of hostility.

How bad is U.S.-Russia mistrust? It's back to Cold War levels, study says.
Washington Post

Trump Praises Putin's Letter Seeking to Restore U.S.-Russian Ties
Bloomberg

Seriously, what kind of traitor makes it his immediate top priority to support the enemy like this?

Barack Obama calls for 'reset' in US- Russia relations
The Guardian


Though, he didn't say what he was resetting them to.

Oh, right. Obama did back in 2009 when he was elected president and Bush/Putin relations were ALSO at "Cold War levels:"

6 Honest Assessments About The Chance Of World War 3
NPR

EDBRICNDOUCY BEEDE JULY 1C 200 IS The New American Cold War THE unfolding conflict over US plans to build missile defense components near post-Soviet
The Nation

Georgia: Crisis deepens as Russia snubs George W Bush's call to pull troops out
The Telegraph

See, putting aside the deeply disturbing (but technically unconnected) hacking and (unsubstantiated) piss-party/blackmail stuff -- the fact that Trump is "hitting the reset button" on Russian relations is such an old trick that we once literally hit a reset button back in 2009. And you'll never guess who carried that out...

6 Honest Assessments About The Chance Of World War 3
State Department


It's the one on the right.

Yep -- that's Hillary Clinton presenting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a big red button with what she believed was Russian for "reset" on it, but through a mistranslation actually turned out to be the word for "overload." No, I'm not making that up. And this irony is the perfect representation of the exhaustion that seemingly comes from every president's dealings with Russia -- which begins with the promise of a new day and ends like the brink of a murder/suicide.

The awkward moment when Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin met at the UN General Assembly Rarely have two world leaders been so visibly uncomfortable in
The Telegraph


This was after the photographer said, "And now let's do a silly one!"

So where does the hacking fit into any of this? And why does it seem like a lot of conservatives either don't care about it or downright think it's a "Liberal conspiracy theory"?

RUSSIAN HACKING CONSPIRACY THEORY IMPLODES The Left's quest to overturn Trump's election isn't going very well. Ducember 16 2016 Maew ven 3
FrontPageMag

Well... as I asserted at the start of this journey, I'm no psychic. But if I had to take a wild stab, it would be related to the fact that the Left was saying the exact same thing about the Right's assertion that Russia hid Iraq's WMDs back in 2006.

Fox News Conspiracy Theory: Russia Moved Saddam's WMD To Syria
ThinkProgress.org

I bet you don't remember that -- but the same site now laughing at accusations of Russian hacking once championed a report by retired intelligence officers that outlined how Russia helped Iraq hide their WMDs right before the war, therefore justifying Bush's motive. And they weren't alone -- as the Right-leaning The Washington Times made the same claim back in 2003.

Ex-spy fingers Russians on WMD
The Washington Times


Headlines back then were notoriously salacious.

So while there's way more evidence that Russia influenced our election, thanks to that "reset" button the steady swing between Democrat and Republican presidents has turned our foreign relations into a blinding partisan debate.

Bottom Line: How Could Trump Cause World War III?

TL;DR Answer: Honestly, we should be more afraid of him NOT causing World War III.

Here's the thing: From the very start of this article I've detailed how the world has a very similar climate to pre-WWI and WWII culture. With the latter, the only real difference is that there's no clear "Hitler"-type madman to stop -- assuming we didn't just elect him as our president. And as the world looks for its next top Hitler, it's important to remember that Hitler wasn't a "Hitler" until he super-duper Hitler'ed everyone. Meaning that our expectation of a clearly evil maniac might not be so overt as we're hoping. On the other hand...

WORLD NEWS GAl Oex Ole 8-24am EDT Philippines' Duterte likens himself to Hitler, wants to kill millions of drug users
Reuters

Remember this guy? I briefly mentioned him earlier, but in a super-casual way so as to dramatically reveal him later. If you've been reading the site long enough, you might remember Adam Tod Brown's pre-election Duterte column that happened to have this title:

How WWIll Can Start In The Last Place You Expect (And Soon)
Cracked

As the article explains, Philippine's president has been waging a relentless war on drug dealers using his own police force as executioners. With a motherfucking 97 percent kill ratio, Duterte has managed to off 6,000 people in the last six months -- even boasting about personally killing three people. He is a roaring travesty of a human clearly gearing up to start a war with anyone daring to challenge him.

Aala & Pacine Philippine leader Duterte now wants U.S. troops out in the next two years'
Washington Post

6 Honest Assessments About The Chance Of World War 3
CNN

And with the risk of just quoting the article in its entirety, A-Brizzle points out that in the then-horrifying event that Trump became president, the worse thing that could happen isn't that he'd start a war with a homicidal maniac... but not start a war.

To be honest, that might be the more favorable solution if Trump is in office. because lwouldn't be surprised in the least If he decided that extrajud
Cracked


Man, writing is so much easier when you can just screengrab other people's work.

One thing we don't like to mention about World War II is that the U.S. didn't immediately want to get involved. Not only had we just come out of an already exhausting war (you know, like the one we just had in Iraq), but we had good trade relations with Germany. We were still debating the issue when the attack on Pearl Harbor pretty much forced our hand. And while we probably still would have gone to war, it's pretty insane to imagine what would have happened in the alternate reality where we didn't.

AN AMAZ ON ORIGINAL SERIES THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE
Amazon


For starters, this show would be about a terrifying world where Germany lost.

So imagine, for a moment, that our good economic relationship with Germany wasn't just in terms of the country... but the personal business relations of the president.

Who's The New Philippine Envoy? The Man Building Trump Tower Manila November 22. 2016 439 AM ET Heard on Morning Edition
NPR

Yeah... fuck.

It turns out that the trade envoy that Duterte -- a man who positively compared himself to Hitler -- appointed to the U.S. happens to be a business partner with the President of the United States, who according to the Philippine leader had a very pleasant congratulatory call with him.

Philippines' deadly drug war praised by Donald Trump. says Rodrigo Duterte
The Guardian

And why wouldn't he be pleasant? For all the doomsaying that Trump will lead us into a new war, we forgot that war is actually bad for his businesses. And Trump has a LOT of businesses in countries that could potentially require the U.S. to turn a blind eye. Not to mention that he continues to handle his personal finance disclosures like a mob boss on a witness stand -- giving us very little clue about potential ties he might have to Russia.

Trump says he still won't release his tax returns and claims Americans don't 'care at all'
Washington Post

So while not going to war seems favorable to risking nuclear annihilation, we're forgetting the times where a conflict is favorable over allowing horrible human rights abuses to continue. We're forgetting that it's far more likely for a person like Trump to slowly and quietly destroy the world through non-interference and climate-damaging policy. The man in charge of the EPA, SEC, and Justice Department has stock in pipeline companies and owes Vanguard and Wells Fargo $250 million in debt.

Trump urged UK leader to oppose wind farm near his golf course: report
The Hill

We have to stop assuming that Trump is going to wreck the world in some grandiose nuclear baby tantrum, but rather quietly chip away at its foundation with a series of boring non-"Twitter storm" related headlines. Or hey... maybe he'll be amazing and save the world from itself. Like I keep saying -- I'm not psychic or anything... so who knows? After Trump Steaks, Trump Airlines, GoTrump.com, Trump Vodka, Trump Mortgage, Trump Magazine, Trump University, Trump Ice, the Tour De Trump, The Trump Network, and Trump: The Game... maybe Trump America will be the one thing he doesn't rapidly degrade with his leadership.

Dave rules everything around me. DREAM get the money, follow me on my social media account if that's not too much to ask y'all.

Also check out How WWIII Can Start In The Last Place You Expect (And Soon) and Realistic Reasons WWIII Could Start Anytime Now.

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