As scientific theory would have it, the world started with the Big Bang. Many predict that the end of our universe will also be caused by a huge blast, but this column is not intended to look further into the subject from a scientific point of view, but rather from a political and ideological one, and to explore the possibility of the destruction that might come from our own hands.
Let us reflect first on the population of the world and how it compares to global resources. According to the World Population Clock and the UN World Population Prospects, the world population was estimated to have reached 7.6 billion as of October 2017, and that number is estimated to increase to 11.2 billion by the year 2100. Scientists assume that human overpopulation and overconsumption are the primary drivers of mass species extinction.
By 2050, population growth, along with profligate consumption, could result in oceans containing more plastic than fish by weight. Whether we like it or not, will we drive our planet to destruction? Some might argue, especially the scientists, that modern science is capable of producing the right tools to help humans overcome the overpopulation and the scarcity of food and water. True, but will they overcome the urge that humans possess to conquer and destroy?
Let us have another look at the build-up of weapons and arsenals around the world. An estimated 15,000 nuclear bombs are in the hands of just nine countries: the United States, Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea. The US and Russia alone hold 88 per cent of that total and, of course, other states are following suit, such as Iran.
During the 20th and 21st centuries, more than 120 wars have taken place, leading to more than 160 million fatalities. Nuclear weapons were used only once – and one can only imagine the number of fatalities there would be if those weapons of mass destruction were used more widely.
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What are the resources available for us now and in the future? A study by the World Wildlife Fund warns that the human race is plundering the planet at a pace that outstrips its capacity to support life.
Wars are a major contributor to the destruction of our planet. They do not only bring destruction and wreak havoc, but they also deliver pollution, diseases, global warming, rage, social destruction, famine and extremism.
We have seen wars are waged for several reasons; defending human rights, fighting terrorism, punishing rogue nations and gaining more land and more power. Allies have been created to deter an enemy or to gain legitimacy. The world is based on polarity, East versus West. Each camp is trying to create its own team, with its own territories and borders. There is no middle ground. Either you are with us or you are against us.
Only the outsiders benefit. These outsiders thrive during conflicts, as they derive their strength and survival from the chaos. We have seen different examples throughout history, and the most recent one is ISIL. This terrorist group took advantage of chaos in Iraq and Syria to launch their false state. This false statehood would not have survived for a long time if it did not have the means to support it. It grew to be a cancerous cell.
Everyone knew that this cancer will not stop spreading until it covers the whole world. We have seen numerous terrorist attacks around the globe, fear and tension rising among nations. Who is to blame, and who is behind it all? Are we on the verge of a third world war? If so, what would be the motive? More power, gaining new territories, securing the flow of energy – or something else?
The next war, for sure, is going to be an ideological war, a conflict that will be waged to gain back a lost empire. An empire that once ruled the modern world: the Persian Empire. We fail sometimes to correctly read history, and it is vengeful towards the ignorant. That empire stretched from Achaemenes in 550 BC to the Pahlavi Dynasty that fell in 1979. No lost empire has able to rebuild itself again, but the Iranians have the advantage of a unified ethnic identity and, above all, while Iranians may disagree with their leadership, they will not help strangers to overthrow their dictatorship.
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When the Khomeini revolution seized power in Iran in 1979, one of the Iranians' major goals was to retake what was lost to them. They blame the Arabs for destroying their empire in 651 AD. Now, we can see Iran's wings are once again spreading in all areas that once held a Persian presence, stretching from Egypt to Pakistan and parts of the Arabian Peninsula.
We are witnessing signs of the return of that empire. Unfortunately, the world is turning a blind eye to Iran's ambitious dream. Iran established its Persian crescent through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and some GCC states. Once those are secured, then the next stage is the wider circle. Iran's dream to resurrect its fallen empire is through blood and fire. The destruction throughout the Arab world, using all means – ISIL, the Houthis, Hizbollah, militias and the IRGC – have the potential to spark a universal war.
Iran is building its military capabilities to develop its nuclear and ballistic power. The West unfortunately, paved the way for Iran to work legitimately, when they signed the nuclear deal. The Europeans still cannot hear the drums of war. Iran is the real menace to the world, and there is no doubt that its rogue actions will spark a large conflict.
Despite the hopes of a better life on our dying planet, there are those who are working to destroy our dreams. Are we going to stop the menace and hope for a prosperous world, or wait for them to write the last chapter of the destruction of our beautiful planet?