The Wikipedia definition of World War is "a war involving many or most of the world's most powerful and populous countries. World wars span multiple countries on multiple continents, with battles fought in multiple theatres." Radical Islamic terrorist organizations have carried out attacks in North America, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia and South America. I have not found an occurrence of Islamic terrorism in Antarctica. Since terrorist organizations are not countries, can the conflict be called a World War even though their attacks have been carried out on six of seven continents?
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This kind of aggression/brutality can have only one source and it has nothing to do with loyalty to god or religion. The only thing in history that has provided this much energy behind military strength is the self ambition of those at the top.
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A universal definition would be difficult to draft. Curiosity was my original motivation for the question. Calling it a world war might have an economic impact with WWIII happy meals and a film or two. Now I'm getting cynical so I'll shut up :)
What I was trying to say is for something like the terrorist threat we need more than what a conventional war gets with soldiers etc! We need to think of what we replace their ideology with!
Something that wins the hearts and minds!
Tim, I knew technical definitions would arise and you've mentioned a few. If ISIS consolidated its land holdings and established a government, they could be considered a nation. With their global terrorist attacks, WWIII might apply. Your thoughts?
Oopps on technical stuff:-) I have been studying the middle east 'conflict(S)' - 6mths.With out study it is really convoluted. ISIS is unique because they seek domination of all Muslims & the rest are infidels. They are political not religious.
Genna, It seems that at the present time, this would not be called a world war because of what you have said, i.e. many nations in a consolidated effort. Thanks.
Interesting input, bradmasterOCcal, especially the last paragraph. I suppose if we defined it by the specific source of terrorism it might be easier to declare victory at some point. Otherwise, any act of terror would be a continuation of the war.
I think this terrorism is about power masquerading as religion; hence the crazy extremist interpretation of Islam which many Muslims don't adhere to, and why ISIS is trying to gain dominance over other Muslims, etc. Hitler used religious prejudice.
Genna, religion is only a thin veneer covering the real motivation behind terrorism. I believe you are correct that power, power and wealth, are behind all of this terror. This has been the true motivating factor of change throughout history.
What would they want with this power?
Money, their own country?
You could be right, I just can't think of what they are actually after through this terrorism
I don't think any terrorist group has introduced anything new to the world. They simply want power/wealth as ends in themselves. It is what motivated Hitler, Kruschev, Alexander, Rome and Greece and has been the driving force behind colonialism.
Chris, you have explained this perfectly! And "thin veneer" is spot on. One of the key strategies of ISIS is to get the world to distrust/hate all Muslims -- for obvious reasons. As if we were
all that shallow and ignorant.
Would it be necessary for any future war to be connected with Germany and her allies in order for it to be called a world war? Just a clarifying question.
I agree that the term "War on Terror" sounds like a marketing slogan. Good comments.
Nick, If we stick with the Wiki definition, I believe this has the potential to be a world war. I don't feel we are there yet because the response by the principle nations has not been overwhelming. But it should be a world war, in my opinion.