February 25, 2024

THE world is facing its “most dangerous and volatile moment” in history as hotbeds of conflict explode, military analysts have warned.

It’s feared Russia, China, the Middle East, Iran and North Korea are all major flashpoints for an all-out world war – and British troops could be dragged in.

A North Korean warhead missile launch exercise simulating a nuclear attack in 2023

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A North Korean warhead missile launch exercise simulating a nuclear attack in 2023Credit: AFP
British troops may end up on the ground around the globe as conflict continues

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British troops may end up on the ground around the globe as conflict continues

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Former Royal Navy chief Admiral Lord West told The Sun: “I have never known the world to be more dangerous and unpredictable.”

It comes after UK defence secretary Grant Shapps warned that the world is in a “pre-war” moment.

In a speech at Lancaster House in London, he urged Britain and its allies to ramp up defence spending, insisting: “The era of the peace dividend is over.”

He added: “In five years’ time we could be looking at multiple theatres involving RussiaChinaIran and North Korea.”

He said Putin’s war in Ukraine has put the future of the world order at stake – while China watches to see if the West loses patience and North Korea threatens to expand its arsenal.

Meanwhile, Iran has enriched uranium — used in nuclear weapons — to a terrifying 83.7 per cent.

And the Middle East is a tinderbox ready to be lit as tensions explode in the Red Sea and the Israel and Gaza conflict rages on.

As the drums of war begin to beat around the world, military experts fear Britain will have no choice but to put boots on the ground.

Most read in The Sun

Russia and Ukraine

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Putin has become a growing threat to world order.

On top of almost two years of brutal warfare a leaked military report yesterday showed the despot’s ten-step plan to bring the West to the brink of World War Three.

The secret documents described Putin’s possible “path to conflict” which would reach its climax in 2025 on “Day X” when half a million Nato and Russian soldiers face each other.

The bombshell files, obtained by Bild from Germany‘s Ministry of Defence, laid out exactly how the Kremlin boss might prepare for a hybrid attack on Nato as early as next winter and a full-blown war next summer.

It could begin in weeks with a spring offensive against Ukraine as the plan stipulates that he mobilises hundreds of thousands of new soldiers.

Ex-British tank commander Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told The Sun that while the chilling war plans are a “worst-case scenario”, they are “absolutely possible”.

He said: “We are in probably the most dangerous and volatile place in the world than we’ve been… I can’t even think of a time in the Cold War.”

Former British officer Mr de Bretton-Gordon explained that German war planners will have drawn up the leaked files amid Putin’s continued aggression in Ukraine.

We are in probably the most dangerous and volatile place in the world than we’ve been

Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon

He told The Sun that the files serve as a “stark warning” for Britain and the rest of the West of what Putin could be capable of.

“Does anybody believe that if Putin is successful in Ukraine he’s going to stop there?

“Well, no… the scenario where Putin prevails in Ukraine, absolutely he’s going to keep going Westward.

“He sees himself as Peter the Great of the 21st century and Peter the great didn’t stop. He kept going West.

“If everything goes swimmingly well for Putin this could be a reality.”

And Lord West told The Sun that if wars around the world escalate – including Putin’s – then Britain “would be dragged into it”.

He explained that although he thinks the worst case scenario is unlikely, we would “definitely” be involved.

“I think the British military is likely to be involved in what comes from fighting, probably not being caused by design but by mistake,” he said.

“If things escalated and there was a war…we definitely would be involved.”

General Sir Richard Barrons, former Joint Forces chief told The Sun that Shapps’ comments represent the government’s acceptance that Britain is already in the middle of a confrontation with Russia.

He said there will be no other choice for the UK than to intervene in “unignorable” conflicts that arise.

Lord West added: “If we let Ukraine be completely swallowed up by Russia, and Putin is able to claim a huge victory… he might be tempted to do something stupid.

“If he did anything stupid against Nato, Nato would respond which would be extremely dangerous.”

But the dictator’s danger is found not just in his bloodthirsty attempts to absorb Ukraine into Russia – it is also in his alliances.

The Ukraine war has already left many cities totally destroyed

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The Ukraine war has already left many cities totally destroyedCredit: Reuters
Ukrainian soldiers giving rescue drill training to civilians as Vlad's war approaches its second year

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Ukrainian soldiers giving rescue drill training to civilians as Vlad’s war approaches its second yearCredit: Rex

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North Korea

Putin’s alliance with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has seen the eerily similar pair bond over their shared views about the West.

And experts have previously told The Sun that as new conflicts erupt around the globe the pair could be using it “to get away with” their fight for a New World Order.

Sir Richard Barrons described competition between the world’s great powers as “profoundly more difficult” than ever before.

And Keir Giles, a Russia expert from Chatham House, warned that PutinXi Jinping, and Kim Jong-un would “watch and learn from how the West responds to the tragedy in the Middle East”.

Britain is not alone in warning its civilians – as the governments of Sweden and Estonia both recently spoke about the risk of World War Three.

Lord West told The Sun: “The world order that was set in place by American and Britain post-World War Two is being challenged by Putin and others.

“I have never known the world to be more dangerous and unpredictable.”

And if the West cannot step up to the challenge of handling multiple conflicts unfolding all at once then the impacts could echo across the world, he said.

It seems in recent weeks that this warning has started to ring true.

The world order that was set in place by American and Britain post WW2 is being challenged by Putin and others

Admiral Lord West

Just weeks ago Putin unleashed North Korean rockets in Ukraine, killing hundreds in an unprecedented development.

And Kim even told Putin that he was sure that the Russian army would triumph against “evil” at a decadent Bond-villain-style banquet.

Then, after labelling South Korea his “principal enemy”, Kim threatened to start a war – and the nuclear weapons at his disposal are not to be ignored.

This came just days after his sister and prominent ally – Kim Yo-Jong – vowed to unleash an “immediate military strike” on neighbouring South Korea over the “slightest provocation”.

Only months ago global attention was focused on Ukraine and Taiwan, but experts have warned a Korean war could cost millions of lives and prove far more destructive than the hell that Putin unleashed in Europe.

And it could just as easily drag the US into a fight against China, sparking World War Three and possible nuclear Armageddon, which would likely make it the bloodiest war in history.

Korea’s leader has such a terrifying nuclear and chemical armoury the US no longer believes the weapons are only for defensive purposes but instead would allow him to carry out conventional military strikes south of the border.

Putin and Kim Jong-un have a worrying alliance

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Putin and Kim Jong-un have a worrying allianceCredit: Getty
People watch a television screen showing file footage of a North Korean missile test, at a railway station in Seoul

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People watch a television screen showing file footage of a North Korean missile test, at a railway station in SeoulCredit: AFP

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China

Another dictator sparking fear amongst world leaders is China’s Xi Jinping.

Under his iron rule, he has committed gross human rights abuses against Uyghurs, strangled freedom in Hong Kong and has sparked concerns that the country might seize Taiwan.

Just days ago, Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party swept to victory in their elections – meaning there will now be at least four more years of limited to zero dialogue with Beijing.

The result has sparked concerns that there might be conflict with China if the DPP refuses to resume tense peace talks.

Mr de Bretton-Gordon said the current climate is dangerous not only because of terrorists in the Middle East, or state actors like Russia, but those currently somewhat behind the scenes.

“In the background silently swimming around like some great white shark, some predator, is China,” he told The Sun.

“All we need is for China to invade Taiwan and we’re in a very difficult time.

“What these tyrants, be they terrorists or Putin, they only understand strength and as soon as they find any weaknesses that’s exactly what they go for.”

In the background silently swimming around like some great white shark, some predator, is China

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon

China regards self-governing island Taiwan as part of its territory – and has vowed to take it by force if necessary, carrying out ever more regular invasion rehearsals.

Taiwan insists it is an independent nation after splitting from mainland China in 1949.

The world now waits with baited breath to see how China responds to Lai Ching-te’s presidency after Tsai Ing-wen stepped down because of term limits.

Lai is openly despised by the Chinese government – which has called him a “complete troublemaker”.

Last year, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Putin was “not even close” to how dangerous Xi is.

And reminiscent of Putin’s desires to take Ukraine, Xi’s chilling New Year address in 2024 stated that Taiwan’s “reunification” with the “motherland” is a “historical inevitability”.

Observers believe Beijing may try to “strangle” the island using a blockade – while others suggest it will launch a large-scale military landing on Taiwan’s “red beaches”.

And one small “mistake” could propel the world terrifyingly close to the edge of global catastrophe, General Barrons warned.

“We have to think about a world which is far more uncertain and dangerous than it’s ever been before,” he said.

“The future is unknowable, but it might be quite bleak.”

Chinese troops during a joint counter-terrorism military exercise in Russia

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Chinese troops during a joint counter-terrorism military exercise in RussiaCredit: Getty
Anti-landing spikes on Taiwan’s frontline island of Little Kinmen

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Anti-landing spikes on Taiwan’s frontline island of Little KinmenCredit: AFP

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Iran and the Middle East

The threat caused by Iran has become ever more present in recent months since the October 7 massacre in Israel sparked a fresh war between Netanyahu’s forces and terror group Hamas.

Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon have all been dragged into the conflict as have the UK and US.

And notorious terror group ISIS appears to even be making a terrifying comeback onto the world’s stage.

And Iran’s terror proxies – including Hezbollah and the Houthis – have gone up against Israel, the US and UK as fears of an all-out war in the Middle East grow.

Tehran’s funding and wide-reaching influence has proven a deadly background force time and again.

Mr de Bretton-Gordon described Iran as “the great axis of evil in all this”.

“They are behind everything that is going on,” he added.

“The danger with the Middle East is with Iran’s nuclear weapon. We understand they are pretty close to creating a nuclear weapon.

“Once they do that the balance in the region changes.”

And he even warned that Brits could see “jihadi terrorists, Hamas, Hezbollah trying to do stuff in London”.

Iran is the great axis of evil in all this. They are behind everything that is going on

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon

Former US ambassador Mark Wallace warned that Tehran’s murderous regime is hellbent on destruction far beyond the Middle East – and it poses the greatest current threat to world order.

He told The Sun that obtaining a nuclear weapon is just one strand in Tehran’s blood-soaked global campaign to reign terror and “the UK is firmly in its sights”.

And before Shapps’ comments about Britain facing a “pre-war” world, some experts argued the Middle East chaos had created a smokescreen behind which Xi, Putin and Kim could advance their agendas.

Read More on The US Sun

The arena grows more tense with each week, and just days ago the UK and US obliterated 60 Houthi targets under the cover of darkness, weakening the Iran-backed terror proxy in Yemen.

The strikes marked a troubling escalation in the crisis and the bold move by Britain and America sparked concerns it may just tip the scales.

Iran-backed Hamas terrorists, at war with Israel in the Gaza Strip

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Iran-backed Hamas terrorists, at war with Israel in the Gaza StripCredit: Cover Images
IDF troops make their way through war-torn ground in the Gaza Strip

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IDF troops make their way through war-torn ground in the Gaza StripCredit: Rex

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