The war to end all wars | Pakistan Today

The war to end all wars

  • It’s coming

Warning: satire ahead. The author bears absolutely no responsibility in the event of it being taken up by one or more of our eminent think-tanks.

Sometimes it looks imminent, sometimes still a few months away. Make no mistake, however: the third world war is coming. And it’s going to be the last one. Yes, we have heard this promise before, only to be bitterly disappointed every time. This time I can assure you that the authorities mean it.

What’s more: considering our geostrategic importance, we will have no option but to play a part in the great war. And if we can’t avoid it, we might as well participate with all the passion at our disposal. Especially so, because we lost out on all the fun in the previous world wars.

Now, the most important question that any nation needs to ask itself when a world war is about to commence (and which must be addressed up-front) is: which side it should fight on. There’s no shying away from it. Luckily, the answer is short and simple: we should fight on the side of truth and justice. That being taken care of, the next question is who to fight with and who to fight against. Here, we run into difficulties because the war alignment is difficult to predict beforehand. However, from experience of the first and the second great wars, one can be sure of participation of some nations. The UK, for example is sure to take part. So is the US. Germany and France will be there, as usual, along with most of the European countries. Japan, a regular contributor in the past, will be too preoccupied with the Olympics to participate this time. With its single-minded focus on economy, China would probably abstain from the war, which is a real pity. That said, we can always be sure of its moral support to one side or the other.

What will trigger the great war is anybody’s guess. One likely scenario is this: Pakistan will give Queen Elizabeth II an ultimatum to return the Kohinoor within two weeks’ time, failure to comply with which would mean that the two nations are in a state of war. India, Iran, and Afghanistan will probably be unable to distance themselves from the issue (they want Kohinoor too), and thereafter the US is sure to jump in (as usual), followed by other European nations. One thing is certain: the US and the UK will be allies. India, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan may be on one side, agreeing to resolve the issue among themselves later; or one or two of them may join the opposite camp. North Korea will probably join the challengers for the heck of it.

The morale of the troops will be crucial. The men could be ordered to burn their ships when they dock

Which brings us to the vital question of an appropriate venue for the great war. Europe has done admirably as the theatre of the previous two world wars, and I can’t think of a single reason why things should be any different for the third edition. (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.) Being at the center of the map, Europe is ideally situated considering the convenience of all warring nations.

In the rather unlikely event of Europe excusing itself from hosting the global event, or the US not jumping in, we may be left with no option but to invade the US mainland directly. Canada obviously rules out the northern route. California and Texas may be relied upon to be open to the idea of being liberated, and therefore less likely to put up a fight if we promise them independence after victory. The West Coast is promising but negotiating Hawaii could be tricky, because the Japs have exhausted the possibility of the element of surprise there. Not to mention the fact that the whole of the US would need to be traversed before the flag is raised in DC. The Gulf of Mexico may therefore be the best bet, all things considered. The direct invasion would be tricky, but by paralysing the opponents with incredulity on the sheer madness of the endeavour, it may just be the thing needed to offset the immense military and technological advantage the US led alliance would be enjoying. For while the war to end all wars will be fought on the land, in the skies, and in the seas, it will above everything else be fought in the heads. Shock, then, would be the key; and therefore, it’s important that any of these plans is put into practice after some time has passed since the publication of this piece.

The morale of the troops will be crucial. The men could be ordered to burn their ships when they dock. That makes for an immense increase in morale, I generally find. Also, if wars in the past have taught us one thing, it is that the foot soldiers must know which region they are invading at a given time. The soldiers must therefore have some idea where a certain country is on the map. In the last great war many Allied soldiers wrote home that they had demolished Australia when in fact it was Austria they had bombed the hell out of. This sort of ignorance can cause much damage to the war effort.

Finally, while we are rightly planning on riding into world capitals as victors, concrete plans must also be in place to deal with the retaliation back home. For if history is any guide, the US generally strikes back. We could of course retreat to Afghanistan till the situation improved but for the fact that the US forces are already in Afghanistan. This problem needs to be examined closely.

Hasan Aftab Saeed

The author is a connoisseur of music, literature, and food (but not drinks). He can be reached at

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