President Vladimir Putin’s refusal to rule out the use of “tactical” nuclear weapons in Russia’s war against Ukraine left much of the world on edge last month. But economist Nouriel Roubini says a nuclear escalation of that nearly eight-month-long conflict could just be the start of a global battle.
The world could also see a nuclear conflict in Iran and, most worrisome for the US, around China’s battle for Taiwan, says Roubini, who called “Dr. Doom” after the realization of his dire predictions, including the 2008 housing crisis that affected the Great Recession caused.
The New York University business professor says a cold war already exists between the US and China, and it could escalate into a “hot war” as President Xi Jinping wants to unite China and Taiwan. Roubini made an appearance at Yahoo Finance’s 2022 All Markets Summit Monday, ahead of the publication of his book “Megathreats: Ten Dangerous Threats that Imperil our Future and How to Survive Them.”
“In a sense, World War III has already started,” Roubini said. “It started in Ukraine because this conflict has wider implications that go far beyond Russia and Ukraine. It’s the start of something else.”
A Cold War Between the West ‘and Some Revisionist Powers’
Speaking to the editor-in-chief of Yahoo Finance on Monday, Roubini highlighted geopolitical threats and what he calls a new cold war emerging between the US and China and between the West and “revisionist” powers including Russia, China, Iran. , North Korea and Pakistan.
“They essentially challenge the economic, social and geopolitical order that the US, Europe and the West created after World War II,” Roubini said, explaining that this crisis could entangle the US.
In addition to Ukraine, another flashpoint could also be Iran, Roubini says.
“Negotiations between the US and Iran on the new nuclear deal are going nowhere, and Israel says whether… [Iran is] become nuclear — and they’re one step away from it — we’re going to attack them,” Roubini said.
At the same time, the US and China are on a collision course as the two countries continue to decouple on fronts from trade to the relocation of labor to technology.
“I believe that the next 5-10 years will be the time when there will be a confrontation between the US and China over the Taiwan issue and that could be a trigger for this cold war to become a hot war,” he said. . “That’s how we get into World War III.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping is widely expected to run for a third term over his country at the Communist Party’s national congress this week, making him China’s most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong.
The leader also called for further building up of the Chinese military as the conference began on Sunday, and reportedly said the country “must be prepared for danger in times of peace”. [and] Prepare for a rainy day and be ready to withstand the big tests of high winds and high waves.”
The developments this week come after tensions over Taiwan peaked this summer when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei on Aug. 2. Chinese warships surrounded the island, driving world markets to a frenzy and raising the possibility of much more serious consequences if China attacked Taiwan directly.
In Ukraine, the conflict took another turn on Monday when a wave of explosives-laden Russian suicide drones exploded in Kiev. The attacks set buildings on fire and further frayed nerves in the Ukrainian capital.
Ben Werschkul is a Washington correspondent for Yahoo Finance.
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