Why So Many Politicians Are Talking About World War III

Why So Many Politicians Are Talking About World War III  

Not too long ago, some Americans feared an inexperienced and mercurial President Donald Trump would start World War III. Now, he’s basing his comeback bid on avoiding it.

In a recent fundraising email, Trump lamented, “it truly breaks my heart to see Crooked Joe—the weakest and most incompetent president in history—ruin our country as he pushes America to the brink of World War III.” On the campaign trail, he’s boasted that he’s the “only one that will prevent World War III.”

“This is language, I think, expanding way beyond the capacity for reality to sustain it,” says Jay Winter, a 20th Century war historian and a professor emeritus at Yale. 

Trump isn’t alone in playing to those fears. Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, the Republican rival most aligned with the former President, held a “Stop World War III rally” in Miami this month. A day later, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also invoked world war on the third debate state.

The argument isn’t limited to Republicans, either. Various figures on the left have brought up fears of a third world war in their criticisms of Israel’s bombing of Gaza. When Dr. Cornel West, who has launched an independent campaign for President, was asked by TIME last month if a second Biden term was preferable to a second Trump one, he answered, “Is World War III better than Civil War II?” 

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