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When will be the next "Great Power" war?

A great power is a nation generally considered to have large amounts of military might and influence. While there is no established definition, for the purpose of this article, a great power is one of the top 10 nations by military spending according to the most recent report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (see latest report here). As of 2020, the great powers are therefore the United States, China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea.

While great power wars have declined greatly over time, some have argued that we should assign considerable probability to the prospect in the coming decades. In his post Big War Remains Possible Robin Hanson writes

The world is vast, eighty years is a long time, and the number of possible global social & diplomatic scenarios over such period is vast. So it seems crazy to base predictions on future war rates on inside view calculations from particular current stances, deals, or inclinations. The raw historical record, and its large long-term fluctuations, should weigh heavily on our minds.

A great power is said to be "at war" with another great power, if any of the following are true:

  • One nation has formally declared war on another.

  • One nation is considered by the international community to be occupying territory claimed by the other AND there has has at least 250 casualties resulting from when the leaders of one nation ordered a strike on the other nation's military personnel.

  • High quality media sources consistently describe the relationship between the two nations as "at war."

For the purpose of this question, a great power is defined as one of the top 10 nations by military spending according to the most recent report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The date of a great power war is determined by the first date any of the above become true. When will be the next war between the great powers?


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