Free Press Journal

2020 World of War: Review

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Book: 2020 World of War

Authors: Paul Cornish and Kingsley Donaldson

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton/ Hachette


Pages: 320; Price: Rs 699

Are we heading towards the third world war? If yes, then will it be in the year 2020? Paul Cornish and Kingsley Donaldson in their book, 2020 World Of War, intricately poses all the different scenarios in the current world order that might eventually lead to the world going to war.

The book offers a comprehensive account of the changing nature of war in today’s world. As we all understand that linear warfare is a thing of the past. It has become far more complex, from cyber security to rapid up gradation and development in weapon technology. The impact of automation technologies on battlefield, such as the unmanned drones are changing the nature of conflicts. Economics and geopolitics have their intricate roles in initiating a war-like situation almost in any part of the world. It helps that both, Cornish and Donaldson come from army backgrounds.

Paul Cornish was educated at the University of St Andrews and the London School of Economics. He then served in the British Army (Royal Tank Regiment) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Kingsley Donaldson is a retired Army officer. He has served on operations in a number of European and Middle Eastern countries in various roles that span from countering weapons of mass destruction through to negotiating with armed groups in Iraq.

2020 World Of War, makes for a compelling read as the authors bring their personal experiences and inside knowledge to every plot that they talk about. Does the book give an impression of a grim future? Yes, it does to some extent, as Cornish and Donaldson says, “This book is knowingly and deliberately an exercise in worst-case analysis and as such it is, arguably, precisely how security and policy-makers and analysts should be spending much of their time in a chaotic and often confusing world.”

Will there be a cyber-attack on the pentagon that might crash the greatest military power in the world? Will there be a standoff between India and Pakistan over Afghanistan? What will happen in Putin’s Russia? And what would be the repercussion of Trump’s policy of isolating US gradually from the rest of the world? Not to forget the pressing issues pertaining to mass migration in Europe due to ISIS. These and many more questions would rise in the reader’s mind while reading 2020 World Of War.

The book says, “Across Europe, established political systems are experiencing a crisis in public confidence, resulting in the rise of anti-establishment figures, parties and movements, as evinced in extreme right-wing movements gaining popularity, in the Scottish referendum and in the UK ‘Brexit’ referendum in June 2016, and the US Presidential election later the same year.” The book provides a good understanding on why the world is struggling to contain conflicts and offers expert analysis and solutions to combat these situations.

The book is thought-provoking and insightful. However, some of the scenarios provided in the book seems a bit far-fetched, although time will only tell if everything that 2020 World Of War says is plausible or not. We can only hope for the best, but plan for the worst.  It is a must read for those who are eager to understand how our world would look like in the near future.