Over the past two decades, war has become an ever-present affair for the United States, and despite declarations of victory over ISIS in Iraq and Syria recently, it doesn’t look like that’s bound to change any time soon.  We can expect to see a broader approach to combat operations in Afghanistan in the coming year, as well as further involvement in anti-terror efforts in places like Africa.  This type of warfare has become the standard issue hardship for America’s war fighters for a long time now, however, and a new type of threat is looming on the horizon.

Although anti-terror operations remain an integral part of our national security, the potential for war with peer and near-peer opponents has resurfaced in recent years, and has increasingly been the focus of the U.S.’ training and modernization efforts.  It would seem the days of fighting ill-equipped guerrillas in caves may not be coming to an end, but we may soon have to balance those efforts with others posed by opponents that will undoubtedly possess technology and assets approximating our own in some regards.  Worse still, the complex web of geopolitical alliances could expand any number of nation-level conflicts into the makings of another world war.

Unfortunately, the question of, “which conflict might start World War III?” comes with a complicated answer – as it’s entirely likely that a cascade of alliances and bad decisions could spur a global conflict in regions ranging from the Middle East to Asia and back again, but there ARE a few hot spots worth keeping your eyes on.

The Korean Peninsula