Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has kicked off a proxy war that has western ideologies of the US, Europe, and the UK, battling authoritarian ideologies of Russia, North Korea, Iran, and China.

Putin sees weak political leadership in America, and it’s not just Biden. Democracies are always at a functional disadvantage against authoritarian states initially because dictatorships act on the authority of a single ruler while democracies dither and debate. Like a good chess player who sees weakness on the board and an opening for an attack, Putin took it.

President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin participated in a tete-a-tete during a U.S.-Russia Summit on June 16, 2021, at the Villa La Grange in Geneva. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

World War III is here, but nobody wants to admit it. It’s a war of sanctions, military hardware, defense tech, and cyber warfare on top of a very conventional war being fought on the ground and mostly uncontested air to ground.

While it’s clear Ukraine’s calls for a no-fly zone point out a major weakness for air superiority, this air war will mostly end when Russian troops become commingled with the fierce population of Ukraine, and missions by the Russian air force would be just as likely to hit their own troops as the Ukrainians.

Why is it WWIII?

Let me explain.

China will likely send weapons to Russia at Putin’s request to sustain his war effort, just as he has drawn on Syrian and Chechens as well. No doubt China also has military observers with the Russian army to observe and report back to Beijing on what is happening on the ground in terms of weapons effectiveness, logistical problems, and tactics.  China’s military is patterned after Russia’s in force structure and this war in Ukraine will teach them many things.

On the flip side.