In an interview with Sky News, the UK's Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter has warned that the global economic meltdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to new security threats which, in turn, may spark a new world war.
He argued in the Sunday interview that people across the globe are "living at a moment in time where the world is a very uncertain and anxious place", adding that he thinks "the real risk we have, with quite a lot of regional conflicts that are going on at the moment, is you could see escalation lead to miscalculation and that is a thing I think we have to guard against".
The general described an escalation as something that means that more people and weaponry “perhaps get involved and before you can contain it, it leads the sides ending up in a full-blown war”.
Carter recalled that escalation was in place before both world wars last century and that it resulted in a "miscalculation which ultimately led to war at a scale we would hopefully never see again".
Asked whether he means the threat of a third world war is real, the general pointed out, "I am saying it's a risk and I think we need to be conscious of those risks".
Separately, the chief of the defence staff gave his thoughts about the future of the UK's military, saying that it may be comprised of both human soldiers and remotely controlled machines in the decades to come.
"I mean, I suspect we could have an army of 120,000, of which 30,000 might be robots [in the 2030s], who knows?", Carter said.
The interview comes a few months after the international community commemorated the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, the world's bloodiest military conflict in which at least 70 million people, including about 40 million civilians, perished.
As of Saturday, the number of confirmed cases had soared to more than 49.2 million worldwide, with over 1.2 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.