World War III is not on the horizon, a panel of policy and military experts gathered by the Panetta Institute said Monday in Monterey.
Fears of a global conflict have followed Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and statements by Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk that the Vladimir Putin-led country had caused "the beginning of World War III."
The Panetta Institute had gathered a group of experts for a lecture on the 100th anniversary of World War I and held a news conference at the Monterey Conference Center.
"I think (a potential World War III) is highly unlikely," said James Stavridis, [dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University and] former supreme allied commander for NATO and former head of U.S. European Command. "That's not to minimize the issues we are facing today. Fortunately, we have mechanisms in place that will make it highly unlikely."
Stavridis predicted "a period of tension," but the world community will eventually "find our water, so to speak, for the correct level of response."
Unlike World War I, Stavridis said the world now has a more transparent movement of information, on social networks and in the media. "All of that was lacking 100 years ago," he said, "that's why the world kind of slept-walked into a global war."
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