More than half of millennials see catastrophic war as a probable possibility in their lifetime with the current heightened global tensions likely to deepen their fears, according to a survey by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) released Thursday.
Based on the poll of 16,000 young people aged 20 to 35 in 16 countries surveyed by the Red Cross, the survey explored young people's views on the future of warfare and the values underpinning international humanitarian law, such as the use of torture against enemy combatants. The responses revealed millennials' nervousness about the future.
"This millennial foreboding may reflect an increase in polarization and dehumanizing rhetoric," said ICRC President Peter Maurer. "If millennials are right about a third world war, the suffering of countries and regions will be immense. It's a reminder of how critical it is that the laws of war that protect humanity are followed now and in the future."
Maurer said the results also revealed "a worrying acceptance of dehumanizing language or actions toward perceived or real 'enemies' that is prevailing in an era of fake news, disinformation and polarized viewpoints."
The most striking result came in reply to the question: "In your opinion, how likely or unlikely is it that nuclear weapons will be used in wars or armed conflicts anywhere in the world within the next 10 years?" Some 47% of respondents think it's more likely than not that there will be a third world war in their lifetime and 54% believe it is more likely than not that a nuclear attack will occur in the next decade. Among their list of concerns, corruption was the most concerning, with 54% of respondents naming it, followed by unemployment at 52%, increasing poverty and terrorism at 47% each, and war and armed conflict at 45%.