World War Z-end
World War Z-end guvendemir/gettyimages.com

At first, the US's aggressive position on Venezuela seemed uncomplicated. Troops were quickly on the mind of the top hawk in D.C.—White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, the man who, in the first years of the 2000s, played a key role in leading the US into an adventure—the second Iraq war—that proved to be disastrous, and placed American imperial power in a terminal crisis (the collapse of the Project for the New American Century). The fickle public had forgotten about all that. Bolton, a member of the "old gang" (Cheney, Rummy, Wolfowitz), could resume the war drumming he loved so much. The press could be expected to amplify it. And old allies would fall into line. Venezuela has oil, a socialist government in turmoil, and pro-American opponents who are ready to exploit the oil and turmoil. What could go wrong with the regional exertion of basic imperial power?
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Then the Russians arrived and began supporting the socialist leader that the US wants to oust, Nicolas Maduro. And now a team from the largest standing army in the world, the Chinese People's Liberation Army, have, according to Al-Masdar News, been deployed to a crisis that's becoming more and more dangerous. What this means is that three major nuclear-weapon countries are converging on Venezuela.
Al-Masdar News says it directly:
These moves by the Russian and Chinese armed forces appear to be a powerplay against the U.S. administration, who is actively pushing to remove Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from power.

There are more complications. Bolton's policy positions are clear enough:
Since joining Trump’s White House, Bolton has pursued an agenda that includes trying to break Iran financially, oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, shield Americans from the reach of the International Criminal Court and toughen the U.S. posture toward Russia. He coordinated with key lawmakers, U.S. diplomatic and defense officials and the Israelis to compel Trump to slow an abrupt withdrawal of American forces from Syria.

But his position in the White House is not so clear. His expanding public profile, Bloomberg reports, seems to be getting at Trump's goat (or, put another way, big ego). The growing split between Bolton the globalist hawk and Trump the anti-globalist is certainly on the radar of Russian and Chinese intelligence. This state of things is bound to throw US foreign objectives into a confusion that will debilitate the main peaceful way out of the crisis—diplomacy.
But what would trigger a third world war? Simply the escalating costs of maintaining the key capitalist directive, which is limitless growth, in the face of real limits posed by climate change. We can expect this situation to be exacerbated by the world-historical development at this conjecture, which is the transition of political/economic power from Washington, D.C./New York City to Beijing/Shanghai. What the history of capitalism makes very clear is that such transitions (the Dutch to the British, the British to the US) are not gradual and peaceful, but always accelerated by war.