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It's hard to know the long-range consequences of a general war. Conceivably it could mean the end of the human race. The war and the years immediately after would be as terrible as advertised. But the race would probably survive. Such a war would be a great detour into darkness, but as the years passed and the survivors grew old, and their children's children became adults... the bad times would be remembered as a distant misfortune. There could be happiness and bright times for those descendants; the war might be the end of our world, but not of theirs. Most of our informational heritage exists in a million libraries, even more robust than humanity. And I don't buy the arguments that technology couldn't restart because our civilization has consumed all the easily accessible resources. With the exception of petroleum, post-debacle civilizations might well find Earth's resources more accessible than before. (Non-poisoned urban ruins make great open pit mines.)
In some scenarios, the post-war civilization might have high levels of education and a clear vision of the past. (If) luck finally runs out for our current civilization, (and) we have a general war and worst times than I can describe (or want to imagine) (...), at the far end of it all there is another opportunity for prosperity and progress.
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