Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Joe Biden (Images: AAP)

In the 75 or so years since World War II ended, wars in general have been smaller and more contained.

The fighting in Korea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Iraq (twice), the Balkans, Libya, Syria and even Vietnam was always devastating for those involved but the conflicts remained more or less local, rather than spreading around the world, or even through regions, forcing nations to choose one side or another. 

Russia’s months-long war in Ukraine has already indirectly drawn in much of Europe and the US. The world has spent billions supplying the beleaguered nation with weapons and imposing sanctions on Russia. International forces have yet to take direct action but NATO has deployed thousands more troops from both sides of the Atlantic, establishing multinational battle groups in Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria.