The current nuclear climate makes the world "more dangerous" now than at any point since World War Two, according to one of Britain's former top diplomats.
Given Vladimir Putin's threats to go nuclear over Ukraine, as well as China's increased aggression, the British Government's former National Security Adviser and head of the Diplomatic Service reckons we're on a deadly trajectory.
Sir Peter Ricketts, who is also Britain's former Ambassador to France, warned that NATO has now reverted to its original function when it was created in 1949 – protecting member states.
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Speaking at the Gresham College Peter Nailor Memorial lecture in London, he discussed the collapse of the post-World War Two order and how we might be edging towards World War Three.
He said: "The international situation is more dangerous and unpredictable than at any time since the end of World War Two.
"We are seeing the largest war in Europe since the Second World War.
"We are seeing cities being smashed apart by artillery fire.
"NATO is now returning to its initial purpose from 1949 – defending NATO member states' territory."
Sir Peter predicted that the conflict in Ukraine is unlikely to end any time soon, despite the fact Putin and his army are blundering from one embarrassing mistake to the next.
He continued: "We were encouraged to see Putin as a master strategist.
"His war has not only failed to achieve its military objectives but has undermined the reputation of his military.
"It has left NATO stronger and more purposeful than ever before, with Sweden and Finland looking to join."
Putin insisted he is "not bluffing" after he threatened to use "all means" at his disposal to achieve his aims in Ukraine.
And tensions continue to rise, with the UK's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace recently making a dash to Washington over fears Putin would detonate a nuclear weapon over the Black Sea.
Thankfully, Sir Peter said that Putin is making the threats "primarily to frighten us", and that he is unlikely to follow through given how "catastrophic" the consequences would be.
The defence expert also warned of the rising danger to world order posed by China, a country which continues to invest heavily in nuclear weapons.
"Russia is an immediate threat to security, but China is a longer-term security risk," he said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping recently declared himself leader for life and pledged to "solve" Taiwan before his premiership ends.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the despot appears to be pursuing unification with Taiwan "on a much faster timeline" than previously expected.
As such, Sir Peter called on the West to develop a "workable strategy" toward China.
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