GOOGLE searches for the term “World War 3” are at the highest level since records started back in 2004 in a clear reflection of the nervous global mood in these diplomatically tumultuous times.
Recent military manoeuvring and chest beating from both the Trump administration and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has set the world on edge and, for the first time in this generation, opened up the prospect of global warfare.
What was once the stuff of history books for most of the world’s population is now beginning to look an awful lot like a burgeoning reality and we all find ourselves holding our collective breath in anticipation of what tomorrow may bring.
Some are seeing the funny side. Memes from millennials in America poking fun at dodging the draft in the event of World War III have started flooding the Internet.
Me dodging the draft when WW3 starts pic.twitter.com/Twq13ayTYS
— matt (@420cat_lord187) April 10, 2017
Me realizing when I accepted those loans, I also signed up for selective service. pic.twitter.com/BvaukhsVSf
— Jeremyiah Kimbro (@Kimbro_jd) April 8, 2017
And one tweet referenced the universally-panned Pepsi commercial as a method for solving the crisis.
BREAKING: Donald Trump launches giant Pepsi can to North Korea in an attempt to end conflict pic.twitter.com/sHHBERh8FG
— Finding Memo (@_Finding_Memo_) April 13, 2017
While the ridiculousness of the situation is not lost on everyone, there is also a serious cause for concern.
The chess pieces for war are slowly moving into position: Trump’s “armada” is situated off the Korean coast, Japan is joining the US in war drills, satellite images show the stage is set for North Korea to test a nuclear weapon at a moment’s notice, and Trump is claiming Pyongyang is a problem that “will be taken care of”.
In response to the mounting provocations from the US and its allies, North Korean state-owned news outlet, KCNA, issued on Friday what is perhaps the starkest warning yet.
“This has created a dangerous situation in which a thermo-nuclear war may break out any moment on the peninsula and posed serious threat to the world peace and security.”
As the perfect storm continues to brew with no signs of abating, it’s clear the US is trying to assert pressure on North Korea in an attempt to deter Kim from testing out weapons come the April 15 celebration of the 105th anniversary of the birth of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung. What is not clear, however, is what happens next?
Kim has shown he is not the type of leader to be cowed by Western pressures and he is likely to call the US president’s bluff tomorrow. What Trump’s next move will be is currently anyone’s guess, but one false move could prove to be the match that sets this tinderbox alight.
So could April 15, 2017, be a day history remembers? Is this our generation’s Franz Ferdinand? Our invasion of Poland?
One can only hope not. In all likelihood, the warships, the submarines, the military war games are all blustering that will ultimately prove to be a lot of smoke without any fire. But it’s fair for the world to hold its collective breath because there is an awful lot of smoke.
** This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of Asian Correspondent