The term “WWIII” has been a top Google search in the United States over the past few weeks. With the bombings in Syria and the increased tensions with North Korea, some in the media have made outlandish claims of upcoming war. Let me be clear: war with any nation is not going to happen, especially in the aftermath of low public opinion of the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. The American people and the politicians do not want to experience the same feelings of disillusionment with another war that has no end goal. Additionally, the capacity and willingness of North Korea to engage in war has been drastically overstated.
In Syria, after the Assad government used chemical weapons against its own citizens, the U.S. acted in accordance to the agreements with Russia to destroy any chemical weapons in the country. In my opinion, the current administration is not going to send any more ground troops into Syria due to the risk of public fallout.
North Korea is different from Syria, as its despotic leader has the support of his country. Under the Clinton administration, North Korea showed similar aggression until the U.S. agreed that China could send aid to the nation, bypassing sanctions. This action helped North Korea feed its citizens, and most of the nuclear threats stopped. The U.S. now faces a familiar situation in which North Korea has threatened to launch attacks against us and our allies in the region. According to a report from UPI, North Korea is running low on food as the World Food Program no longer has the funds to distribute nutritional bars to children. Yet again it seems as though North Korea is flexing its military capacity in order to leverage aid from other nations. The end of this conflict will only end when a compromise can be reached of how much aid the country gets from China in a brokered deal with the international community.
After a demonstration of military strength, North Korea will go back to being insignificant in world affairs until the administration starts to crumble again. The threat of North Korea is one that may not go away anytime soon, but the country does not have the necessary capability to act on these warnings. So, when news stations report about the drums of war, it is best to ignore the noise and wait until the president or Congress authorize a large-scale conflict to take place against an actual threat.
Joseph Krupar is a freshman majoring in political science.