There is no denying it, World War Three is a huge topic right now. World war three hashtags have appeared in about 459,000 Instagram posts and upwards of a million twitter posts recently. Even though many posts are only joking around, many posts show people’s fear of conflict and anger towards military involvement in foreign countries. Fear of conflict is an ever-present thought that adds unneeded stress to many individuals.
Following the killing of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani by a US airstrike, tensions between the US and Iran have skyrocketed. As a result of the dramatically increased tension and the Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei vowing to enact a ‘harsh retaliation,’ many social media posts talking about the possibility of world war three or making jokes about it have appeared.
Many of the widespread discussions about World War Three have appeared because of jokes and memes. The hashtag “ww3memes” has about 136k Instagram posts, the “ww3meme” hashtag has about 30k posts, and there are many more World War Three meme hashtags with thousands of posts. Many accounts even have specifically based themselves around the meme and many large accounts like this have acquired thousands of followers on Instagram. Even though they are only jokes, they can have an effect on how people perceive the tension between the two countries and can spread false facts.
The likelihood of a “World War Three” is debated by many, however, the United States seems to be a very likely winner in a possible conflict. In 2017, there were a total of 1.3 million active-duty military personnel, and more than 800,000 reserve forces. Total active duty personnel for the five armed services was approximately 472,000 for the Army, 319,000 for the Navy, 319,000 for the Air Force, 184,000 for the Marine Corps and 41,000 for the Coast Guard. Active-duty is the term given to military personnel that work for the military full time and may live on a military base. Reserve forces are not full-time personnel, but they may be deployed at any time should the need arise. The United States has the third-largest military in the world by active-duty personnel, only behind China and India.
The US military has the world’s largest military budget and spends roughly 718 billion dollars on the military. No other nation comes close to matching that figure and it is nearly as much as the next eight-largest spending countries combined. The world’s second-highest military budget spends about 177 billion dollars, which is about one-fourth of the money spent by America. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is used to determine the economic strength and growth of a country, essentially it shows how much money a country has. The United States military spent ”only” about 3.2% of the national GDP in 2018, compared to the average of 2.1% in 2018. Despite NATO setting a goal of 2% GDP spending being spent on the military, America is one of only nine countries out of 29 that have met that goal as of 2019.