“World War III” TikToks, Explained


Nic Myers

Sunkha Kimhang watches a WW III TikTok on his phone. “It’s hilarious and well made,” he laughed.

Ava Kitzi, Copy Editor

President Donald Trump rang in the new decade with a surprising military decision that has not only sparked debate among Americans and the larger political community, but has inspired a plethora of new memes and TikTok among the younger generation. Here is a list of popular TikTok trends related to the military conflict between the United States and Iran and what it means for the country, your peers, and you:


General “World War III” TikToks

After Trump’s Jan. 3 decision to initiate air strikes in Iran that ultimately led to the death of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, the internet wasted no time speculating what the effects would be. The general consensus was that, if hostility between the two countries continued to rise, the conflict could warrant the participation of allies, resulting in a full-on World War. Iran’s most prominent partner, Russia, is currently in a tough spot with the United States, a relationship that is at its most strained point since the Cold War. The United States’ allies, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, have all come out against Trump’s attack, saying it was dangerous, extreme, and regrettable. Based on the number of allies the two powerful countries have, it’s not too hard to imagine this situation turning into a big deal; thus, giving the attack the referential name “World War 3.”


Draft TikToks

Though the act of drafting in the United States hasn’t been in use since 1973, some TikTok users were quick to assume that the practice would be back if the Iran/US military conflict were to escalate. The U.S. Draft required all men, aged 21 to 45, to register for Selective Service, which meant they could be chosen to serve in the military if needed. Now, the U.S. military is completely made of volunteers after President Richard Nixon announced the end of the lottery in 1973. 

While the people of the internet are correct that a military conflict could initiate the draft, reinstating the process would be an incredible feat to overcome. This is mainly because first, President Trump would most likely take a hit in the election for a decision of this magnitude. Bringing back the draft wouldn’t be widely supported, especially by those directly affected and in the specific age range. Also, to reestablish the draft would be a move requiring congressional support. Even the military actions that have already taken place have toed the delicate line between executive power and unconstitutional, since the President is technically supposed to get approval from Congress before any action, which Trump has not done. It is hard to believe that reinstating the draft would be approved by the majority of Congress. 


Women and Minorities in the Draft

It seems that the draft TikToks were almost immediately accompanied by jokes of minorities being exempt from the draft. The last time the draft was active, only men were entered into the draft. Even now, all men aged 18-25 must sign up for Selective Service, even though the chances of a draft are low. However, some women and minorities are worried that they might be entered into the World War III draft as well. 

As feminism continues to be a nationwide trend, some thought it probable that women would be included in the draft to signify equality. Girls now joke of wanting to go “back to the kitchen” or to be excluded from gender roles of the past so they don’t have to go to war. While there is a possibility that America could see women being included in Selective Service, it’s very improbable considering they don’t currently sign up for the program on things like Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications, and Congress is unwilling to budge on other measures of equality, like shrinking the wage gap or expanding reproductive rights. 

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) community has also had mixed emotions toward the draft. On Mar. 23, 2018 Trump proposed an act banning transgender people from the military. While this illegal action was shot down by Congress, it still remains a top issue for members of the transgender community. This was turned into a joke by showing that now that Trump is discriminating against trans people, they won’t have to go to war.

The conflict between Iran and the United States is constantly moving and evolving. Make sure to check the Spearhead for periodical updates and explanations.