Another day, another North Korean missile launch. This time, the hermit kingdom tested a Hwasong-12 missile on Sunday, May 14, 2017, which reached an altitude of 2,111.5 kilometers (approximately 1,300 miles) and flew 787 kilometers (approximately 500 miles), according to the state news agency KCNA.

The United Nations Security Council is set to meet on May 16th in response to the launch. Russia condemned it, per CNN, but also warned against “intimidating” North Korea, a remark obviously aimed at the United States. As North Korea moves closer to developing weapons that can strike U.S. territories in the Pacific, not to mention the western portions of the continental United States, U.S. military and political leaders must begin to seriously consider measures that will thwart any attack on America, including preventative military options.

That, my friends, should scare the hell out of you, because a conflict on the Korean peninsula has the seeds within it of a third global war. How could a limited conflict in Korea morph into World War III, you ask? One need only examine the strategic imperatives and likely rationalizations of the involved parties to see a path to a cataclysmic global conflict.

Start with the United States. The Trump administration has made no secret of its toughening line on North Korea, and its view that the regime there presents a threat to American security. This arguably justifiable posture might very well force the U.S. government to develop limited military options to neutralize the North Korean ballistic missile threat. All well and good. Many would see the necessity of such a move, and best case, the rest of the world would grudgingly accept such a limited U.S. military strike (of whatever type).