The world seems like a tinder box doesn't it? Like we've got a garage full of expired fireworks and the house is on fire. Like it's bonfire night and someone is flicking fuel around.

In the space of a week (a week!) America has launched a barrage of missiles against Syria, dropped the so-called Mother of All Bombs on Islamic State in Afghanistan, and dispatched an aircraft carrier fleet to the Korean Peninsula.

Russia's cheesed off, China's not that happy, Bashar al-Assad is furious.

And then there's North Korea. They launched a missile in the weekend in what was meant to be a show of strength, and probably a middle finger to the US, as it celebrated its founder's birth.

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It was a flop, of course, but it seems like the leaders of the most powerful country in the world and the most isolated and secretive are entering into a mighty dangerous pissing contest.

North Korea says it will continue to test missiles on a daily, weekly or yearly basis, and if America is reckless enough to use military means, an all-out war will result.

US Vice-President Mike Pence said he believes the "era of strategic patience" is over.

He said that while standing at the demilitarised zone (DMZ); the area that's not at all demilitarised between North and South Korea.

That's a fascinating place. I went there about seven years ago when John Key was on a trade mission, and I found the North Koreans put on an almighty show when an official delegation turns up.

When Key was there they inched forward to the demarcation line, machine guns over their shoulders, and peered at us through binoculars even though we were only a few metres away.

Then they peered through the windows of the buildings that straddle the demarcation line while Key went inside. It was like a pantomime.

But it's no joke, it's the most heavily militarised border in the world and the US Marine tour guides tell you how bridges are loaded with explosives ready to be detonated at a moment's notice should the North invade the South.

So if the era of strategic patience is over, what are we left with?

We've got two men with fragile egos and bad haircuts who are both prone to hasty responses and both have access to nuclear weapons.

Kim Jong-un is not known for showing mercy (remember he allegedly had his own uncle and, more recently, his brother executed).

And Trump, whatever you think his strengths might be, manages to get into Twitter wars with music stars, rappers, and TV show hosts.

I'm not sure I'd describe him as a champion of the art of diplomacy. He's more interested in shows of "strength" which are about as good as waving red rags at a bull.

We've got two men with fragile egos and bad haircuts who are both prone to hasty responses and both have access to nuclear weapons. Photos / AP
We've got two men with fragile egos and bad haircuts who are both prone to hasty responses and both have access to nuclear weapons. Photos / AP

It could well be that it's all strategic rhetoric to convince Kim the US will do anything to stop him.

It could be that Kim doesn't have the nuclear firepower he'd like the world to think he does. It could all come to nought.

But I really don't like the look of it. I'm by no means an international relations expert and I don't want to go all ''Chicken Little'' on you.

But does it seem to anyone else like we're this close? The push of a button or perhaps a perceived slight away from either World War III or the end of the world as we know it?