The (Not Likely) Possibility of Nuclear War

Shajid Hasan, Editor

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With all the fear around North Korea, and tension at an all time high, some are wondering if this might be the start of WWIII. Now, it may sound far-fetched, but it is obvious that North Korea is getting more bold in their nuclear ambition, with the regime sending missiles into waters near Japan on a more frequent basis. Undoubtedly, the regime is getting more aggressive. Is the beginning of the end? No. No it’s not. Let me explain why:

How has the Kim family held power for so long? They don’t deal with other countries. North Korea operates almost exactly like the former Soviet Union – in order to work (their definition of “work”), it has to operate in a vacuum. No one goes in unless they plan on staying there for a while. Very, very few people come out. The DMZ (demilitarized zone) separates North Korea from South Korea. It is widely considered the most dangerous, secretive place on Earth.

“It’s different this time! They’ve made threats to declare war!” Well… This isn’t new. Think back to The Interview – a movie about assassinating Kim Jong Un which was pulled from theaters due to hacks (and threats) from North Korea. Was this not a threat of war? One of many, actually. Here’s a short list from an article by Adam Taylor, writer for The Washington Post:

 

  • In May, Park Yong Chol, director of North Korea’s Institute for Research into National Reunification, told CNN that the North has the capability to strike the United States with a nuclear missile, and would do so if the U.S. “forced their hand.”
  • In February, officials warned that North Korea would cause the “final ruin of the US” with its “precision and diversified nuclear striking means.”
  • In 2014, following an alleged North Korean cyberattack on Sony Pictures, a North Korean official threatened attacks on  “the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland” if the United States retaliated.
  • In 2013, North Korea warned it could attack Guam, Hawaii and the U.S. mainland with rockets.
  • In 2009, North Korea announced that it had “tremendous military muscle and its own method of strike able to conquer any targets in its vicinity at one stroke or hit the U.S. on the raw, if necessary.”
  • In 2005, a North Korean official said that if war broke out, the country would “first of all strike all bases of US imperialist aggressors and turn them into a sea of fire.”
  • In 2002, following their inclusion in President George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman warned that “the option to ‘strike’ impudently advocated by the U.S. is not its monopoly” and that North Korea could “mercilessly wipe out the aggressors.”

 

Let’s say the worst possible scenario happens. Let’s say North Korea bombs Seoul, Guam, and Japan. What happens then? I’m not sure any one can answer that. But should we worry? Should we keep our eyes on the skies – watching out for an ICBM? Maybe. Do we have bigger problems on our plate? Probably.

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