An alarming North Korea report and an explosive exchange

Frederick Owens
August 12, 2017

While pretty much any preemptive attack necessarily will provoke retaliation, a USA strike on North Korea's nuclear sites would certainly provoke an even bigger one, as the North Korean government could only interpret it as the start of an American war of regime change. Experts don't believe that because it was as powerful as its tests of atomic bombs.

If all of that is true, North Korea is no longer a gadfly country ruled by a maniacal dictator with a small arsenal of nuclear weapons that can not be delivered long distances. In March this year, Matthias Eken, a researcher of attitudes towards nuclear weapons, wrote in The Conversation that their destructive power "has been vastly exaggerated" and that one should avoid overusing "doomsday scenarios and apocalyptic language".

The "nuclear threat" section of the emergency preparedness section of the city's website defines a nuclear blast as "an explosion with intense light and heat, a damaging pressure wave and widespread radioactive material that can contaminate the air, water and ground surfaces for miles around".

North Korea's "actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates", U.S. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis said this week.

Maybe the American and North Korean leaders are just two playground bullies yelling at each other, but even in their more grown-up advisers it sets up the train of thought best described by strategic theorist Thomas Schelling: “He thinks we think he'll attack; so he thinks we shall; so he will, so we must.” This is how people can talk themselves into launching a ‘pre-emptive' or ‘preventive' nuclear attack. "Trump is not the cause of a North Korea crisis".

"We could see three to four million casualties in the Seoul area", said Mr. Gardiner, who held senior faculty positions at the Naval War College and National War College. This is not because South Korea needs the extra manpower.

People around the world are extremely anxious for their future and we request that you convey our plea for calm and peace between nations to President Trump. As The New York Times notes, this type of missile has a range of 3,000 miles, which puts Guam in range.

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A "United States decision to start a pre-emptive war on the Korean Peninsula, in the absence of an imminent threat, would be lunacy".

The loss of life in that conflict would be monumental. The S&P 500 also took a 0.8 percent hit.

"They know that would be suicide", said Jean H. Lee, a global fellow with the Wilson Center, who is former Pyongyang Bureau Chief for the Associated Press.

It was an escalation of words Tuesday between the USA and North Korea, following reports that the small country had created a warhead small enough to fit on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson briefly said that the US was not seeking to change the North Korean regime last week, although he was nearly immediately contradicted by President Trump. North Korea initially signed the treaty, but pulled out in 2003.

"If there were any serious move on the American side toward some kind of military strike, I think the North Koreans would back off really quickly, and in a very visible way". "They just ignored us", he said.

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