North Korea Is Preparing for Nuclear War

Foreign Policy: “What is disturbing about the situation, though, is how the war plans of North Korea, South Korea, and the United States might interact. North Korea’s military exercises leave little doubt that Pyongyang plans to use large numbers of nuclear weapons against U.S. forces throughout Japan and South Korea to blunt an invasion. In fact, the word that official North Korean statements use is ‘repel.’ North Korean defectors have claimed that the country’s leaders hope that by inflicting mass casualties and destruction in the early days of a conflict, they can force the United States and South Korea to recoil from their invasion. While U.S. officials usually bluster that Kim would be suicidal to order the large-scale use of nuclear weapons, it’s obvious that a conventional defense didn’t work for Saddam Hussein or Muammar al-Qaddafi when they faced an onslaught of U.S. military power. That was suicide. Of course, that’s where those North Korean ICBMs come in: to keep Trump from doing anything regrettable after Kim Jong Un obliterates Seoul and Tokyo.”

“Then there is this: Kim’s strategy depends on using nuclear weapons early — before the United States can kill him or those special forces on display in Foal Eagle can find his missile units. He has to go first, if he is to go at all.”

“But going first is also the U.S. strategy. That means, in a crisis, the pressure will be to escalate. Whatever restraint Kim or Trump might show — and let’s be honest, our expectations here are not high — each will face enormous pressure to start the attack lest his opponent beat him to the punch. Then there is South Korea, which has its own pre-emption plan, separate from OPLAN 5015 and using South Korean ballistic and cruise missiles. Pyongyang, Washington, and Seoul all have plans to go first. Two of them are going to be wrong about that.”

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