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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

War With North Korea -- What Are The Costs?

The New York Times is reporting that military experts predict that in a war between North Korea and the alliance of the South Koreans and the USA, there would be 300,000 civilian fatalities in South Korea in the first five days of fighting provided neither side uses WMDs.  By the end of five days, however, the North Korean artillery which would be the main cause for these civilian deaths will have been mostly destroyed by American and ROK forces.

Think about that for a moment.  We are talking about 300,000 dead and that does not count soldiers who die in combat or civilian casualties inside North Korea.  It's a very heavy calculus to consider.  Nevertheless, once has to consider this in the context of how many people would die if the North Koreans dropped a nuclear bomb on Anchorage or Honolulu (the closest large American cities).  A bomb in Hawaii could wipe out in one second more than the total who would die in the opening days of war with North Korea.  If the NKs get working nuclear missiles that reach the continental USA, the numbers of dead would soar.  A nuke in Los Angeles would kill many millions.  And all of this assumes that the NKs never decide to drop a nuke on Seoul.  Such an attack could kill many millions quickly as well.

The real question facing the USA is whether or not North Korea will behave in a rational manner.  Surely, the NKs know that if they attack the USA, they will be destroyed by our counter-attack.  America will be severely hurt, but North Korea will cease to exist.  That means that it will never be the rational course of action for the NKs to attack us.  Does that matter?

Kim Jung Un has seemed for quite some time to have a very tenuous grip on reality.  Given this discussion, it is more than a little worrisome to think that this guy has the fate of the world in his hands.

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