The cost of War With North Korea

North Korea probably has reliable intelligence sources reporting on activity in South Korea and Japan that could warn of an attack. And news reviews from the United States and somewhere else, or the intelligence companies of various other countries like China and Russia, could also warn Pyongyang.

To plan a good surprise, the United States would have to make as few noticeable preparations as possible. Washington could not considerably boost its forces in your community without increasing alarms in the North. The South Koreans would have to be kept in the dark, and they could make no preparations for war. Nor could American civilians be alerted and evacuated from South Korea. Any preparations would have to be masked behind various other more normal actions such as for example training exercises.

Newsletter Sign Up Read on the main story Sign Up for the Impression Today Newsletter Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from all over the world. Make sure you verify you’re not a robot by clicking on the box. Invalid email. Please re-enter. You need to select a newsletter to subscribe to. SUBSCRIBE You agree to receive occasional updates and special offers for THE BRAND NEW York Times’s services and products. Many thanks for subscribing. One has occurred. Please try again later. View new York Times newsletters.

But the shock attack would still require many powerful, precise, concrete-piercing munitions to destroy the hardened bases that store North Korean missiles and nuclear warheads. Simply American strategic bombers – B-2s and B-1Bs, which take hours to attain North Korea from Guam, or much longer from bases in america – could do that task. And the bombers would require considerable support from aerial tankers.

It is difficult to estimate how many bombers it would take since there is little public details about North Korean military bases. My own estimate, based on marrying released estimates of the amount of North Korean missile launchers to past American practice in deploying such devices, is an initial attack could require at least two dozen bombers, capable of carrying nearly 500 one-ton precision guided bombs, or smaller numbers of larger weapons.

American submarines could approach close enough to the North Korean coastline to start cruise missiles as the bombers are en route. This would minimize the opportunity that North Korea’s mobile weapons are moved prior to the bombers arrive and would suppress a number of the North Korean air-security weapons.

But the overall effort will be so large that trying to catch the North Koreans by shock would be a high-risk gamble. And the first of all wave of American assaults would have to be focused on attacking nuclear infrastructure, at the expense of dismantling standard weapons.

Thus, whether or not an American attack about the North’s nuclear weapons had been entirely successful, North Korea could have the possibility to retaliate with conventional forces against unprepared soldiers and civilians in South Korea. Generally in most scenarios, it really is all but inevitable that many thousands of civilians, and American and South Korean soldiers, would die.

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

A good surprise American nuclear attack would provide greatest chance of eliminating the North Korean nuclear arsenal and of preventing a typical counterattack. America’s nuclear weapons are quite accurate and always all set for action.

But the detonation of also a small quantity of nuclear weapons in North Korea would produce hellish results. AMERICA would make itself an international pariah for decades, if certainly not centuries. It is entirely possible that the American military personnel even would resist the order to execute this attack. For strategic, humanitarian and constitutional reasons, a first-strike nuclear alternative shouldn’t even be on the table (apart from to forestall an imminent nuclear attack from North Korea).

The complexity, risks and costs of a military strike against North Korea are too much. A combo of diplomacy and deterrence, based on the already remarkable durability of South Korean and USA standard and nuclear forces, can be a wise alternative.

Read more on: