Korea: April 27, 2003

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 What military options are available to deal with North Korean nuclear weapons. If you bomb the plant where the weapons are built or stored, you will probably disperse lots of highly radioactive material into the surrounding landscape. But this is not the end of the world. This has happened before, several times, when American bombers carrying nuclear weapons crashed or dropped unarmed nukes in error. The clean up was expensive, but it at least it was easy to find the "dirt" you were looking, as radioactive material is easy to locate with a Geiger counter. But such an attack would probably trigger the long feared North Korean bombardment of  Seoul, South Korea's largest city. Seoul is within range of thousands of North Korean rocket launchers and long range guns. While it is theoretically possible to shut down such a bombardment with a massive JDAM smart bomb attack, this is very risky. And this would not stop an all out assault by the North Korean army. South Korea doesn't want to see the north armed with nukes, but it wants war with the north even less. The south thought it could entice the north to peaceful economic reform, but it's increasingly unlikely that the north will risk that. For economic reform brings the risk of discontent among the North Korean population. The third of the population that runs the north know they are hated and they are haunted by what happened in Eastern Europe in 1989. All the south can hope for is that collapse will come quickly, before the north can succeed with their extortion scheme and get their neighbors to subsidize the North Korean police state under a nuclear threat. 

 

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