Threat of Nuclear War is Self-defeating Prophecy

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By Gavin Swanson, Opinion Writer

No citizen should ever feel comfortable when their government is openly considering nuclear warfare, but in the case of the United States and North Korea, it’s moderately safe to assume that no such action will be taken; at least not as a result of what has been occurring for the past month or so.

To those of us who have been keeping up with the rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea  —  or what more and more seems like rising tensions between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un  —  it may sound like nuclear engagement is an inevitable fate we’re all locked into. Fortunately for all of us, the sheer consequences of what nuclear warfare with North Korea entails protects us from a future of fallout. Aside from the obvious detractors of this course of action that include the deaths of millions, the results of action would bring about such serious political disadvantages to both sides that it would be simple insanity for either government to commit to it. You can say what you will about both Trump and Kim Jong-un, they may both have pretty big egos, but I don’t think those egos eclipse the lives of millions of their citizens, global economic ruin and the crippling of their geopolitical interests in Pacific Asia.

I think we can all agree that for this scenario to occur, North Korea would have to be the first nation to launch a warhead. When that happens, the U.S. would obviously have to declare war on North Korea and retaliate. This retaliation would result in the conquest, collapse and liquidation of Kim Jong-un’s state. We all know that the U.S. military  —  which would most likely be accompanied by a coalition of other allied states  —  is far more advanced and dangerous than the threat North Korea’s forces pose.

However, most will be quick to point out that it’s not North Korea many are worried about, but its close ally and friend who will readily come to avenge their fallen comrade nation. While China has been a major obstacle in dealing with North Korea in the past, during the past couple of weeks it has displayed to the world its ever growing distance between its neighbor and intimidation acts. On Aug. 5, the United Nations Security Council was able to unanimously impose further sanctions on North Korea  —  that meant both Russia and China agreed to these sanctions. To put that to boot, on Aug. 11 the Chinese government officially stated if the Kim Jong-un regime was the first to strike against the U.S., they would not receive China’s support. Without China to promise retaliation against the U.S., the North Korean government knows it will engage itself in a fight that it simply cannot win and will result in the collapse of its beloved country. This is a risk I believe the heads of North Korea are not willing to take for the sake of bravado.

The result of nuclear warfare with North Korea is arguably much worse for the U.S. Continuing with the assumption this would come about through a North Korean first move, the inevitable retaliation and war that would occur would result in the deaths of potentially thousands of American soldiers. To put that number to shame is the number of deaths that would occur from North Korean attacks on the Republic of Korea, better known to most as South Korea and Japan  —  both close allies to the U.S. The amount of civilian deaths that would result from North Korean bombardments on Seoul, Tokyo, Busan, Kyoto, etc. would easily be in the tens of millions. That alone has been repellent enough to keep the U.S. from engaging with North Korea.

In the unlikely scenario Trump gives the go-ahead to strike first, another layer of undesirable consequences takes place, this primarily being the involvement of China. In the Aug. 11 statement where China revealed it would not support North Korea in a first strike, it also reaffirmed that if the U.S. did make the first move, it will defend its ally. Essentially put, a U.S. attack against North Korea would be viewed as one against China, and it would lead to a swift World War III that would end in nuclear fallout. This threat would discourage even the most thickheaded leaders from unnecessary actions.

A war between North Korea and the U.S. would lead to catastrophe in the economic and political world and result in the swift death of millions of innocent civilians who have relied on these governments for their protection.  As it currently stands, the cons far outnumber any pros. Neither states have anything to gain from such reckless action. It is with these reasons I believe readers can take a deep breath and relax about this diplomatic kerfuffle.

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