Analysts and defense officials past and present are warning that a potential military exchange with North Korea is unlikely to be a brief, token show of force or a simple trade of fire, and rather would almost certainly quickly escalate into a full-scale war, including potential use of nuclear weapons.
For decades, North Korea’s massive conventional arsenal of artillery and rockets have led to estimates that over a million people could be killed in a new Korean War, and that much of the South Korean capital of Seoul would be leveled in the attacks.
New estimates that North Korea likely has a deliverable nuclear warhead threatens to raise the war to even more catastrophic proportions, as well the US brags of having a superior arsenal, even a small nuclear exchange would have disastrous consequences.
As we look at the possible consequences, former senior military officials talked openly of how the war would likely begin: with a preemptive US strike involving B-1B heavy bombers attacking North Korea from an Air Force base in Guam.
That’s another potentially big problem, however, as many recent US “show of force” actions have involved flying B-1B bombers over the Korean Peninsula. Given this new assessment, it’s even more likely such actions will be misinterpreted by North Korea as a real attack, and have them scrambling to retaliate.
This is potentially even more worrying than the possibility of the US knowingly launching a preemptive strike, despite the growing threats that they might do that. Increasing tension on both sides could readily lead to a miscalculation, and a war accidentally resulting.