Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

North Korea and America Could Stumble into a Nuclear War

| Aug. 17, 2017

People from Los Angeles and San Francisco are calling me and asking: “Should we be getting our families out of the city? Are we about to be nuked?” The short answer is no. Despite North Korean missile tests and President Donald Trump’s warnings about “fire and fury,” the missiles are not about to fly. All parties have overwhelming interests in avoiding an actual shooting war. That said, there are steps that can and should be taken to reduce the danger of deadly accidents.

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, knows very well that he and his regime would not survive a large-scale war, because of the overwhelming power of the U.S. and South Korean militaries. Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ sober threat that any North Korean attack would “lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people” was intended to underscore the point. Kim’s fiery threats are intended to deter the United States from launching such an attack, to play to domestic audiences and to browbeat North Korea’s neighbors.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Bunn, Matthew.“North Korea and America Could Stumble into a Nuclear War.” The National Interest, August 17, 2017.

The Author