« Is the Korean war scare real? | Main | What is the North Korean Word for "Gulf of Tonkin?" by Publius Tacitus »

09 August 2017


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I think walrus is correct. If the US used even tactical nuclear weapons against RONK in a first use attack then any nation in Europe that hosted a US air or naval base would immediately become a real target of Russian nukes should Russia get sucked into the war. There would be mass demonstrations by people living anywhere near one of those bases insisting that the US leave. I would think that Italian, French and German governments would be under tremendous pressure to leave NATO.

I agree with you that those nuclear winter scenarios following a nuclear war are fantasies but the psychological impact on the people of Europe would be huge since most believe in those scenarios.


sorry PT, I meant to elaborate a bit but it was late for me last night and I was tired. I did read Col Lang's article and was pretty sure I fully understood it. As he stated, we and our ally there would not match the NK forces man for man in which one would have to infer we would do something else and I believe that something else would be tac battlefield nukes. One thing we do have, at least after the initial 24 hours hours, is overwhelming air superiority. The Air Force practices for this possibility and is ready for it all the time and at a moment's notice, am sure the Navy does as well. There would be horrific casualties in the first 24 hours, we would then gain the upper hand as our deployed air forces arrive in the area. I think it's likely NK would capitulate by the 72-96 hour point. By then "neogiators" would come into play. We mustn't forget too that SK has a very formidable armed force which, in my opinion, is much more capable that any non-US NATO force. If we don't take out NK forces as quickly as possible, by using tac nukes, casualties will mount day by day significantly.



What do you mean by "decapitating attack?" If these means trying to kill the leaders of North Korea with air weapons and commandos. I would rather go on a snipe hunt." Do you really think we know where all these people are all the time? Or does "decapitating attack" mean wiping out the greater Pyongyang metro area? This sounds a bit like that other fantasy, the "surgical strike." pl



Endgame is no more DPRK. pl



Yes. IMO China IS a rational actor and knows that a nuclear strike on the US would result in a total destruction of modern Chinese society, but the most likely scenario is that the PDRK strikes first. pl pl

ex-PFC Chuck

I second that.


If we feel compelled to gamble then maybe you've got a good point. But one h*** of a gamble. Hope would be to force them (NKs) to light up any nuke sites we don't know of, and take them out post-haste. And to even be feasible we'd have to be sure of having the drop on them. And then there are the unknowns and incompetencies to consider.

Hood Canal Gardner

In the 2009 debate (thanks..more on that someday) you used the word "maybe" a couple of times. You were generous re serious lasting (country-level) social change vis-a-vis military action.

Perhaps your "maybe" reading belongs re "not necessarily" re contained fallout read? Just perhaps Little Man and Fat Boy were twofer fires we stole from Zeus. In Heisod's words (Works and Days):

"Son of Iapetus, surpassing all in cunning, you are glad that you have outwitted me and stolen fire -- a great plague to you yourself and to men that shall be. But I will give men as the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of heart while they embrace their own destruction.'

robt willmann

A useful and comprehensive book, although it is from June 1957, is "The Effects of Nuclear Weapons", prepared by the U.S. Department of Defense and published by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. Back then, it was for sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, for $2.00.

I got it from one of my favorite places -- used book dealers.

The forward to the book, by Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson and Lewis L. Strauss, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, says--

"This handbook, prepared by the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project of the Department of Defense in coordination with other cognizant government agencies and published by the United States Atomic Energy Commission, is a comprehensive summary of current knowledge on the effects of nuclear weapons. The effects information contained herein is calculated for yields up to 20 megatons and the scaling laws for hypothetically extending the calculations beyond this limit are given. The figure of 20 megatons however is not to be taken as an indication of capabilities or developments."


"I prefer to put greater odds on Trump being bombastic so as to put pressure on Kim - probably a vain attempt, and what Trump will do when he'll understand his threats aren't effective is a worrying prospect."

As we’ve seen in his dealings with Congress, issuing threats, even empty ones, is all Trump seems to know how to do. The problem here is that he will paint himself, and us, into a corner much more decisively than Obama did with his “red line,” or frighten Kim Jong Un into thinking that he’s doomed no matter what he does – think Gaddafi -- and decides to strike first. (And of course the Libya venture worked out so well. This could be unimaginably worse than that.)

None of his aides had any advance knowledge of the “fire and fury” burblings, which is not reassuring.

Trump did make it clear during the election that he was a big fan of nukes and using them, so no surprises there for anyone who was paying attention.



these are not "empty threats. DJT cannot command the congress. He does command the armed forces. pl

ancient archer

Very well written. Couldn't have said it better myself

Jony Kanuck

I wonder what the Chinese are saying to RONK. I wonder what the Russians & Chinese are saying to each other. I wonder what the Donald is saying to Jared. One thing I can say is that if tactical nukes are used in Korea, the barriers to further use will be much lower. I can think of a couple countries that would be 'burning the midnite oil' to develop tac-nukes asap, as defense or to use. Sigh...
Ambrose Bierce slips into my consciousness:
PATRIOTISM is as all seeing as the headless chicken
PATRIOTISM is as hot as the fever, as cold as the grave.



what is the chance of DPRK controlling its nuclear arsenal in the long term and preventing its scientists from spreading the capability among others like Pakistan did?



Just trying to fix the runaway italics.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad