4 frightening ways North Korea’s nuclear weapons may actually be used

Francis Grice writes: Kim Jong-un has been at it again: another intercontinental ballistic missile test and a further verbal threat against the United States. Yet, despite all of North Korea’s technical developments and rhetorical bluster, the United States and its allies are almost certainly safe from a deliberate nuclear strike. Kim Jong-un is a rational actor driven by one all-consuming goal: survival. To intentionally attack the United States or its allies with nuclear missiles would almost certainly result in nuclear retaliation or a regime-change driven invasion. As Robert Kelly noted in the National Interest, “Pyongyang knows there is no way to use their weapons for gain that would not immediately provoke massive counter-costs.”

This does not mean, however, that the world is entirely safe from a North Korean nuclear attack. There are at least four scenarios that could lead to the pariah state’s nuclear weapons being used: foreign invasion, domestic uprising, nuclear accidents, or acquisition by terrorists. [Continue reading…]

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