North Korea, Nuclear Weapons, and WWIII?

North Korea, Nuclear Weapons, and WWIII?

Jeremiah D. Folia, Foreign Policy Contributor

Opinion -- Days ago, North Korea announced that they have successfully developed a nuclear warhead. Prior to this announcement, the nation threatened the United States following a successful Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launch stating that there were more “gifts” for the “American bastards.”
Many across America are preparing for another world war. Sales in bomb shelters have spiked since North Korea announced their nuclear presence. Some have already resorted to public protest of the President’s pending military involvement with Kim Jong Un with the idea that if the United States strikes North Korea, then the next major world war will begin.

The worry of WWIII is justified for the following reasons:

Russian Threat: Russia has been an adversary since the United States started to threaten their oil investments by getting involved in Syrian conflict. Russia threatened to shoot American planes out of the sky when bombs were dropped over Syria.

Chinese Threat: In the past, China has threatened military force against the United States after a ship sailed close to a Beijing-controlled island in the South China Sea. As North Korea’s major trading partner, the common thought is that China may threaten to attack the U.S. again. Chinese rhetoric has become offensive again since the United States started to consider military action in the Korean region.

Iranian Threat: Iran has been a common enemy for years. The United Nations tried to limit their development of nuclear weapons through the infamous Iran Nuclear Deal during the Obama Administration. Since Iran has been developing large missiles, and since they continue to threaten the United States, the thought is that they now can assist North Korea with coordinated attacks. 
While the North Korean military consists of over one million trained fighters and thousands of missiles, the results of an attack would be catastrophic but it would not spark another world war. The common ideas listed above have been dispelled over the past few days.

The worry of WWIII is dispelled through the following events:

Russian Threat: Russia told the United States to stand back – to avoid war with Kim Jong Un’s army at all costs, but they did not threaten President Trump. Instead, they recently stated that North Korea is a threat to their nation and have been preparing for war with them. They moved a large number of troops near the North Korean border that are now ready to fight. Like the United States, they would like to avoid military action but are prepared to engage with the communists.

Chinese Threat: On August 10th a Chinese state-owned newspaper reported that China would not support North Korea if they attack the United States first. Even though they later stated that if the U.S. launches strikes first then they will provide support, America’s goal is to use military action as a last resort – they will not attack until the military threat is confirmed. Even if the United States were to preemptively strike the country, it is not within China’s best interest to defend North Korea. While China’s president has been eyeing a chance to take some of the Korean peninsula, a war with America would be catastrophic to their infrastructure resulting in a loss of billions of dollars and millions of lives.

Iranian Threat:
Iran recently launched missiles, which failed terribly. They do not have long-range missile capabilities, but are in the process of developing them. At the moment, the country does not have much to contribute to a world war. According to Global Firepower, they have less than 1,000,000 military personnel, roughly 500 military aircraft, less than 2000 tanks and no aircraft carriers or destroyers. While they may have sufficient means to fight in a local war right now, they do not have the means to fight long-range; though, as they develop they may become a larger threat to the world than North Korea is today (as Ambassador John Bolton stated).

The North Korean threat is real and an attempted military strike against the United States would result in supreme retaliation; the loss of life would be catastrophic – some military experts have claimed that over a million deaths could ensue from a retaliatory attack. No nation has decided to support North Korea in this offensive, so a third world war is not an existent threat. The United States must do everything it can to avoid war (and the extreme loss of life), but it also must be ready to defend itself against proven threats. Since no nation poses a threat if the United States responds defensively to North Korea, they should not hold back when the valid threat is not halted by diplomacy – they must eliminate the threat or they will be eliminated themselves.

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