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How North Korea Could Win a War Against America: EMP Weapons?

“I personally suspect that the concept is overblown—a 1.4 megaton bomb that went off with Honolulu in line-of-sight knocked out a few strings of streetlights—but especially if the worst fantasies of the EMP Commission are reality, I don't see how it would affect the workings of deterrence. If someone hits you with a nuclear weapon and it has devastating effects, well, that's the most natural circumstance for a devastating response.”

In any case, it is unlikely that North Korea would show any restrain if the United States intervened to overthrow the regime in Pyongyang.

“It is beyond me why we think an enemy would waste a perfectly good nuclear weapon to experiment with a hypothetical EMP when they could destroy an actual city,” arms control expert Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, told The National Interest.

“EMP is a loony idea. Once an enemy uses a nuclear weapon—for any reason—it crosses the nuclear threshold and invites a nuclear response. U.S. military commanders would not say ‘Well, it was only an airburst. We should just respond in kind.’ They would answer with an overwhelming, devastating nuclear counter attack. And our nuclear weapons and command and control are designed to operate in a nuclear war environment, not just some puny EMP blast.”

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @Davemajumdar.

Image: Reuters. 

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