The Skeptics

What Would Happen If North Korea Attacked Washington, DC with a Nuclear Weapon?

There is no evidence that would suggest that Kim Jong-un is a crazy, sociopathic nutcase who is spending billions of dollars and years of investment just to nuke an American city or kill hundreds of thousands of Americans. The only thing he values on about the same wavelength as himself is the regime that his family has built over seven decades. If Kim wants to be the man presiding over the deaths of millions of his citizens and the elimination of his country, then sending a nuclear ICBM towards Washington is the best way to do that.

The numbers, however, are a reminder of how truly ugly and calamitous a military conflict between the United States and North Korea could be. Add nuclear weapons into the scenario, and the calamity would look a bit like the Hollywood blockbuster Sum of All Fears—except actual people would be dying.

Daniel DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities.

Image: Reuters.

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