Podcast

Are We Going to War with North Korea?

The rhetorical battle of words is at an all-time high. Here’s how the real shooting could break out.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets US President Donald Trump  prior to the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, northern Germany, on July 7.
Leaders of the world's top economies will gather from July 7 to 8, 2017 in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / IAN LANGSDON        (Photo credit should read IAN LANGSDON/AFP/Getty Images)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets US President Donald Trump prior to the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, northern Germany, on July 7. Leaders of the world's top economies will gather from July 7 to 8, 2017 in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / IAN LANGSDON (Photo credit should read IAN LANGSDON/AFP/Getty Images)

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have risen in dramatic fashion this week, as the president and Pyongyang trade barbs over arsenals and military capacity. The attempts to intervene by top military and diplomatic brass have done little to deescalate the situation. Meanwhile, Guam is advising residents of what to do in the case of a nuclear attack.

On this week’s second episode of The E.R., FP’s executive editor for the web Ben Pauker is joined by FP contributors Jeffrey Lewis and David Lai and the American Enterprise Institute’s Mackenzie Eaglen to discuss the mechanics of an armed conflict with North Korea. If the North Koreans follow through on their very specific threat to launch missiles at Guam, will Trump have to respond in kind? Would a war necessarily lead to the use of nuclear weapons? Would Seoul and Tokyo bear the pain, or could New York and Washington be at risk? And will it ultimately fall to China to end this crisis?

Mackenzie Eaglen is a resident fellow in the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, where she works on defense strategy, defense budgets, and military readiness. Eaglen has worked on defense issues in the House of Representatives and Senate and at the Pentagon in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff. Follow her on Twitter: @MEaglen.

Jeffrey Lewis is an FP columnist, the founding publisher of ArmsControlWonk.com, and the host of the Arms Control Wonk podcast. He is also the Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Follow him on Twitter: @ArmsControlWonk.

Dr. David Lai is a research professor of Asian security affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. Before joining SSI, Dr. Lai was on the faculty of the U.S. Air War College. Dr. Lai’s research and teaching cover U.S.-China and U.S.-Asian security relations.

Ben Pauker is FP’s executive editor for the web. Follow him on Twitter: @benpauker.

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Ben Pauker is executive editor, online, at Foreign Policy. @benpauker

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