What would happen if North Korea nuked South Korea?
-/AFP/Getty Images North Korea has been stepping up incendiary rhetoric in the past few days, ostensibly in response to South Korean comments that it would attack the North’s nuclear installations in the event that Pyongyang launched atomic weapons. Once the North’s preemptive attack is underway, the Korean Central News Agency declared, “everything will turn to ...
Coupled with missile tests and diplomatic maneuvers, these comments are worrisome but not necessarily out of the ordinary for Pyongyang. Nevertheless,
If “everything” means all of
Very little reliable information exists, but based on aggregated seismic data from North Korea’s 2006 nuclear test, Harvard analyst Hui Zhang estimates (pdf) that the yield of that explosion was between 0.5 and 2 kilotons (for comparison, the yield of the weapon used at Hiroshima was about 15 kilotons, while other countries’ first nuclear tests generally yielded 9 kilotons or above). For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume
As for the number of weapons,
If, on the other hand,
More from Foreign Policy
No, the World Is Not Multipolar
The idea of emerging power centers is popular but wrong—and could lead to serious policy mistakes.
America Prepares for a Pacific War With China It Doesn’t Want
Embedded with U.S. forces in the Pacific, I saw the dilemmas of deterrence firsthand.
America Can’t Stop China’s Rise
And it should stop trying.
The Morality of Ukraine’s War Is Very Murky
The ethical calculations are less clear than you might think.