Fact: The United States and its allies in the Asia-Pacific would demolish North Korea in any conceivable military scenario. Even if our worst fears are realized, and Kim Jong Un decided to lash out with nuclear weapons, Washington would ensure Pyongyang was turned into atomic ash—what would clearly be the end of the so-called “hermit kingdom”.
But what is lost in our recent conversations of war and peace in Asia today are two key questions: Just how bad would such a conflict be and what happens when the war is over?
Stop - Fact - War - Fought - Peninsula
Stop and think about it for a second. If we accept the fact that a war fought on the Korean peninsula -- if waged with no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, which is by no means a certainty—it stands to reason that the number of conventional weapons used by North and South Korea, America and likely Japan or others would flatten large sections of the Korea peninsula. To make matters worse, such carnage would likely spread to the Japanese home islands, U.S. military bases around the region or even Guam, Hawaii or Alaska.
To focus our minds around this terrifying problem, let us consider for a moment just one of the many very real scenarios that could occur in what would be a Second Korean War. If, for example, North Korea were to launch a salvo of artillery shells into Seoul, South Korea’s capital—just a mere 35 miles from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates north and south—the devastation could be catastrophic. Imagine countless skyscrapers and tall buildings collapsing to the earth, millions of people fleeing to mass transit and clogging all exits out of one of the world’s largest cities. It would be, in many respects, 9/11—but times a hundred. The rebuilding of downtown Seoul would be in the billions of...
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