Want to Strike North Korea? It’s Not Going to Go the Way You Think.
For the bulk of my professional career, I’ve been studying maybe the most difficult and dangerous question in American foreign policy: how to handle a North Korea armed with nuclear weapons.
During five of those years, my job at the Department of Defense was anything but academic. I was at the center of the Pentagon’s efforts to wrap our heads around what to do in a crisis; as part of that work, I advised Pentagon leadership through two real-world crises in 2010, and spent the years that followed figuring out how to prevent or overcome future North Korean attacks. The nature of the work inhibits me from talking about particulars.
But suffice it to say we examined the problem from every imaginable angle, from how to prevail in traditional war scenarios at an acceptable cost to how the U.S. military would manage the sudden collapse of the North Korean regime. Meanwhile, the task of managing North Korea has grown only more difficult as the country has advanced toward being able to hit the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.
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