A US attack on North Korea would be potentially devastating for the entire region, sparking an exodus of refugees from the north into China and Russia, and leading to massive North Korea retaliation which could kill millions of people in neighboring South Korea.
Even administration officials readily admit that a full-scale war with North Korea is “a war we don’t want.” After almost 70 years of armistice, North Korea has retaliatory capabilities that would devastate South Korea, killing millions, and the large US military contingent in South Korea would be sitting ducks.
At the same time, the Trump Administration is eager to play up their readiness for war, and belief that they have myriad military options, which is raising concerns about the possibility of a limited engagement, or some sort of surgical strike.
Experts, however, seem virtually unanimous in their opinion that a limited military exchange wouldn’t be limited for long, with North Korean retaliation likely in the case of any attack, with the situation progressively escalating into the full-scale war.
Yet few doubt that they’d respond in earnest with their substantial conventional arsenal, and that the US would respond to their response, and so on.
This is particularly true because even the most limited US attack on them will necessarily be seen as “the beginning of the end,” with bigger attacks only a matter of time, and the US giving the impression that a military exchange is their end-game.