Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
How ready is the U.S. for a North Korean missile attack? (axios.com)
14 points by JumpCrisscross 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments

I think the risk that terrorists detonate a dirty bomb in urban areas or poison the water supplies (which is actually really easy) is much higher and more alarming than anything North Korea has ever done or will do.

How ready are North Korea for a North Korean missile attack?

I love how diplomacy isn't mentioned as an option. Sounds like the message between the lines is to expect and fear inevitable missile attacks.

You can't talk NK down without making concessions. Diplomacy isn't brainwashing.

Historically making concessions hasn't worked either. We made many concessions and the DPRK didn't follow through. I think at this point diplomacy is not off the table, but we have to see some lasting comittment and trust building from both sides.

Yes, I wasn't implying concessions would work.

They haven't seriously invaded South Korea for well over half a century, so, presumably, threats of retaliation (by the US, likely with diplomatic messages from the USSR and China along the lines of 'if you do that, and the USA retaliates, we won't start a war with them over it') have kept them at bay.

I don't think there is reason to suggest that diplomacy wouldn't keep working in a similar way.

Would the US retaliate if the price were San Francisco or Los Angeles incinerated and radioactive?

Why does the North Korean leadership insist not only on having the nukes necessary to preserve their reign -- the ability to strike South Korea or Japan should be enough to guarantee that they won't be invaded -- but also an intercontinental missile capable of destroying mainland American cities?

One thought is that they still harbor dreams of taking the South. In this view, they wish to neutralize the Americans by holding their cities hostage. They attack southward, and the Americans do nothing lest the SF Bay -- including Y Combinator -- is destroyed.

Another thought is that their best defense against an attack from South Korea is to keep the USA out of such a war, and that having the ability to seriously hit the USA is the easiest way to guarantee that.

They didn't need that ability earlier because they always had a big brother (always at least one of the USSR and China) that would do that "seriously hit the USA" part for them, if the USA supported South Korea in attacking them.

Nowadays, they can't be that sure about that support anymore. The USSR is gone, Russia has its own problems, and China seems to only support them because they don't like giving the USA more influence, not because they share a view on communism. The logical (in the logic of deterrence/arms races) conclusion is that they need their own capability for doing that.

War is going to look like nothing compared to what happens to civilization when the ice caps have melted.

It's such a silly question. No one is readu for a missile attack except the navy. And no one can prevent a missile attack despite all the bluster about missile defense systems, again, except the navy, and the only reason the navy can defend is because ships are such small targets compared to countries and cities, so navy defensive systems have a chance of hitting incoming missiles because there is some certainty about what they are aimed at. Even then I wouldn't give a ship much of a chance against multiple incoming missiles.

The only positive thing working for the target when it is a city is that ICBMs are likely to fail to hit and detonate precisely as intended.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact