Can North Korea Win a War with the United States?
From a survival/disaster point of view it is only important that North Korea thinks they can win a nuclear exchange. If the think they can win they are much more likely to initiate action. North Korea recently postulated that they would win because (1) their population is tougher and more unified and (2) they have many more deep underground shelters. America has not experienced the true destruction and deprivations of war on our homeland in over one-hundred and fifty years. We have grown accustom to a level of comfort and security that breeds apathy and an inability to endure hardship. The ongoing decline of participation in survival camps, Boy Scout camps and other survival oriented programs certainly indicates a softening of our society. Most great civilizations grow weak and soft over time and are eventually overrun by some form of barbarians. America is not immune to this historic pattern. America’s massive disunity promoted by the media and the internet would certainly lead a closed and paranoid society like North Korea to convince themselves that we would dissolve in the face of even a limited nuclear exchange.
We can lose and have lost a war against a much weaker opponent. We lost the war in Vietnam because of our division and weakness of political will in spite of the fact that or military had effectively crushed the Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army. We are having difficulty winning wars against primitive, cave dwelling forces in the Middle East. North Korea is encouraged by these examples. A few historic examples that apply to the current crisis are:
- The Japanese initiated World War Two in spite of being statically overmatched by more than ten-to-one in every category of military and industrial capability. They were convinced that American’s were weak-willed and would not sustain a long struggle across the pacific islands. Their sneak attack enraged and unified the American public and resulted in a disaster for Japan and the loss of millions of American lives as well.
- After World War One several prominent British organizations pledged that Britain would never again go to war on the European content. This lead Hitler to be more aggressive and miscalculate. The result was a disaster for Germany and for Britain.
- During the Cold War it was reported that the American public’s interest in survival (e.g. survivalists) and preparedness worried the KGB. In spite of the inadequate US government programs the fact that some of the American public were willing to face an Armageddon caused the Soviets to resist the temptation to threaten and intimidate. This perception may have actually prevented World War Three.
To start a war it is only important that the initiating side believes they can win
While we can and would military obliterate North Korea they could probably still overrun South Korea and heavily damage Japan. Even a few hits on American cities would result in economic collapse and political chaos. Russia and China would be free to expand and assert themselves as the major world powers. While Korea might lose, America could lose a lot. From a purely survival standpoint, any kind of nuclear detonation in even ono or two American cities would result in radioactive fallout, economic chaos, civil disorder, food shortages, and probably epidemics. North Korea has also threatened to detonate an electromagnetic pulse device that could do more long-term damage than actual bombs.
If North Korea (or any other nation) initiates a nuclear or conventional war in the next few years it will be facilitated by our apparent disunity and the public’s inability to face even minimal hardships and discomfort. A more unified and robust preparedness and survival movement as we had during the Cold War years would go a long-way to discourage would be aggressors. Weakness invites aggression.