The defence expert analysed the available options to the despot leader in the event of an attack
Van Jackson has a history of bracing America for North Korean attacks after spending years “figuring out how to prevent or overcome future attacks”.
The defence expert analysed the available options to the despot leader in the event of an attack.
He explained: “If the United States attacked a North Korean missile site, Kim’s immediate challenge would be trying to determine in real time whether the United States just launched a full-blown war.
“Keeping in mind that North Korean hackers stole alliance war plans last year, Kim will look for specific indicators to quickly render this judgment.”
If World War 3 had been triggered, the former Pentagon strategist detailed that the leader of the hermit kingdom would “launch a devastating retaliatory response”.
He said: “If Kim concluded that war were imminent, or that it had already begun, he would have no choice but to launch a devastating retaliatory response in hopes that it raises the stakes of conflict enough to cause the United States to back off.
“There’s added urgency, too: The more time passes at the start of a conflict, the greater the military disadvantage facing North Korea. So Kim won’t want to unnecessarily trigger a war himself, but as soon as he’s concluded the war is on, he must take drastic action immediately to maximise his chances of survival.
“That immediate drastic action does not inevitably take the form of nuclear attacks, but the likelihood that it does is exceedingly high.
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“Why? Because, facing the ‘fact’ of war, Kim has multiple reinforcing incentives to launch a nuclear strike immediately.
“Nukes are Kim’s ‘ace in the hole’; if he doesn’t play them immediately, the US might eliminate them in a first-wave attack.”
The defence expert discussed reports that suggested the US is lining up a strike on the isolationist state as a show of force.
He added: “Now, I’m getting nightmare flashbacks as I read the fragmentary reports dribbling out in the media about what seems like an intense debate inside the Trump administration.
“A recent story suggests that some on the Trump team have floated the idea of giving a ‘bloody nose’ to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.”
Mr Jackson explained that giving Kim Jong-un a “bloody nose” would involve a “preventive, limited attack on a North Korean missile facility, nuclear facility or missile launch site”.
Writing in Politico, he said: “If the United States aims to teach North Korea a lesson…it needs the attack to be public, which should rule out using special forces or clandestine means of destruction.
“The ideal target for sending a message to Pyongyang would also be the hardest to hit — a mobile missile, fired from a ‘transporter-erector-launcher’.
“Mobile targets are elusive and made more so by North Korea’s recent use of solid fuel, which gives fewer advance indicators of a pending missile launch.
“Successfully striking a mobile target located far from the South Korean border would show that no target in North Korea is out of reach of US.”
As the North Korea leader assesses the hypothetical situation, Mr Jackson stated that he would ask a number of questions before deciding on a method of retaliation such as “are North Korean radars, communications, or computer networks being jammed or disrupted?” and “are American civilians being evacuated from South Korea?”.
However, Mr Jackson explained that if the US had instead opted against starting World War 3 and decided to give him a…