Is North Korea A Paper Tiger?

by Patrick Appel

After assessing the range North Korea’s missiles, Max Fisher concludes that, even “if North Korea did decide to start a war against the U.S., or even if a second Korean War begins accidentally, there is very little reason to think that it could carry out any part of its purported battle plans against the U.S. mainland.” Evan Osnos spells out the real threat:

U.S. military commanders used their Winter Wargames last month to play out what would happen if Kim’s regime were to collapse in a coup or civil unrest, leaving his nuclear arsenal exposed. “It’s a scenario that some believe is more likely than a North Korea attack on the South,” ABC News reported. (Previous studies have suggested that the U.S. would need at least a hundred thousand troops to secure the nukes, and three times that to begin to sustain and stabilize the country—more than peak commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.)