Why toppling North Korea would not be a good idea

The North Korean regime is the closest thing to Nazi Germany still in existence. Toppling it would free an enslaved people. There is perhaps no government on Earth that more deserves to be cast into the dustbin of history.

Yet few military experts have pitched the idea of invading the Hermit Kingdom. That is because opening such a Pandora’s box would unleash hell on East Asia. Here is why an invasion would be a great cause for regret:

Kim Jong Un will have learned the lessons of the Gulf War. Suppose Washington did decide to dispose of the evil thugs in Pyongyang. How would it proceed? It would start by heavily bolstering the amount of military assets within striking distance of North Korea. The problem is that such a massive military mobilization can’t be hidden. North Korea would instantly realize what was up. Pyongyang would certainly have a clear incentive to strike hard and fast knowing it constituted its best chance for survival. Kim would realize his best chance—maybe his only chance—would be to strike with everything in his arsenal at the first sign of a build-up.

North Korea would use its nukes. If Washington ever decided it was time to take the regime down, what reason would Pyongyang have from holding back? None. While there is debate whether Kim’s missiles have the range or accuracy to hit the continental U.S., it does seem likely they could hit Seoul or Tokyo—one hell of an atomic parting gift.

And it has chemical and biological weapons. Some reports estimate that the regime could possess as much as 5,000 metric tons of chemical weapons. A handful of such weapons launched at Seoul could create a panic not seen since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

North Korea could retaliate in many unforeseen ways:  North Korean sleeper cells launching Charlie Hebdo style attacks in South Korea or Japan, or armed forces lobbing missiles at areas containing nuclear materials (essentially ballistic “dirty bombs”).

And we have not even touched on the estimated cost of rebuilding North Korea, or the fact that China may have strong motives to intervene.

[The Week]

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