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23/DEC 2017













A so-called 'limited' strike on the DPRK risks becoming a catastrophe that kills anything between 3 and 30 million people, or possibly more, depending on exactly how events unfold. Although there is no way the DPRK can beat the US in the medium to long run, in the short run it could cripple US command and control with an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) strike, and hostilities could escalate into involvement by other governments – China and Russia. Should that take place, global thermonuclear war, that could destroy civilization, would be a possibility.


According to PND/Human Survival Projects John Hallam, who regularly holds workshops at the UN on risks of nuclear war,

Donald Trump and General Mc Master clearly have not thought clearly about the risks. It might, by some kind of miracle that I for one cannot possibly understand, be possible for the US to do a strike against the DPRK and 'get away with it' by crippling the DPRKs capacity to launch missiles. However its hard to see just how this might be possible. Trump talks blithely about striking 'launch sites', but he clearly hasn't grasped that mobile truck-mounted missiles such as those of the DPRK do not HAVE 'launch sites'.”


I would guesstimate that there is no more than between a 1% and a 10% probability that the US would be able to completely eliminate the DPRKs capacity to launch something.”


What is much more likely is that the DPRK will at a minimum, at least be able to flatten Seoul with conventional artillery, permanently massed just across the DMZ. Most probably it will also be able to make nuclear strikes at targets in Japan, including both Tokyo and US bases in Okinawa and Guam. If it strikes Tokyo, there will be millions of casualties.”


The DPRK may well also strike Hawaii, who have recently revived the '4 minute warning' sirens of the 1980's. Notwithstanding the siren, most people won't know where to go and there probably isn't anyplace for them to go to that would prevent them being incinerated by a nuclear bomb. Most will have no idea what the siren is even for.”


Finally it remains a real possibility that the DPRK will in fact be able to hit targets on the US mainland. If the DPRK pre-pre-empts a US strike, it will probably aim for nuclear command and control centers, intending to cripple the US capacity to retaliate, maybe with an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) strike in space. It might possibly succeed in doing that. An EMP strike if successful would take the entire US back to the 18th century in milliseconds. However if it's a retaliatory strike – ie if the US has already struck the DPRK – it may go for population centers, giving a body count in the tens of millions at least. The US may or may not be able to retaliate and make the rubble of Pyongyang bounce depending how robust US nuclear command and control is, and whether the DRK has seriously tried to disable it.”


Trump and Mc Master clearly believe that they can do a surgical strike on DPRK nuclear facilities that leaves the DPRK unable to retaliate. This may or may not be so, but looks unlikely. A range of other possibilities exist, all of them much more frightening, in which millions to tens of millions die horribly.”


If nuclear weapons are used in anger for a third, fourth fifth or nth time, a terrible threshold will have been crossed. The least that will happen is that the use of nuclear weapons in war will no longer be merely theoretical. The way to global thermonuclear war will then be open.”


John Hallam,

UN Nuclear Disarmament Campaigner,

People for Nuclear Disarmament

Human Survival Project

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