5 Ways a Conflict With North Korea Could Develop

5. We strike first.

While there’s an allure to this, it could be disastrous as it’s assuming North Korea has already decided to attack the US, and now it’s just a matter of time. But acting on this premise would be incredibly risky, as North Korea could merely be posturing. A preemptive strike of this level likely wouldn’t stop there. Instead, North Korea would likely invade South Korea first–especially if we do not consult with Seoul first.

Due to its geographical closeness, China would feel obligated to intervene, though it’s debatable whose side China would take.

Either way, it would begin a domino effect of attacks and interventions that would likely play out in a manner similar to the Pacific theater of World War II.

4. North Korea strikes first.

While it would take approximately 30 minutes for an ICBM to reach Los Angeles, it’s more likely Guam, a US Territory, would be the initial target, due to its preeminent location in the center of the Pacific Ocean. Guam also has a large US military presence, dating back to World War II. However, this would merely be the first domino in the situation described above; the United States would then be obligated to strike back with a direct hit to North Korea.

However, Retired US Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, has stated that North Korea would have “about 15 minutes to bask in its glory” given the number of supersonic US B-1 bombers stationed at Guam. As the base and bombers are already on alert, it would take approximately a quarter of an hour for the US to respond and reach North Korea to destroy the country’s nuclear missile bases.

3. North Korea becomes immobilized due to recent UN economic sanctions enacted by China.

Despite being one of the last defenders of Kim Jong Un, China recently implemented the trade sanctions against North Korea President Trump asked for. While this doesn’t necessarily mean China is siding with the US in the conflict, it does create a larger possibility than before. Without China to defend it, North Korea would find itself closed off to the military–and economic–support it would need to remain active in a conflict.

2. China prevents the US from striking North Korea.

Though remaining neutral in the current conflict between the US and North Korea, China publicly stated in the state-run newspaper that if the US should choose to make the first strike, it would prevent the action. But, China also said that if North Korea were to attack first it wouldn’t intervene. Whether this means China would remain neutral–inactive–should the conflict continue is unknown.

1. Chuck Norris shows up.

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