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Is North Korea winning deterrence war with U.S.?

17 8 106
30.08.2017

Conventional wisdom says that if North Korea were ever to use its nuclear weapons, it would be an act of suicide. But brace yourself for what deterrence experts call the "theory of victory."

To many who have studied how nuclear strategies actually work, it's conceivable North Korea could escalate to a nuclear war and still survive. Tuesday's missile test suggests once again it may be racing to prepare itself to do just that — but only if forced into a corner.

Every missile North Korean leader Kim Jong Un launches comes at a high cost. North Korea doesn't have an unlimited supply, and they aren't easy or cheap to build.

So when Kim orders his strategic forces to launch, it's safe to assume it's a move calculated to achieve maximum political, technical and training value. Tuesday's launch of a ballistic missile over Japan and into the open Pacific Ocean, once again blowing past warnings from the United States and its allies, is a prime example.

There is a solid strategy hidden in each launch. From Kim's perspective, here's what it looks like.

HOW THE NORTH COULD SURVIVE

North Korea has never suggested it would use its nuclear weapons to attack the United States or its allies completely out of the blue.

But, like Washington, it has stated quite explicitly that if it is either attacked or has reason to believe an attack is imminent, it has the right to launch a retaliatory or even a pre-emptive first strike.

The trigger for North Korea could be unusual troop movements in South Korea, suspicious activity at U.S. bases in Japan or — as the North has recently warned — flights near its airspace by........

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