Michelle Goldberg's column in the New York Times concerning the reasons that Victor Cha backed out of serving as U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, ought to scare the Bejeezus out of any sentient person. See e.g.
Ms. Goldberg picked up the account of Cha's backing out from a piece in The Financial Times. As reported therein, Mr. Cha backed out after being asked if he could "manage the evacuation of Americans" from Seoul and surroundings after an American preemptive attack to "give Kim Jong un a bloody nose". The account adding:
"The move comes as the Pentagon prepares for a possible order from Mr. Trump to launch military action at North Korea aimed at convincing Pyongyang dictator Kim Jong Un to abandon his nuclear weapon program."
Yes, you read that correctly. These deranged imbeciles are actually contemplating a preemptive strike on the North that would literally unleash hell, not just on South Koreans but the entire surrounding region - and possibly expand to a global thermonuclear war. That is the measure of fucktard in this misbegotten administration we are now saddled with. According to the FT the two hard liners itching for the strike are H.R. McMaster (national security adviser ) and Chuck Pompeo, CIA Director.
Even Gen. Jim Mattis, generally known as the cautionary adult was quoted by the FT as saying:
"There is little reason for optimism."
According to Ms. Goldberg in her own piece:
"According to The Washington Post, the nomination of Victor D. Cha, a hawkish veteran of the George W. Bush administration, was very close to being sent to the Senate, but was derailed when Cha privately expressed reservations about a preventive American strike on North Korea. The Financial Times reported that Cha was asked if he was “prepared to help manage the evacuation of American citizens from South Korea,” which would be necessary in the event of an American bombing. This is terrifying, because it suggests that Trump is serious about starting a war."
"Cha himself seems frightened; just before the State of the Union started, he published an op-ed in The Washington Post arguing against a preventive attack. Apparently assuming that some readers would be indifferent to millions of potential Korean deaths, Cha emphasized that many Americans would also die in a military confrontation."
Let's be clear no actual "warhead" ready North Korean ICBM could reach the U.S. presently. The primary impediment to N. K. ICBM deployment is the design of a re-entry vehicle capable of withstanding the fall through the atmosphere as the warhead zeroes in on the target. This is a formidable challenge, make no mistake. It defines the difference between lobbing a giant missile with no 'boom' across continents, and lobbing one with a nuclear punch.
By comparison - and for reference - the warhead of the 1960s' era Atlas D was originally paired to a re-entry vehicle (RV) with a W49 thermonuclear weapon, for a combined weight 3,700 lb (1,680 kg) and yield of 1.44 megatons (Mt). The W-49 was later placed in a higher ablative RV, for a combined weight 2,420 lb (1,100 kg) The maximum explosive yield delivered with these later designs was 3.75 megatons. The North's capabilities are nowhere near this.
According to Physics Today (April issue last year) the North's existing weapons would deliver a yield of roughly 0.08 kt/ kilogram. That is the yield per actual bomb mass. This means they’d need to be able to launch or carry (via plane) at least 100 kg of bomb mass to get an 8 kiloton A -blast, or 200 kg to get a 16 kt yield. These magnitudes are roughly on the scale of the Hiroshima blast.
Despite its nuclear limitations - and make no mistake they are not giving them up, after seeing "regime change" with Iraq in 2003 - the North could wreak havoc on Seoul, South Korea. Even one or two bombers lifting an 8 kt bomb has the potential to obliterate over 20 million people as well as all U.S. troops stationed in S. Korea. And we aren't even yet considering the 10,000 odd artillery pieces facing the Demilitarized zone. Each of these loaded with chemical and biological weapons.
Interviewed last April, and asked if Trump would actually attack North Korea, former CIA North Korean analyst Sue Mi Terry responded:
“I can’t see him following through on this and that is the problem with the brinksmanship policy. Because you’re putting yourself in a bind. You will either have to back down and lose credibility or you are stuck on a ledge with a military option which is very, very risky.
North Korea is not Syria. It’s not Afghanistan. It’s going to have very devastating consequences. North Korea will retaliate to any kind of military option. They will retaliate against South Korea given seventy percent of its ground forces are deployed within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the DMZ. And there’s twenty thousand U.S. military in South Korea and twenty million people in Seoul”