What Happens if North Korea Tries to Nuke One of Our Cities?

At the risk of using a highly worn-out phrase, North Korea’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile launch appears to be a game changer. Experts believe the Hwasong-15 is the longest-range missile ever tested by the regime and may very well have the capability of hitting Washington D.C. and all of the mainland U.S.

Tuesday's test prompted an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, during which Ambassador Nikki Hayley struck an ominous tone.

“The dictator of North Korea made a decision yesterday that brings us closer to war, not farther from it,” Haley said. “Make no mistake,” she added. If war comes, “the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.” 

Due to proximity alone, California and Hawaii are on the frontlines of the North Korean threat. A four-year old North Korean propaganda video that may have inadvertently revealed some possible future targets included San Diego. And then there was that bizarre tribute to the regime’s founder earlier this year that depicted North Korea nuking San Francisco.

Should California be worried? Of course.

In fact, the state has been preparing for the possibility of a nuclear attack for some time. See this article from Newsweek published in September. 

In the event of a nuclear strike from North Korea, the U.S. will have to pin its hopes on a sophisticated but imperfect missile defense system. The Washington Post has published an excellent primer on our nuclear defense mechanisms here, which is well worth the read.

If only it were more encouraging.


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