(CNN) North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile Friday that appears to have the range to hit major US cities, experts say, and prompted a fresh round of condemnation from the United States, China, Japan and South Korea.
Having lived through the Cold War with the Soviet Union, I’m not too worried about that crazy kid in North Korea. What kept the United States and the Soviet Union from nuking each other was a philosophy called Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD, appropriately, for short). Between the Americans and Russians were enough nuclear weapons to obliterate a planet eight times the size of earth. Both sides knew that an attack on the other would turn the entire world into a smoldering cinder. So . . .
1. Kim Jong Un’s dictatorship has a handful of weapons all—as far as we know—non-nuclear. The United States has a nuclear arsenal 6,800 missiles. (However, North Korean sympathizers Russia has 7,000 and China 270, which complicates the math.) If Un ever attempts to fire on the United States, he hopefully knows that North Korea will be nothing but smoldering ash in less than half an hour.
2. Even a madman can understand MAD. His hubris and brutality toward his people and own family certainly indicate some serious paranoid sociopathic tendencies, but I pray he also has, deep in his hypothalamus, a strong animal instinct for survival. Un could be truly “un” in a matter of minutes!
So, having lived through the hair-trigger tension of the Cold War with the Cuban missile crisis, nuclear-attack drills in school and Civil Defense films at church carry-in dinners, I’m pretty confident that MAD will rein in a madman.
© Copyright 2017 James N. Watkins
Photo from North Korean news media