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Chance of nuclear war with North Korea? 10% Conventional war 20-30% – says ex NAT O military chief

Former NATO military chief: there’s a 10% chance of nuclear war with North Korea
And a 20-30% chance of a conventional one. 
Vox  by Retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis spent 37 years in the military, including four years as the supreme allied commander of NATO. Hillary Clinton vetted him as a possible running mate. President-elect Donald Trump considered naming him secretary of state. He is a serious man, and about as far from an armchair pundit as it’s possible to be.

And that’s precisely what makes his assessment of the escalating standoff with North Korea so jarring. Stavridis believes there’s at least a 10 percent chance of a nuclear war between the US and North Korea, and a 20 to 30 percent chance of a conventional, but still bloody, conflict.

“I think we are closer to a significant exchange of ordnance than we have been since the end of the Cold War on the Korean peninsula,” he said during a panel I moderated Tuesday at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House.

His estimate of the potential death toll from even a nonnuclear war with North Korea is just as striking. North Korea has at least 11,000 artillery pieces trained on Seoul, South Korea’s capital of 25 million people, and would be certain to use them during any conflict. The US would be just as certain to mount a sustained bombing campaign to destroy those artillery pieces as quickly as possible.

The result? “It’s hard for me to see less than 500,000 to 1 million people, and I think that’s a conservative estimate,” he said.

Remember: That’s assuming North Korea doesn’t use its arsenal of nuclear weapons, which can already hit Seoul and much of Japan.

Speaking at the same event, Michèle Flournoy, formerly the No. 3 official at the Pentagon in the Obama administration, said Trump’s harsh rhetoric toward Pyongyang — which has included deriding North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “Little Rocket Man” — created the real risk of an accidental war between the two countries.

“My worry is that all of this heated rhetoric has really charged the environment so that it’s much more likely now that one side or the other will misread what was intended as a show of commitment or a show of force,” she said. “It could be the basis of a miscalculation that actually starts a war that wasn’t intended at that moment.”…….

Here’s why the odds of war with North Korea are rising

Both Stavridis and Flournoy see Kim as a fundamentally rational leader whose overriding goals are to ensure the survival of his regime and his personal control over North Korea. Nuclear weapons, in Flournoy’s words, are “the ace that he could play if there was a conflict to say, ‘Stop, you’re not going to take me out without risking nuclear war.’”

Stavridis stressed on the panel that the odds were still against an open military conflict with North Korea, let alone nuclear war. But he also made clear that both were definitely possible — and that the odds were rising……..


September 29, 2017 - Posted by | EUROPE, North Korea, politics international, weapons and war

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