North Korea’s nuclear strike capability has likely crossed a point of no return. The Defense Intelligence Agency estimates that Pyongyang can fit nuclear warheads on long-range missiles that can reach U.S. territory, and that the Kim regime may possess up to sixty nuclear weapons, which reifies the alternative pathways for North Korean policy.
The first and most probable pathway is a further intensification of protracted tension in the form of a Cold War.
Verbal volleys are being exchanged rapidly. President Donald Trump was swift to follow up the alarming intelligence report with an equally menacing statement of his own. Threats from Kim, promised President Trump, would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Meanwhile, Kim has said he might strike the U.S. territory of Guam from which strategic bombers have conducted missions on the peninsula. Then, on Thursday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis echoed the president’s warning in a written statement in which he said North Korea must “stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
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