The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.

A New Korean War Is Not Imminent. Accidental Escalation Might Be

The security situation in the Korean peninsula is going from bad to worse. Bellicose words dominate over words of peace. Changes in military doctrine and posture have accompanied harsh verbal exchanges. Both sides declared each other as the “main enemy.” They adopted a “force-to-force” stance, rendering the present status of inter-Korean relations a frontal confrontation with no exit. Whereas North Korea has been boosting its nuclear and missile capabilities, South Korea has responded in kind by strengthening conventional and extended deterrence against the North, increasing the intensity and frequency of ROK-U.S. joint military exercises and training, and facilitating the deployment of American strategic assets to Korea. At the Central Committee of the Workers Party of Korea (WPK) plenum on December 30, Kim Jong-un said, “The word ‘war’ is already approaching us as a realistic entity, not as an abstract concept.”

Ironically, Kim’s perception of an acute crisis is widely shared. General Mark Milley, the former Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), stated in his interview with Nikkei on July 22, 2023, that “I think that the Korean situation is an area that the United States could—I’m not saying it will, but ‘could’—find itself in a state of war, you know, within a few days, with very little notice.”

Renowned North Korean affairs observers Robert Carlin and Siegfried Hecker have most recently warned that “Kim Jong-un has made a strategic decision to go to war” and advised that Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo must prepare for a worst-case. These alarmist assessments suggest that 2024 could prove to be more dangerous than 2017 when Trump’s “fire and fury” statements toward North Korea frightened South Koreans and the entire world. However, I argue that “war by a premeditated plan” is not imminent. What troubles me most is the potential for accidental military clashes between the two Koreas and the escalation into a limited or full-blown conflict involving nuclear weapons.   

Read more at National Interest

Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.

© 2024 The DEFCON Warning System. Established 1984.

The DEFCON Warning System is a private intelligence organization which has monitored and assessed nuclear threats by national entities since 1984. It is not affiliated with any government agency and does not represent the alert status of any military branch. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning. At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack.