The First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)


‘Limited’ Nuclear Strikes Could Still Wreak Climate Havoc
Image: National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office Photo Library/Wikimedia Commons
George Dvorsky
With the Cold War a fading memory, some nuclear powers have adopted strategies allowing for limited nuclear strikes. But a disturbing new study shows that even small batches of nukes can have disastrous environmental consequences on a global scale.
In the 1980s, experts warned of a nuclear winter—a severe and protracted global cooling event triggered by an all-out nuclear war. A new study published in Environment Magazine warns that a scaled down version of a nuclear winter is still possible through the application of limited nuclear strikes, and that these so-called “nuclear autumns” could be caused by as few as five conventional nuclear bombs—and possibly even just one. The paper is a grim wakeup call for military planners who think small batches of nukes won’t result in severe environmental consequences.
Back during the Cold War, with the globe basically divided into two hostile camps, our civilization faced the threat of an all-out, Armageddon-inducing nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. The prospect of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), it can be argued, prevented such a horrendous conflagration from transpiring.
But we no longer live in a bipolar world, and some nuclear powers are starting to adopt tactical doctrines that allow for limited nuclear strikes and the first use of nuclear weapons. The Russians, for example, have said they’d use limited nukes to deter or end conventional wars. The US, perhaps bound by its NATO obligations, might decide to use limited nukes when defending an ally. Alternately, it could drop a bomb or two on a country following a biological or chemical attack, or as a way to bring a“rogue” state under control.
A weird sort of complacency appears to have settled in as regards the limited use of nukes, but Adam Liska and his colleagues from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are hoping to crush any illusions we might have about these horrific weapons.
With the help of Robert Oglesby, a professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences, and Eric Holley, an expert in use of natural resources, Liska analyzed publically available data on 19 types of weapons held by five major nuclear powers: the USA, Russia, China, the UK, and France. With this information, the researchers then calculated how many bombs in each category of strength would be sufficient to trigger a nuclear autumn, also known as a “nuclear drought.”
As previous work has pointed out, the nuking of a sufficiently large city would be enough to generate a global-scale nuclear autumn. Take Los Angeles, for example, a city that extends for 500 square miles. The explosion and resulting fires would send an estimated 5.5 million tons of ash and soot into the stratosphere, causing sunlight, temperatures, and rainfall to temporarily decrease around the world. Globally, this would result in diminished growing seasons for the next half-decade, and temperatures would be the lowest in a thousand years. In some parts of the world, rainfall would be down by as much as 80 percent.
But unlike this earlier work, which focused on relatively small, 15-kiloton nukes exploding over cities, the new study looked at whether today’s more powerful weapons could trigger nuclear autumn all on their own. They can. Liska and his colleagues found that the US, Russia, and China all have weapons that could trigger a nuclear autumn through the detonation of fewer than five bombs. This includes nuclear warheads placed atop air-dropped bombs, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and land-based missiles. Frighteningly, China—with its five megaton bombs—could cause a nuclear autumn with the launch of a single missile.
“As long as conventional nuclear weapons are prevalent, the breadth of existing research indicates that the question is not whether a nuclear drought can occur, but what factors increase its probability of occurring and what actions can be taken to mitigate the potentially devastating global impacts,” conclude the authors in the study.
This may be more than a depressing thought-exercise. With North Korea now apparently in the possession of intercontinental ballistic missiles, and with international relations steadily degrading among the various nation states of the world, the prospect of a country opting to use its nukes is only increasing.
On a positive note, a global treaty was signed last week that could eventually lead to the decommissioning of all nuclear weapons and forever prohibit their use. Called the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, it provides a path for nuclear powers to join in. But will they?

The Nuclear Reality of North Korea and Iran

North KoreaJohn Bolton: Every Time You Hear North Korea Think of Iran

by John Hayward6 Jul 2017585

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton talked about North Korea’s Fourth of July missile test launch on Thursday’s edition of Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow.

Bolton said intercontinental ballistic missiles are a goal North Korea has been working towards since the early 1990s, as part of the outlaw regime’s quest for “deliverable nuclear weapons,” but it was still surprising to many observers that a missile with true intercontinental capability was successfully launched this week.
“It’s capable of hitting Alaska. It can’t hit the Lower 48 yet, but that’s only a matter of time,” he said. “The only other thing we need to find out, and I don’t want to be on the receiving end of it, is whether North Korea has miniaturized its nuclear devices – of which it’s already detonated five – to the point they can put it under an ICBM nose cone.”
“I’ve been talking about this for 20 years, and so have many other people. And yet, for the last three U.S. administrations – eight years of Clinton, eight years of Bush, eight years of Obama – people have tried to negotiate with North Korea to talk them out of their nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. It’s failed consistently for 25 years,” he said.
“That’s why Trump has inherited this mess. The issue is whether he can find a way out of it, or whether he succumbs to what I know the State Department, and much of the Defense Department, and much of the intelligence community are telling him: just keep doing what we’ve been doing before. Because that will result in a nuclear North Korea,” Bolton warned.
“And by the way, you can already see the mainstream media and academia preparing us to live in a world where North Korea has nuclear weapons,” he added, citing a New York Times op-ed to that effect from Wednesday.
Bolton judged that Japan would continue to be a reliable ally against North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, since the Japanese are well aware their cities lie within range of North Korea’s missiles. On the other hand, he said “all of the evidence points to China and Russia as, at best, turning a blind eye to what the North has been up to, and more likely facilitating the North’s nuclear and missile programs.”
He said his support from China and Russia was kept low-profile to avoid sanctions, but there was no way to conceal that China supplies North Korea with much of its oil and food, giving Beijing more than enough leverage to halt Pyongyang’s nuclear missile program if it truly wanted to.
“China is playing a double game. They say they don’t want the North Koreans to have nuclear weapons but they haven’t shut it down,” Bolton charged. “It’s a very dangerous situation. Nobody should underestimate it.”
“One other point I would make: Every time you hear the words ‘North Korea,’ think of the word ‘Iran,’” he added. “Because whatever North Korea can do, Iran can do the next day by sending them a check in the appropriate amount. We have stovepiped these two nuclear proliferation threats for a very long time. We need to stop doing that because every day that goes by brings us closer to the day when one or both of them can hit the United States.”
Bolton cited North Korea’s five known nuclear test detonations, and its successful test of ballistic missile technology, to say it is a “more imminent threat” than Iran, but stressed that North Korea and Iran have been working “extremely closely on ballistic missiles” since the Nineties, “and there’s every reason to think they have worked extremely closely on the nuclear program as well.”
“It wouldn’t surprise me if a big chunk of Iran’s uranium enrichment program is not in Iran, where we know where it is, but under a mountain in North Korea,” he said. “We have very poor intelligence on North Korea, so it’s a big advantage for Iran to work with them.”
“When the Israelis destroyed that reactor in Syria in September 2007, it was being built by North Koreans,” he recalled. “Well, who paid for that? North Korea doesn’t do anything for free. I doubt that Syria had the resources to do it. Quite likely it was Iran. When that reactor was found by the Israelis and destroyed, the lesson I think to Iran was, ‘Build it someplace where the Israelis can’t find it.’ That’s why they may well have turned to North Korea.”
Bolton noted that U.S. and South Korean military officials have been warning for the past year that North Korea was on the verge of developing missiles that could hit the West Coast of the United States, perhaps as early as 2018.
“In public testimony three or four months ago now, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command told Congress that the only thing he had any doubt about was whether North Korea had fully conquered the miniaturization tasks to take a nuclear device and make it small enough to put under an ICBM nose cone. So even just three or four months ago, he didn’t have any doubt about the range,” he noted.
“There are a lot of other technical steps to overcome here. You can put the nose cone and the warhead up, you can bring it back down, but it’s a pretty rocky ride. You have to make sure that the warhead will detonate at the appropriate time,” he explained.
“We don’t know whether the North has mastered that technology, but I would be very cautious about intelligence that says they can’t do this, and they can’t do that, and they can’t do the other thing, because the first American reaction to this launch was ‘it was an intermediate range ballistic missile, not an ICBM,” and we were wrong. And we didn’t detect this one before the launch. I think we’ve had enough lessons in intelligence being imperfect,” he said.
“Don’t count on our lack of knowledge meaning that the North doesn’t have the capability,” he advised. “They may well have the capability. We may simply not have detected it.”
John Bolton is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and head of his own political action committee, BoltonPAC.

The Sixth Seal: Real Risk, Few Precautions (Revelation 6:12)

Eastern Quakes: Real Risk, Few Precautions

1989 San Francisco Earthquake

1989 San Francisco Earthquake
By WILLIAM K. STEVENS
Published: October 24, 1989
AN EARTHQUAKE as powerful as the one that struck northern California last week could occur almost anywhere along the East Coast, experts say. And if it did, it would probably cause far more destruction than the West Coast quake.
The chances of such an occurrence are much less in the East than on the West Coast. Geologic stresses in the East build up only a hundredth to a thousandth as fast as in California, and this means that big Eastern quakes are far less frequent. Scientists do not really know what the interval between them might be, nor are the deeper-lying geologic faults that cause them as accessible to study. So seismologists are at a loss to predict when or where they will strike.
But they do know that a temblor with a magnitude estimated at 7 on the Richter scale – about the same magnitude as last week’s California quake – devastated Charleston, S.C., in 1886. And after more than a decade of study, they also know that geologic structures similar to those that caused the Charleston quake exist all along the Eastern Seaboard.
For this reason, ”we can’t preclude that a Charleston-sized earthquake might occur anywhere along the East Coast,” said David Russ, the assistant chief geologist of the United States Geological Survey in Reston, Va. ”It could occur in Washington. It could occur in New York.”
If that happens, many experts agree, the impact will probably be much greater than in California. Easterners, unlike Californians, have paid very little attention to making buildings and other structures earthquake-proof or earthquake-resistant. ”We don’t have that mentality here on the East Coast,” said Robert Silman, a New York structural engineer whose firm has worked on 3,800 buildings in the metropolitan area.
Moreover, buildings, highways, bridges, water and sewer systems and communications networks in the East are all older than in the West and consequently more vulnerable to damage. Even under normal conditions, for instance, water mains routinely rupture in New York City.
The result, said Dr. John Ebel, a geophysicist who is the assistant director of Boston College’s Weston Observatory, is that damage in the East would probably be more widespread, more people could be hurt and killed, depending on circumstances like time of day, and ”it would probably take a lot longer to get these cities back to useful operating levels.”
On top of this, scientists say, an earthquake in the East can shake an area 100 times larger than a quake of the same magnitude in California. This is because the earth’s crust is older, colder and more brittle in the East and tends to transmit seismic energy more efficiently. ”If you had a magnitude 7 earthquake and you put it halfway between New York City and Boston,” Dr. Ebel said, ”you would have the potential of doing damage in both places,” not to mention cities like Hartford and Providence.
Few studies have been done of Eastern cities’ vulnerability to earthquakes. But one, published last June in The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, calculated the effects on New York City of a magnitude 6 earthquake. That is one-tenth the magnitude of last week’s California quake, but about the same as the Whittier, Calif., quake two years ago.
The study found that such an earthquake centered 17 miles southeast of City Hall, off Rockaway Beach, would cause $11 billion in damage to buildings and start 130 fires. By comparison, preliminary estimates place the damage in last week’s California disaster at $4 billion to $10 billion. If the quake’s epicenter were 11 miles southeast of City Hall, the study found, there would be about $18 billion in damage; if 5 miles, about $25 billion.
No estimates on injuries or loss of life were made. But a magnitude 6 earthquake ”would probably be a disaster unparalleled in New York history,” wrote the authors of the study, Charles Scawthorn and Stephen K. Harris of EQE Engineering in San Francisco.
The study was financed by the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The research and education center, supported by the National Science Foundation and New York State, was established in 1986 to help reduce damage and loss of life from earthquakes.
The study’s postulated epicenter of 17 miles southeast of City Hall was the location of the strongest quake to strike New York since it has been settled, a magnitude 5 temblor on Aug. 10, 1884. That 1884 quake rattled bottles and crockery in Manhattan and frightened New Yorkers, but caused little damage. Seismologists say a quake of that order is likely to occur within 50 miles of New York City every 300 years. Quakes of magnitude 5 are not rare in the East. The major earthquake zone in the eastern half of the country is the central Mississippi Valley, where a huge underground rift causes frequent geologic dislocations and small temblors. The most powerful quake ever known to strike the United States occurred at New Madrid, Mo., in 1812. It was later estimated at magnitude 8.7 and was one of three quakes to strike that area in 1811-12, all of them stronger than magnitude 8. They were felt as far away as Washington, where they rattled chandeliers, Boston and Quebec.

Because the New Madrid rift is so active, it has been well studied, and scientists have been able to come up with predictions for the central Mississippi valley, which includes St. Louis and Memphis. According to Dr. Russ, there is a 40 to 63 percent chance that a quake of magnitude 6 will strike that area between now and the year 2000, and an 86 to 97 percent chance that it will do so by 2035. The Federal geologists say there is a 1 percent chance or less of a quake greater than magnitude 7 by 2000, and a 4 percent chance or less by 2035.
Elsewhere in the East, scientists are limited in their knowledge of probabilities partly because faults that could cause big earthquakes are buried deeper in the earth’s crust. In contrast to California, where the boundary between two major tectonic plates creates the San Andreas and related faults, the eastern United States lies in the middle of a major tectonic plate. Its faults are far less obvious, their activity far more subtle, and their slippage far slower. 
Any large earthquake would be ”vastly more serious” in the older cities of the East than in California, said Dr. Tsu T. Soong, a professor of civil engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo who is a researcher in earthquake-mitigation technology at the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. First, he said, many buildings are simply older, and therefore weaker and more vulnerable to collapse. Second, there is no seismic construction code in most of the East as there is in California, where such codes have been in place for decades.
The vulnerability is evident in many ways. ”I’m sitting here looking out my window,” said Mr. Silman, the structural engineer in New York, ”and I see a bunch of water tanks all over the place” on rooftops. ”They are not anchored down at all, and it’s very possible they would fall in an earthquake.”
Buildings of reinforced masonry, reinforced concrete and steel would hold up much better, engineers say, and wooden structures are considered intrinsically tough in ordinary circumstances. The best performers, they say, would probably be skyscrapers built in the last 20 years. As Mr. Silman explained, they have been built to withstand high winds, and the same structural features that enable them to do so also help them resist an earthquake’s force. But even these new towers have not been provided with the seismic protections required in California and so are more vulnerable than similar structures on the West Coast.
Buildings in New York are not generally constructed with such seismic protections as base-isolated structures, in which the building is allowed to shift with the ground movement; or with flexible frames that absorb and distribute energy through columns and beams so that floors can flex from side to side, or with reinforced frames that help resist distortion.
”If you’re trying to make a building ductile – able to absorb energy – we’re not geared to think that way,” said Mr. Silman.
New York buildings also contain a lot of decorative stonework, which can be dislodged and turned into lethal missiles by an earthquake. In California, building codes strictly regulate such architectural details.
Manhattan does, however, have at least one mitigating factor: ”We are blessed with this bedrock island,” said Mr. Silman. ”That should work to our benefit; we don’t have shifting soils. But there are plenty of places that are problem areas, particularly the shoreline areas,” where landfills make the ground soft and unstable.
As scientists have learned more about geologic faults in the Northeast, the nation’s uniform building code – the basic, minimum code followed throughout the country – has been revised accordingly. Until recently, the code required newly constructed buildings in New York City to withstand at least 19 percent of the side-to-side seismic force that a comparable building in the seismically active areas of California must handle. Now the threshold has been raised to 25 percent.
New York City, for the first time, is moving to adopt seismic standards as part of its own building code. Local and state building codes can and do go beyond the national code. Charles M. Smith Jr., the city Building Commissioner, last spring formed a committee of scientists, engineers, architects and government officials to recommend the changes.
”They all agree that New York City should anticipate an earthquake,” Mr. Smith said. As to how big an earthquake, ”I don’t think anybody would bet on a magnitude greater than 6.5,” he said. ”I don’t know,” he added, ”that our committee will go so far as to acknowledge” the damage levels in the Scawthorn-Harris study, characterizing it as ”not without controversy.”
For the most part, neither New York nor any other Eastern city has done a detailed survey of just how individual buildings and other structures would be affected, and how or whether to modify them.
”The thing I think is needed in the East is a program to investigate all the bridges” to see how they would stand up to various magnitudes of earthquake,” said Bill Geyer, the executive vice president of the New York engineering firm of Steinman, Boynton, Gronquist and Birdsall, which is rehabilitating the cable on the Williamsburg Bridge. ”No one has gone through and done any analysis of the existing bridges.”
In general, he said, the large suspension bridges, by their nature, ”are not susceptible to the magnitude of earthquake you’d expect in the East.” But the approaches and side spans of some of them might be, he said, and only a bridge-by-bridge analysis would tell. Nor, experts say, are some elevated highways in New York designed with the flexibility and ability to accommodate motion that would enable them to withstand a big temblor.
Tunnels Vulnerable
The underground tunnels that carry travelers under the rivers into Manhattan, those that contain the subways and those that carry water, sewers and natural gas would all be vulnerable to rupture, engineers say. The Lincoln, Holland, PATH and Amtrak tunnels, for instance, go from bedrock in Manhattan to soft soil under the Hudson River to bedrock again in New Jersey, said Mark Carter, a partner in Raamot Associates, geotechnical engineers specializing in soils and foundations.
Likewise, he said, subway tunnels between Manhattan and Queens go from hard rock to soft soil to hard rock on Roosevelt Island, to soft soil again and back to rock. The boundaries between soft soil and rock are points of weakness, he said.
”These structures are old,” he said, ”and as far as I know they have not been designed for earthquake loadings.”
Even if it is possible to survey all major buildings and facilities to determine what corrections can be made, cities like New York would then face a major decision: Is it worth spending the money to modify buildings and other structures to cope with a quake that might or might not come in 100, or 200 300 years or more?
”That is a classical problem” in risk-benefit analysis, said Dr. George Lee, the acting director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center in Buffalo. As more is learned about Eastern earthquakes, he said, it should become ”possible to talk about decision-making.” But for now, he said, ”I think it’s premature for us to consider that question.”

India Prepares For Chinese Nuclear Horn

India modernising its nuclear arsenal with eye on China instead of Pakistan: US nuclear experts

By: PTI | Washington | Updated: July 13, 2017 11:03 am

India Nuclear, India nuclear arsenal, atomic arsenal, India, China, Pakistan, Sikkim, US nuclear experts, After Midnight, World news, Indian Express news
India’s nuclear strategy, which has traditionally focused on Pakistan, now appears to place increased emphasis on China, the two experts claimed. (File photo)India continues to modernise its atomic arsenal with an eye on China and the country’s nuclear strategy which traditionally focused on Pakistan now appears to place increased emphasis on the Communist giant, two top American nuclear experts have said. An article published in the July-August issue of the digital journal ‘After Midnight’ has also claimed that India is now developing a missile which can target all of China from its bases in South India.

India is estimated to have produced enough plutonium for 150–200 nuclear warheads but has likely produced only 120–130, wrote Hans M Kristensen and Robert S Norris in the article-“Indian nuclear forces 2017″. India’s nuclear strategy, which has traditionally focused on Pakistan, now appears to place increased emphasis on China, the two experts claimed. While India has traditionally been focused on deterring Pakistan, its nuclear modernisation indicates that it is putting increased emphasis on its future strategic relationship with China,” they wrote.
“That adjustment will result in significantly new capabilities being deployed over the next decade that may influence how India views nuclear weapons’ role against Pakistan,” they said.
Noting that India continues to modernise its nuclear arsenal with development of several new nuclear weapon systems, the two experts estimate that New Delhi currently operates seven nuclear-capable systems: two aircraft, four land-based ballistic missiles, and one sea-based ballistic missile. “At least four more systems are in development. The development program is in a dynamic phase, with long-range land- and sea-based missiles emerging for possible deployment within the next decade,” it said.
India is estimated to have produced approximately 600 kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium, sufficient for 150–200 nuclear warheads; however, not all the material has been converted into nuclear warheads, it said. Based on available information about its nuclear-capable delivery force structure and strategy, we estimate that India has produced 120–130 nuclear warheads, the article said adding that the country will need more warheads to arm the new missiles it is currently developing.
Kristensen and Norris said that the two-stage, solid-fuel, rail-mobile Agni-2, an improvement on the Agni-1, which can deliver a nuclear or conventional warhead more than 2,000 kilometres is probably targeted on western, central, and southern China. Although the Agni-4 will be capable of striking targets in nearly all of China from northeastern India (including Beijing and Shanghai), India is also developing the longer-range Agni-5, a three-stage, solid-fuel, rail-mobile, near-intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a warhead more than 5,000 kilometres (3,100-plus miles), it said.
“The extra range will allow the Indian military to establish Agni-5 bases in central and southern India, further away from China,” the research article said.

Iranian nuclear weapons closer to reality

ANALYSIS/OPINION:
North Korea recently test-launched a long-range missile capable of reaching Alaska.
When North Korea eventually builds a missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, it will double down on its well-known shakedown of feigning indifference to American deterrence while promising to take out Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle unless massive aid is delivered to Pyongyang.
Kim Jong-un rightly assumes that wealthy Western nations would prefer to pay bribe money than suffer the loss of a city — and that they have plenty of cash for such concessions. He is right that the medicine of taking out Mr. Kim’s missiles is considered by Western strategists to be even worse than the disease of living with a lunatic regime that has nukes.
No wonder that the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations had few answers to serial North Korean lying and deceit about its nuclear intentions.
Sanctions were eventually dropped or watered down either on reports of the mass starvation of innocent North Korean civilians or on false promises of better North Korean behavior.
China publicly promised to help reign in its unhinged client while privately doing nothing. Apparently, Beijing found a rabid North Korean government useful in bothering rivals such as the Japanese and South Koreans while keeping the United States off balance in Asia and the Pacific. The dynamic economies and pacifism of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were taken for granted by China as easy targets for coercion and blackmail.
Russia is never any help. Under President Vladimir Putin, Russian foreign policy is reductive: Whatever causes the United States and its allies a major headache is by definition welcomed.
There seems to be zero chance of a North Korean coup or a Chinese intervention to remove Mr. Kim. The brainwashed North Korean population is cut off from global news and knows nothing other than three generations of Kim family dictators. The military junta that surrounds Mr. Kim is likely as aggressive as its leader. These functionaries see his survival as the only guarantee of their own privilege and influence.
A preemptory strike might not get all of North Korea’s nuclear missiles and could prompt a conventional response that would wreck nearby Seoul — a scenario about which North Korean openly brags.
Pyongyang believes that only the Israelis are wild enough to preempt and bomb neighboring nuclear facilities, as they did in 1981 against Iraq and again in 2007 against Syria. And yet Israel attacked only because neither Iraq nor Syria had created deterrence by possession of a single deliverable nuclear weapon.
What are the bad choices for the Western alliance in defanging North Korea before it miscalculates and sends a missile that prompts a war?
Sanctions have in the past crippled Pyongyang. But this time around they should not be lifted despite the prospect of ensuing chaos in North Korea. It may be tragic that a captive population suffers for the lunacy of its leader, but such misery is still preferable to an all-out war.
Nor should China be exempt from accompanying stiff trade restrictions. Almost every weapon component in the hands of North Korea either came directly from China or was purchased by cash earned through Chinese trade and remittances. Certainly, China would not allow South Korea to send missiles its way along with promises of nuking Beijing while the U.S. kept still about the provocation.
Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States need to coordinate a massive missile defense project aimed at ending North Korean assumptions that even one of its missiles has a chance to reach its intended target. Such a Marshall Plan-like investment would also send a message to China that its own nuclear deterrent could be compromised and nullified by the defensive efforts of its immediate neighbors. China has made life difficult for the U.S. and its Asian allies, and it should learn that the allies could make things even more problematic for China.
None of our allies in Asia and the Pacific wish to develop nuclear weapons, both for historic and economic reasons. But the United States should inform Russia and China that allied democracies in the region may choose to develop a nuclear deterrent to stop North Korean antics — a development that would prove disastrous to both Russian and Chinese strategic planning.
Asia is already a dangerous place, with both Indian and Pakistani nuclear missiles and a likely nuclear Iran in the not-so-distant future. Do Moscow and Beijing wish to add three or four more nuclear powers near their borders?
The current danger is not just limited to North Korea. Iran, a beneficiary of North Korean nuclear assistance, is watching how far Mr. Kim can go. It will certainly make the necessary strategic adjustments if he succeeds in shaking down the Western world.
We are nearing an existential showdown, as failed efforts at bribery and appeasement have run their course.
Only a tough, messy confrontation now can prevent a disastrous war later on.

• Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.