What would be the response to a North Korean Nuclear attack on Alaska?

Let’s assume North Korea, in an attempt to show up the United States, launches a nuclear weapon at an unihabitated (or extremely sparsely populated) part of Alaska. What type of options would the United States have? An immediate land invasion by US forces across the 38th parallel? A retaliatory nuclear strike upon North Korea? How would the Chinese, Russians, and Japanese react?

I believe China would advise the US that a nuclear strike on North Korea would be considered an act of war against China. The Russians and the Japanese would also strongly urge the US to reconsider any nuclear attacks.

I’m sure it wouldn’t take long to mobilize US and South Korean troops on the Korean Peninsula. I’m not sure they would be able to invade and occupy North Korea without a serious loss of life. As the US military is streched painfully thin, I wonder if air strikes would be a reasonable option?

Perhaps the North Atlantic Council would invoke article 5 of the NATO charter. Could the combined forces of NATO sucessfully invade and occupy North Korea while keeping Russia and China out? The Germans and the French might have more pull with Russia and China than the US does today.

Well, the all I know is, after the DPRK gets overrun, it would probably be able to live upto its name it paraded around all these years.

I don’t see that it’s a scenario that can be understood fully. It’s like asking “What is Al Qaeda set off a dirty bomb in the middle of the Australian outback?” It’s so far removed from anything that would actually happen, that it’s hard to predict why it would occur, or what the response would be.

If that’s supposed to be a pithy observation on the misuse of the word ‘democratic’, then you’re a few decades too late. If it’s not, then, …???..

It is actually discussed as a scenario. Here here here and here for a few examples. The first site is kinda tinfoil hat way out there.

Googling North Korean attack Alaska nuclear and other combinations show hypothetical situations.

They’d live under the rule of South Korea, and enjoy democracy. Something that northern part of the region has never experienced even though its national name included it.

You miss my point entirely. ‘Democratic’ has been misused by Soviet-influenced states throughout their history. There’s nothing to be gained by highlighting N Korea’s autocratic status.

Must you nitpick everything I say, it was a lighthearted joke. Jeez.

Why on Earth would NK, or anybody else, launch a nuclear attack on Alaska?

Okay, I’ll bite.

A North Korean attack on U.S. soil would be met with a swift, decisive and crushing military response, for the simple reason that the U.S. commander in chief and military command would be concerned that the North Korean government–having crossed the nuclear chasm–would be preparing to launch additional nukes that might target not Alaskan wilderness, but instead Anchorage, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, or Seattle. The U.S. command would therefore recommend the immediate neutralization of North Korea’s remaining nuclear forces.

Given that the NK military are likely to have hardened nuclear bunkers–and given the time needed to mobilize a conventional attack force to attack several suspected sites–my guess is that POTUS would authorize a nuclear strike on the suspected sites, knowing that negotiation is impossible with an irrational, possibly suicidal/homicidal, madman. The U.S. president would attack not just to neutralize NK’s remaining nuclear forces, but also as a message to other rogue states that the U.S. is not a paper tiger.

All bets are off as to whether the attack would set off a regional conflagration.

For the record, I think the ‘nuke the boonies of Alaska’ scenario is extremely unlikely. Popping a nuke at an enemy that can completely annihilate you and then bounce the rubble, all within half an hour, seems sorta goofy, ya know? But what the hell:

The details of the response aside, the end result would be the end of the DPRK. The details of how that would be achieved are up for speculation, but I don’t think harsh words from China or Russia would do much to deter us. (Hey, we were just nuked. Remind that we still have enough to play MAD with both of them.) I really doubt that China is going to lose it’s largest export market over North Korea. Times, they have 'a changed since 1950.

Also, I wouldn’t expect much help from NATO, outside of Great Britain. Of course, protecting South Korea is a United Nations affair, hahahaha, but I wouldn’t imagine that any nations, outside of our allies, would be tripping over themselves to go into North Korea.

Well, like Brutus and others I find the scenerio highly unlikely. I seriously doubt NK would use any of their nukes (even assuming they actually have a working delivery system) first against any foe.

That said, I’ll bite too. If NK popped a nuke in Alaska and wacked a few carabou, I’d say the US response would be pretty harsh. I don’t think that necessarily means nukes though. Why WOULD we need to resort to nukes when we could basically wipe out NK without them? They are essentially teetering on the bring WITHOUT a war guys. They have almost no power…taking out their power infrastructure would be childs play. They are CURRENTLY starving without outside aid. We’d inflict a lot more civilian casualties (if that was the goal) by simply stopping food shipments into NK. As they are crippled BEFORE a war, all we’d have to do is hit them with a feather to push them over into complete collapse…and a few carrier battle groups, as well as air craft out of South Korea and Japan would be substantially more than a feather.

In short, NK would be cutting their own throat to do such a thing in their current state. They get a lot more milage out of LOOKING crazy than actually BEING crazy.


A rather technical question: would it even be physically possible to nuke NK thoroughly enough to destroy its nuclear arms, without destroying much or most of SK, the Chinese border area with NK, and Japan – either through firestorms, shockwaves, fallout, or electromagnetic pulse (which destroys electronics)?

Not that a nuclear retaliation wouldn’t be called for. It might well be the best response, given the OP situation. The worst-case scenario would be NK using its nukes against its neighbors (assuming their longest-range missiles aren’t really ready yet to be used against the continental U.S.).

Resounding silence on the Korean peninsula.

I assume that we all know that the real danger is that North Korea will start selling nukes to our enemies.

I am also sure that our people have talked to China, Japan and Russia (among others) concerning what would happen if North Korea bombed the U.S., China, India or Australia. We really don’t need to know about these types of discussions.

To answer the OP, just think SHOCK & AWE this time for real. :eek:

Very unlikely, but one thing to remember is that IF North Korea did this, you can be pretty much guaranteed that they have another. The only purpose for an attack like that on uninhabited land would be as a demonstration prepatory to nuclear blackmail.

So the question isn’t, “Would the U.S. invade North Korea?”, but "How would the U.S. respond if it’s told that any aggression whatsoever will be met with nuclear missiles being fired at Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago?

The North Koreans may not have a missile capable of hitting targets that far into the U.S. now, but they’re working feverishly on new designs.

I think if, in the current political clime, North Korea iniated an unprovoked nuclear conflict with the US, our bombers wouldn’t have time to get off the ground before everything North of the DMZ is bombed flat by Russia and China themselves. That sort of crazy is just as dangerous to allies as it is to enemies. The Russians in particular are going to remember the lesson Hitler taught them about the value of treaties with psychotics.

Dude, I’ve always thought you were pretty reasonable. But this is giving me doubts.

If Kim Jong Mentally-Ill were to launch ANYTHING toward the US, do you honestly think we’d wait for Russia or China to give us the go-ahead?!? Seriously, that’s a question I’m asking you.

Russia hasn’t the money to stand up to us as they did in the '70s. And China? They’re hoping we handle them so they don’t have to. China doesn’t want to side with N. Korea knowing it will alienate them from the US. The same would go for Russia. And China and Russia would also be threatened by a rogue despot.

I’d have to say if NK launched a nuclear weapon to the US, they would be praying to a newfound God that we went as easy on them as Iraq. Of course, France would object.

I honestly believe the Chinese and the Russians would have strong objections to having nuclear weapons detonated so close to their borders as a response. Remember, the North Korean nuke attack on Alaska would have minimum casualties.

France is a member of NATO who supported the United States after Sept. 11. I believe they would be an ally of the United States should the proposed North Korean attack take place. I’m not sure they would support a nuclear response.

China and Russia wouldn’t like nukes going off next door, but they wouldn’t stop us from doing much else. They’d probably assist in a more conventional military campaign against them as would a fair chunk of the world. Nobody likes a nutjob with poor aim and the bomb.

However, if NK launched a second strike against a neighbor all bets are off.