With President Trump openly bragging about the US’s nuclear arsenal and promising “fire and fury” again North Korea as the tiny dictatorship was revealed to possess a huclear weapon, it’s a good time to reflect on what this threat really means.
We spoke to Elisabeth Braw, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank, about the significance of North Korea’s possession of the bomb.
She told Metro the North Korean threat shouldn’t be over-sensationalized, but is certainly a real danger.
Metro: How big of a step is this for North Korea?
Braw: The fact that North Korea has managed to produce even a small nuclear warhead is a major coup for the regime, as making the leap from assembling the material to making the bomb is very difficult.
Is the US at risk?
The US doesn’t need to worry about a North Korean nuclear attack on California, as that would be too much of a stretch for North Korean missiles, but it does have to worry about an attack on Japan or South Korea.
How dangerous is the North Korean weapon?
This is a relatively small bomb – nothing like the bombs that the official nuclear weapons states (US, Russia, UK, France, China) possess, and it’s not even on the same level as the arsenals that the non-official nuclear weapons states (India, Pakistan, Israel) have.
What does this mean for the world?
This shows how far the world has come from Barack Obama’s 2009 Prague speech, when he made the case for abolition of nuclear weapons.