Research Paper ?It’s becoming increasingly difficult to engage ourselves as Americans with popular media sources and avoid the ever-growing headlines of the rogue state of North Korea, and all the dangers and risks that its leader, Kim Jong-un, poses to ourentire nation.
Each day, tensions between the United States of America and North Korea continue to rise to an unprecedented high and inch both nations closer to a level that was thought to be previously unthinkable. President Donald Trump has made it very clear to all Americans, as well as the rest of the world, that he will take military action if necessary to prevent North Korea from refining their nuclear program to a level that would merit them with a nuclear capable ICBM (inter-continental ballistic missile) that could reach the United States. With each passing day and each increasingly shocking news story, I’ve began to wonder if war between the United States and North Korea is an inevitable fate that we as American’s should begin to accept.While I have my own personal opinions on this topic, I consistently felt that there was a lapse of broadcasted information that pertained to what the potential effects of a nuclear war would mean for civilization in its entirety. I chose to plan a research paper that would allow me to discover, interpret,and present the facts of what war between the two countries would result in and potentially look like, not just from a perspective as an American, but from a broader sense. My goal of this paper is to present factual, reputable evidence of why the United States should avoid war with North Korea due to thepotentially catastrophic results on the global economy, humanitarian issues, and the environment. ?From a black and white perspective, war can be excruciating expensive. The direct costs involved are often the smallest, but in comparison, the indirect costs that can be residual for generations after a war, can be insurmountable.
A nation must first plan and prepare, wage the war, and then recover from the mounted expenses resulting from a multitude of factors. These include aiding civilians that were harmed and displaced, to the generational ripple of human factors and social issues that will span lifetimes. It’s nearly impossible to put a tangible and accurate number on these costs, but the Watson Institute of Brown University has been tracking an ongoing initiative to consider these variables. They’ve accounted that from the last four major military events the U.
S. has participated in (Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan) and including the cost-to-date of Homeland Security, the United States has spent $4.79 trillion dollars attributed to the costs of war (Crawford). It’s hard to visualize a sum of money that large, as in most American’s eyes, one million seems extraordinary. In comparison, with only a quarter of that expense, you could put every three to four-year-old in America through pre-school, pay for universal healthcare throughout the nation, and still have about 20% of your money left; and then repeat it three more times (Congressional Budget Office). The Costs of War project goes even further to state that:…wars costs tens of thousands of jobs, affect the ability of the US to invest in infrastructure and lead to increased interest costs on borrowing, not to mention greater overall federal indebtedness which in turn slows GDP growth and technology from a macroeconomic standpoint. (Crawford)?While considering all factors of a nuclear war, pushing aside the direct costs that the U.S.
would be forced to absorb, if North Korea was to execute an attack against the United States, it’s a favorable strategy to attack our nearest ally, South Korea, as well. A disruption of South Korea’s industry alone would cost the global economy upwards of $350 billion (Lyons). This increase in costs would be found in everything from car manufacturers to Apple’s production of its iPhones. With potential chaos looming within South Korea, it’s inevitable that the chaos would continue to ripple throughout the Korean Peninsula and over to its neighbor, China.
The economic relationship that China shares with North Korea is larger than any other nation, with a staggering capitalization of 85% of both imports and exports (Schoen). In a potential U.S. versus North Korean standoff, China would lose a major revenue source affecting its own GDP, and would likely cut major ties with the U.S.
in terms of trading agreements and industry, greatly affecting what would be an already stressed economy at home.?Aside from the money issues of a war, the humanitarian crisis that would follow would be one that would displace and harm millions, and millions of people. The United Nations issued a report from an investigation of human right violations that were being found internally in North Korea. Aside from a pre-existing crisis that contains political torture camps, famine, and murder just to name a few, the report detailed one important factor that could greatly affect the aftermath of a war; North Korean’s have been brainwashed to idolize the U.S. as evil.
The report quoted a first-hand account from North Korean’s education system:In gym class, there was a wooden target of a human figure with pale skin and a huge nose, with “cunning American wolf” written on it. Lee and her young schoolmates would practice their throwing with a wooden “grenade.” (United Nations)?The reason this statement holds so much power, is this reinforces the fact that history will repeat itself. After the Korean War that the U.
S. was previously involved in, the Kim Jong-un regime gained power by attributing the destruction, economic failure, and crisis left in North Korea by essentially scapegoating the blame towards the U.S.
This allowed the Kim regime to leverage and gain the amount of support it holds, regardless of its controversial activities. If war became a reality, a focal point that the U.S. would rally over would be to implement and re-establish a democracy within the country, as it was with our involvement with Iraq. The culture that the civilians have had broadcasted and instilled within them since the Korean War, would make them incredibly unreceptive and unwilling to take upon the endeavor. Resulting from this, would be a largely negative stigma that would stick with the U.S. for years to come, as most countries feel as if a U.
S. intervention would reinforce how our nation plays the role as a “global police force” and should instead stay out of foreign affairs.?The last supporting argument of my thesis, revolves around a nuclear scenario between the two nations. While war could potentially happen without any nuclear weapons, threats centrally revolve around using ICBM’s and a refined nuclear warhead. The organization Physics Today housed a study using some of the worlds most renowned physicists to look at the direct and indirect effects of a nuclear war on our environment. The summary of their findings begins with a bold statement:….when comparing the direct and indirect effects, aregional war involving 100 Hiroshima-sized weapons would pose a worldwide threat due to ozone destruction and climate change.
A superpower confrontation with a few thousand weapons would be catastrophic. (Brian Toon)?The report builds upon direct casualties from probable conflicts, such as India and Pakistan, and the U.S. and Russia. It outlines how much soot would be released from an all-out 1000 warhead detonation against the U.S.
, which would immediately kill 20% of the population, and indirectly produce “180 Tg of soot” (Brian Toon). While their opening statement seems unsettling, what’s even more unsettling is that the current largest nuclear warhead in possession by a nation (Russia), named the “Tsar Bomba”, is 3,333 times more powerful than the weapon used in Hiroshima (Bennet). This shows that most scientific studies revolve around a scenario that would be essentially, best case.
Aside from the direct casualties and effect a nuclear attack would have, the residual effects are much worse. A 5-Tg injection of soot to a region in the world would reduce the growing season towards a range shorter than ever observed, increase (or decrease) rainfall rates by 40%, and affect stratospheric temperatures by 30 degrees centigrade (Brian Toon). On top of that, a higher soot injection of 10-Tg would cause a direct “nuclear winter” by destroying ozone columns by 50-70% and explode temperatures in the atmosphere by nearly 100 degrees centigrade (Brian Toon). The study ends with the chilling assertion of:The indirect effects associated in a small-scale, region focused nuclear detonation could result in the loss of one to several billions of humans. A global super-power event between two or more nations with over 4400 detonations would likely end humanity as we know it.
(Brian Toon) ?From analyzing the data, facts, and potential catastrophe from the separate elements of a war with North Korea, its clear to me that the U.S. should avoid any military intervention with the nation. Without even considering the consequences of the economic results, or the humanitarian crisis that would proceed, the environmental factors alone enforce how much risk would be involved in a conflict. With North Korea recklessly andbroadly threating to use nuclear weapons if any intervention happened, this situation clearly must be handled more delicately, and not arbitrarily as President Donald Trump has suggested. Whether this means getting more nations involved, more induced sanctions, or encouraging an internal revolution to disband the Kim Regime, military intervention should be used only as a last resort. Works CitedBennet, Jay. “Deadly Nuclear Comparison.
” Scientific Comparison. 2016. Document.Brian Toon.
“Environmental consequences of nuclear war .” Scientific. 2008. Electronic Document.Congressional Budget Office. “Budget and Economic Data.” Budgetary Projection.
2017. Historical Data.Crawford, Neta C. Costs of War. Budgetary Summary. Boston: Brown University, 2016. Document.Lyons, Joseph D.
Global impact of a North Korea event. Washington, 9 August 2017. Electronic Document.Schoen, John W.
Economic War with China. New York, 10 August 2017. Electronic Document.United Nations. “Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
” Inquiry . 2017. Electronic Document.