The most probable outcome of all these tensions is a low-level "tactical" strike from North Korea.
But don't worry, it'll be " a relatively small attack that won’t leave many people dead," Sue Mi Terry, a Columbia University professor who served as a senior analyst on North Korea at the CIA from 2001 to 2008, told Wired's Spencer Ackermann.
Analysts in the military, political, and intelligence fields have all pretty much said the same thing: Kim Jong-Un has painted himself into a corner, and the only way out is a gunfight.
Luckily they also say it won't be World War III.
“Chances are not high that they will lead to a full-scale war,” Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin of South Korea said to Choe Sang-Hun of The New York Times. “But given the nature of the North Korean regime, it’s possible that they will launch a localized provocation.”
Kim only got in this position because of all his talk, but as we've covered before, the posturing and "bellicose bluster" is also a good means for new leaders to consolidate power.
Kim "needs to show he has the guts. The best way to do that is to use the military might that he commands," said Lee Yoon-gyu, a North Korea expert at Korea National Defense University in Seoul. "This paves the way for greater praise for him if North Korea makes a provocation later and claims victory."
Kim will eventually be compelled to do "something provocative to prove the threats weren't empty," Lee said.
In the past, these attacks included sinking small ships, short-lived artillery barrages, even taking Americans captive. One way or another though, the attacks were not the the sustained or devastating enough to initiate open war.
“It will be something sneaky and creative and hard to definitively trace back to North Korea to avoid international condemnation and immediate retaliation from Washington or Seoul,” Terry told Ackermann
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