Daniel R. DePetris
700,000 dead–and that is just for starters.
Due to Seoul’s population density, a single 250 kiloton nuclear strike on city hall would kill over 717,000 people—tens thousands of whom would likely be American civilians who live and work in the city. The outer perimeter of the radioactive fallout would extend over a four mile radius. Those who are about two and a half miles from the nuclear detonation would be either dead (within 1.1 miles from the impact zone), dying over the next few weeks (1.3–2.72 miles) or suffering internally from the pain of acute radiation poisoning (2.72–4.28 miles). Seoul, the city that powered South Korea’s “Asian Miracle” in the 1980s, would cease to be one of the economic engines of productivity and prosperity in Asia.
The Democratic People’s Republic Korea should be a nothingburger in the twenty-first century. It’s at the bottom tier of pretty much every human development, economic, corruption and freedom index in circulation. Transparency International ranks North Korea 174 out of 176 on its corruption perceptions index, outdone by only South Sudan and Somalia. It’s freedom ranking is abysmal and would make Josef Stalin blush: out of a scale of 0 (least free) to 100, Pyongyang comes in at a 3. Kim Jong-un’s national economy is a paltry $ 28.5 billion, smaller than the U.S. state of Vermont.