If North Korean leader Kim Jong-un thought that his threats against his neighbors and the United States were going to cow Americans, he seems to be in for a reality check. Hot Air is reporting that a poll conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs says that the majority of Americans favor going to war to defend South Korea if that country is attacked. While only 40 percent of Americans approve a first strike against North Korean nuclear facilities less than 14 percent will accept a nuclear armed North Korea.

North Korea’s drive for a nuclear arsenal proceeds apace

The Washington Post, in the meantime, is reporting that the Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that North Korea has developed a nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside the nosecone of a missile. The last step will be to develop a reentry vehicle that will survive enough to explode over a target city. American intelligence suspect that North Korea will achieve that breakthrough by the end of 2018. Before that happens, the United States and its allies will have to act unless they want to rely on missile defense toward off a North Korean attack.

A Second Korean War will be the bloodiest of the 21st Century so far

A first strike on North Korea would constitute the most extensive air campaign mounted by the United States since the start of the war in Iraq in 2003.

Air and missile strikes would not only have to be directed at North Korean nuclear and missile systems but that country’s extensive artillery arsenal that has the city of Seoul in its sights. The air strike will inevitably be followed by a ground war as the North Korean Army would attack across the DMZ in revenge.

Most casualty estimates suggest that the number of dead and wounded will be more than a million people, many of them noncombatants.

North Korea would lose the conflict, but not before it inflicts considerable damage to lives and infrastructure. The price of allowing Pyongyang to develop nuclear weapons in the 1990s will be high.

However, the alternative is even graver. The prospect of a nuclear strike, either on Seoul or Tokyo, or an American city on the West Coast such as Seattle or Los Angeles, is simply too horrendous to endure.

If the North Koreans persist in developing a nuclear arsenal, and thus far nothing that has been done so far seems to have deterred them, a War In Korea will be the least horrible option. As someone once said, this was not the 21st Century that we were promised.