Always one step ahead, the United States is warning of a “massive military response” to any threat from North Korea. After threatening last month to send four missiles to waters just off the US territory of Guam, a missile was sent over Japan. The move immediately raised concerns of an impending World War III, and while that is yet to occur, the possibility of its happening remains high.

Why test a nuclear bomb?

Many theories have been put forward as to why North Korea is testing a nuclear bomb. Some believe that its Supreme leader Kim Jong-Un wants to be taken seriously as a world leader and his nuclear arsenal can trigger worry among other leaders and force them to take notice.

Others say he wants to bully others into respecting him by constantly threatening an attack. He has already launched two long range missiles and tested a hydrogen bomb this year. Sunday’s detonation was the most powerful tested there to date, much more lethal than the nuclear bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Onlookers are now questioning why Jong-Un would do that as a mere show of force unless he actually intended to unleash devastating power at some point.

Besides the outright use of violence, the US does have other options, the first two being negotiations and sanctions. President Donald Trump could target North Korea’s crude oil exports and its textile industry or, he could try to get Pyongyang to refrain from developing and testing any more nuclear weapons.

While this sounds relatively achievable, North Korea and the United Nations have been at loggerheads over nuclear weapons programs for more than 10 years, and the situation only seems to be getting worse. Even President Trump seems to have run out of patience, tweeting last week Wednesday, that “talking is not the answer.”

Seeking help from China

There is also the option of the US seeking help from China, by asking it to pressure Pyongyang into staying in line.

However, while China says it is willing to help, it is yet to take any drastic measure against North Korea to show that they mean business. This could be due to the fact that China remains North Korea's closest ally and commercial partner and a breakdown in relations would have significant negative consequences not just for the US but for the world as well.

Following yesterday’s nuclear test, President Trump expressed his anger over Twitter and confirmed his intention to meet with several military leaders today to discuss North Korea. He noted that the US was considering among its options, “stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”

Whether or not an attack occurs against the US, one thing remains certain: the Free World has several defenses in place to protect its land and citizens. There’s the ship based Aegis system that can track about 100 missiles simultaneously and stop them. Then, there’s the THAAD system, which, while still exposing its victims to radiation, can shoot down ballistic missiles. There is a problem, however, with the US fighting back in a similar fashion. North Korea’s neighbors Japan and South Korea will suffer many casualties due to their close proximity. However, desperate times will call for desperate measures.