So North Korea has nuclear weapons, more or less. Iran is probably working to make some. To this I basically say, “So what?”
I don’t mean to be flip or anything. I certainly don’t want them to get nuclear weapons. But I understand that if they do, it’s not exactly the End of All Things.
Consider the outcome if North Korea has, let’s say, ten nuclear weapons and they fire them off. They take out Seoul, Tokyo, a handful of other Korean and Japanese cities, Okinawa, possibly Honolulu and maybe if they’re lucky a city on the west coast of the United States. They kill a few million people and get to cackle with evil glee.
Less than thirty minutes later, North Korea ceases to exist.
We would bury the country under a cloud of atomic radiation so powerful nothing would ever grow there again. We could, and would, wipe every population center greater than 100,000 people off the map in an eyeblink. We’d vaporize their military. North Korea would no longer be a thing. South Korea would be badly damaged. Japan would be hurt. Assuming we lost, say, San Francisco, we’d have a big loss, but nothing we couldn’t get over, since 99% of the country would be just fine.
North Korea’s leadership know this. This is why, despite their literally bellicose talk lately, they won’t use their nuclear weapons or go to war with us. They’re basically just doing it to get attention.
As for Iran, same thing, really, though I can actually understand their situation a little better. Consider it from their point of view: they’re surrounded by moderately to extremely hostile countries, they’re the only Persian country in the area, they hate the fuck out of Israel and vice versa and Israel has nuclear weapons. Oh, they don’t own up to it, but they do have them. I think Iran’s time and effort would be better spent engaging Israel and fostering peace in the region, but I can understand why they might want to have nukes of their own, given that a hostile power nearby has them, too.
But because Israel has them, I doubt that Iran would ever actually use any if they built some. Not only have Iranian religious leaders said that building and using such weapons is a sin, but it’d be the same thing as in North Korea. They might take out some Israeli cities, like Tel Aviv (I doubt they’d hit Jerusalem), and then a few minutes later, Iran would be destroyed. Not as completely as North Korea, but it would happen.
“Mutually Assured Destruction,” this is called. It was an idea formed during the Cold War that held that the USA and Soviets would never go to war because it would mean the end of both countries. In this case it’s somewhat more lopsided, realistically being “Iranian Assured Destruction” or “North Korean Assured Destruction”. Whomever they attack would go on just fine, and within a few years would be back to normal. For Iran or North Korea, however, not so much.
So, again, them having such weapons is not desirable. But if they do, it isn’t the end of the world, and I refuse to spend any time worrying about it.