Jim Walsh is a senior research associate at the MIT Security Studies Program and a board member of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. I talked with him this spring, as tensions between North Korea and the U.S. escalated. “I had a friend who just returned from Seoul, where he had a chance to talk with U.S. Forces Korea—uniformed military officers—and he asked them, ‘Do you have a capability to remove North Korea’s nuclear weapons?’ And the response was ‘Can we use nuclear weapons or not?’ ”
Putting aside the irony of using nuclear weapons to prevent the use of nuclear weapons, the answer Walsh got in that scenario was still: No guarantee.