Nuclear threats are simply not believable; the consequences of using the weapons are seen as too great to be credible. As a result, nuclear states are less likely to successfully coerce an adversary than non-nuclear states, which can more credibly threaten war.
And because nuclear weapons heighten the risk to both sides, they tend to lock the status quo in place — the opposite of North Korea’s goal.
Mr. Kim, the research by Mr. Sechser and Mr. Fuhrmann suggests, has greatly enhanced his ability to deter the United States from invading. But if he is hoping to force the United States into a major policy change, he is headed for disappointment.
by Max Fisher
Excerpted from this article published by the New York Times.