The only way to stop North Korea attacking the US is to not attack them first
In a sane civilization, threats of nuclear war would remain in the news cycle for more than a week. But after a Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend, the fear of nukes flying between the United States and North Korea has swiveled completely into a fear of Nazism.
It's the image of a world gone mad - from nukes to Nazis to the next thing, we've lost total control of our collective attention and our ability to understand the world. Events unfold at such a breakneck pace that not even total annihilation can entertain us for more than a few days.
Yet, there's an easy solution to the crisis in the Korean Peninsula that gets lost in all the hysteria.
When the United States was having the same nuclear tensions with Iran, the fear amongst pro-war pundits in the US was that the Iranian government was not a rational body. However, when a tiny country with a few nukes goes up against a massive empire with thousands upon thousands of nukes, the tiny country understands that any confrontation would result in their complete and utter destruction.
What country willingly steps into national suicide just to make a point? Well, not many. A study of war throughout history shows that countries with overwhelming military force tend to initiate conflicts, and weaker countries with no chance of victory rarely enter into suicide-pacts with those larger nations.
Here's the realpolitik of the situation: any small country with a weak army has to rely on nuclear deterrence to prevent invasions from countries like the United States, as well as Russia. After watching the tragedy of the Iraq War, and Gaddafi's death in Libya, any small country on bad terms with the United States saw clearly that nuclear passivity was the best path to avoid meeting a similar fate.
“Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” a commonly-cited paper by the Project for a New American Century explains it thusly, the US “must counteract the effects of the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction that may soon allow lesser states to deter U.S. military action. … In the post-Cold War era, America and its allies, rather than the Soviet Union, have become the primary objects of deterrence and it is states like Iraq, Iran and North Korea who most wish to develop deterrent capabilities.”
If Saddam Hussein had actually had nuclear weapons, there is a chance that the threat of mutually-assured destruction would have stalled a US invasion. That is what countries like Iran and North Korea believe. Since being named part of an 'Axis of Evil' by the Bush administration, it is in their national interest to protect themselves from invasion.
It boils down to this simple notion: if the more powerful country does not attack first, the weaker country will try its best to avoid total decimation. That means no attack on Guam, which is just bluster to respond to Trump's bluster.
Lastly, it's worth remembering the history between the US and North Korea. After the 1953 Korean War, North Koreans suffered immensely under both their own government and US policy. American bombers had taken out dams throughout North Korea, disrupting 75 per cent of North Korea's controlled water resources, and destroying rice production. The subsequent famine and aftermath of war created anti-American animus in the starving and oppressed North Korean citizenry.
These are not people in a position to run into a war. North Korea can barely reach Guam with its best missile. What country would nuke a small island out of suicidal outrage alone, knowing the response would vaporize Pyongyang from the map? Simply, the US has the power to stop a war if they simply don't attack.