The Reach of North Korean Missiles
But then, how long before Venezuela's Hugo Chavez gets similar capability to wreak havoc on his foes? Paint similar red circles with their centers on Caracas. Do the same for Damascus, Tehran, Tripoli, Riyadh, Islamabad. Now you begin to understand the scope of the problem.
Nuclear technology and missile technology are out of the box, freely available to anyone who can pay. As the US loses its will and ability to restrain nuclear proliferation, two-penny dictators around the globe will almost certainly take the opportunity to nuke up.
Of course the danger from these tin-pot nuclear dictatorships is more to their neighbors, and to the global environment should large-scale fallout take place. But it only takes a small nuke or two to finish off LA, NYC, DC, or London. And a skillful EMP attack to finish the US as a modern economic force would require only a dozen or fewer well-placed nukes. A world without the US is a world on its way down.
China and Russia are not above arming a third party, in order to devastate their mutual enemy while retaining plausible deniability. This could never happen in the old order of things, when the US was strong and the anchor of the world economy -- necessary to the prosperity of all exporting nations.
Things are different now. China and Russia have significant economic problems now that world demand for their exports is way down. Political instability with a collapse of the current political order is not out of the question for either oppressive state, should things go badly with the world economy. Should either the CCP or Putin see such a thing coming to pass, neither would hesitate to set a plan in motion that they felt would reduce pressure on them from the outside.
In other words, if everything is going to hell anyway, why would Putin or the CCP pause before badly handicapping a long-time enemy -- as long as a third party will take the blame?
The world is nothing like it seems.