A nuclear North Korea is bringing back Cold War paranoia


Over the weekend, residents of Hawaii received a terrifying emergency alert on their phones: A ballistic missile was incoming. “Seek immediate shelter,” the alert warned in all-caps. “This is not a drill.” But it also wasn’t real. It was a false alarm, triggered accidentally by a state employee.

While authorities took more than half an hour to address the message, the panic it sowed was immeasurable, reviving the terror sparked by similar false alerts during the Cold War. It also reinforced the reality of the present day: Given the state of tensions with North Korea and the rogue regime’s demonstrated weapons capabilities, the prospect of ballistic missiles raining down on Hawaii can’t be shrugged away. This year, William J. Perry, a secretary of defense during the Clinton administration and a dogged campaigner on the threat of nuclear weapons, declared on Twitter that “we are at greater risk of nuclear catastrophe now than we were during the Cold War.” Continue reading.