There has to be a couple of NK Generals standing there and wondering where exactly this goes. It’s ok to talk up stuff and act tough....if you are going beyond step one, and actually moving stuff to a usage-stage, they have to question the whole game being played out. All it takes is one idiot to think he got the launch order (by accident), and you get some minor war starting up and everyone wondering what the next step is.
Right. We are past the stage one. If order comes down to generals to actually hit a big one, I am also wondering if they will oblige. This sentiment may run along the entire command chain. They would all know if they obey the order, things will got to hell. It can go either way: do it despite the misgiving or sit on it.
If we're talking about a live nuke, that's no minor war.
The Norks have been doing this stuff for years, and they’re actually quite good at it. Totalitarian regimes want a perpetual state of war, real or imagined, so that they can keep their populations enslaved. If they’re lucky, they’ll win concessions just for showing up to negotiate peace. This has worked for them many times in the past and is likely to win again. I think it’s very highly improbable that they want to be completely obliterated in a real nuclear slug fest. The leadership doesn’t care if the general population dies of course, but that isn’t where this is going.