Many may’ve been following the media hype surrounding the North Korea nuclear issue. However, it’s time to be logical about this. It’s far from a Cold War situation—re: the Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s also not a ramp for some simultaneous anti-symbiotic shootout. (North Korea lacks suitable firepower to destroy the United States.)
While Pyongyang may’ve accrued a (sub-par) array of weaponry, they lack the logistic capability for an effective delivery to the US. Nevertheless, due to the infamous, leaked, DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) documents, the media has been a Gatling gun shooting fear into North America—re: North Korea’s long-range-missile-housed warhead. Even Defense Analyst Harry Kazianis seems rattled:
“We can definitively declare North Korea a nuclear power…A power that can hit the USA with an ICBM…We are out of time.” – Harry Kazianis pic.twitter.com/xtpASX9ULU
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) August 8, 2017
[Source: Twitter/FOX Business]
While Kazianis’s a legitimate analyst, North Korea’s getting the best of him and others. It’s time to break down the issue anatomically then explore US options in terms of troubleshooting—no pun intended.
Jong-un’s outfit harbors basic run-of-the-mill nuclear bombs—uranium and plutonium atoms split in the nuclear-fission process. Further, their tests didn’t occur until 2006—not exactly a frontrunner in the nuclear-arms race.
While that’s anything but comforting, North Korea has yet to prove they’ve thermonuclear capabilities—a fission bomb coupled with hydrogen-atom fusion. Said bomb is exponentially more catastrophic—15 and 20 kilotons (nuclear) VS 10,000 kilotons (thermonuclear) of TNT. The latter dictates the standard among countries having superior, nuclear weaponry.
It’s crucial to note NorKor has simply made advancements in testing their ICBM (intercontinental, ballistic missile)—a warhead (bomb)-projecting rocket. Currently, because they’ve yet to avail an ICBM with substantial trajectory (beyond going into space and falling back down at a rate infinitely faster than the speed of sound), they’ve what’s basically a volatile paperweight.
Think of an ICBM as a non-piloted rocket fired into space and having an intended, long-range destination. When it comes to developing a rudimentary, nuclear bomb, it’s relatively easy—so long as the uranium supply’s bountiful and size specs aren’t an issue. However, a nuclear ICBM’s no easy feat. There’s much detail, calculations and complications that entail producing a compact-yet-effective bomb—let alone fashioning the warhead atop a space-destined rocket.
Nuclear ICBMs dictate a dwarfed warhead being affixed to the nose of a large missile—as well as enduring the launch process, space travel and atmospheric re-entry (on top of the aforementioned). Assembly-and-successful-execution process far trumps hand-grenade science. Said ICBM components must endure a re-entry speed of Mach 20. Said ICBM components must endure a re-entry speed of Mach 20. For an idea of a successful execution, watch the following video:
[Video: courtesy of 341st OSS & Norhrup Grummun via Robert Morgan]
North Korea Has Much More Testing Ahead
Onto the DIA leak, which entails said agency of the understanding NorKor possessing a missile-tip-sized warhead. Note this isn’t an intelligence-community-wide notion. Even if the DIA’s correct, NorKor’s still not in the running to being considered a legitimate, ICBM threat (but closer).
The DIA’s alluding to NorKor clearing their warhead-size hurdle. Even if so, NorKor’s still struggling with affixing it to a long-range missile. While their latest test was seemingly successful in terms of reaching a US target, it’s all an assumptive derivative of the achieved altitude—i.e., NorKor’s ICBM has yet to pass a logistics test entailing a six-to-seven-thousand-mile flight and landing even close to a/the desired target.
To execute all that successfully, NorKor must test the warhead, achieve a winning, ICBM test then run a live-action simulation entailing a functional, missile-tip-compatible warhead on an effective ICBM. According to the DIA, NorKor’s making progress, but no success…
To be realistic, NorKor does merit concern in their only goal being achieving the aforementioned—no messing around with arsenal-intimidation tactics. A functioning, perfected ICBM might avail them the bravado needed to have the US believing Los Angeles, Honolulu or Anchorage could become a “sea of fire.”
Ultimately, said goal is nonsense—banking on one or two missiles launching, landing and exploding successfully in wartime (no mistakes). That’s highly unlikely, as NorKor’s tests have failed perpetually during peacetime. However, for argument’s sake, say NorKor can get it together within a three-to-five-year span. Further, believe it’ll happen upon more testing.
Without possibly harming SoKo (South Korea) and Japan, there isn’t an array of solutions in the nuclear-weapons department—North Korea already has those countries in their destruction sights. Therefore, NorKor containment’s the primary route—i.e., with Jong-un seemingly desiring a perpetual regime, he must be convinced a weapons halt is the retainer key to his ruling longevity.
There’re always preventative measures—i.e., the United States hits North Korea first. But that would possible avail more than just the US being the instigator (e.g., inciting war and gambling on us destroying the central target expediently and effectively enough to figuratively kill the root, keeping it from retaliating). Surely SoKo and Japan (as well as China) would suffer any backlash.
More, it’s another issue entirely when wondering if the US would take proactive measures upon having solid authority that North Korea was preparing a nuclear launch. While the US is perfecting the usual, impulsive, troubleshooting measures, North America would almost certainly ready its nuclear weapons if said instance were the case.
In terms of missile defense itself, supporters and experts boast solutions via defensive systems. Regardless of these advocates’ claims (their bravado’s astounding too), the US has never destroyed an ICBM as a retaliatory move. It would even be a serious gamble to adhere to some forthcoming machine that’s supposedly reliable—e.g., 50-to-percent accuracy. If there was high certainty that North Korea pre-launch mode, it’s highly probably any, US president would strike first rather than waiting to see what happens. (The US doesn’t f**k around.)
[Source: YouTube/Youtupe Mania]
The US Forces Jong-un To Realize His Efforts Are In Vain
In the event Pyongyang fires first, the result would be instantaneous war—NorKor VS Everybody Else. But that’s the worst-cast scenario…
Ultimately, there’s not a lot that can be done. There’s no country more politically-self-isolated than North Korea—Jong-un and his predecessors have little-to-no regard for its people. While President Trump stressed China should solve the NorKor problem, China’s seemingly content with the current state of affairs—a stagnant North Korea. (And hey, Beijing’s all about that rather than an America-allied Korea on a Chinese border.)
No matter what, the United States should never consider removal of US presence in Korea and additional, Pacific territories, mandating ally protection for money, and other notions both liberals and conservatives say will counter unease.
NorKor’s regime is a volatile one—like a belligerent teenager indirectly begging for help from the nearest adult, China (all while sustaining Kim Family control). There is not currently a real situation, but there’s a degree of truth in the paranoia—the US must prevent North Korea from perfecting a nuclear ICBM. (The situation mandates a plan to be in place prior if/when NorKor’s would-be weapon gets tested.)
Fortunately, we’re not facing that issue—not even in the near future. For now, the US should focus on dissolving the Kim regime—maybe via a secret coup d’etat with China. That’s not necessarily a solid option, so the contemporary “Allied Powers” need to sustain themselves as authoritative forces in the pertinent area(s). Those efforts will surely avail Kim Jong-un’s worst fear: short-but-relentless war that will certainly crush his regime if he perpetuates the current behavior.