Whitley's Journal

The North Korean Nuclear Threat

The North Korean government has threatened a nuclear attack against the United States. The threat has generally been dismissed as preposterous, and I hope it is, but I wonder. It's unlikely that they could reach the United States with a nuclear tipped ICBM, but I think that it's quite probable that they could bomb Seoul, and possibly reach Japan with some sort of nuclear warhead.

In the back of my mind are two events that took place in 2010. One was an apparent missile test that took place 35 miles off the coast of Los Angeles. A few days later, another missile contrail was seen in the Gulf of Mexico. The contrail off the California coast was dismissed as a jet, and the one over the Gulf of Mexico was ignored. At the time, the US was allowing the Japanese to test a missile in Arizona, and both China and North Korea had reason to engage in a little covert belligerence.

There is no evidence that North Korea possesses a submarine capable of reaching American waters. The longest range vessel they possess is the Sang-O model, which has a range of 1,500 nautical miles. But there is more than one way to deliver a weapon. A short range missile could be loaded aboard a freighter, for example. If it was launched within a few hundred miles of American shores, whether or not it could be intercepted and destroyed in time is problematic.

They could certainly attack Seoul, possibly a Japanese city, maybe the US, with a asymmetric delivery system of some kind.

I don't think that the threat should be dismissed out of hand. North Korea has never made such an explicit threat before. It is to be hoped that it amounted to nothing more than the meaningless bluster of a untutored young man. But calling it preposterous is a mistake. Even if it cannot be fulfilled, it is a very clear statement that Kim Jong Un should be considered dangerous, and the more so as time goes on and his country's capabilities increase.

Readers probably should be made aware of the current joint-military US-ROK exercises (KeyResolve/Foal Eagle) taking place and in the atmosphere of UN Security Council adoption of a resolution to further cripple the DPRK in order to punish the country for its ongoing nuclear tests. The US has a history of launching aggressive wars using UNSC resolutions as justification — The past decade is a testament to that with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. DPRK statements refers to this and the joint-military exercises which it considers to be detrimental to the way of life in the DPRK and against its sovereignty. In this context the DPRK statements of nullifying the 1953 Armistice Agreement and promising to use a nuclear deterrent was not made in jest, nor made in a vacuum, but responding to real conditions that threaten its very existence for its people. For the DPRK the objective of the War for National Liberation was to unify the country and throw out the foreign occupiers - an objective that they haven't lost sight of even after all this time trying to resolve politically the same objective via the Armistice Agreement of 1953.

I read somewhere recently that north korea and iran were working together. North korea has the nuclear weapons and iran has the missiles, a recipe for dissaster? I hope not.

At 14:30 of Breaking the Set Abby Martin presents an alternative view and context:


North Korea finances their military with smuggling drugs and weapons.

Ruza - Can you substantiate that claim with facts?

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