Nuclear North Korea

Bill Neinast

The nuclear weapons fraternity is small.  The U.S., Russia, England, France, and China are the only members of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  India, Pakistan, and North Korea have also conducted nuclear tests.  In addition, it is generally believed that Israel has a defensive nuclear arsenal and Iran’s move toward a nuclear arsenal  is acknowledged.

There are 193 nations in the U.N., so why is there so much concern over North Korea becoming a full fledged member of the NPT?

North Korea is a relatively small country.  It enjoys the protection of China, one of the most powerful nations in existence, just as its sister South Korea is protected by the power of the U.S.  So why does it need nuclear warheads and intercontinental missiles?

That is a question with no easy answer.

The country is too small and has such limited resources that it could not build a nuclear arsenal large enough to demolish the U.S.  The most it could accomplish would be a few devastations on Alaska and the West Coast.

Then what would it do?  There is not a North Korean army and navy that could wade ashore and occupy this vast land.

Maybe it could unleash its whole arsenal on its enemy to the south.  That means it would inherit a barren land without inhabitants.  

The 30,000 U.S. military personnel stationed there would be among the casualties.  Our response to that atrocity would cremate Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and leave his kingdom an uninhabitable wasteland.

The only other possible target for Kim Jong-un might be to retaliate against Japan for its atrocities in Korea during WWII.  Such a retaliation, however, has the same problem as an attack against South Korea.  American troops are also stationed in Japan, so North Korea could again expect elimination. 


Analyses like these require rationality.  There are indications that Kim Jong-un, like Hitler and other dictators, are not rational.  The destruction of their own countries is of no consequence for them so long as it may enhance their idolatry.

Let’s assume, though, that Kim Jong-un is rational.  He understands fully the results for him and his country of a nuclear attack on any of the targets mentioned above.  Why, then, is he so intent on developing intercontinental nuclear weapons?

The only answer seems to be that he wants to become an international broker of nuclear weapons or fissile material.  That would make him more dangerous than he would be just sitting with his fingers above launch buttons for intercontinental missiles.

Think about nuclear devices being early and readily available for anyone, anywhere.  Or worse, the possibility of fissile material being available to terrorists on the open market is a real concern.

If such material can be configured into a device concealable in a suitcase, consider the possible catastrophes.  What would be the results of a nuclear explosion in a major intersection of the New York subway system, in the gallery of either the House of Representatives or Senate in the capitol, on top of something like the Hoover Dam, in the financial center of New York City, or any number of similar locations?

So here’s the perspective.

Neither scenario considered above can be tolerated.  Intercontinental nuclear missiles and/or easily available fissile materials in the hands of an unstable dictator are threats to world peace.

At this stage, however, there is no easy way to dampen those threats.

MOABS (Mothers of All Bombs) dropped on Kim’s nuclear facilities and missiles would doom Seoul from the hundreds of cannons trained on the capitol from the north side of the Demilitarized Zone.  There are too many of those artillery pieces and they are too scattered to simultaneously destroy them with several MOABS.

Blockading the country from commerce with other countries is not feasible because of its common border with China, its protector.

The only feasible solution, thus, seems to be to persuade China to use its iron fist to put Kim Jong-un back in his cage.

Let’s hope that President Trump’s attempts at friendship and trade deals with Chinese President Xi Jinping will make that a reality.  


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