Angry rhetoric has been flying back and forth across the Pacific Ocean, between Washington, DC and Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea’s oft-spoken threats to destroy the United States has been repeated, ad nauseam, but are now being repeated back by President Trump.
Perhaps the North Korean leadership isn’t used to Americans who know how to talk tough, but it’s time that they learned.
Trump’s latest name for Kim Jong-un, “Rocket Man” is apparently gaining some steam within the diplomatic community, where it has been repeated by a number of ambassadors to the United Nations. While the US has borne the brunt of the hatred from the hermit kingdom, it appears that the nations of the world are united in recognizing the threat that he Kim regime is to all peace-loving people, everywhere.
This Conflict Isn’t New
The hatred out of Pyongyang is nothing new; it has been around since the creation of North Korea and the foundation of the Kim dynasty.
At the end of World War II, in 1948, the Korean peninsula was divided, just like Germany was, and the Iron Curtain descended over Korea. The Soviet Union placed Kim Il-sung, the current dictator’s grandfather, in power, mostly because he was a dedicated communist.
Immediately, the elderly Kim stated the goal of reuniting the Korean peninsula, brining the South Koreans under his rule. The North Korean hatred for the United States stems from there; for it was our protection of South Korea that has prevented the fulfillment of this dream.
Two short years later, then Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, gave a speech at the National Press Club. In this speech, Acheson made reference to several nations and islands as being critical to the “US defensive perimeter.” South Korea and Taiwan were clearly absent from that perimeter. This was misunderstood by the Russians, the Chinese and the North Koreans to mean that we would not go to war to protect North Korea, leading to the Korean War.
Two weeks after that ill-fated speech, Moscow gave the green light for the North Koreans to attack the South. On June 25th of that year, behind a massive artillery bombardment, the North Korean Army began to move, all but conquering South Korea. American and South Korean forces were forced back to the Pusan perimeter, from where their counterattack began.
US led UN forces advanced nearly to the Korea/China border, even reaching the Yalu River (the dividing line between North Korea and China) at one point. But this was too close for the Chinese government, who counterattacked, driving the combined UN forces back to somewhere near the 38th Parallel, the original (and once again agreed upon) dividing line between north and south.
If anything, this war inflamed the North Korean hatred for the USA, as the UN forces were predominantly American. In the eyes of the North Koreans, it was the US, not necessarily the UN, who defeated them and prevented the reunification of Korea under communist rule.
North Korean rhetoric against the United States began in this time period and has continued non-stop since then.
The only real difference between the angry rhetoric of a decade or four ago and the rhetoric of today, is that is seems like the North Korean government is finally reaching the point of being able to follow through on the threats they are making.
Is There a Way Out?
Some people have accused the current tensions on President Trump, blaming him for escalating the current situation. Those people are predictably on the political left, where the idea of appeasement is much more palatable than standing on our own two feet.
This was Obama’s foreign policy and it has led to both North Korea and Iran being much closer to being able to attack us with nuclear arms.
Apparently those on the left are unaware of North Korea’s history and their attack on South Korea in 1950. For that matter, they probably have no idea of how poorly appeasement worked to stop Germany at the beginning of World War II.
If appeasement would work, North Korea should be the most peaceful nation on the face of the Earth.
Declarations of War
Beneath all of the rhetoric, the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, clearly declared war on the United States in 2016. This is not surprising, nor does it really change things. The Korean peninsula has been at war since 1950. All that was signed in 1953 was an armistice, not a peace agreement. In fact, there has never been a peace agreement between the north and the south.
There have been sporadic incursions into South Korea by the north, as well as shots fired across the demilitarization zone and a number of skirmishes. So a declaration of war really isn’t necessary; it already exists. Any such declaration issued today would merely be political posturing, nothing more.
As I write this, a notice has come across my desk, saying that the North Korean Foreign Minister, Ri Yong-ho is publically stating that Donald Trump has declared war against his country. In doing this, he is taking one of Trump’s infamous tweets and turning it into a declaration of war.
If Foreign Minister Ri has anyone on his staff that has any knowledge of American law, he would know that the US President can’t make a declaration of war. That has to come out of Congress. But then, waiting for Congress to declare war wouldn’t fit the image they want to portray of Trump war-mongering and them being the innocent victim.
North Korea’s Advances
The North Koreans have been working on their nuclear program for at least 30 years, although the exact date is not known. Their first nuclear test was conducted on October 9, 2006, nearly 11 years ago. Their missile program is even older, starting in 1976, with the Soviet Scud-B missile as their base.
Just a couple of months ago, the North Koreans fired their first multi-stage missile, giving them the capability of reaching the US mainland, at least in theory.
Then, on September 3rd, they had a major underground nuclear weapons test, reputed to be their first hydrogen bomb. Whether it was a hydrogen bomb or not, based upon seismic data, it was a full order of magnitude larger than anything they had done before.
Then, a report came to light, which was actually created during Obama’s presidency.
This devastating report blew away the comments that had been made about the North Koreans needing to miniaturize their nuclear bombs. According to the report, their nuclear program had been working along that vein all along, so every North Korean nuclear weapon is already miniaturized and can be fitted to a missile.
So, where does this leave us? It appears that North Korea is on the verge of being able to field actual nuclear-tipped ICBMs, which are capable of reaching the US mainland. While I am sure there are still technical issues that need to be overcome, the issues that are left are child’s play, in comparison to what they have already accomplished.
Anyone who talks about how the North Koreans can’t yet field a nuclear missile that is capable of attacking the United States needs to take a reality pill and quit living in a world of denial.
The very facts that they have a nuclear weapon as powerful as they do and missiles which can reach our shores are grave enough that we should be concerned. Solving the problem of reentry heat is minimal and whether or not their aiming is accurate may not be an issue at all, especially if they decide to attack with an EMP.
Many have written about the possibility of an EMP, but now the North Korean state news agency is talking about it as well. While that may be nothing more than more propaganda to maintain the support of the people, I’m sure that some planner in the military is developing the plans for such an attack.
If They Should Attack
The big question facing the United States today, is what if they attack? With the rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang heating up, there is a distinct possibility of then launching an attack. While I personally thing that would be a suicide move on their part, I can’t deny the possibility.
The most obvious option for our government to take is to eliminate their nuclear capability with a preemptive strike. But that’s easier said than done. All of North Korea’s missiles are apparently mounted on mobile launchers. So chances are, we don’t know where they all are.
Tracking mobile missiles is not easy, even with satellites, regardless of how easy Hollywood makes it seem. As the NRO discovered in the First Gulf War, it’s not hard to hide something the size of a mobile missile launcher in an area the size of a country.
Were we to attempt such an attack and fail, chances are high that Kim Jong-un would order the remaining missiles to attack the USA. Those that couldn’t reach the US would be targeted at our other vital interests, such as Hawaii, Guam, South Korea, Japan and out fleet off his shore.
Our other main option is to wait for them to attack first. If that should happen, we have enough nuclear capability to turn their country into a parking lot. But that’s not actually our biggest concern. While I’m sure that we would respond with some sort of counterattack, that wouldn’t affect your and my lives, nor those of our families.
What would affect our lives is our ability to stop that counterstrike before it reached us. That‘s the big question; whether or not we could effectively do that. Any ICBM launched from North Korea would most likely fly over Alaska or Southern California, where we have considerable anti-missile forces stationed. Whether or not they would be able to stop such an attack is up for debate.
Our military’s latest anti-ballistic missiles boast some impressive records, at least in their ability to counter test attacks. However, those are just tests and no matter how well tests are created, they are still somewhat contrived. The only real test for those weapons is for someone to attack us. Fortunately, that hasn’t yet happened.
This means that we are trusting our safety to largely unproven systems. Worse than that, the older systems don’t have as impressive a record as the newer ones do. So, there’s always the possibility that some of those won’t work. If the attack comes in such a way as to necessitate a response by those defensive weapons, it’s hard to say how effective our defenses will actually be.
It’s Time to Prepare
Officials in South Korea, Japan, Guam and Hawaii are all telling their citizens to prepare for a possible nuclear attack. This may seem a bit strange to our younger generation, but I grew up under nuclear threat. I still remember the drills in elementary school, when we were taught to “duck and cover,” as well as taught where our fallout shelters were.
I actually got my start as a survivalist during the Cold War, due to the threat of thermonuclear war. This is no different. Right now, we are in another cold war; but this one is with North Korea, not the Soviet Union. While we are much bigger than North Korea, with a much larger military and many more nuclear weapons, the other side has the advantage. That’s simply because the madman dictator on the other side can launch a nuclear attack on his own, without worry about congressional oversight or the risk of impeachment.
You can be sure that Kim Jong-un has well prepared bunkers to retreat to, when he pushes the button, launching a nuclear war with the United States. His people might die, but then, he hasn’t shown much compassion towards them anyway. I seriously doubt that it would bother him much.
Communist governments tend to look at the people as little more than peasants to be used and discarded, as their “betters” in the government so choose. Why should we think that Kim will be any different? He is already starving his population, so that he can spend his nation’s wealth on building a nuclear arsenal, proving how little he cares for them.
North Korea has already threatened Guam. They’ve sent ballistic missiles over Japan’s airspace. They haven’t said a thing about Hawaii yet, but it’s another obvious target.
In fact, the Hawaiian state legislature just received a highly secretive briefing about preparing for a nuclear attack. Information about what was covered in the briefing hasn’t yet leaked out, but it was definitely about making preparations, should a nuclear attack come.
While this briefing was declared to not be associated with things going on in North Korea, I seriously doubt anyone believes that. The only real nuclear threat today is North Korea; Iran isn’t ready yet. So, even if it is coincidental, in the sense that it is something that is scheduled to happen every X years, I am sure that North Korea was the focus.
As it doesn’t look like tensions between the United States and North Korea are likely to subside anytime soon, you and I should be preparing as well.
We could very well find ourselves living in the aftermath of an EMP, without any warning that it is to come.