With Pyongyang claiming to have miniaturized a nuclear warhead, is it finally time to strike the rogue nation before that “lunatic” attempts to strike the United States?
Unverified claims and more threats
Does there come a point where the rhetoric needs to be heeded and taken more seriously? Last week we examined the reasons why Kim Jong Un’s North Korea feels the need to threaten the United States. These include keeping people in line with a news blackout and the belief that the United States is poised to invade the country along with Un’s need to show the older military men of the nation that he’s a “strong” leader among others.
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Yesterday, North Korea state media boasted that the nation had successfully miniaturized a warhead that would allow it to strike the West Coast of the United States. While these reports are unverified owing to the level of secrecy in the “hermit” nation. There comes a point where the United States may have to strike at the heart of North Korea’s nuclear program. It’s believed that while a bit dangerous, it’s certainly very doable. With a missile shield in place and quite the distance between the United States and North Korea, it’s unlikely that North Korea could really threaten the United States with any significant retaliation.
Seoul and South Korea, however, are a very different story. Following the announcement of a miniaturized warhead, South Korea quickly went on record as saying that the North represented an “intolerable direct challenge” to the world.
With the announcement, the state media also said that “The right to make a preemptive nuclear strike is by no means a monopoly of the U.S.”
“If the U.S. imperialists infringe upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s sovereignty and right to existence with nuclear weapons, it will never hesitate to make a preemptive nuclear strike at them,” continued the report.
Frankly, there is little reason to believe the claim. When North Korea claimed to have successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb in January, the claim was immediately met with a fair bit of skepticism with a number of people outright refuting the claim including high-ranking members of the United States military.
In 2013, the Institute for Science and International Security said in 2013 that North Korea still would need “to conduct missile flight tests with a re-entry vehicle and mock warhead, increase the explosive yield of the warhead, possibly requiring its further miniaturization, and improve the operational reliability of the warhead and missile.”
So, standing next to a beach ball-sized object like Kim Jong Un recently did should be taken with a grain of salt.
“The United States has not seen North Korea demonstrate a capability to miniaturize a warhead,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said shortly before the North Korean claim that it had done so. “We still feel confident that we can deter and respond to a missile threat from North Korea.
North Korea under the cosh
While the United States could strike North Korea without much in the way of danger to the country, Seoul and South Korea can not say the same. North Korea is already on edge with the United States and South Korea conducting joint military exercises that saw an artillery bombardment of a near the border town of Cheorwon, North Korea.
The problem with striking North Korea lies in the fact that Seoul and its 10 million inhabitants are located only 35 miles from North Korea and well within the range of a number of short-range missiles and artillery pieces.
Whether, Kim Jong Un is sufficiently unbalanced to effectively kill his nation with an all out attack on South Korea remains to be seen, but certainly warrants consideration.
Again, taking out the two primary nuclear sites that fuel North Korea’s nuclear program is, effectively, child’s play. However, those living in Seoul will certainly not share that sentiment.
The United States has the capability of launching an attack against any missile launch well before its carried out and someday, it may be high time to do just that. Current defense secretary, Ashton Carter, argued that that is precisely what the United States should have done and went on record saying that ten years ago.
Any such strike would certainly come with a strike at the South by North Korea and that is something that needs to be considered. Any strike on North Korea would bring a fair bit of death and destruction in the aftermath but a North Korea with a missile and warhead capable of reaching the United States could also cause a fair bit of mayhem in its own right.