The Atomic Bomb dropped on Nagasaki, as horrifying as this event was in terms of loss of life, it is not comparable to the capabilities of these weapons today - image from atomcentral.com
The New York Times is Reporting that the North Korean’s may have nuclear missile capability, based on U.S. intelligence estimates. It is suggested that although capable of attaching a nuclear warhead to a ballistic missile, the reliability would be “low and there are doubts that the weapon would detonate on the right target. Apparently, the information was given to the Administration and members of Congress yesterday.
Reuters has a somewhat different take on the development noting that the Pentagon’s report of a nuclear capable North Korea, is being dismissed by “U.S. Officials” and South Korea, where it is believed war is not “eminent”. In addition, it was there is the capability, yet, “Washington's greatest concern, the official said, was the possibility of unexpected developments linked to the inexperience of North Korea's 30-year-old leader, Kim Jong-un. "Kim Jong-un's youth and inexperience make him very vulnerable to miscalculation. Our greatest concern is a miscalculation and where that may lead," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.”
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry, is on his way to South Korea and China to request the Chinese add a bit of muscle to the game, and take a “tough stance” against their protégé and neighbor, North Korea.
The North Korean’s, are apparently undaunted by the hand that feeds them (China), as footage by the Guardian, UK, shows North Korean’s troops carrying out drills on the Chinese Border.
It is, without question, time for less “tough stances” and “veiled threats” from those opponents of the North Korean’s, and turning to a more visible show of force, along with the methods already deployed by several nations used to hopefully deflect a nuclear warhead, mounted on a missile. This game of chicken that is being played out by the North Korean Regime under “Mini-me, Un” is starting to look like less of a game. What if strongly worded condemnations by the U.S., the UN and all the weight that body carries, wont’ do the trick. What happens if the new Chinese leadership fails to deliver a message that is not quite strongly worded enough? What if, the current leader, inexperience aside, might not give a whit about what havoc he may cause in the name of his obviously gigantic ego? If one looks at the barbaric North Korean’s lifestyle, one might begin to understand that there is little compassion, or common sense involved in that nation which we now find, has nuclear capability.
The UK Mirror obtained images and videos (here) of life in North Korea, and specifically the treatment of children, and those the regime controls as slaves. Political prisoners (or those who have family members how may oppose, or may have escaped to South Korea (China at one point, returned them to a certain death, that may have stopped with the new administration.) It is common in North Korean, should an individual commit a crime against the “government” to take every relative , down to distant cousins, and put them labor camps. The photographs are chilling – and leads on to believe a nation capable of committing crimes against its citizens, for decades, (albeit given strongly worded condemnation), might not care if it lobs a nuclear capable missile at – pick a neighbor. The Wall Street Journal offers this list of options for the North Koreans to launch:
Therefore, what we know is that the North Korean’s can drop a nuclear weapon on South Korea and Japan, they may have a missile capable of reaching Guam and U.S. bases, and they also “may have” missiles capable of reaching into the United Sates. However, the later is suggested to either be in development or even possibly a fabrication. That said, until yesterday, it was also suggested that the North Korean’s did not have the capability to go nuclear.
vKN-01: Short-range anti-ship cruise missile. Range estimated at 160 kilometers. Believed to be an improved version of the Soviet Termit missile.
KN-02: Short-range, solid-fueled, highly accurate mobile missile. Modified copy of the Soviet OTR-21; unknown number in service. Believed to have been deployed in the late 1990s or early 2000s.
Hwasong-5 (Scud-B): Initial Scud modification. Short-range, road-mobile, liquid-fueled. Estimated range of 300 kilometers (can reach throughout South Korea), and capable of delivering a 1,000-kilogram payload. Tested successfully. It’s believed 150 to 200 units have been deployed on mobile launchers. Delivered to Iran for Iraq-Iran war.
Hwasong-6 (Scud-C): Later Scud modification. Increased range of 500 kilometers and smaller payload of 700 to 800 kilograms. Said to be the most widely deployed missile, with at least 400 units in service.
Rodong-1/-2: Midange missile with an estimated range of about 1,300 kilometers and payload of 700 kilograms; capable of reaching across Japan; presumed capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
*Musudan: Road-mobile missile that physically resembles a 1960s-era Soviet submarine missile called the SS-N-6. Estimated range of 3,000 to 4,000 kilometers, with a payload of 650 kilograms, so capable of direct strikes on South Korea, Japan and Guam—putting U.S. military bases at risk. Reports of its existence first appeared in the Western press in the mid-2000s, and the world outside North Korea got its first good look in 2010, when Musudans rolled in a military parade in Pyongyang. No test-firing yet.
Taepodong-2: Multistage missile, believed to be a potential intercontinental ballistic missile with possible strategic capability against continental U.S. Estimated range of more than 6,700 kilometers. Still in development stage. No test-firing yet.
Intercontinental ballistic missiles: The possibility of North Korea’s developing an ICBM capable of delivering a chemical, biological, or nuclear warhead to the U.S. continent remains a grave concern. Given repeated test failures, most missile experts believe Pyongyang is far from achieving this goal. A year ago North Korea displayed a new long-range missile, the KN-08, that some experts believe may be part of an ICBM development process. Others suspect it’s a fake.
The question remains, in this crazy politically correct world, where the reliance on diplomacy is the first order, and should that fail, there really does not appear to be a second option. Unless it is the direct threat of the U.S. or one of the allies (including China) of attempting to out-crazy the young North Korean Leader. Either way, previous to the briefing to the Administration and the Congress, it appeared North Korea was all bluff and bluster, and it may well remain that way. In a perfect world, a nation that starves its children and its people, has no wherewithal to turn on the electricity at night, may just not have the wherewithal to put together a functional nuclear weapon. Perhaps that is more likely the case, and the bluff and bluster is what it is, a child looking for attention and approval from its peers. That is what we can pray for, as the alterative would be unimaginable. Although it is known that globally nuclear tests are performed, a nuclear strike by North Korea on another nation, would have the effect of retaliation, and once Pandora’s box is open, the earth as we know it would be changed.
Having grown up in an error where school children were taught to “duck and cover” under a school desk in the event of an Atomic Bomb being dropped on the U.S., the memory of bomb shelters in every home, and the level of preparedness (which would have been inadequate in any case), by the populace then, compared to now, is somewhat unnerving. It is not so much the fact that a nuclear missile is even likely to strike the U.S.; it is the fact that anyone, regardless of how insane, might consider lobbing one in the direction of a neighbor, no matter which corner of our globe, is truly horrific.