Noko's Threat of Nuclear Armageddon is Overblown Hysteria by All Sides.
|Normally I wouldn't impose my own thoughts upon this community at large, but since WDC is like an extended family, I see an opportunity to perhaps put some minds at ease regarding the current threat posed by North Korea. I have a military background with some knowledge of how the U.S. Armed Forces might respond to any future, and/or more serious confrontation(s) between itself, its allies, and North Korea.
As usual, the news media like to conflate their reports so as to garner the most attention and interest of their viewing audiences. The main concern in this regard is, of course, the threat of nuclear war between ourselves and the North Koreans. If readers take away nothing else of my minor tome here, let this talk of nuclear missiles and retaliation by one side or the other, be put to rest once and for all.
There is no circumstance by which the U.S. will use its atomic arsenal against a country like North Korea. Only those who know very little of such things, would propose that a nuclear exchange between the two countries was a serious -- or realistic -- concern. The reasons for this can be innumerated as follows:
1) The U.S. has, within its means, the ability to destroy any missile(s) launched by North Korea, nuclear or otherwise, both on the launchpad and/or during what is called the rocket's "boost" phase.
2) The U.S. has a multi-tiered defense against any missile(s) that succeeds in penetrating our initial "knockdown" strategies. For example, we have missiles that can track and destroy incoming missiles. These anti-missiles alone, are multi-layered systems consisting of undisclosed numbers or precise tactical uses. Other secret technologies exist, unknown to the American public, the designs of which are intended for the sole purpose of preventing an enemy missile from reaching our mainland. It is precisely because of such deterents that no war, nuclear or otherwise, has ever occurred among the major powers of the world.
3) Nukes of any kind are never the first weapon-of-choice, but always the absolute last resort. For example, despite the fact that Israel is surrounded by hostile countries, it would never use its own nuclear weapon(s) unless Israel was literally on the brink of being destroyed. So how preposterous is it for Israel's beligerant neighbors to wish for that country's annihilation? Whereupon were such a horrendous event to transpire, Israel would have no other choice but to turn the entire region into a radioactive wasteland -- uninhabitable for thousands of years. A clear case of, "If Israel cannot exist, then neither shall its enemies."
4) Because the U.S. is in possession of advanced "conventional" weaponry, as opposed to its nuclear arsenals, such non-nuke weapons could quickly -- by themselves -- destroy all of North Korea. While nukes might be consdered as "sloppy" and indiscriminate kiillers, whose radioactive fallout would be free to contaminate lands that are far beyond North Korea's territorial borders, conventional weapons are more surgically precise, and fully capable of achieving the same strategic results as any number of nuclear bombs. As if this were not reason enough, not to use nuclear weapons, the hope for a reunited Korea as a single country, could not be realized for hundreds if not thousands of years. Thus even if the North were to launch many missiles at the U.S. or its allies, the U.S. would never go nuclear -- a case of utterly pointless overkill.
5) Although the North might well be deterred from launching a slew of missiles at the U.S., an attack on our electrical "grids" must seem awfully tempting. By now you've likely heard of this thing called an "EMP", short for electro-magnetic-pulse. This is where a missile detonates a nuke high above a city, where the intent is to damage electrical devices instead of buildings. Ideally, such a high-altitude explosion could have a devastating impact, not only on a given city, but across much of the United States as well.
So how likely is it that the North will attempt such an attack? Well, put yourself in North Korea's place, just for a moment. Imagine that you want to try using this EMP stuff to cripple America's need for electricity. How much are you willing to risk on such a gambit? Your whole country? Well, that would be the stakes if you try and fail.
So what are the odds in your favor? You've got to first get a missile past America's initial defenses, as I've described them. Next, your missile has to detonate at just the right altitude. Too high, too low, and your country is forfeit. Your life also, more than likely. You pays your money and takes your chances. In this case, Americans would no doubt be the winners.
6) It is far from decided, whether or not North Korea has perfected what is known as the "reentry" [shield] phase of a missile's warhead as it rapidly plunges towards its target. Similar to how the U.S. space shuttle needed shielding to protect its blazing-hot reentry of the Earth's atmosphere, so does a nuclear warhead require the same protection -- a technology that is very sophisticated and prone to failure. Once again, a risky proposition for North Koreans who face loss of life, limb, and country, if they fail. Who, in all probability, would lose the same even if they succeeded.
7) As one might readily judge, therefore, the situation is far less complicated than we may have otherwise imagined. At least as things pertain to a potential and/or imminent "nuclear war"; it just ain't gonna happen as most folks would have us believe.
In closing, this isn't to say that other scenarios -- those involving other than missiles and nuclear warheads -- aren't still on the table, so to speak. Things such as "suitcase" nukes, for instance, capable of destroying a small city. Or still other, more terrorist-styled attacks that are always on the horizon.
As for worrying about an all-out nuclear conflagration? That should be among the least of your worries. You're much more likely to receive a bad review here at WDC, than you are to seeing the sun come up at midnight.