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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Earthquake" On Korean Peninsula

For John, BLUFNorth Korea closer to a useable nuclear weapons capability.

There will be a 9:00 AM Emergency Meeting of the United Nations Security Council today, to discuss North Korea's third nuclear weapons test.  The North Korean News Agency said it was a "miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously".

To me this is the key phrase from the report in The International Herald Tribune article By David E Sanger and Chor Sang-Hun:

Preliminary estimates by South Korea suggested the test was much more powerful than the previous two conducted by the North.
From a South Korean perspective that means that North Korea has an incipient nuclear capability.

The question is, what will deter North Korea from using their nuclear capability, or using it for blackmail by threatening South Korea?  Are American voters happy to continue to extend a US Nuclear Umbrella over South Korea, given that North Korea has tested (a) a long range rocket that could reach portions of the US and (b) a miniaturized nuclear warhead that might fit on that rocket?  Well, are the voters in Seattle happy?

Regards  —  Cliff

1 comment:

Neal said...

I think the threat question pertains to much more than South Korea. The presence of a nuclear capability in NK threatens everyone in the Far East, the Southeast Asia area, as well as parts of the SWA and ME regions. You failed to mention Japan in the threat assessment. One wonders if China's recent provocation of Japan is not a means of giving NK an excuse to go for a preemptive strike. Certainly, that HAS to be a concern for Japan.

The world via the generally impotent UN has managed to contain NK for over half a century. However, containment is no longer a viable end state. You can cage a rabid dog, and perhaps the dog will eventually die, but if the dog doesn't die, you live with the constant threat of escape. Thus the only "next option" is to kill it. I suspect that is analogous to the situation with NK.

The problem is this. NK isn't the only crazy in the world and I am not at all certain that a new World War is an optimal and viable course of action.

I think the discussion is moot however. The Obama Administration foreign policy begins with appeasement. We pose no immediate threat to NK.