There are a number of unsettling questions surrounding the reclusive state of North Korea. In fact, it’s difficult to know where to begin when trying to understand the place. Clearly there is what might be called a sense of national paranoia that fuels these efforts to hide what is going on, or to engage in disinformation campaigns. And who knows whether our intelligence services can get it right when analyzing the place?
The issue that most directly impacts the U.S. is the state of the nation’s nuclear weapons and ICBM programs coupled with an insubstantial understanding of what would motivate its dictator to fulfill his threats to launch a nuclear attack on the U.S. mainland. To assume the worst, where could he hit?
There is little doubt that North Korea could hit Guam with an ICBM. How likely such an effort would be to be successful is in doubt, both from the standpoint of the reliability of the missile as well as the warhead itself. It’s not like North Korea has a perfect record of test results. But with its most recent test, the likelihood that they could hit Alaska is significant. And once they master that, it’s not much for Hawaii and the entire West coast to come into range.
“North Korea’s newest missile may be able to reach the U.S. state of Alaska, the U.K. Daily Mail reported.
“The missile, called the Hwasong-14, was successfully test-fired Tuesday. According to CNN, the missile flew only 578 miles into the Sea of Japan during its first test, and experts said it could have a range of over 4,000 miles — putting Alaska within North Korea’s reach.
“‘The success in the test-fire of intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-14 is a manifestation of the invincible might of Juche Korea and tremendous capability of its self-reliant national defence industry that has been rapidly strengthened,’ Ri Un Chon, North Korea’s vice-minister of Metallurgical Industry, said in an interview with the state-run Korea Central News Agency. ‘It is also a great historical victory in putting an end to the persistent nuclear war threat posed by the U.S. against the DPRK.'”
The North is superb at making bellicose and extravagant claims. The problem comes when their claims of nuclear capabilities move from fantasy to reality. Perhaps they are already there. Perhaps all these wild statements made over the years have had as their purpose keeping opponents, primarily the US, off-guard and in doubt until the North can really make good on its threats.
“In a blog post for the Union of Concerned Scientists, David Wright noted that ‘if the reports are correct, that same missile could reach a maximum range of roughly 6,700 km (4,160 miles) on a standard trajectory.
“That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska.'”
That is very unsettling. Not just for the people of Alaska, but for the rest of us since there is little doubt that North Korea has no intention of ending the development of ICBMs now that it is so close to being able to threaten the West coast of America if not much more.
This is a foreign policy crisis that President Trump has inherited from his successors whose policies of sanctions, jawboning, and attempted negotiations have been abysmal failures.
It presents a major challenge he will not ignore.
Source: Conservative Tribune