Wednesday, May 14, 2014

North Korean Nuclear Threat To United States Is Very Real

North Korean Nuclear Threat To United States Is Very Real

May 14, 2014 | Tom Olago
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Should North Korea decide to attack the United States with nuclear warheads, she can finally do just that. A report from former Pentagon strategic analyst Mark Schneider, published in the journal Comparative Strategy, said that North Korea has developed nuclear warheads that could be used to strike Hawaii, Alaska and parts of the West Coast. The recently published these findings, adding that Schneider describes the North Korean capability as “a startling fact that the White House has worked to downplay”.

This news was also separately confirmed by The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in a separate assessment in 2013, according to Schneider’s 16-page report titled ‘The North Korean Nuclear Threat to the United States’. Schneider describes this as “disturbing news,” and further expounds that “The North Korean regime is one of the most fanatic, paranoid, and militaristic dictatorships on the planet. … While North Korea has long made occasional nuclear attack threats, the scope, magnitude, and frequency of these threats have vastly increased in 2013.”

What makes these developments (said to have advanced greatly with the help Chinese-provided technology) all the more alarming, is the fact that they come at a time when North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, has issued various statements threatening to attack the United States.

So now that he can, would he and will he dare to attack the United States? Kim Jong Un is known for his belligerent talk, as well as for being unstable, erratic and unpredictable. Therefore, the prospect of military suicide may not necessarily discourage or deter him and his advisers. So it makes sense to assume that if he can attack he may, and probably will, so the United States should presume a status of full preparedness for such an eventuality in case it does take place.

According to Schneider, the Obama administration has worked to downplay the details of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities because it undermines the White House’s diplomatic efforts to block the country from obtaining such weapons. Hence, the White House has reportedly resorted to assuring the public that the North’s warheads are either extremely limited in their range or untested, based on the Washington Free Beacon’s report of the story. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has repeatedly stated that both Iran and North Korea are incapable of launching a nuclear attack on the U.S., sentiments that have been echoed by James Clapper, director of national intelligence.

But despite these assurances, the DIA stands by its assessment that the threat from North Korea is real. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti reportedly confirmed in a congressional hearing on April 2 that North Korea “remains a significant threat to United States’ interests” and that “North Korea continues to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in violation of multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions”.

The White House and DIA viewpoints are diametrically opposed, and only one or the other could be correct, so who then is fooling who? Is it those who are well placed and knowledgeable enough to be asking for extra remedial measures to protect the U.S from her enemies? Or is it those whose jobs typically require that their official statements should be politically correct and socially palatable? If the White House position is indeed correct, they are probably not enough to reassure the public in the face of assertions to the contrary made by U.S military leaders and analysts.

Based on a separate related story published in the Free Beacon, the conclusion could be drawn that if North Korea is deterred from attacking the U.S, the deterrence will much more likely to a be result of China’s publicly reported reluctance to support North Korea on this, rather than a fear of the U.S ability to counter-attack.

The report states that China has signaled that it will impose international and unilateral sanctions on North Korea if Pyongyang follows through with announced plans to set off a fourth underground nuclear test. It is noteworthy that China in the past has abstained from or opposed votes on the imposition of U.N. sanctions on North Korea, hence it would appear that China has concluded that these tests will be counterproductive to its wider interests should North Korea proceed to carry out nuclear tests as threatened.

Schneider concludes his report by stating that the Obama White House “is not well suited to handle” the nuclear threat from North Korea: “The Obama administration’s current position on the North Korean nuclear threat may very well be linked with its plans to radically reduce U.S. military capabilities in both the nuclear and the conventional arena in the near future, starting with sequestration …The Obama administration’s ‘nuclear zero’ ideology does not impress North Korea…Indeed, it may have precipitated the unprecedented nuclear attack threats from North Korea.”


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