Saturday, January 9, 2016

What Was North Korea Really Up To With It's Latest Nuclear Test?

Eric Margolis informs:

Is North Korea’s claim of a hydrogen weapon true?  The 6-7 kiloton underground nuclear blast – close to China’s northern border was not indicative of a true thermonuclear weapon. It may, however, have been a test of the atomic trigger used to detonate a full hydrogen weapon.

In any event, whether or not the device was an H-bomb or not, what really mattered was that Pyongyang’s crowing that the device had been “miniaturized.” North Korea’s foes have long feared that it would shrink and lighten a nuclear warhead sufficiently to be carried atop some of the North’s 1,000 medium-range missile arsenal. North Korea is believed to have about ten nuclear devices, but they are heavy and unsuited to high-stress ballistic flight...

[T]here appears little doubt that North Korea is well on its way to deploy a respectable strategic nuclear force. North Koreans have been eating grass for decades to achieve just this goal.

In Pyongyang’s view, the US, Japan and South Korea all plan to invade North Korea, oust the Kim dynasty, and turn it into yet another western satrapy. Only North Korea’s redoubtable if obsolescent million-man armed forces prevent this invasion, says Pyongyang. Annual, massive US-South Korean military exercises mimicking an invasion of North Korea do nothing to lessen Pyongyang’s paranoia...

In spite of its blood-curdling threats against the US, North Korea is far from producing long-range missiles that can deliver nuclear warheads to North America. The real target for North Korea’s missiles would be US bases in South Korea, Okinawa, Japan and Guam. But most likely only in the event of a full-scale US-led assault on the North.

The US military does not like to fight opponents who have real armies. A US invasion of the north was estimated to produce upwards of 200,000 American military casualties...

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un may be zany and provocative, but he shows no desire to court nuclear suicide by attacking the US. So happy upcoming birthday, Marshall Kim. Revealing a supposed submarine-launched missile was his last year’s birthday surprise.

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