North Korea’s nuclear target: Hiroshima?

christopher_lee180-11

6 February 2016, London

The North Koreans have done what the Dear Leader Kim Jong-un said they were going to do; they have launched another rocket claiming that it was putting a satellite into space.

The Americans have not done what they said they were going to do. Reprisals.

The Japanese have not done what they said they were going to do: shoot it down if they feel threatened. They feel threatened.

Back in 1957, the Soviet Union space department launched the first satellite into space, Sputnik 1.  That was the start of the Cold War threat called intercontinental nuclear warfare and it lead to the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction. Why? Because you cannot put a satellite into space unless you have built a rocket capable of taking the satellite there – into space.  Once you have built that rocket it gets a second name: missile.

The same rocket/missile is what it takes to put a re-entry vehicle into space that comes back into the atmosphere to hit a target on earth.

That is the system the British and American use in their Trident missiles (the US has also 450 Minuteman III)).  It is the same used by the Russians in their 13 types of ICBMs (Ballistic missiles) including Scarp, Satan, Tool, Stingray, Skiff and Bulava (these are the NATO names for the Russian missiles). China is in there too with Dong Feng, the Israelis with Jericho III, Pakistan Taimur and India is developing Agni VI.

Kim Jong-un thinks that is a good club to join.  Every one respects its members.

The rocket firing from North Korea on Sunday last does not change the strategic balance in Asia or anywhere else.  However we should reasonably suspect that the Dear Leader is trying to join the ICBM club.

Kim Jong-un would then expect the other nuclear club members to take him seriously.  Show some respect is the way he sees it. No one messes with a man who has a long range rocket that he now calls a missile especially if he is developing a fission and after that a nuclear fusion warhead.

Kim Jong-Ng would like respect.  Read North Korean statements on bi-lateral talks with almost anyone especially the US.  Somewhere in each statement there is a veiled or upfront demand for respect.  That is not the clue to dealing with the Dear Leader but it is something we have to take on board if we are going to get to Key Stage 2 with him.

Instead the United Nations is stumbling about trying to fix a lot of sanctions that will bring Kim Jung-un to heel. Sanctions? He self-imposes.  The North Koreans have more self-inflicted sanctions than the Sicarii rebels of first century Masada.

So where are we with the North Korean leader?

He has a crude nuclear capability.  His scientists tell him that he has better than that – a fusion bomb. There is evidence to suggest they are telling him what he wants to hear. They are close, but no cigar. But soon it will happen.

His rocket engineers are more or less there.  They need enhanced stage propulsion and then the capability of remote command for re-entry.

But then what? What would he do with it? First he has capability that cannot be ignored. A place at arms control talks?  Kim Jong-un does not go to arms control talks nor does he need to. Who needs arms control when you have just arrived on the block?

The Future Intentions (for that read Nightmares) Intelligence Analysts outside Washington DC have a recurring and increasingly mind-cramping scenario in wargaming. In time of amazing regional tension, the Dear Leader will order nuclear release on two targets. Neither will be South Korean nor American bases.

The gamers say the targets would be: Hiroshima on Day One and Nagasaki on Day Two.  Respect? Then what do the UN Sanctions Planners do?

 

 

 

 

 

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