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North Korea’s fifth nuclear test produced an explosion fury and hysteria around the world, more empty threats against the Hermit Kingdom, and a giant sell-off in stock markets by foolish investors.

No wonder gleeful North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was having such a big laugh. It’s not often that a small nation of only 24.8 million can defy the mighty United States, Japan, South Korea and even its sole ally, China. But Kim did, and survived the experience.

North Korea fired off its fifth underground nuclear device estimated at 15-20 kilotons. The detonation was estimated at around the same size as the US nuclear devices that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

What made this test different was the announcement by Pyongyang that it had ‘standardized’ production of nuclear warheads and, even more important, reduced their size and weight so they could be fitted atop medium and long-ranged missiles. Previous North Korean nuclear devices were believed too heavy and bulky to be delivered by missiles.

Western experts believe North Korea will have 20 nuclear warheads by the end of this year, though how many of them can be delivered by missile is not known.
The North has no long-ranged missiles that can hit North America, contrary to this week’s hysteria. Its new submarine-launched missile, a real potential threat to the US mainland, is still many years away from deployment. No one seems to care that India has ICBM’s and sea-launched SLBM’s that can hit the US today.

North Korea’s missile force is not designed to attack the United States but rather to deter any invasion or nuclear strike by US forces. The US Air Force underlined this potential threat by flying two nuclear-capable B-1 heavy bombers near the border with North Korea.

For North Korea, most of South Korea is too close for potential nuclear attack. Radiation would blow back over North Korea. Only the South’s most important southern port, Busan, through which any invading US forces would pass, might be a viable target.

Even if North Korean missiles could strike the mainland United States, there would be an immediate US nuclear riposte from Guam, Japan and the powerful 7th Fleet that would turn North Korea to radioactive dust. Kim Jong-un is neither mad nor suicidal.

But the North’s growing force of medium-ranged missiles could hit Japan’s home islands, Okinawa, and Guam, America’s primary Asian military bases. Three or four N Korean nuclear weapons could cripple Japan.

In effect, North Korea holds Japan a nuclear hostage. Japan has no leak-proof defense against nuclear missiles. Its lack of nuclear weapons means that Japan is naked before the North Korean threat and must rely on the uncertain US nuclear umbrella and unproven anti-missile systems.

That’s why presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed that Japan be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. It’s unacceptable for the world’s third largest economy to be held in thrall by pipsqueak but nasty North Korea.

Japan has considered developing nuclear weapons for decades but US pressure and anti-militarist public opinion have prevented Tokyo from doing so.

ORDER IT NOW

Japan could produce a nuclear weapon in three months if it so decided. But it won’t, and so remains vulnerable to North Korea and to nuclear-armed China with which Japan is in a serious confrontation in the South China Sea and off the Ryuku Islands.

The US and South Korea have staged their annual Fall military exercises that mimic an invasion of North Korea. Each year, North Korea blows its top when this provocation occurs. There’s no military need – it’s merely primitive chest-thumping by Washington and Seoul and tantrum-time for the North. Call it North Asian Primeval Scream Therapy.

Interestingly, this time South Korea’s conservative government led by PM Park Geun-hye joined the all-Korean threat-a-thon by vowing to turn Pyongyang ‘to ashes’ if it was seen preparing a nuclear attack on the South. In fact, South Korea lacks this military capability in spite of recent additions of new artillery missiles. Seoul’s threats were more designed to placate angry right-wing South Korean Christian voters than to intimidate the North.

But it’s also worth recalling that in the late 1970’s, the US forced the current prime minister’s father, President Park Chung-he, to halt his secret nuclear weapons program. Today, South Korea still has good reasons to develop a few nukes, though much of North Korea is too close for retaliatory strikes. Both sides in Korea would be better off with small, tactical nuclear weapons.

It’s always fun watching the hot-tempered Koreans hurl threats at one another and the US. Yet one of these days, threats could turn to real shooting on the Peninsula. Think of the Japanese nuclear melt-down at Fukushima…and then multiply by 150.

(Republished from EricMargolis.com by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: North Korea, Nuclear Weapons 
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  1. The US has two options:

    - introduce tactical nukes into the Asia Pacific in order to compensate for conventional disadvantage, leading to China responding in kind, thus forcing US allies to respond in kind.
    - refrain from introducing nukes, in which case US allies are forced to balance against China by developing their tactical nukes

    In both cases, US is rendered irrelevant as a security provider.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anon
    How about option #3. The US just leaves South Korea altogether.
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  2. Diogenes says:

    How about N. Korean underground testing of a nuclear device is less crazy

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45489.htm

    or provocative than bombing an killing Syrian soldiers in Syria prior to an all out ISIS attack on a Syrian airbase!

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45496.htm

    Russia would be “crazy” NOT to shoot down any US war plane flying over Syria because the US is already crazy enough to provoke a regional or world war!

    Is there anybody sane enough to nuke the US into oblivion. It has to be done and will be done eventually unless the “crazies” in the US are locked up and put away by the people.

    Read More
    • Replies: @voluntaryist
    The "crazies in the US" are the people who still believe they are safer when they forfeit their sovereignty to so-called leaders who actually rule for their own benefit. They use their power to control and extort wealth. The 1% rich get richer, at the expense of the rest, while the parasites destroy their host. And the victims sanction it. They continue to authorize their own destruction every time they vote, hoping this time things will be different, this time the failed paradigm of the authoritarian regime will suddenly work for them. The initiation of force is never productive, never moral, never practical. It is anti-life, irrational, inhuman.
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  3. unit472 says:

    Where does Margolis get the idea that North Korea can’t use nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula because it is ‘too close’. Short of detonating , even a crude, atomic bomb at ground level the radiation effect is instantaneous with little long lived radioactive fallout. The US conducted dozens of open air tests in Nevada and tourists flocked to see the blasts only a few dozen miles from Las Vegas. Yes, fallout was detected downwind but never at lethal levels. To imagine the regime of Kim Jong Un would worry about ‘fallout’ when the real danger would be American nuclear retaliation is ridiculous.

    Read More
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  4. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Lemurmaniac
    The US has two options:

    - introduce tactical nukes into the Asia Pacific in order to compensate for conventional disadvantage, leading to China responding in kind, thus forcing US allies to respond in kind.
    - refrain from introducing nukes, in which case US allies are forced to balance against China by developing their tactical nukes

    In both cases, US is rendered irrelevant as a security provider.

    How about option #3. The US just leaves South Korea altogether.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Avery
    US has worked very hard to thwart and prevent rapprochement between South and North Korea.

    US doesn't want a unified Korea.
    The need for US military presence in the region would evaporate.
    MIC cannot possibly allow that, now can it?
    , @Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist
    That would be

    1. Logical and

    2. A retreat from Empire.

    Therefore, it ain't gonna happen, bro.
    , @GeorgyOrwell
    Thats way to much of a great idea to ever happen
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  5. Avery says:
    @anon
    How about option #3. The US just leaves South Korea altogether.

    US has worked very hard to thwart and prevent rapprochement between South and North Korea.

    US doesn’t want a unified Korea.
    The need for US military presence in the region would evaporate.
    MIC cannot possibly allow that, now can it?

    Read More
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  6. Marcus says:

    Another trash article by Margolis, cobbled together from various wikipedia entries.

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  7. Kiza says:

    Just another garbage “article” by the CIA writer Margolis.

    Who says that anti-missile defence is ineffective against low-tech North Korean missiles?
    Who says that Japan will not or has not already produced nuclear bombs? What would such bombs do to challenge the mainly defensive (anti-invasion) nature of the North Korean nuclear weapons?

    Of course that US and Israel would love the nuclear monopoly.

    This “writer” is a cretin.

    Read More
    • Agree: Marcus
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  8. @anon
    How about option #3. The US just leaves South Korea altogether.

    That would be

    1. Logical and

    2. A retreat from Empire.

    Therefore, it ain’t gonna happen, bro.

    Read More
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  9. Rehmat says:

    Margolis is right that a nuclear North Korea doesn’t has the capability to attack North America. Its nuclear deterrent is for country’s defense from 38,000 US soldiers stationed in neighboring South Korea, and US military alliance with Japan.

    However, Margolis intentionally skipped the main reason why US and its allies were pissed-off on N. Korea’s latest nuclear test. It’s because of N. Korea’s support for Iran and Palestinian resistance against Israel. North Korea is the only communist-ruled country which refuses to establish diplomatic relations with the Zionist entity.

    The 5th nuclear test marked the 68th anniversary of the founding of North Korea by Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of North Korea’s current leader Kim Jong Un.

    On September 9, David Israel cursed Barack Obama on going ‘soft’ on Iran’s nuclear program at the “Jewish Press com.,” which has emboldened other rogue states to conduct ballistic missile tests.

    “So far, Iran has already launched its ballistic missile, and it appears that secret clauses in its nuclear deal will make it particularly easy to renew plutonium enrichment,” whined Israel.

    Let’s not tell the Zionist idiot that the Zionist entity has 250-400 nuclear and chemical bombs – over 30 of Jericho III ballistic missiles based on French and American technology, and three German submarines equipped with nuclear war-heads. Many scholars believe that Israel is also a rogue state.

    On May 10, 2016, Peter Brookes at The National Interest claimed that “North Korea could be secretly building a nuclear bomb for Iran.” The US-based TNI was established by Zionist Jew Irving Kristol, known as the “godfather of the Neo-Conservatism”. His son William Kristol is a well-known Israeli propagandist….

    https://rehmat1.com/2016/09/11/iran-gave-ballistic-missiles-to-n-korea/

    Read More
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  10. @anon
    How about option #3. The US just leaves South Korea altogether.

    Thats way to much of a great idea to ever happen

    Read More
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  11. Biff says:

    The sole problem the west has with N Korea is that it is un-exploitable. They want the land, resources, and cheap labor for their benefit. The pesky hermits are keeping it to themselves. It’s considered a “human rights violation” not to be allowed to exploit the poor, and the week.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jett Rucker
    The North Koreans are doing a far better job of keeping each other poor than any outside exploitation possibly could.
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  12. ha! poor kim a pressure-cooker made a bigger impact on the united states than your nuclear device.

    maybe if you convert to islam americans will pay attention to you once again.

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  13. Jett Rucker says: • Website

    Israel has possessed sub-launched missile capabilities with which to threaten everything in the US within 200 miles of an ocean at least since September 11, 2001. And it has (many) nuclear warheads that can be delivered by this method.

    It also possesses at least six non-nuclear ocean-going submarines with which to deliver this threat, some of them since before September 11, 2001.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  14. Jett Rucker says: • Website
    @Biff
    The sole problem the west has with N Korea is that it is un-exploitable. They want the land, resources, and cheap labor for their benefit. The pesky hermits are keeping it to themselves. It's considered a "human rights violation" not to be allowed to exploit the poor, and the week.

    The North Koreans are doing a far better job of keeping each other poor than any outside exploitation possibly could.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Biff
    You just don't get it, do you...
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  15. Biff says:
    @Jett Rucker
    The North Koreans are doing a far better job of keeping each other poor than any outside exploitation possibly could.

    You just don’t get it, do you…

    Read More
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  16. iffen says:

    We need some editorial competence here. I wanted to read about the latest Kardasian orgy.

    Read More
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  17. Richard S says:

    Seoul is just biding its time, waiting for the DPRK to collapse so it can exploit an ethnic-Korean helot class of 25 million and inherit their stockpile of warheads. Then, in their planning, united Korea will be in a massively strengthened position viz a viz Japan, China and the USA.

    Or can the Pyongyang regime go on indefinitely, even in the contemporary “Information Age”?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  18. @Diogenes
    How about N. Korean underground testing of a nuclear device is less crazy

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45489.htm

    or provocative than bombing an killing Syrian soldiers in Syria prior to an all out ISIS attack on a Syrian airbase!

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45496.htm

    Russia would be "crazy" NOT to shoot down any US war plane flying over Syria because the US is already crazy enough to provoke a regional or world war!

    Is there anybody sane enough to nuke the US into oblivion. It has to be done and will be done eventually unless the "crazies" in the US are locked up and put away by the people.

    The “crazies in the US” are the people who still believe they are safer when they forfeit their sovereignty to so-called leaders who actually rule for their own benefit. They use their power to control and extort wealth. The 1% rich get richer, at the expense of the rest, while the parasites destroy their host. And the victims sanction it. They continue to authorize their own destruction every time they vote, hoping this time things will be different, this time the failed paradigm of the authoritarian regime will suddenly work for them. The initiation of force is never productive, never moral, never practical. It is anti-life, irrational, inhuman.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  19. I thought this was going to be about Ms. Kardashian’s most recent pornographic film.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
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