North Korea has threatened to nuke Hawaii, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas. Now the Stalinist regime is saying that war could break out “today or tomorrow.” We have heard threats from North Korea before–though not like these–and we always dismiss them on the grounds that North Korea’s leadership is certifiably insane. That’s supposed to make us feel better? A lunatic with nuclear weapons is the worst kind. “Mutually-assured destruction” is not a deterrent for a lunatic. Another reason not to worry is that North Korea is a failed state in desperate poverty. That an adversary is “desperate” is no consolation, since there is always the option of going out in a blaze of glory. There is also that whole face-saving thing so important, I am told, to Koreans that makes it harder to back down.
We can feel better knowing that experts say the country does not have the technical capability to launch missiles that will reach all that far. Let’s hope the experts are right this time. We have sent ships and anti-missile technology to our allies and military bases in the region. China is even moving military units to its borders with North Korea, not knowing what the new “dear leader” Kim Jong-Un might do.
From Jung Ha-Won:
North Korea dramatically escalated its warlike rhetoric on Thursday, warning that it had authorised plans for nuclear strikes on targets in the United States.
“The moment of explosion is approaching fast,” the North Korean military said, warning that war could break out “today or tomorrow”.
Pyongyang’s latest pronouncement came as Washington scrambled to reinforce its Pacific missile defences, preparing to send ground-based interceptors to Guam and dispatching two Aegis class destroyers to the region.
Tension was also high on the North’s heavily-fortified border with South Korea, after Kim Jong-Un’s isolated regime barred South Koreans from entering a Seoul-funded joint industrial park on its side of the frontier.
In a statement published by the state KCNA news agency, the Korean People’s Army general staff warned Washington that US threats would be “smashed by… cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means”.
“The merciless operation of our revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified,” the statement said.
Last month, North Korea threatened a “pre-emptive” nuclear strike against the United States, and last week its supreme army command ordered strategic rocket units to combat status.
But, while Pyongyang has successfully carried out test nuclear detonations, most experts think it is not yet capable of mounting a device on a ballistic missile capable of striking US bases or territory.
Mounting tension in the region could however trigger incidents on the tense and heavily-militarised border between North and South Korea.
There was no immediate American reaction to the North’s latest statement, but US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Pyongyang represented a “real and clear danger” to the United States and to its allies South Korea and Japan.
“They have nuclear capacity now, they have missile delivery capacity now,” Hagel said after a strategy speech at the National Defense University. “We take those threats seriously, we have to take those threats seriously.”
UPDATE: North Korea has moved its missile launchers to its east coast, which is getting the attention of the U.S. and its allies. See this.