North Korea’s Advancing Nuclear Development

North Korea‘s nuclear development is a deterrent against the use of force by the U.S. or other imperialist powers. Many North Koreans remember how the U.S. utterly annihilated North Korea in the Korean War, and interestingly enough, this is widely unknown in the U.S. Reports indicate how a lot of people fail to even identify North Korea on a map, let alone know about U.S. war crimes in North Korea. If you haven’t read the official military history on this written by the U.S. government, the Air Quarterly Review, I encourage you to look into it. The North Korean dams were bombed by the U.S., an atrocity similar to what the Nazis had done to Holland in 1944 (which was then called a war crime at the Nuremberg trials).

North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.

The new analysis completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The U.S. calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Some independent experts believe the number of bombs is much smaller.

The findings are likely to deepen concerns about an evolving North Korean military threat that appears to be advancing far more rapidly than many experts had predicted. U.S. officials last month concluded that Pyongyang is also outpacing expectations in its effort to build an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking cities on the American mainland.

While more than a decade has passed since North Korea’s first nuclear detonation, many analysts believed it would be years before the country’s weapons scientists could design a compact warhead that could be delivered by missile to distant targets. But the new assessment, a summary document dated July 28, concludes that this critical milestone has already been reached.

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Kim Jong Un is becoming increasingly confident in the reliability of his nuclear arsenal, analysts have concluded, explaining perhaps the dictator’s willingness to engage in defiant behavior, including missile tests that have drawn criticism even from North Korea’s closest ally, China. On Saturday, both China and Russia joined other members of the U.N. Security Council in approving punishing new economic sanctions, including a ban on exports that supply up to a third of North Korea’s annual $3 billion earnings.

[…]

Kim has repeatedly proclaimed his intention to field a fleet of nuclear-tipped ICBMs as a guarantor of his regime’s survival. His regime took a major step toward that goal last month with the first successful tests of a missile with intercontinental range. Video analysis of the latest test revealed that the missile caught fire and apparently disintegrated as it plunged back toward Earth’s surface, suggesting North Korea’s engineers are not yet capable of building a reentry vehicle that can carry the warhead safely through the upper atmosphere. But U.S. analysts and many independent experts believe that this hurdle will be overcome by late next year.

In light of what’s happening with the North Korea and U.S. foreign policy, there’s an analysis by Noam Chomsky that deserves to be highlighted.

AMY GOODMAN: At this point, as President Trump nears his 100th day, North Korea and Iran have been a major focus. Are you concerned that with the president at the lowest popularity rating, I think, in any president’s history at this point, that he will focus abroad, as he has in the last few weeks, dropping the MOAB, the “Mother of All Bombs,” in Afghanistan, bombing the Syrian government, and yet focusing specifically on North Korea and Iran—in North Korea, McMaster, General McMaster, the national security adviser, saying tensions with North Korea are coming to a head. Do you think there is a possibility that the U.S. would attack North Korea?

NOAM CHOMSKY: I mean, this administration is extremely unpredictable. Trump probably has no idea what he’s going to do five minutes from now, so you can’t—literally—so you can’t really make predictions with much confidence. But I doubt it very much. The reason is very simple: An attack on North Korea would unleash—no matter what attack it is, even a nuclear attack, would unleash massive artillery bombardment of Seoul, which is the biggest city in South Korea, right near the border, which would wipe it out, including plenty of American troops. That doesn’t—I mean, I’m no technical expert, but as far as I can—as I read and can see, there’s no defense against that. Furthermore, North Korea could retaliate against American bases in the region, where there’s plenty of American soldiers and so on, also in Japan. They’d be devastated. North Korea would be finished. You know, so would much of the region. But if attacked, presumably, they would respond, very likely. In fact, the responses might be automatic. McMaster, at least, and Mattis understand this. How much influence they have, we don’t know. So I think an attack is unlikely.

But the real question is: Is there a way of dealing with the problem? There are a lot of proposals: sanctions; a big new missile defense system, which is a major threat to China, it’ll increase tensions there; military threats of various kinds; sending an aircraft carrier, the Vinson, to North Korea, except by accident—it happened to be going in the opposite direction, but we’ll forget that. But these are—those are the proposals, that kind of proposals, as to how to solve.

Actually, there’s one proposal that’s ignored. I mean, you see a mention of it now and then. It’s a pretty simple proposal. Remember, the goal is to get North Korea to freeze its weapons systems, weapons and missile systems. So one proposal is to accept their offer to do that. Sounds simple. They’ve made a proposal. China and North Korea proposed to freeze the North Korean missile and nuclear weapons systems. And the U.S. instantly rejected it. And you can’t blame that on Trump. Obama did the same thing a couple of years ago. Same offer was presented. I think it was 2015. The Obama administration instantly rejected it.

And the reason is that it calls for a quid pro quo. It says, in return, the United States should put an end to threatening military maneuvers on North Korea’s borders, which happen to include, under Trump, sending of nuclear-capable B-52s flying right near the border. Now, maybe Americans don’t remember very well, but North Koreans have a memory of not too long ago, when North Korea was absolutely flattened, literally, by American bombing. There was—there was literally no targets left. And I really urge people who haven’t done it to read the official American military histories, the Air Quarterly Review, the military histories describing this. They describe it very vividly and accurately. They say, “There just weren’t any targets left. So what could we do?” Well, we decided to attack the dams, the huge dams. That’s a major war crime. People were hanged for it at Nuremberg. But put that aside. And then comes an ecstatic, gleeful description of the bombing of the dams and the huge flow of water, which was wiping out valleys and destroying the rice crop, on which Asians depend for survival—lots of racist comment, but all with exaltation and glee. You really have to read it to appreciate it. The North Koreans don’t have to bother reading it. They lived it. So when nuclear-capable B-52s are flying on their border, along with other threatening military maneuvers, they’re kind of upset about it. Strange people. And they continue to develop what they see as a potential deterrent that might protect the regime from—and the country, in fact—from destruction. This has nothing at all to do with what you think about the government. So maybe it’s the worst government in human history. OK. But these are still the facts that exist.

So, why is the United States unwilling to accept an agreement which would end the immediate threats of destruction against North Korea and, in return, freeze the weapons and missile systems? Well, I leave that to you. And remember, that’s bipartisan in this case. Could negotiations go—the usual argument is “Well, you can’t trust them,” and so on and so forth. But there is a history. And I—there’s no time to run through the history. It’s quite interesting. Begins in 1993, when Clinton—under Clinton, the North Koreans made a deal with Israel to terminate North Korean missile shipments to the Middle East, which is a great, serious threat to Israel and the world, and, in return, Israel would recognize North Korea. Now, the Clinton administration wouldn’t accept that. They pressured Israel, which has to do what they’re told, to withdraw from it. And North Korea responded by sending—by firing their first intermediate-range missiles. I won’t go on with the rest. It’s a very interesting story.

There was actually an agreement in 2005 that North Korea would completely dismantle its nuclear weapons and missile systems, end them, finish, dismantle them, in return for a nonaggression pact from the United States, an end to threats, provision by the West—that means by the United States—of a light-water reactor, which can’t produce nuclear weapons but could produce—be used for peaceful purposes, research, medical, other purposes. That was basically the agreement, 2005. Didn’t last very long. The Bush administration instantly undermined it. It dismantled the consortium that was supposed to provide the reactor. And it immediately imposed—pressured—and when the U.S. pressures, it means it happens—banks to block North Korean financial transactions, including perfectly legitimate trade. So the crazy North Koreans started producing missiles and nuclear weapons again. And that’s been the kind of record all the way through.

So, yeah, maybe the most horrible regime in human history, but the fact of the matter is the regime does want to survive, and it even wants to carry out economic development—there’s pretty general agreement about this—which it cannot do in any significant way when it’s pouring resources, very scarce resources, into weapons and missile production. So they have considerable incentive, including survival, to perhaps continue this process of reacting in a kind of tit-for-tat fashion to U.S. actions. When the U.S. lowers tensions, they do. When we raise tensions, they go on with these plans. How about that as a possibility? I mean, it is—if you look at the press, it’s occasionally mentioned. In fact, there was not a bad article in The Washington Post about it recently by a U.S. professor who teaches in South Korea. So, occasionally, it’s this strange possibility of letting the North Koreans do exactly what we want them to do. Sometimes this is mentioned, but it’s pretty much dismissed. We can’t do that sort of thing.