North Korea’s recent test of an intercontinental ballistic missile has the mainstream media in a panic, and perhaps rightly so. This missile was larger, more technological advanced, had better steering and flew further and higher than “experts” expected a North Korean missile to be capable of.
Well, North Korea finally has a missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload to the US. To the shock and chagrin of military strategists everywhere, the rules of the game have changed.
In the lead up to this event, the mainstream media and US politicians have been steadily beating the drum of war. We’ve been here before, in Iraq with Bush’s preemptive strike and in Libya and Syria with Obama’s bombing campaigns and tacit support for “moderate” rebels that has decimated two of the more well-off nations in their respective regions.
North Korea seemed to be the next logical target; another dictator, a despot, a tyrant who would not be missed and could be overthrown for “freedom” — a term that represents the nebulous purposes of the US government and its agencies, and leads to greater suffering of the local populace among other “unpredictable” outcomes.
Anti-missile defense* systems were maneuvered into South Korea to neuter any threat Kim was believed capable of posing (“South Korea’s Missile Defense System is Bigger Better And Ready For North Korea” reads the confident headline of the linked article), but such systems are designed to counter medium-range slow-moving missiles… not an intercontinental ballistic missile traveling at super-sonic speeds.
Indeed, while the US has interceptors based in Alaska and California that are theoretically capable of intercepting a ballistic missile, the probability of actually hitting the target is believed to be 25% or less.
“The US missile interceptors based in Alaska and California are assessed to have a 25 percent chance of a head-on collision with the attacking missile, but most experts believe the true performance to be much lower,” says Dr. Bruce Blair, former nuclear launch control officer.
Suddenly, one has to realistically consider the scale of destruction North Korea could cause — and it would not take more than one nuclear ICBM to suddenly turn the tables on a superpower. Nuclear physicists believe more dangerous than the initial blast of a nuclear warhead is the Electromagnetic Pulse it would generate.
In fact, rather than depend on the destructive power of the blast, a nuclear warhead detonated high above the US could produce a shock-wave that would take down the electrical grid and disable critical infrastructure.
“Airliners would crash killing many of the 500,000 people flying over North America at any given moment,” Peter Vincent Pry, a former CIA analyst told Forbes.
The initial aftermath is severe, but according to Vincent Pry, the long-term impact on food stocks would lead to a decimation of up to 90% of the population.
“The U.S. can sustain a population of 320 million people only because of modern technology,” said Pry. “An EMP that blacks-out the electric grid for a year would [decimate] the critical infrastructure necessary to support such a large population.”
This poses two problems. The mainstream media would have you believe that the sole threat would be to the American public, now faced with a fear more tangible than the specter of terrorism. However, the real problem posed would be to the American military industrial complex, as it can no longer contemplate any form of conflict with the North without endangering the lives of American citizens.
It was the US military’s actions in the Middle East that proved the best teacher to Kim; none of the fallen dictators in that theater had a nuclear deterrent, and now his can reach the only country that matters. Hopefully this will mean a sudden and unexplained end to the constant coverage of North Korea, as eyes shift towards the next potential conflict zone.
(*off-topic: anti-missile defense systems are controversial as they limit the threat of mutually-assured destruction for only one side of a conflict, allowing it to declare wars and end them via nuclear warhead with impunity. There was a whole treaty banning over-development of the technology, signed by the USSR and the US way back in 1972, but the US withdrew from it in 2002).