A North Korean Can That Can’t Be Kicked Further Down The Road

North Korea is a dictatorship, a Stalinist cult of personality overlaid with dynastic rule by the Kim family.  North Korea, ruled first by Kim Il Sung starting in 1948, then his son, Kim Jong Il, and now by his grandson, the portly Kim Jong Un, has been, for sixty nine years, the most repressive nation on earth.  And yesterday, the North Korean regime became a truly nuclear power with its sixth test of a nuclear weapon, this one successful and believed to be a fusion weapon approximately six times the strength of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki (the ironically named “Fat Man.”)  The North Korean regime claims the ability to place its nuclear warheads on ICBM’s capable of reaching the U.S.

Anyone who knows anything at all about modern strategic warfare knows that the greatest threat to the U.S. is, at the moment, a nuclear device exploded well over a hundred miles above ground, causing an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) (see here if you can get around the WSJ paywall; see here if you cannot) that would send all or a good portion of America back into the stone age for years.  It would be catastrophic, causing the deaths of millions through disease and starvation. It would spell our end as a super power, and may well end our national experiment, given the fractures evident today in our nation.  The threat is existential — and ever increasingly, as we allow the Kim regime to continue in existence — real:

A former NASA mission controller and space expert is raising new concerns that North Korea’s missile program is aimed at launching a nuclear armed satellite at the U.S. where high-sky explosion would fry Washington and melt down the Mid-Atlantic electric grid, resulting in chaos and death.

Describing North Korea’s missile program, Jim Oberg said that it appears the goal is to launch weaponized satellites, a fear the Pentagon has already started to prepare for.

“There have been fears expressed that North Korea might use a satellite to carry a small nuclear warhead into orbit and then detonate it over the United States for an EMP strike. These concerns seem extreme and require an astronomical scale of irrationality on the part of the regime,” he wrote in Space Review.

Then, after describing a bizarre trip he took to North Korea to witness the program, he concluded, “The most frightening aspect, I’ve come to realize, is that exactly such a scale of insanity is now evident in the rest of their ‘space program.'”

I am not gilding the lily when I say that, for the past 25 years, my greatest concern has been from a rogue nation or non-state actor with the ability to launch an EMP.  There will be no second chance.  There will be no rally.  That will be the end of this nation as we know it.  The three biggest dangers have long come from North Korea, Iran, and the jihadis.  It appears that North Korea is now the first to reach the finish line of possessing an actual viable weapon and the means to deploy it as an EMP first.

Our politicians have been kicking this nuclear can down the road since President Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter in 1994.  George Bush all but ignored the North Korean problem as he battled jihadists and democrats, both intent on seeing a jihadist victory in Iraq.  Obama arrived on the scene with Iraq already won, then squandered that victory by withdrawing from the country.  One would think that might at least have given him the breathing space to take on the North Korean issue, but in fact, by a combination of weakness and dithering, Obama only made the matter worse.  This from the Daily Beast:

News of a North Korean nuclear test earlier this week set off an explosion of finger-pointing by Republican presidential candidates—Barack Obama, they say, is to blame for the American failure to halt the hermit state’s progress on developing weapons.

Normally such a rabid rush to pin a crisis on Obama could be shrugged off as partisanship, but in this case. Nuclear nonproliferation experts agree: Obama, they claim, is responsible for the failure of America to prevent North Korea from expanding its nuclear program. . . .

Amazingly, even in light of both the metastasizing threat and the indisputable historical reality of North Korean nuclear program, the progressive left want to paint the North Korean as caused by Trump, on the one hand, and wholly without teeth on the other.  Franz-Steffan Gady of The Diplomat, is an exemplar:

This summer’s nuclear showdown between the United States and North Korea, largely manufactured by the bravado and bluster of the President of the United States, . . .

After relieving North Korea and the three former Presidents of blame for our current crisis,  Gady goes on from there to claim that there is a moral taboo that effectively prevents nations from using nuclear weapons.  Trumps mere warning of a first strike is violating that taboo.

[N]uclear deterrence and the nuclear taboo are [international] social constructs — a shared assumption about political and military realities — and as such can only contribute to strategic stability (i.e. peace) if there is a consensus that they are real. Trump’s talk of preventive war is gradually undermining this shared assumption influencing the U.S.-North Korea nuclear relationship by denying the effectiveness of the two social constructs underpinning it, and that’s a very dangerous development.

Mr. Gady is not merely a eunuch, but a very dangerous eunuch indeed.  There is not an animal in nature that does not bare its fangs to give clear warning that the next step will be violence.  Failure to warn itself invites the next step.  The warning will fail only if the opposing party either does not care or believes its opponent to be posturing.  Obama was the master of posturing, and it is quite clear that Kim Jong Un thinks that Trump is as well.  Gady is displaying the mindset of those who signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact in 1928, believing it to be a legislative end to war.  One has to be a complete historical illiterate not to understand that those with near or complete power do not act with a progressive’s finely tuned moral sense.  Within a decade of signing the Kellogg-Briand Pact, one of the signatories, Germany, ignited WWII.  Bottom line, nuclear deterrence is not a social construct in any way, shape or form.  It is raw power.  Period.

I do not see any way around the threat now posed by North Korea.  Kim Jong Un, has, with his latest nuclear test, pushed past the point where we either must take a stand or be permanently under threat from any and all despots and dictators who will start a nuclear weapons program.  This has obvious implications not merely for North Korea, but countless others who count themselves the enemy of America and Western civilization, Iran in particular.   What do you think?