03 September 2017

Could North Korea hit the US Mainland?

With the rhetoric from Pyongyang, may feel the United States is on the verge of war with North Korean. One problem, we are already at war with North Korea. The Korean War was from 1950 - 1953, but it never officially ended. Yes, we have an armistice, which ended hostility, but we never sign a treaty ending the war. Instead, we have lived under a 64-year cease-fire that could flare up at any moment.

The problem, South Korea, and Japan are both within a strike of North Korea's conventional and nuclear arsenal. However, a return to hostilities could become unavoidable if any of the following occurs:
·       The North paints itself into a corner, and Kim Jong-un launches a preemptive strike.
·       The US or S. Korea realize the inevitable and attempt to take out Kim Jong-un, or the North Korean nuclear arsenal.  
·       A third-party instigates a war to distract or weaken the United States.

The US or S. Korea realize the inevitable and attempt to take out Kim Jong-un, or the North Korean nuclear arsenal.

The North paints itself into a corner

We know the North Korea has missiles with a range of 9,300 miles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead with a yield of 1-2 kilotons. In reality, they have yet to prove an ability to put the two together for a long-range strike. So if you are in Guam, Hawaii, Alaska, or the Western US, you do not need to worry about ICBM's from North Korea. But our allies, as well as the US troops in the DMZ, and bases in Japan, are in range.

The US has deployed an anti-ballistic missile system, THAAD, (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense), to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase (descent or re-entry). With only 35 miles separate the 10 million citizens of Seoul from the DMZ, The US or South Korea may decide that a preemptive strike is the best way the end the nuclear threat to Seoul. 

Although we know North Korea's threat of a US strike is empty, let's say they were to try; a porous southern border and western ports could mark an easy entry for into the US. Why fire a rocket halfway around the world, which could and probably would blow up on its own, get shot down, miss its target, or fall harmlessly in the Pacific. Sneak nukes into Mexico, hire a drug cartel to smuggle it into the US with a combo of guns, cash, and drugs. Once across the border, make your way to I-40, buy three used trucks, drive to your target and await orders.

 A third-party instigates war to weaken the United States.
We can jokingly say The Russians, but they are the least likely, along with the Chinese, to want a war, much less one that could go nuclear, near their own boards. While the US debates defense of the southern border, China has created the border defense brigade to patrol and accurate map the regions that include borders with Russia and Mongolia along with 24-hour drone and ground camera coverage. All in trying to prevent mass movement of refugees.

So, who would want the US involved in another war? A terrorist organization like ISIS. A distracted US would allow ISIS a bit of time regroup and train in Libya.

Iran, a longtime supporter, and benefactor of North Korea. However, the Axis of Evil member would benefit in the US focused on a war in Asia that would need to hand off current responsibilities in the Middle East to the UN, another NATO partner or the Russians. It would also allow Iran to perfect its nuclear weapons program while extending its influence throughout the region. The thought is, they already have nukes, but want to make sure they can mount a high yield device on an ICBM as a deterrent before revealing this to the world.

The American left. With Trump as president, and a left that is unhinged, it is entirely possible to see those on the left use this crisis as a way to undermine the US, the president or the seize power. War, chaos, and a romanticized vision of the 60’s will lead to a ramp up protest on college campuses, and riots in cities across the country. Even if they do not instigate a war, it will be a mess in the US as long as we are in a Trump war. 

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