Friday, March 07, 2003
Our favorite rogue state...
[NK Missile Warhead Found in Alaska]
``According to a U.S. document, the last piece of a missile warhead fired by North Korea was found in Alaska,’’ former Japanese foreign minister Taro Nakayama was quoted as saying in the report. ``Washington, as well as Tokyo, has so far underrated Pyongyang’s missile capabilities.’’
It's still pretty doubtful that they can create a deliverable nuclear weapon, but this would seem to indicate that North Korea, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and others have missiles with greater range than previously thought. North Korea is a poor nation with few exports and limited trade. The vast majority of the foreign currency coming into North Korea is the result of technology transfers. The "axis of evil" is really about a new form of triangular trade. North Korea needs oil and cash to sustain itself, and they get it by giving missile and WMD technology to countries like Iran and Pakistan in return for hard currency and oil shipments.
North Korea, land of darkness.
WMD is a mainstay of their economy. The Clinton administration played on this by offering money and fuel shipments in return for inspections of [suspected WMD facilities] and stopping the NK nuclear program. Unfortunately, this strategy didn't work. NK not only continued their WMD programs in violation of the [Agreed Framework] (the agreement between the US, Japan, SK, and NK governing the deal to stop the nuclear program in exchange for aid), but when confronted with evidence that NK had not stopped it's nuclear program NK had the gaul to ask for more handouts of aid in return for another "stop" to their program. And they apparently [expected to continue to receive shipments of fuel] from the Agreed Framework partners.
The Bush administration has decided not to play the game that NK has been playing, starting their nuclear program again and again for more aid. The aid goes directly to keeping the NK fat cats in power, not feeding their citizens. While NK has recently experimented with a more [open economy], it's been too little, too late, and poorly implemented. It's likely that the reforms were pushed by small factions within the NK power structure, and as those reforms fail, the people that pushed for them will lose their influence in NK domestic policy.
In the past few months, the NK propoganda machine has stepped up it's pace and NK has provoked South Korea and the US several times. A MiG-19 penetrated SK airspace weeks ago, and last week MiG-29s and MiG-27s intercepted an RC-135 150 miles from the coast of the Korean Peninsula (well outside any area that North Korea can claim). While the RC-135 incident received the most attention, the MiG-19 was a far more ominous event. It is very likely that the lone MiG-19 was testing the reaction time of the South Korean defenses along the DMZ and near Seoul.
Most people do not realize just how close Seoul, the capital and of South Korea and it's center of gravity is to the North. The greatest threat from North Korea is not it's missles or WMD, it's their conventional forces. Seoul is already within range of North Korean artillery and MLRS forces just north of the DMZ. Not just a few gun tubes mind you- more than 5,000 artillery pieces are stationed along the DMZ, most of them in well protected bunkers and caves built into mountains. NK literally has a gun to South Korea's head, and can pull the trigger at any time. The small size of the Korean peninsula means that NK can not only decimate US and SK forces stationed in northern South Korea in the first hour of a barrage, but before a US response can be mobilized the North Korean army can [move quickly south and hold territory] before significant forces can be brought to bear on them.
Last week the US moved 24 heavy bombers from the US to Guam in preparation of any hostile moves by North Korea. Now 24 may not seem like a lot, but since the Gulf War there have been a few advances in antiarmor munitions that make 12 B-1 and 12 B-52 bombers a very potent force. Those bombers could be over South Korea, blunting a North Korean armored push south with the [WCMD] and [Skeet submunitions] within a few hours.
We live in interesting times.
[CNS's Special Collection: North Korea]
[ 3/07/2003 04:05:00 PM ] [