Analysis: North Korea is fast approaching Trump’s red line https://t.co/teDtQ2akV2
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 8, 2017
The Washington Post tells us that American intelligence agencies have determined that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has an arsenal of between 30 and 60 nuclear weapons, and that they have successfully miniaturized one sufficiently to be loaded into the re-entry vehicle of an intercontinental ballistic missile. And from CNN:
By Zachary Cohen, CNN | Updated 9:43 PM ET, Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Washington (CNN)North Korea’s military is “examining the operational plan” to strike areas around Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic missiles, state-run news agency KCNA said early Wednesday local time.
The threat comes just hours after US President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang that if they continued to threaten the US, they would “face fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
The North Korean threat elucidated in its state media is a reaction to the flight of US B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula. The bombers flew out of Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
While the statement in KCNA came out following Trump’s threat, it would have taken several hours to draft and translate, and refers directly to the US flights.
“In the morning of August 8 the air pirates of Guam again appeared in the sky above South Korea to stage a mad-cap drill simulating an actual war,” the statement reads.
The bombers flew out of Guam on Monday as part of the US Air Force’s “continuous bomber presence,” according to the spokesman. The bombers were joined by Japanese and South Korean aircraft during their mission.
More at the original.
First, a huge complaint about the Washington Post story. The Post noted that intelligence officials believe that North Korea has successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead, and that the DPRK has between 30 and 60 warheads, but those warheads have been being built since the late 1990s; if North Korea only recently was able to miniaturize a warhead, then the vast majority of those 30 to 60 warheads are not small enough to be fitted onto a ballistic missile. That’s an important point.
But this is where my bovine feces detector is sounding: North Korea is one of the poorest countries on earth, with almost population-wide malnutrition. It’s primary industries are mining and metallurgy.
However, the building of nuclear warheads and long-range ballistic missiles is a very complex undertaking, requiring high precision equipment and very skilled technicians. These things are not mass produced, but individually assembled, to exacting tolerances, and I have to ask: is the DPRK capable of building more than a few of these things a year? It’s difficult to read on one hand that the people are subsisting on grass and acorns, and on the other that they have developed a large, long-range ballistic missile nuclear delivery system. Something just does not compute.
How, I have to ask, did American intelligence determine that the DPRK had developed a nuclear weapon small enough to mount on a ballistic missile? That’s not something which could likely have been determined by satellite reconnaissance; that’s something you’d figure out from human intelligence or the interception of communications. Given that Kim Jong-un likes to threaten and show off, it isn’t difficult to imagine the DPRK deliberately transmitting phony communications, to make the West think it is more powerful than it really is.
Sadly, this reminds me too much of 2001-2002, when the younger President Bush was making the case that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. That, after all, was what American intelligence was telling him, yet, when we invaded and got there, surprise, no WMD were found.1 When it comes to information of this sort, the CIA has made mistakes before.
And now, our intelligence agencies are telling The Washington Post all about North Korea’s nuclear threat. Yeah, I’m having a problem with that!
- Valerie Plame, the exposed CIA agent, had absolutely no reason to love President Bush, yet in her book Fair Game, she revealed that her department in the CIA, the one which analyzed the evidence concerning Iraqi weapons, was as surprised as anyone that no WMD were used or recovered. ↩