Not a Brave New World

If you have been following the news—international news, not the farce out of Washington, DC, you, like me, wonder where will nuclear war breakout first, in the Mideast between Israel and Iran or with North Korean and their enemy of the moment.

Iran has been working to build a nuke for decades. They are currently receiving material and technological assistance from North Korea, Pakistan, China and Russia. Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister has been shouting warnings for years asking for help to stop Iran’s program. At some point, Israel will realize no one, especially Obama, cares. When that happens, Israel will do what is needed to protect themselves. Israel hasn’t publicly acknowledged possession of nukes, but no half-competent intelligence agency in the world doubts Israel has them.

On the other side of the world, Kim Jong Pud has unilaterally declared the 1953 Korean War armistice is over. He’s threatened a nuclear strike against the mainland of the US. It’s questionable if the Norks have that ability—at this time. They have had one successful nuclear test after two fizzles. They do have long range rockets capable of reaching the US west coast. The question is whether they have been able to make a nuke small enough to fit into a missile warhead and still be able to reach the US.

Aegis Anti-missile systemSuch a possibility is why we have anti-ballistic missiles in Alaska and why some Aegis missile cruisers have the ability to hit incoming ballistic missiles. The naval capability was originally for a theater-level threat. But… they could also be stationed near the US west coast for added protection.

If North Korea can’t reach the US, they could reach closer US assets in South Korea and Japan. Those are much closer. The US and Japan have agreements for the US to provide anti-missile technology and anti-missile naval assets and technology.

South Korea is still under the US umbrella and the US has military forces in South Korea. Those military forces are a trip-wire to activate the defense treaty between the US and South Korea.

There is another factor. South Korea has nuclear reactors for power generation and research. A by-product of those reactors is enriched plutonium. South Korea has the knowledge and the technology to build their own nukes—as does Japan.  One thing the Chinese do not want is a nuclear arms race in the western Pacific. If the Norks launch an attack, the Chinese just might look the other way. They’d have a tough choice; the loss of their buffer against South Korea and Japan or Japanese and South Korean nukes.

Tough choice for them but it’s quite likely they’ll throw Kim Jong Pud under the bus and look the other way when the inevitable retaliation turns North Korea into a glowing desert.