North Korea has shown an unprecedentedly diverse array of new weapons, including its rapidly growing arsenal of ICBMs. Writes Drago Bosnic
North Korea’s portrayal in the mainstream media is unflattering, to say the least. However, underestimating Pyongyang’s growing capabilities is wholly limited to the infowar arena, as the Pentagon is deeply alarmed by the DPRK’s latest show of force during the recent military parade commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the KPA (Korean People’s Army). The country has shown an unprecedentedly diverse array of new weapons, including its rapidly growing arsenal of ICBMs (intercontinental range ballistic missiles). The “star of the show” was what appears to be a solid-fuel ICBM similar to the older Soviet/Russian “Topol”.
If true, it would mean that the incessant reporting about North Korea’s supposed “inability” to develop and field solid-fuel missiles is nothing but wishful thinking. And indeed, Pyongyang has made tremendous strides in developing a plethora of both strategic and tactical missiles and other weapons to ensure it could never be targeted with impunity. The people of North Korea still remember what certainly seemed like an apocalypse to them when American bombers laid waste to their cities, towns and villages, including the basic infrastructure and vitally important irrigation systems, which greatly contributed to famines in the following decades.
However, despite well over a million casualties caused by intentional US targeting of civilians, the truly terrifying possibility was the nearly initiated American plan to drop hundreds of nuclear weapons on the East Asian country. US Army General Douglas MacArthur, the overall commander of Western forces during the Korean War, planned using nuclear weapons to inflict a decisive defeat on North Korea. Luckily, this deranged idea was dropped due to fears of how the Soviet Union would react. Pyongyang soon became aware of the plan and decided to ensure it is never implemented by developing capabilities to retaliate.
And while the USSR provided a direct strategic umbrella, preventing further attacks on North Korea, the superpower’s unfortunate demise in the 1990s left Pyongyang’s security severely undermined. Over the next three decades, North Korea developed capabilities far exceeding the size of its population, economy and territory, effectively becoming what Alexander Mercouris of the Duran appropriately dubbed “the pocket superpower”. Developing such capabilities is certainly no easy feat even for global powers, while being virtually impossible for relatively small countries such as North Korea. And yet, DPRK is rather unique in this regard, being the only small country (besides Israel) with such weapons.
North Korea’s urgent need for deterrence has been repeatedly reinforced, including just several years ago, when the US came close to once again attacking the country on multiple occasions under both the Obama and Trump administrations in 2016 and 2017. The Pentagon’s war plans once more included the use of thermonuclear weapons, just like approximately 70 years earlier, but never materialized, thankfully. Pyongyang’s ability to “return the favor” forced the belligerent thalassocracy to take the military option “off the table”. The successful deployment of several ICBM types, as well as the adoption of MIRV (multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles) warheads presents an insurmountable obstacle for aggressive US strategists.
Military experts are now almost certain that the current DPRK arsenal would be sufficient to defeat America’s GMD ABM (anti-ballistic missile) system. The GMD (Ground-Based Midcourse Defense) currently employs 44 GBI (Ground-Based Interceptors), with four targeting each hostile ICBM to provide a 97% chance of interception (tested against hopelessly outdated, over half-century-old American “Minuteman 3” ICBMs). And while the quantity of thermonuclear warheads in North Korea’s possession is a closely guarded state secret, Pyongyang recently announced “an exponential enlargement” of its strategic forces, further reinforcing its previously precarious position.
Washington DC’s inability to intercept North Korean missiles has pushed it to consider “preventive attacks”. As Pyongyang’s entire strategic arsenal was thought of being composed exclusively of older-style liquid-fuel missiles (which take time to launch), the US believed it would have enough time to target all North Korean launch sites before the ICBMs are fired. However, Pyongyang has now demonstrated it has solid-fuel missiles (much shorter launch cycles, as there’s no need to fuel the missiles before launch), nullifying the possibility of such strikes. What’s more, numerous North Korean test launches of new depressed-trajectory missiles have proven impossible for America’s “Aegis” ABM system to even detect, let alone shoot down.
Japan, although already spending hundreds of billions of dollars on US-made ABM defenses such as “Aegis”, is now set to waste even more resources, although these exact systems have been completely powerless to intercept a single North Korean missile flying close to or even over its home islands. Worse yet, while those were relatively rudimentary ballistic missiles with largely predictable flight paths, in September 2021 Pyongyang also began flight testing HGVs (hypersonic glide vehicles), an area in which it takes precedence even over the US, which still lacks operational hypersonic weapons.
North Korea’s capability to obliterate American population centers is of utmost importance to prevent yet another brutal USAF firebombing that killed upwards of a third of its population in just three years (1950-1953). And while the notion may sound too harsh, the utterly barbaric US foreign policy and the incessant aggression against the world stand as a testament to the effectiveness of North Korea’s approach. Unfortunately, the ability to turn America into a giant radioactive glass desert is the only way to ensure the belligerent thalassocracy will think twice before attacking. And the American people should hold their political elites accountable for that state of affairs.
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