North Korea, by all means the only totalitarian regime left in the world, has been slapped with new sanctions by the UN. The recently implemented sanctions are the harshest to come North Korea’s way even though they have been under sanctions since 2006 (Source). With the goal of convincing North Korea to dismantle its atomic weapons program, the sanctions state all cargo going to and from North Korea must be inspected along with some North Korean trade representatives have been placed on a UN blacklist (Source). The UN decided to take this matter into their own hands when North Korea launched a long range rocket which is in defiance of previous UN sanctions that prevent North Korea from using ballistic missile technology. Pyongyang has claimed the rocket is only carrying a satellite, but North Korean opposition believe they are developing a small nuclear warhead to mount on a missile instead (Source).
United States national security advisor, Susan Rice commented on the matter and said: the test is a “destabilizing and provocative action” that will ultimately “undermine peace and security in the broader region”(Source).
If North Korea is indeed trying to develop a nuclear weapon, then there are many implications for the United States. If one follows current events, it is clear the United States is one of North Korea’s biggest enemies; not to mention, the US is allies with South Korea whom is arguably North Korea’s most important enemy because of the close proximity between the two nations. So, what could be in store for these two opposers of the North Korean state? Well, according to the Heritage Foundation, if North Korea has a new Taepodong 3 missile which has an estimated 13,000 kilometers of range, the entire US continent would be in range of the missile (Source). With that said, the damage to the US by this missile, assuming North Korea could pull this off, would be huge.
Gordan Chang, writer for the Daily Beast, asserted: “If its warhead is nuclear and explodes high above the American homeland, an electromagnetic pulse could disable electronics across vast swatches of the country” (Source).
In this scenario, no lives would be directly in danger because America’s impeccable missile defense system is top notch. However, we all know how much US citizens love their electronics and if this were to occur, in theory, anything that is remotely powered by electricity would be in danger of being disabled. Something like this would be terrible for the American economy since basically all of the New York Stock Exchange is electronically powered. Furthermore, Kim Jong-un has already ordered his country to be ready at a moments notice to use its nuclear weapons and has called for the military to be in “pre-emptive attack” mode (Source). Military experts doubt North Korea has the ability to reach the US, but that does not leave South Korea out of the picture. Kim Jong-un stated the newly developed weapons that North Korea possesses have the neighbor country in sight (Source). Thus, the Pentagon said it will deploy the terminal high altitude area defense anti-missile system (THAAD) to South Korea as soon as possible (Source).
To conclude, I have no issue with the US trying to deter North Korea from augmenting its nuclear program, but I do have an issue with hypocrisy. As of March 2nd of this year, the USA has almost 7,000 nuclear weapons in its possession and that is a close second to Russia’s 7300 nuclear weapons (Source). Where does North Korea fall on this list? Pyongyang is listed 9th on the list with less than 15 nuclear weapons which is drastically less than the US has (Source). In my opinion, this is complete and utter hypocrisy because not only does the US have 6,000 more nuclear weapons than North Korea, but they are the only country to drop a nuclear weapon, also. We all know about the two nukes that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War 2. If the US really wants to curb the North Korean nuclear program, then maybe the US government should scale back their nuclear program to show real commitment to solve the problem. As a result, the only real solution to this area of concern is diplomacy. Launching nuclear weapons and potentially escalating a war between the two countries will not solve anything. It is time the US realizes no country wants to negotiate with a hypocrite.
Contributed by R.A.