NOTH KOREA – In a widely-circulated documentary, Japanese Nagsasaki atomic bomb survivor, Nobu Handuoka (73) recalls how the atomic fallout killed his mother and sister 6 years after the bombing.
Nobu recalls the blast first knocked off all buildings, then the fireball extinguished all in sight and the radiation Thereafter) killed people slowly and painfully after.Depressed by a “survivor’s guilt”, he enjoined all nations today to work for a world free- of atomic and nuclear bombs.
North Korea Kim Jong Un
This year, however, the hermit nation ruled by a saber-rattling Kim Jong Un (North Korea) already launched 22 missiles in 15 tests in 2017 alone -making it a dangerous rogue nation because it is armed with nuclear capabilities.
Recently North Korea unloaded a 140-kilotron nuclear device -which is 10 times the power of the atomic bombs dropped by the USA on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. In fact, this caused a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in the Korean peninsula.
The war of words has escalated between America and North Korea after the testing and the flight of US-South Korean airplanes over NK airspace. The NK says President Trump’s provocation is “a declaration of war and a suicide mission.”
It is far easy for America to obliterate this puny, warlike nation. But it just wouldn’t. Because- firing a nuclear bomb in NK will also affect South Korea, Japan, part of China and even reaching far-away Russia with radioactive fallout. It is not as simple as it sounds.
North Korea’s potential nuclear offense to the USA can result in millions of deaths -threatening thousands of Filipinos living in the mainland and the island of Guam.
Despite international proddings, China who is a 92% trade partner of NK cannot unilaterally cut off her neighbor because this could lead NK to make desperation moves.
Such a major conflict will not just threaten China with radioactive fallout, it could mean hundreds of thousands of North Korea refugees will cut across into China’s borders and may invite incursions by US-SK military nearby.
Russia, through its president Vladimir Putin- says that economic sanctions against NK is “useless” – and a peaceful dialogue is the only way to end the crisis. The alternative, Putin says, is “planetary catastrophe”.
This is because NK thinks having nuclear capability is the only deterrent it has to prevent America and her allies from toppling Jong Un from power and subjugate NK. They always point to the record of foreign intervention in both Iraq and Syria that resulted in the power change but brought the countries to a worse miserable situation than before.
NK, therefore, adopts the Iran Philosophy: only when a nation adopts a Nuclear Capability will other nations make a deal with it. Thus the North Korea’s vowed, “ they would rather eat grass than give up their nuclear armament program.”
But short of a nuclear confrontation, the US believes that economic sanctions will weaken NK’s capability to further finance its nuclear buildup.
Thus the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin released an Executive Order on September 21 aiming at: blocking entities dealing with NK from accessing US financing, blocking NK assets abroad, and refusing planes and boats dealing with NK in the last 6 months to land in America.
Earlier, America and allies tried to stop oil delivery to the NK government and military, freeze the assets of NK officials abroad, ban NK people from working abroad, ban its textile exports and banish its national airlines.
Through all of these, NK remains pugnacious. It called Trump as “on a suicide mission of declaring war” after the American president called Jong Un a “Rocket Man who will not be around much longer.”
NK is aware that America is perennially plotting for a regime change through the assassination of NK’s outspoken leader. But even the repercussions of a violent death may have consequences not ideal for global peace.
The other problem of NK is not just all nuclear-related. Its spy agency called Reconnaissance General Bureau had officially waged cyber-war versus Western allies -targeting among others- financial institutions -to shore up its dwindling funds to finance its nuclear buildup.
The Bangladesh Central Bank heist, for instance, that resulted in laundered money in the Philippines is believed to be an NK handiwork. Alongside that, this year’s disastrous global WannaCry ransomware and the 2014 cyber attack on Sony in America.
A former FBI agent and now a security consultant Eric O’Neill suggested that an NK cyber attack on the USA should be considered an “act of war” and must be responded to in kind.
O’Neill said that cyber attacks are as dangerous as the actual nuclear bomb as such incursions can cause a power shutdown, stoppage of water services and prevent aircraft control towers from landing planes. Such attacks can paralyze a nation, indeed.
Truly, we have arrived at a world technical condition, where small nations – using science to bad ends- can actually threaten the peace of the entire planet.
Armaggedon becomes a frightening closer-to-life reality.
The North Korea Experience is proof of this.
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