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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

"North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"
The Don, 4:49 PM - 2 Jan 2018

North Korea Nuclear Threats

A 2017 paper published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's International Security think tank claimed that modern US nuclear weapons and guidance systems could obliterate North Korea's nuclear infrastructure with five strategic strikes — all while only causing around 100 deaths. Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, slammed the MIT study as unrealistic and unfounded. Hanham highlighted the all-important point that the incredible secretiveness of the North Korean government means that there may be nuclear sites or weapons that are unknown to their enemies, and thus would not be eliminated by a presumed "bloody nose" strike.

North Korea makes frequent claims that the United States is seeking to reignite full-scale conflict. In the September 2017 speech at the United Nations, Trump vowed to “totally destroy North Korea” if it threatened the United States, and derided the rogue nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, as “Rocket Man.” In response, Mr. Kim said he would deploy the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” against the United States, and described Mr. Trump as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”

Tensions on the peninsula heightened in October 2017 when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Trump exchanged threats over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs. State media in Pyongyang, referring to Trump, said that “no one can predict when the lunatic old man of the White House, lost to senses, will start a nuclear war” against North Korea.

Donald Trump said 07 November 2017 North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile weapons program poses a "worldwide threat that requires worldwide action," and criticized countries that support the regime of Kim Jong Un.

"It is unacceptable that nations would help arm and finance this increasingly dangerous regime. As we work together to resolve this problem using all available tools short of military action the United States stands prepared to defend itself and its allies using the full range of our unmatched military capabilities if need be," Trump said at a joint news conference with his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, at Seoul's presidential Blue House residence.

Trump called Pyongyang’s pursuit of placing a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile “a threat to the civilized world and international peace and stability.” Trump repeated that the era of strategic patience in dealing with Pyongyang is over. “Some say my rhetoric is strong, but look what’s happened with weak rhetoric over the last 25 years,” the president said, criticizing the approaches of previous U.S. administrations. But he declined to answer a Japanese reporter’s question about whether he is prepared to go to war with North Korea.

North Korea denounced U.S. President Donald Trump on November 11, 2017 for trying to halt the North's nuclear and missile programs. The North Korean Foreign Ministry issued its first official statement on Trump's trip to Asia, saying it "is a warmonger's trip for confrontation with our country, trying to remove our self-defensive nuclear deterrent.''

The war of words over nuclear buttons began when Kim said in a speech, "It's not a mere threat but a reality that I have a nuclear button on the desk in my office." He added, "All of the mainland United States is within the range of our nuclear strike." Nuclear experts doubt there really is a button on Kim's desk.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted in response to North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un that his nuclear button is "bigger" and "more powerful" than Kim's. In reality, there is no nuclear button. Each nuclear-armed country has its own system for initiating a nuclear strike, however, most depend on the government's leader to confirm his or her identity before authorizing an attack.

In the U.S., launching a U.S. nuclear attack is a secretive and elaborate process that involves the use of a nuclear "football," a 45-pound briefcase that is carried by a rotating group of military officers who accompany the president wherever he goes. The briefcase is equipped with communications devices and a manual that includes war plans. The manual has a list of locations that can be targeted by the U.S. military's 900 nuclear weapons.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" 07 January 2017 on the whose nuclear-button is bigger tweet: "That tweet is entirely consistent with what we are trying to communicate. We want the regime to understand that unlike before, we are intent on resolving this. And it is our firm conviction that resolving this diplomatically is the correct answer but that this administration is prepared to do what it takes to ensure that people in Los Angeles, Denver and New York aren't at risk from Kim Jong Un having a nuclear weapon. That tweet is entirely consistent with that policy."

The New York Times reported 14 January 2018 that possibly "... the Trump administration believes that the United States could conduct a one-time airstrike on North Korea that would not bring any retaliation from Pyongyang to nearby Seoul. Some officials in the White House have argued that such a targeted, limited strike could be launched with minimal, if any, blowback against South Korea... "

White House reports from January 2018 claimed that Trump was considering a "bloody nose" strike against Pyongyang's nuclear sites. When asked about this possibility, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that "we have to recognize that the threat is growing and that if North Korea does not choose the pathway of engagement, discussion, negotiation then they themselves will trigger an option."

Another Trump lieutenant, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, made a rare public appearance for a panel hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on 23 January 2018. When North Korea was inevitably brought up, Pompeo refused to rule out the possibility of an American preemptive strike against Pyongyang — although he insisted that diplomacy remained the US' first choice. "The president is intent on delivering a solution through diplomatic means… We are equally, at the same time, ensuring that if we conclude that is not possible, that we present the president with a range of options that can achieve his stated intention," Pompeo told AEI.

However, while he wouldn't take the option off the table, he also wouldn't explicitly recommend it. Pompeo said that he would "leave to others to address the capacity or the wisdom of a preemptive strike… we're trying to ensure that all the various options that the president might want to consider are fully informed, that we understand what's really going on and the risks associated with each of those decisions as best we can identify them for him."

He added that he did not buy the argument that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would only use his nascent arsenal to defend North Korean sovereignty — as North Korean military strategy states — but may also use them to bully or even conquer South Korea. (North and South Korea, in the meantime, have recently engaged in high-level peace talks and agreed to march into the upcoming Winter Olympics under one pro-unification flag, events taken as signs of a serious thaw in relations.) While Pompeo added that Kim is a "rational actor," it was his opinion that Kim "would use [nuclear weapons] beyond self-preservation."

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Page last modified: 10-03-2018 19:03:12 ZULU