The United States and North Korea are far closer to war than most people realize. The two nations even might be on the verge of a conflict that would involve nuclear weapons.
Americans should be concerned because North Korea is believed to have several dozen nuclear weapons, according to Chinese estimates. (The U.S. count has it closer to 15.) North Korea has staged two dozen missile tests and might develop within the next year an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which could have the capacity to reach Hawaii.
If that was not bad enough, North Korea might have up to 12,000 tons of chemical weapons stored for the possibility of war, The New York Times reported.
Here are six reasons you should be concerned about a potential war:
1. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Trump are considering a preemptive strike to shut down North Korea’s nuclear program.
“If they elevate the threat of their weapons programs to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table,” Tillerson said in a press conference. Trump tweeted that North Korea has been “behaving badly.”
Yet such a strike might not be able to destroy every missile, such as ones hidden on mobile launchers or in the mountains.
2. North Korea has threatened nuclear retaliation if even a “single shot” is fired against it.
“The Korean People’s Army will reduce the bases of aggression and provocation to ashes with its invincible Hwasong rockets tipped with nuclear warheads and reliably defend the security of the country and its people’s happiness in case the U.S. and the south Korean puppet forces fire even a single bullet at the territory of the DPRK,” a press release stated.
Additionally, on Monday Choe Myong Nam, North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said his country was developing “pre-emptive first strike capability” with its ICBM.
3. The United States and South Korea currently are conducting a massive military exercise, called Foal Eagle, involving 15,000 American and 290,000 South Korean troops, The Diplomat reported.
Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, labeled Foal Eagle as a dress rehearsal for an attack on North Korea.
This year’s exercise included mock attacks on nuclear facilities by U.S. and South Korea forces.
4. The U.S. is deploying high-tech weapons in the region.
These include the MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone, which is capable of destroying targets on the ground with Hellfire missiles and precision bombs. One use for the Gray Eagle would be to destroy missiles. Another potential threat is the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THADD), which has the capacity to shoot down ballistic missiles. It arrived at Osan Air Base in South Korea this month, CNBC reported.
5. North Korea is developing means of evading U.S. attacks and defenses.
This includes firing multiple missiles to get through THADD. It also includes the use of mobile missile launchers on all-terrain vehicles, which can be moved around to evade U.S. air attacks, Fitzpatrick reported.
6. Kim Jong-un is homicidal and potentially insane.
The North Korean leader’s estranged half-brother was murdered at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with VX nerve agent (a chemical weapon), Malaysian police told the press. Many experts believe the murder was committed by North Korean agents. Kim John-un, 33, may have feared that his brother would try and take control. He also has had more than 300 people executed, including his uncle and his defense minister. The country also has a labor camp where people who disagree with the government are held for life. One former guard estimates that 1,500 to 2,000 people die in the camp every year from hunger and malnutrition.
What do you think? Is North Korea a legitimate threat? Share your thoughts in the section below: