Monday, October 23, 2006

How to Nuke Seattle

Last week North Korea apologized for detonating a nuclear blast. They did this after a Chinese envoy visited them. Note that UN Sanctions made them declare war on the world, but a Chinse envoy "made" them apologize.

Today, not a week later, the Associated Press is reporting that China is pessimistic about Pyongyang actually stopping their testing. In other words "you can't put the genie back in the bottle."

If only Broadway did theater this well.

In spite of what your liberal press (Newsweek, NYT, etc.) tell you, a nuclear North Korea is a best-case scenario for our friends in China. The country that should be terrified is the USA. Unfortunately we're too busy watching TV to care.

If you accept that North Korea is a puppet of China - and if you don't, you're in for a really big surprise in about 2 years - consider this scenario:

For the next 18 months we don't hear much from North Korea. Perhaps another missile test here and there, followed by special envoys and apologies, but we really don't hear much.

Two years from now Kim Jong Il declares that North Korea is deploying 30 ICBM's. Maybe 20, maybe 50, but significantly more than 10.

Although no details are given about the missiles, there's a good guess that they have the range to reach the western and northern USA. Say, an arc drawn from Minneapolis down to San Diego. Maybe Phoenix, maybe Chicago, but probably not.

The world goes apoplectic, calls North Korea all sorts of bad names, etc.

Something triggers North Korea to launch 20 missiles. 3 at Japan, 2 at South Korea, and 15 at the USA. And by "something," I mean "that Rapscallion, Kim Jong Illinthehead finally snaps at the shadows he believes surround him..."

About 1/3 of the missiles fail in some way, but 15 of them launch. Nancy Pelosi hasn't allowed us to fund our Missile Defense much beyond where it is today, so nothing stops the hits on Oahu, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, etc. The missiles are rather inaccurate and the warheads are small, but they still detonate, leveling a square mile or two, lighting a lot of fires, and irradiating about a million Americans.

And the USA responds by... what? What, exactly, do we do?

We nuke Pyongyang. OK,

We nuke the launch sites, covering them with a few warheads.

We nuke... what else?

You see, there are three major problems that make this situation a worst-case for us.

One: We cannot simply drop 100 warheads on North Korea. There's that small issue of the country they share their largest border with: no, not South Korea... their largest border is actually with China. Do you believe China is going to just sit there while we drop 100 warheads next door? Would we stand there if someone nuked Mexico - even if it was "justified?" Probably not. China would allow us a few retaliations, but that's as far as their patience would stretch, I daresay - and their missiles can reach DC.

Two: There's also the issue of a rather significant country just to the east of North Korea. Japan. Japan is less than 1,000 miles off of the NK coast - DOWNWIND. Fallout from a couple of bombs would be bothersome but tolerable, particularly if Japan itself had been nuked. They'll want retaliation, even if it means they live in their basements for a week while the fallout from 7 or 8 warheads dusts their country. Not a great scenario, but tolerable if they are angry enough. But 80 or 100 warheads? Now we're talking about serious fallout, even given the distance. It would destroy too much.

Plus, Kamchatka and Vladivostok are also quite possibly going to be hit with fallout - nothing like nuking Russia in retaliation for an attack by North Korea.

Three: After Pyongyang and some nuclear sites, what targets do we have? North Korea doesn't have an infrastructure to destroy. Their people live in perpetual famine, without the aid of so much as flush toilets. What do we gain from nuking essentially empty mountains?

So there we are: five, ten, maybe fifteen cities badly damaged (I don't believe the North Korean nukes will be large enough to completely level any US city). Their warheads are probably lousy, so we'll get some fizzles - good in terms of blast (it's lessened) but really bad in terms of radiation (a fizzle is, by it's very nature, "dirty.") Think about the aftermath of Katrina AND 9/11. And then multiply it by 20 or 30. We'll lose tens - perhaps hundreds - of thousands of people through direct effects. Fallout will reach all the way to the East Coast.

We will have societal issues like looting, emergency health assistance, housing for refugees, etc. At the same time we will be economically devastated. This wouldn't cause a "hiccup." This would cause a complete gutting of the US Economy. We would crash, and crash big.

Think about it... do you think our Congress would "rise to the challenge?" Look at how they flubbed up Katrina. Now imagine five or ten Katrina's. Now imagine that the "storm doesn't pass." Instead, the area is irradiated and people are PANICKING and fleeing.

I'm pretty sure Consumer Confidence would ebb a bit. Just a bit.

And if Tokyo and Seoul have been hit, too? The global economy takes a nasty shock.

So what happens then?

Well, first off China will "invade" North Korea, overthrow the Kim regime, etc. They won't find Kim, of course - he died in the nuking of Pyongyang, with his leaders. Nothing like "disappearing" to keep the conspiracy theorists going.

But, of course, if Kim *were* to end up living in a lovely area of China, incognito, wanting for nothing... well, who'd know?

For at least four or five years the global economy continues to reel. At some point, however, things begin improving. Europe is untouched by this, presuming Iran stays calm (a BIG *if*, since a gutted USA could lead to massive issues in the Mideast). China is untouched. India is untouched. There are a lot of large economies that have access to resources, the means of production, and consumers to consume the output. They will recover first.

In other words, the Chinese economy would have "the inside track" on the post-war economic horizon. While the USA, South Korea and Japan struggle to rebuild, China comes out unscathed.

You want "means, motive, and alibi?" You got it. North Korea provides China with the means. Their quest for economic and political hegemony is more than motive enough. The cherry on top? Plausible deniability, that old Cold War Chestnut. An atomic attack from North Korea is deniable by China. "We didn't do it" will be legally true.

Tell that to Seattle.

China is not some benevolent nation on the other side of the ocean, struggling to maintain order. It's a puppet master who now has atomic weapons at the end of the strings.

Sleep well.


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