Kim Sends U.S. a Nuke Warning

by DR. PETER BROOKES February 15, 2013

With big defense cuts looming, this "boom" is for you, Mr. President.

As North Korea's young dictator promised just a few weeks ago, the Stalinist state carried out its third underground nuclear weapons test late Monday night, following previous big bangs in 2006 and 2009.

Naturally, the latest test is directed at the "reckless hostility of the United States," according to KCNA, North Korea's "news" agency; "even stronger" actions might be forthcoming.

But rhetoric aside, while the radioactive details of the latest test leak out, it's terribly troubling for U.S. security. Some experts think the test may indicate a big breakthrough in the North's nuclear weapons program.

First, early seismic data indicates this test was not only successful, but the most powerful to date. (The 2009 test was a ground-shaker, but smaller in explosive power, while the 2006 test was more of a "fizzler.")

North Korea is clearly getting the science of big blasts down pat.

Plus, while unconfirmed, Pyongyang claims that the test used "a miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously (tested)."

This claim of small is big.

If true, this is important to North Korea's efforts to build nuclear warheads for mating with any of its various ballistic missiles, which are currently only able to carry conventional (explosive) weapons.

Conducting a nuke test is one thing, but "weaponizing" that test platform - engineering it to fit in a missile nose cone and preparing it to withstand the extreme temperatures and pressures of long-distance flight - is another thing altogether.

There's a good chance Pyongyang used this last test to advance its development of a warhead for its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program.

Remember back in December when Pyongyang was able to send a small satellite into orbit, using a multi-stage space launch vehicle? The dirty little scientific secret is that if you can launch a satellite payload of a significant weight into orbit, you can also, in theory, launch a nuclear warhead toward a target anywhere on the Earth's surface - like the good ol' US of A.

It gets worse.

We still don't know if the fissile material used in this week's test was plutonium or uranium. Previous North Korean tests used plutonium, which some observers believe Pyongyang has a limited stock of.

But, if it turns out North Korea used uranium in this test, it would mean Pyongyang has a new pathway for building weapons based on enriching uranium. Meaning? More bombs, and more problems. And even worse is the possibility they would pass along more of their nuclear know-how to Tehran.

Pyongyang's provocations should remind our leaders, we live in an increasingly dangerous world, and even in trying fiscal times, a strong national defense is not something we can do without.


Twitter: @Brookes_Peter

Dr. Peter Brookes is a Senior Fellow for National Security Affairs at the Heritage Foundation and is a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He writes a weekly column for the New York Post and frequently appears on FOX, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, NPR and BBC. He is the author of: "A Devil’s Triangle: Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Rogue States." Mr. Brookes served in the U.S. Navy and is now a Commander in the naval reserves. He has over 1300 flight hours aboard Navy EP-3 aircraft. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy; the Defense Language Institute; the Naval War College; the Johns Hopkins University; and Georgetown University.

Peter Brookes is a Heritage Foundation senior fellow and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense.

Twitter: @Brookes_Peter

blog comments powered by Disqus

Hill-mentum! The excitement is palpable at Clinton's New Hampshire town hall [photo]

October 05, 2015  02:18 PM

Audience doesn't look as if they're ready for 3 a.m. phone calls either.

The post Hill-mentum! The excitement is palpable at Clinton’s New Hampshire town hall [photo] appeared first on

Carly vs. Hillary poll in Iowa is 'going to cause some nightmares' for Dems

October 05, 2015  01:31 PM

MSNBC brought news of some poll results that might have the Dem media machine mobilizing against a certain GOP candidate: MSNBC: Fiorina Crushing Clinton in Iowa, 'Terrifying' to Democrats via @DavidRutz — Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) October 5, 2015 Well, Hillary did predict the next president would be a woman. Whoops. If far-left MSNBC […]

The post Carly vs. Hillary poll in Iowa is ‘going to cause some nightmares’ for Dems appeared first on

SIZE MATTERS: Some people notice something funny about the faces in this Hillary Clinton crowd photo

October 05, 2015  01:22 PM

Gasping for breath! Take a gander at the crowd at this Hillary Clinton campaign event: Hillary Clinton starts a town hall at Manchester Community College. — Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) October 5, 2015 Bless her heart. And what about this? There are more crackers in this photo than in my chicken soup. #Hillary — RightWired […]

The post SIZE MATTERS: Some people notice something funny about the faces in this Hillary Clinton crowd photo appeared first on

WOW: Racist, much? What Salon called Michelle Malkin is beyond foul

October 05, 2015  12:53 PM

Salon is beyond disgusting. And the epic hypocrisy is ASTOUNDING.

The post WOW: Racist, much? What Salon called Michelle Malkin is beyond foul appeared first on

'Not very Constitutiony, is she?' Hillary wants to 'take back the 2nd Amendment' from NRA 'extremists'

October 05, 2015  12:37 PM

Trade "the 2nd Amendment for the 5th and see if she does it."

The post ‘Not very Constitutiony, is she?’ Hillary wants to ‘take back the 2nd Amendment’ from NRA ‘extremists’ appeared first on

10 year FSM Anniversary

FSM Archives