Exclusive: Kaboom – The Last Sound Heard after North Korea or Iran Launches a Nuke

by DR. ROBIN MCFEE April 2, 2009
In less than a week, North Korea could launch a three stage missile. They are telling the world it is a satellite payload, but given their arsenal of at least a handful of nuclear devices, is the West willing to bet our lives on it?
The brinksmanship of the North Koreans sends a message to similar regimes: our actions or lack thereof, also communicate loud and clear what our resolve is.
In response to the upcoming launch, the United States moved two Navy vessels with antimissile capability near North Korea. Alas, it was followed by President Obama stating we will not shoot down the North Korean missile about to be launched. One has to wonder, if Japan, South Korea and the United States are telling North Korea that there will be “serious consequences” if the missile is launched, what could those be? Oh my, what will we do? Turn the lights off in North Korea? Any nighttime satellite image of the Korean Peninsula will show that South Korea is all bright and cozy, and in stark, dark contrast, the North is probably illuminated by candles and flashlights. What kind of “serious consequences” would the president, could the president do?
A better question – what is keeping POTUS from giving the green light to shoot the missile down? Or giving Japan – a convenience proxy (something Russia would do) the green light to shoot it down? Okay, I’m splitting hairs – we defend Japan. Nevertheless, someone should shoot it down. We can send an apology later. It’s the best consequence we could impose that would underscore our resolve and perhaps help us regain our dignity as a superpower instead of the lame duck Oliver begging Europe to like us.
Of course if we fail to knock it down….
But playing chicken in a dangerous world requires knowing when to flinch and when not to budge. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned North Korea that any launch would threaten to end the six-party talks over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. I’m sure that has the folks quaking in their boots, especially since the talks have been stalled since December 2008. Besides, the talks haven’t been too fruitful in cooling Pyongyang’s nuclear aspirations, as evidenced by the three stage Taepodong-2 missile which is an improvement of the two stage version. For a country that can barely light a city up with antique light bulbs, why do they need satellites? Does anyone think this is a legitimate attempt at taking North Korea into the communications age or 21st century that the rest of the world enjoys? Has Verizon, ATT or Sprint suddenly enjoyed tremendous cell phone sales in that country? Given it is a totalitarian regime, is it really likely Pyongyang is creating a capacity for people within the country to communicate with the outside world? Only the United Nations would buy that theory, which is why North Korea could give a hoot about breaking sanctions or rules against their launching missiles. They know the UN will buy the argument that this is a peaceful test flight. Even if the UN didn’t, the worst it could throw at North Korea are more sanctions. The country is dirt poor – how much more can the sanctions do? And have they worked? Are they a viable sanction? People forget their history. A sanction is much like the siege of a city. Unless you have lots of patience, most sieges took a long, very long time to succeed. Think Mosada.
Secretary Clinton goes on to say, "This provocative action, in violation of the United Nations mandate, will not go unnoticed and there will be consequences," she said while on a visit to Mexico (another foreign policy coup for the U.S., no doubt), warning that the U.S. would put the issue before the UN Security Council for additional sanctions. Hello…and who is on the Security Council?
And “consequences?” Will we take their library cards away? You can only bluff in poker when you actually have some credibility for occasionally holding good cards and a willingness to use them. So why is our Navy nearby when POTUS says we won’t do anything? A projection of power is only effective when the other side is convinced you will use it. Does anyone have a doubt at all that Russia projects power and is willing to use it? If not, call someone in Georgia. I think most of the debris from the Russian Army has been cleaned up by now in that former Soviet Satellite.
What the West seems to ignore is the proliferation of complementary capability that is going on around the world – not just the weapons but the means to deliver them farther and farther. The West continues to downplay and underestimate the danger attendant to the absolute, near frenzied desire from totalitarian regimes run by maniacal despots such as run North Korea and Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Then there’s al Qaeda. They are not gone, nor are they without nuclear aspirations either.
Speaking of al Qaeda and the radical Islamist terrorists committed to harm the U.S. and our interests globally, of course the President has banned the use of terms such as war on terrorism, or terrorists as it might “offend” someone. The “we can’t name you but you know who you are group.” This is political correctness for morons.
The idiocy of the Obama policies, especially in foreign affairs and homeland security, may very well get us or more of our military killed, and probably a few allies and innocents along the way, too. Nuclear weapons are the ultimate nightmare. Does anyone on the left get it? There’s a great line in the movie Peacemaker, where Nicole Kidman’s character tells her military liaison, “I don’t worry about the man who wants 10 nuclear weapons. I worry about the man who only wants one.” Iran and North Korea are not intent upon building an arsenal of 500 nuclear weapons a la Russia or the U.S. They know one or two will alter the balance of power and be a game changer.
First – these leaders have demonstrated a ruthlessness that should all but erase any notion, hope or wishful thinking by the left that the only objective North Korea or Iran or any other nation trying to break into the nuclear club (and there will be others) want the weapon for is respect or self defense. Does anyone but the village idiot think North Korea needs a nuke to defend itself from South Korea? Were it not for the U.S. and a zillion land mines on the border, the Boy Scouts with slingshots could probably overrun the government of Seoul.
Second – nuclear weapons not only vaporize people, places and things, but used correctly, can destabilize a region through radiation, fire and something rarely discussed – electromagnetic pulses (EMP). I’ll spare you the technical mumbo jumbo (a difficult discipline for a science nerd). Simply think of using a magnet to erase your cassette tapes, only this would be such an energy burst as to literally disrupt an entire city or region or more depending upon the type of weapon used. It could literally “turn the lights out” on many of our computers, aircraft, utilities and the list goes on and on. Think massive civil unrest, mobs, violence in the streets, looting, base survival instincts. Post Katrina New Orleans exponentially. The movie Golden Eye was a James Bond version of how an EMP weapon could wipe out the data banks of entire financial markets. In the movie, the target was the London Exchange. All debts cancelled. On second thought, maybe it’s not a bad idea to let North Korea use a nuclear created EMP to erase American’s credit card bills. Bring it on! Unfortunately, the burden to our society if such an event were to occur would be catastrophic. And this is not the sole stuff of Fleming or Le Carre; if it were, why did the Russians make certain some of their military aircraft were designed to withstand the electrodisruption associated with EMP? They reverted to using older technology to backstop the high tech equipment which is more vulnerable to EMP. Sometimes a pencil is better than a pen that can write in space.
As Chinese and Russian technologies continue to find their way around the world and into the hands of folks who do not have America’s best interests at heart (anyone think this isn’t deliberate?,) we will face greater and greater threats. There are African and Eurasian countries blessed with an abundance of uranium. How long will it take them to decide nukes are the game changers for their countries influence, too?
The world is being divided up by Russia and China using influence, money, technology, military, weapons and a shared politics of jealousy towards the United States. It is an effective strategy. We are the team everyone loves to hate – that is, until they realize our help is needed. Check out the map – there isn’t a region in the world where Putin, Inc hasn’t established or reestablished influence, including areas historically considered playing on Team USA. Our grasp is slipping, yet Obama thinks his popularity worldwide is a surrogate for influence. If he remains too afraid or averse to projecting power and using influence in order to avoid offending anyone, he will in essence have sealed the fate of the U.S. as a viable superpower. Even now, while throngs of cheering crowds of the masses await Obama in Europe, the luster of newness is wearing off in the halls of power among those nations’ leaders. Obama’s exhortations to our European allies to get into more debt as a strategy to emerge from the global financial situation is not being received with the enthusiasm or unquestioned acquiescence the president expected. With any luck, the honeymoon is over and the world is starting to see the empty suit we put into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 
While Obama continues to guess his way on the economy with Geithner, Pelosi and Reid as his power team (think four kids in a tree house being told they now run the school system), our global influence and domestic security are waning. Unwilling to use the military to protect our border is near treasonous. All presidents swear an oath to defend the nation – from enemies within and outside our borders. With Hezbollah and a variety of fifth column radical Islamists using the people pipeline into the U.S. from the back door, this is clearly a homeland security issue. Can we think of a greater or clearer present danger than what is going on with our Mexican border? When entire portions of U.S. states, and the citizens therein are threatened by the deadly exports of a sovereign nation such as Mexico, sending out extra U.S. federal agents and local law enforcement, their dedication and skills notwithstanding, is like sending the Little Sisters of Mercy basketball team to play the Boston Celtics.
Of course the Obama-Clinton approach to Mexican border violence is to blame U.S. citizens as a source of weapons, and don’t be surprised if the left uses this crisis as an excuse to raise the issue of increased gun and rifle control. (Sen. John Kerry is already doing this – ed.) Clearly those who use illegal drugs should shoulder the blame for financing the Mexican drug lords. But not “clean” citizens who legally own weapons. It is the same tired argument the DEA uses to sit on physicians for prescribing pain meds to sick patients such as those with cancer who can be in severe pain – blame over-prescribing, patients having pain meds and drug diversion as the cause of the illegal drug trade in narcotics. Newsflash – a well done study showed if you emptied the pharmacies in a city, the amount of narcotics would pale compared to the amount on the streets. So much for that answer. Same for weapons – the number of citizens in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California with the type of weapons a Mexican drug lord and his army would want pales compared to what they can get from arms dealers. But beware – your Second Amendment rights are about to be tested again as the assault rifle ban already has been discussed by Secretary Clinton as worth revisiting.
As if Obama’s weak approach to protecting our nation from a visible, daily and deadly threat on our Southern border isn’t malfeasance, not drawing a line in the sand to North Korea that we will shoot down their missile is irresponsible. Hindsight is 20/20; we should have let Israel take out Iran’s nuclear program. Iran already demonstrated a capability to launch a weapon when they launched their satellite, so that genie may be too far out of the bottle. Time will tell but clearly the clock is ticking. How will Obama handle it when Iran announces, preferably at a press conference and not after a detonation, they have a nuke and, by the way, our missiles are capable of launching them pretty much wherever we want to? Will he say “naughty naughty,” and send Hillary to talk them out of it, as if that would make anyone quake other than her husband? 
We have become the paper tiger Osama bin Laden thought we were.
And the worst part of it is this is only the beginning. We have three and a half more years of this nonsense. Obama has too many IOUs to be an effective world leader even if he had the experience and stomach for it. The left does not want a strong U.S., nor do they believe in the value of a military. Preferring entitlements to security, this administration has made it clear the military is not off limits to the red pen. Heaven forbid we deny entire housing projects filled with multigenerational welfare deadbeats from more entitlements or try to get them off the dole and find work when we can just slash funding for sorely needed upgrades to our nuclear weapons capability, a missile defense system that is finally coming close to being the protection it claimed to be, adequate numbers of Raptor squadrons, raises for military pay, new and nontraditional weapons systems, and yes, my favorite – an Arctic Naval capability.
It should surprise no one that many liberals and leftists have opined “what’s the big deal if North Korea launches a satellite? Does that question even deserve an answer? Then there are the comments like, “The U.S. should mind its own business and stop using their military in other peoples’ affairs.” The most chilling are the ones exhorting radical Islamic nations to enhance their military capacity to ward off the U.S. Talk about the looking glass – Russia is now considered the honest broker and we’re the bad guys? Obama can become an enabler or a true leader. But time is running out.
Kaboom – The last sound heard after North Korea or Iran launch a nuke. Hello 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is anybody listening? For the sake of our nation, let’s hope POTUS starts paying attention to the real threats facing the United States. To adapt a phrase by James Carville, in this case, it’s not just the economy, stupid.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Dr. Robin McFee is a physician and medical toxicologist. An expert in WMD preparedness, she is a consultant to government agencies, corporations and the media. Dr. McFee is a member of the Global Terrorism, Political Instability and International Crime Council of ASIS International. She has authored numerous articles on terrorism, health care and preparedness, and coauthored two books: Toxico-Terrorism by McGraw Hill and The Handbook of Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Agents, published by Informa/CRC Press.

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