North Korea's Kim Jong-Un on 8 May 2015 successfully tested his first SLBM (Submarine launched ballistic missile)
|Kim Jong-Un attending his May 2015 successful SLBM test|
Update (20 May 2015): Reuters has just reported that U.S. Admiral James Winnefeld has claimed that North Korea not only has nuclear weapons, missiles and submarines, but also advanced photo-editing capabilities which faked some details in the photos above. "They have not gotten as far as their clever video editors and spinmeisters would have us believe," said Winnefeld, who is vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Analysis seen by Reuters from German aerospace engineers Markus Schiller and Robert Schmucker of Schmucker Technologie appeared to support Winnefeld's statement. The Munich-based pair said photos of the launch were "strongly modified", including reflections of the missile exhaust flame in the water which did not line up with the missile itself."
Problem: this is subjective criticism, not objective criticism that is constructive. There are anomalies in many photos that take some explaining, which is why time-wasters still try to dismiss NASA moon landing photos, when they can't understand the angle of a shadow, the position of a lens cross-hair on an image, or whatever. The fact is, the level of risk is so high that finding trivial and controversial arguments to use to ignore the risk can be more dangerous than risking a false-alarm, as was the case when the U.S. Navy made of the impending air-launched torpedo attack on Pearl Harbor before 7 December, because they were falsely sure that torpedoes need 75 ft of water, and Pearl was only 30 ft deep. They simply convinced themselves that anyone sounding alarmed was an alarmist, that Japan couldn't innovate, and was years from any attack. It is better sometimes to risk a false alarm, than to risk WWIII. Any nuclear SLBM launched on a densely populated city with no ABM or civil defense, even with just a single small 7 kt warhead and an imprecise guidance system, could cause problems because it might not immediately be clear whose submarine launched it. Since we don't have any samples of North Korean plutonium, we won't necessarily be able to fingerprint it from fallout samples, particularly if it was detonated 100 km up over California or New York, for EMP effects. This prevents effective retaliation because even when your satellite tracks back to the submarine launch position in the sea, it could be anybody's submarine! This scenario would therefore destabilize conventional nuclear deterrence. North Korea, China and Russia could all be potential aggressors. You would not know which it was.
As we explained in 2013, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was photographed on 29 March 2013 in front of a large map labelled “U.S. Mainland Strike Plan,” with missile trajectories plotted from North Korea to four American state targets: Hawaii (Pacific), San Diego (California), Washington D.C., and Austin (Texas):
North Korea has tested nuclear weapons (0.48 kiloton on 9 Oct 2006, 2.35 kilotons on 25 May 2009, and 7.7 kilotons on 12 Feb 2013) and missiles, placing a satellite in orbit on 12 Dec 2012 using a 3-stage rocket. Again, as explained in the previous post in the context of Dr Harold Brode's new book about cold warfare nuclear deterrence, what we need are tactical nuclear warheads (even if they are delivered by SLBM missiles) to deter or at least stop naval and tank invasions, not weapons that threaten civilian cities. Dictators are housed in strong bunkers, and historically have often cashed in with propaganda when another country bombs their civilians (or threatens to do so). It makes a lot more sense to target military invasion means, than to target civilian cities. As proved by Reagan's decision to deploy the neutron bomb W79-1 in Western Europe in the 1980s, this strategy of credible military deterrence doesn't detrimentally escalate the arms race; it removes an incentive for enemy aggression, thereby reducing or ending threats and tensions.
|UK assessment of SLBM (submarine launched ballistic missile) threat to the USA from various early Russian submarine systems, which is also applicable to the emerging North Korean SLBM threat once it is deployed in the near future.|
8 May 2015 also marked the 70th anniversary of VE Day, causing on 9 May 2015 the biggest ever Russian May Day Military Parade, which unveiled President Putin's new armaments for invasions, such as his new T-14 Armata main battle tanks (featuring remote controlled turrets and reinforced crew capsules) together with loads of older Soviet SU-100 tank destroyers. In addition, Russia paraded its VPK-7829 armored personnel carrier and infantry fighting vehicles Kurganets-25 and Armata T-15, as well as unveiling a brand new self-propelled artillery piece, the 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV.
This reinforces the need for deploying the neutron bomb:
The early fruits of Russia's massive military buildup will be proudly displayed on May 9 as the centerpieces of the Victory Day parade, which this year marks the 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II.
Vintage 1940s hardware will parade alongside top-of-the-line equipment, some of which has not yet even entered serial production, in a ritualistic show of force that dates back to the days of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
The new tanks and armored vehicles to be formally unveiled on May 9 were developed under a staggering 20 trillion ruble ($395 billion) 10-year rearmament campaign announced in 2010. During Putin's live call-in on April 16, he promised that by the end of the decade 70 percent of the equipment fielded by Russia's military will be new hardware.