Most experts have converged on the belief that North Korea (DPRK) now has (a) the ability to produce nuclear warheads, (b) the ability to produce carrier systems (medium and long-range rockets), and, (c) the willingness – under certain circumstances, to use these weapons. No one is delighted by this, not even also China, which always carefully weighs the options of a DPRK collapsing- due to serious sanctions or a military strike against having the nukes available. In Asia, there are conflicting assessments, as there are in Western capitals.
The options include:
— accepting the DPRK as a member of the nuclear club, even without the safeguards of formal restraint;
— sending a clear signal, such as crippling sanctions and/or a nuclear strike;
— muddling through, in the manner of the last 15 years of policy, with the result we described above.
What’s your take?
Hardly anybody talks about it, but nation states are again investing a lot of money in their nuclear capabilities. After the end of the Cold War, nukes were apparently losing their fatal attraction. Now this has been reversed. The U.S., China and Russia are all introducing new attack weapons, but also BMD (ballistic missile defense) systems. Dozens of billions of dollars are invested here for modernization and upgrading.
If this is compatible with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which commits the member states to eliminate nukes or to at least show good faith to eliminate them, is doubtful. In addition, the club of the five nuclear states after WW2 is expanding, and keeps expanding (Israel, Pakistan, India, North Korea, possibly Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc.).
No wonder that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has just moved their famous “doomsday clock” (symbolically telling us how far we are from total destruction) two minutes closer to midnight. It´s now three minutes to midnight – the closest since 1983.