If a North Korean nuclear device detonated in Seattle, or San Francisco, or Los Angeles, temperatures at the blast site would reach tens of millions of degrees. Materials within close proximity of the blast (including human beings) would be vaporized virtually immediately. A shockwave of energy would expand exceedingly rapidly in a circular direction, destroying anything in its path. A nuclear fireball accompanying the shockwave would burn everything to a crisp. And finally, radioactive contamination (fallout) would result in significant radiation sickness, cellular mutations, and death.
Of course the more powerful the bomb, the greater the damage. And the closer the bomb detonates to the center of a city, and thus a more highly populated area, the more devastating the results.
Wait a minute. Talking about such things is more a remnant of Cold War times, isn’t it? After all, both the former Soviet Union (now Russia) and the United States had tens of thousands of nuclear warheads aimed at each other for half a century and never used them. Why contemplate such things now?
Because a truly crazy man, Kim Jong Un of North Korea, has several dozen nuclear weapons, is developing more all the time, and very soon will have intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting the west coast of the United States. Further, he has threatened to use them against us in the very near future. The North Korean lunatic’s spokesman threatened “all-out war” and warned that they would “rain nuclear thunder” on the United States.
How did we get to this point? I would trace the beginning of the end of keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of the North Koreans to the Bill Clinton White House years, with some assistance from former President Jimmy Carter. Clinton didn’t know what to do about North Korea, so he allowed international busybody, Jimmy Carter, to go to North Korea to negotiate a terrible deal with the commies. North Korea would get $5 billion in aid, and be allowed to keep their two nuclear reactors, in return for an unenforceable promise to end their nuclear weapons program. (Remind you of another bad deal President Obama and his feckless Secretary of State John Kerry made with Iran?) Not surprisingly, North Korea immediately broke the deal, by continuing their nuclear weapons program, albeit underground (literally).
The next two presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, followed the pattern of carrots and sticks, which didn’t work. We would give them stuff (food and oil), and they’d promise to end their nuclear weapons program, but secretly continue it anyway. Obama called his failed strategy “strategic patience.” We’d be patient with North Korea, and they’d systematically march toward being a more dangerous nuclear threat to the U.S. and our allies in the region (principally South Korea and Japan.)
These U.S. administrations had the luxury of knowing that at least North Korea couldn’t reach the United States with a nuclear device. Well we’re now on the verge of that no longer being the case. So President Trump, to his credit, has declared that he will not allow Kim Jong Un to develop the capability of landing an intercontinental ballistic missile on Seattle, or San Francisco, or Los Angeles, or eventually Washington, D.C. (or Cincinnati.)
It appears that President Trump’s preference is to have China exert pressure on North Korea to behave. But in case this doesn’t work, he’s directed a naval task force, including the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, to waters off the coast of North Korea. I think Trump means business. And Kim Jong Un would be wise to consider carefully his next move. Hopefully Trump’s recent tomahawk missile attack in Syria, and the “mother of all bombs” attack in Afghanistan will come to mind. Of course an attack on North Korea would be much dicier, as North Korea has an estimated 13,000 artillery pieces aimed at the South Korean capital of Seoul, a mere 35 miles to the south.
The bottom line is, this is a very dangerous situation, which deserves the United States’ and the rest of the world’s undivided attention. Hopefully we and the world will have the resolve to finally deal with a nagging problem that can no longer be ignored.