The United States now faces the most serious national security threat since 9/11. On July 4 — in what was clearly a message directed toward the United States — North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, more commonly referred to by its acronym, ICBM.
To date, North Korea has only successfully launched medium-range ballistic missiles that could hit targets in Asia and the Pacific. As of this launch, North Korea has demonstrated the ability to strike the U.S. homeland.
For the past 25 years, past American presidents from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama have faced the prospect of an armed conflict with North Korea. Additionally, the U.S. must honor defense alliances in Asia with allies such as Japan and South Korea. The threat stemmed from North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
For a quarter of a century, the United States has pursued an aggressive diplomatic track that has aimed to isolate North Korea, in addition to aggressive economic sanctions designed to force the Kim regime to halt its weapons program.
However, none of this has worked, and now we are one step closer to the inevitable — a preemptive strike on the Korean Peninsula that could result in millions of dead civilians at the hands of a brutal North Korean dictator.
To be effective and pose an actual threat to the United States, a nuclear program must successfully achieve three things:
- A nation must successfully build and test a nuclear weapon. This is something North Korea has done and continued to do for the past decade.
- It must develop and test a delivery vehicle capable of transporting a nuclear warhead. That happened on July 4, 2017, when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that North Korea has successfully tested an ICMB.
- The final step is the development of a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can be mounted on top of a delivery vehicle, such as an ICBM. Where North Korea is in that process is unknown to the public.
The United States cannot and will not allow North Korea to miniaturize a warhead, as this would lead to the end of strategic nuclear deterrence on the Korean Peninsula.
As such, the North Korean nuclear weapons program has now become a ticking time bomb in terms of a U.S. military strike to deny North Korea a viable nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States.
Make no mistake about it. This is as serious as it gets, and millions of innocent civilian lives hang in the balance. Only China can force significant action in North Korea to prevent a catastrophe in East Asia, the likes of which the world has not seen since World War II.