Decades of U.S. and U.N. diplomatic dithering and devastatingly disastrous capitulation have enabled North Korea and Iran to collaboratively and separately pose grave and imminent global dangers.
The Obama administration’s feckless "Iran deal" for example, has freed up lots of cash for Tehran to spend on advanced nuclear warheads and intercontinental delivery rockets that Pyongyang is now capable and eager to provide thanks to equally impotent U.S. appeasement policies dating back to the Clinton administration’s 1994 "North Korean nuclear deal."
Last month, North Korea demonstrated a capability to deliver warheads — potentially including power grid-disrupting nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) devices — over the American mainland. That same month, Iran launched a rocket purportedly designed to place satellites in space.
The Obama administration has known but not publicly reported that the hermit kingdom has possessed an ICBM — compatible miniaturized nuclear warhead capability since 2013. North Korea and Iran are also known to have been sharing nuclear and missile development technologies since at least 1993. Military relationships between Pyongyang and Tehran go back ever further.
A North Korean defector testified before Congress that he traveled from North Korea to Iran in 1989 to help them test-fire a North Korean Missile. A North Korean freighter evaded U.S. surveillance and delivered a cargo of Scud missiles to the port of Bandar Abbas in 1992. And in 2002, a barrel of North Korean uranium which accidentally cracked open contaminated the tarmac of a new Tehran airport.
In 2010, The New York Times reported that Iran obtained 19 North Korean missiles which were "much more powerful than anything Washington has publicly conceded that Tehran has in its arsenal." Included was an intermediate-range Shahab-3 based upon North Korea’s No Dong missile which could reach Israel.
Last year Senior Editor Bill Gertz reported in the Washington Free Beacon that Kim Jong Un's regime even had the temerity to supply missile components to Iran "during recent nuclear talks," [the 2015 Iran treaty negotiations] which violated U.N. “sanctions on both countries, according to U.S. intelligence officials." Gertz went on to say that details of those shipments "were included in Obama’s daily intelligence briefings" but were kept secret from the U.N.
Incredulously, the Iran deal didn’t include restrictions on development and testing of missile systems. Accordingly, while purported "satellite launches" don’t constitute a violation of that agreement, the agreement itself violates any basis for those generous economic concessions which will finance even more nuclear and conventional weapons trade with cash-starved North Korea.
Export of long-range ICBM’s isn’t North Korea’s only, or necessarily even the most lucrative and dangerous missile export market.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Henry Sokolski and Zachary Keck at the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center state that while Pyongyang has already sold ballistic missiles to seven counties including Syria and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, only Iran and Pakistan are most likely to consider purchasing ICBMs.
The rogue nation is reportedly perfecting a new, advanced short-range (185-620 mile) maneuvering re-entry vehicle (MARV) which can retarget its trajectory late in flight both to evade missile defenses and to achieve pinpoint accuracy. The system is optimized to knock out overseas U.S. and allied bases, Persian Gulf oil fields, and eventually, even commercial shipping and warships.
Iran has also tested a MARV — possibly developed in cooperation with Pyongyang. Such weapons in the hands of Hezbollah will pose an even greater threat to an Israeli chemical plant and to its Dimona nuclear reactor.
The U.S., China, Russia, and South Korea have all developed and tested MARVs, but have not exported these systems. North Korea and Iran, on the other hand, will have no compunction either to use or to sell them to eager buyers who harbor bad intentions towards America and our allies.
Continued dismissal of explicitly-expressed nuclear missile threats by Iran and North Korea to America and our allies, Israel in particular, will be a huge mistake. Last March, Tehran launched a long-range nuclear-capable missile brandishing a quotation from the late Ayatollah Khomeini written in Hebrew declaring that “Israel must be wiped off the face of the Earth."
That same month, Pyongyang fired two ballistic missiles from its northern shore to targets more than 300 miles away. That occurred two days after they released a photo of Kim Jong Un with what was claimed to be a mock-up of a miniaturized nuclear warhead which we now know exists.
North Korea’s National Defense Commission then threatened an "all-out offensive" with "pre-emptive" nuclear strikes against "U.S. imperialist aggressor forces" based in the Asia-Pacific region and the U.S. mainland. The statement said "If we push the buttons to annihilate the enemies even right now, all bases of provocations will be reduced to seas in flames and ashes in a moment." Similar threats have recently been repeated.
America and our allies can’t afford to wait any longer to prevent that moment from arriving. Any possible hope for leading from behind with strategic patience has long passed.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2012). Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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