CNN – North Korea said it hit the button on its fifth and potentially most powerful nuclear test Friday morning, claiming to have successfully detonated a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on ballistic rockets. State media said the test would enable North Korea to produce “a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power.” “It’s hard for us to verify their claim. My deep fear is that they will launch a live nuclear weapon on one of their missiles, but that would be extremely dangerous as that could trigger a war,” said Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
(Say what you want about Kim Jong-Un but the man is nothing short of a style icon)
Like an untreated case of herpes, North Korea’s nuclear program occasionally flares up in the news, this time because North Korea has tested its nuclear capabilities for the fifth time over the last decade. Other than producing some of the world’s greatest golfers and being Dennis Rodman’s favorite tourist destination, North Korea is third best known for its burgeoning nuclear program and the bi-annual nuisance it is to the rest of the international community.
North Korea and Iran, both part of George W. Bush’s axis of evil (the third being words with more than three syllables), are both controversial semi-nuclear states, but the programs themselves are significantly different. Iran’s nuclear program consists of a handful of sites which produce nuclear energy for peaceful, civilian purposes, as well as a number of reinforced doors marked “Do Not Enter (This Means You IAEA)”. In North Korea on the other hand, people don’t believe their leader poops so that should give you a pretty good idea of how advanced their nuclear program is.
Although North Korean society is very militaristic, it’s equipment and training are significantly out-dated, the vast majority of its Air Force is comprised of planes built before 1960 whose most recent combat experience was dog-fighting the Red Baron.
While North Korea praises the will and determination of their Army and Air Force, their nuclear program is their real focus. In addition to nuclear weapons, they also divert significant resources towards their ballistic missile program which has had mixed results.
On the ground footage was obtained of the test:
North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are antiquated and often failures, but it’s important to understand that parity with the United States is not their goal. If North Korea were to use their nuclear capability and launched 10 missiles with nuclear warheads and 9 landed in the ocean and 1 hit Seoul, they would view it as a resounding success. If push comes to shove and conflict is inevitable, North Korea knows they will lose and wishes to inflict as much damage as possible, kind of like crop dusting the office on your way out after you get fired for watching PornHub in the bathroom with your cellphone still connected to the BlueTooth speakers in your cube. With that in mind U.S. and international security officials are not taking the test lightly.
North Korea is of course already under significant sanctions so additional sanctions are unlikely to deter their behavior. Kind of like when you get an after school detention but you don’t want to go home anyway because your mom’s new friend Chad is such an asshole and he’s always already drunk when you get home and eats almost all the KFC and just leaves you a couple fries and you’re not going to call him dad because he’s not even your real dad. Just like that.