Well, North Korea has gone from failed bottle rockets to submarine-launched ballistic missiles; a technological feat that could be as little as five years away, according to experts. The communist state, which is also the largest prison in the world, recently successfully test launched a ballistic missile from what has to be an aged-submarine in their navy (which is probably made up of Boston Whalers). Oh, and to no one’s surprise, this test violated a ton of UN treaties. Regardless, the geopolitical situation could be changed irrevocably; with North Korea having a credible second-strike capability for which there is little or no defense. It’s a highly destabilizing move (via CNN):
North Korea could have a fully operational submarine armed with ballistic missiles in the next four to five years, a South Korean defense official said Monday.
The South Korean estimate comes after North Korea said over the weekend that it had successfully test-launched a ballistic missile from a submarine.
Pyongyang's announcement has focused attention on how soon the nuclear-armed regime might reach the capability of being able to launch missiles from submarines, a mobile threat that's difficult to track.
"If they can deploy an operational submarine that could launch ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads, it would give them a pretty credible second strike capability, and it's difficult to defend against," said Daniel Pinkston, deputy project director for North East Asia at the International Crisis Group.
"It would give them the kind of deterrent that they have said they wish to have," Pinkston said following the reported test launch.
A U.S. State Department official declined over the weekend to talk about any specific "intelligence matters" regarding the North Korean announcement. The official said that "launches using ballistic missile technology are a clear violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions."
David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector, told CNN last week that Pyongyang could have 10 to 15 nuclear weapons at this point and that it could grow that amount by several weapons per year.
North Korea has demanded that the United States recognize it as a nuclear power. But the U.S. government has said North Korean commitment to denuclearization is the starting point for any negotiations between the two sides.
There's no sign that Pyongyang plans to back down on its nuclear program.
Of course, Kim Jong Un is ecstatic, calling it a “miraculous achievement.” CNN also reported that North Korea has also tested an array of anti-ship missiles. Yet, over at the Free Beacon, they report that the launch was merely an “ejection test,” to see if the missile could ignite upon launch. They also said that U.S. officials don’t believe the missile came from a submarine.
Regardless, it seems this is just another issue for the next president to handle, as the Obama administration had zero enthusiasm for re-opening talks over their nuclear program that broke down over the Bush administration. In 2002, the CIA uncovered North Korea’s secret uranium enrichment program; a program they refused to end upon being confronted by the U.S. The Bush administration felt that North Korea violated the Agreed Framework that began under President Clinton.
"North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. South Korea and our other allies will be better protected. The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons,” Clinton said at the time. That obviously did not pan out as we all hoped.
In 2017, the next president will have to deal with North Korea’s alleged submarine-launched ballistic missile capability, Iran’s nuclear program, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, ISIS, and other areas where Islamic fundamentalism is being problematic. Oh, and there’s Russia’s operations in Ukraine. We should all hope that an appropriate amount of time is dedicated to foreign policy, along with jobs and the economy. It looks like we have Mr. Obama’s geopolitical mess to clean up.