WASHINGTON – North Korea has released another video showing a nuclear weapons attack, this time on Washington, D.C., raising once again the specter that the Hermit State is planning to launching a pre-emptive nuclear attack on the United States.
A video released only a short time ago depicted a nuclear attack on New York City.
The two videos – each depicting an attack on a major city on the U.S. East Coast – strongly suggest the North Koreans intend to orbit a nuclear weapon that would be deorbited to explode a high-altitude nuclear device, sending out an electromagnetic pulse that would destroy a significant portion of the U.S. electric grid system.
The North Koreans are assessed to have a three-stage missile capable of reaching the U.S. West Coast.
In January, Pyongyang tested a missile U.S. officials said could reach Alaska and possibly California.
The North Koreans orbited a package that may have been a test to deorbit a nuclear weapon upon command and explode it high over a densely populated region on the East Coast, extending strike capability another 2,000 miles.
After the January missile test, the North Koreans undertook an underground nuclear weapons test in February. Expert's believe the North Koreans were testing the miniaturization of a nuclear weapon that could fit on the three-stage missile – which it successfully had tested.
U.S. intelligence has known that North Korea years ago received detailed blueprints from Pakistan to miniaturize a nuclear bomb to be mounted on a missile.
The continuing threats of a nuclear attack on the U.S. come as the North Korean leadership appears to be pushing toward a brinkmanship-type policy that could result in open hostilities toward South Korea.
Experts agree that tensions and the risk of conflict on the Korean peninsula have escalated precipitously over the last year, as the North has been using bellicose rhetoric and now is releasing videos depicting nuclear attacks on the U.S.
In February, the video that showed a nuclear attack on New York City was against a musical backdrop of "We are the World," a song by the late Michael Jackson.
The latest video, which ran roughly four minutes, showed a montage of different weapons being fired.
It presented footage of the White House in an electronic sight's crosshairs, with a simulated explosion on the dome of the U.S. Capitol.
"The White House has been captured in the view of our long-range missile, and the capital of war is within the range of our atomic bomb," a narrated voice in Korean said.
The escalation in war rhetoric comes after the United Nations imposed sanctions on North Korea for its February underground nuclear weapons test that happened despite a prohibition to which Pyongyang was bound as a member of the U.N.
In response to North Korea's recent threats of a pre-emptive nuclear attack on the U.S., U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the deployment of additional ground-based missile interceptors on the West Coast.
The U.S. also will shift some Aegis anti-missile systems destined originally for Europe to U.S.-based defenses, along with a second anti-ballistic missile radar to be installed in Japan.
The deployments on the West Coast have brought on calls for deploying similar anti-ballistic missile systems on the East Coast to guard against a potential Iranian attack.
However, those systems won't be in place until 2017.
The U.S. has made it clear in recent days that the U.S. will not condone a North Korean nuclear state. The warning comes despite the fact that this is just what Pyongyang is about to accomplish.
The U.S. national security adviser, Tom Donilon, in a recent speech before the New York Asia Society, said nuclear weapons in North Korea's hands were "unacceptable."
"This means deterring North Korean aggression and protecting our allies," Donilon said. "And it means the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
Donilon used his New York speech to outline what he referred to as a "re-balance" in U.S. policy to the Asia-Pacific, which he called a region "that will shape the global order in the decades ahead."
In this connection, he said the U.S. will continue to strengthen alliances with Japan and South Korea while coordinating with China to prevent North Korea from becoming a nuclear state.
While China is one of North Korea's closest friends, Beijing was dismayed about Pyongyang's recent missile and nuclear weapons tests, suggesting it no longer was in a position to successfully influence its leadership.
As a consequence, China, too, voted for U.N. sanctions against North Korea, but it may not want to do anything further out of concern for destabilizing the country.
One outcome of North Korea's continued provocations, especially its testing of nuclear weapons, is that South Korea may reconsider its previous prohibition on producing them.
A recent poll showed that two-thirds of South Korean citizens surveyed favored the country producing its own nuclear weapons.
"We, the Korean people, have been duped by North Korea for the last 20 to 30 years, and it is now time for South Koreans to face the reality and do something that we need to do," said Chung Mong-joon, a South Korean lawmaker.
"The nuclear deterrence can be the only answer," he said. "We have to have nuclear capability."
WND recently reported a little-publicized study from the U.S. Army War College that said a nuclear detonation at altitude above a U.S. city could wipe out the electrical grid for hundreds, possibly thousands of miles around.
The impact would be catastrophic.
"Preparing for months without a commercial source of clean water (city water pressure is often dependent on electric pumping to storage towers) and stoppage of sewage treatment facilities will require net methods of survival particularly in populated areas," according to the May 2011 military study.
The study was based on a three-day workshop by the war college's Center for Strategic Leadership, which deals with issues using the project team concept.
The study, titled "In the Dark: Military Planning for a Catastrophic Critical Infrastructure Event," concluded that there is "very little" in the way of back-up capability to the electric grid upon which the communications infrastructure is vitally dependent.
Such an outage also could be produced by a significant solar storm event hitting the Earth.
Power would be out for "maybe even a year or more if a significant number of high power transformers are destroyed and would have to be remanufactured.
"In some cases, such grid components are manufactured offshore causing even more delay," the report said. "The net effect of the collapse of the electric grid is that communities would become localized and insular.
"They would be disconnected from the more regional conditions, the possibility of outside assistance such as food and medicine, and the chances of recovery to normal…there might be no return to normal as was previously known."
While the Defense Department relies some 99 percent on the U.S. national electric grid system, also dependent are fuel and food delivery systems, communications and virtually all consumer services.