North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un is ordering his military to have the rogue nation’s nuclear weapons ready to launch, and while a former Pentagon official believes the communist nation may start a war down the road, he does not see this latest action as more than an empty threat.
Jed Babbin served as a deputy undersecretary of defense for President George H.W. Bush and believes Jong-un’s actions are merely in response to the United Nations Security Council unanimously approving new sanctions against his regime. He said an attempt to nuke South Korea, Japan or any other nation would be met with a devastating, immediate response.
“Their country would be vaporized immediately and, quite frankly, there ain’t much to vaporize,” Babbin told WND and Radio America. “That place is in the stone age. The only place that’s even lit at night is the capital city of Pyongyang. One decent nuke over there, and the country is just gone.”
There’s another reason Babbin thinks this is a bluff. He believes, despite aggressive testing, North Korea is not yet ready to launch a nuclear missile.
“It’s a big deal to develop a nuclear weapon,” he said. “It’s a big deal to develop an ICBM. However, to get an ICBM mated with a small enough nuclear weapon that will survive the G-forces in the takeoff of a missile and actually be able to re-enter the atmosphere and successfully detonate a nuclear weapon, that’s probably several years beyond what these guys can do.”
Babbin said this is clearly Jong-un’s way of protesting the new U.N. sanctions, which are aimed restricting North Korea’s ability to import weapons or build them.
“They’ve got some bigger restrictions now,” he said. “Ships going into and out of North Korea are going to be stopped and inspected. At least that’s the theory. They’ve lost the opposition of the Chinese to those sorts of sanctions. The Chinese went along with it, and the U.N. Security Council was unanimous in putting these sanctions in.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Jed Babbin:
Babbin said China has a vested interest in making sure Jong-un’s erratic behavior does not lead to a humanitarian crisis.
“A great, great fear in the Chinese regime is for North Korea to fall for some reason and for millions of North Koreans to go fleeing across the border with China,” he said.
He said North Korea has a long history of bad behavior when it wants to attract attention.
“I think they want more money,” he said. “They want to get bribed to keep quiet for awhile again. They’re going to be doing the things that they always do, which is run around and scream and shout.”
While firmly convinced this episode is no real threat, Babbin said North Korea does have plans to take hostile action.
“The real issue is, when do they actually get hot enough to try to do something?” he asked. “That’s the unknowable. Someday, sometime, whether it’s tomorrow or 25 years from now, those are going to start another war. We’re just going to have to be prepared for it.”
In Thursday’s Republican debate, Sen. Ted Cruz reacted to the story by outlining his plan to protect against a North Korean attack and also blaming the Clinton administration for weak negotiating that allowed the North Koreans to pursue nuclear weapons.
Babbin said that’s exactly what happened.
“Cruz was right,” he said. “(Former Defense Secretary) Bill Perry went over there and negotiated a big agreement with North Korea that provided them with oil and more as a bribe to not develop nuclear weapons. Of course, they used the oil to power their society for a little while and built the nukes anyway.”
So what is the right policy now?
“Right now, I think the sanctions are the right approach,” Babbin said. “I think there’s not much else you can do there.”
He said ground action should not be considered.
“I don’t see that us invading North Korea is in any way a good idea, and I don’t think anybody else is going to,” he said. “The only thing we could do, which of course President Obama will never do, is to pressure the Chinese more to bring these guys to heel.”
Babbin applauds the recent U.N. action, but has doubts about the implementation of the new sanctions.
“I do think it’s going to be helpful if the sanctions are going to be enforced, and that’s the big if,” Babbin said. “Who is going to stop all of those ships coming in and out of North Korea? Are people really going to follow the ban on selling them even small arms? I don’t know that that’s going to happen. There’s a lot of other rogue regimes in the world.”
He fears bankrupt Venezuela, which is a prolific producer of AK-47 assault rifles, is more than desperate and willing to violate sanctions to make money.
“That’s just one example,” he said. “There’s probably at least a dozen other countries that’ll do that sort of thing.”