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If you were worried about NoKo’s nukes ...
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It may be that nukes, at least at the moment, are the least lethal weapon in North Korea's arsenal:
I've been writing and researching the subject of biological and chemical warfare on and off for six years. The extent of North Korea's completely operational biochemical warfare program is widely known and frequently assessed by the U.S. and its allies, as well as many non-proliferation organizations such as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague in the Netherlands. North Korea’s program has been in development since the '60s under the control of the fabulously Orwellian Fifth Machine Industry Bureau. In that time, North Korea's Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW) program has assembled a formidable array of poisons, toxins, chemicals and weaponized germs.

The consensus among weapons inspectors, intelligence analysts, academics and others I have interviewed—–which is backed up by the available open source material—-is that North Korea has developed anthrax, plague and botulism toxin as weapons and has extensively researched at least six other germs including smallpox and typhoid. It is also believed to have 5,000 tons or more of mustard gas, sarin nerve agent and phosgene (a choking gas). The Center for Nonproliferation Studies says North Korea ranks "amongst the largest possessors of chemical weaponry in the world." South Korea's military estimates half of North's long-range missiles and 30 percent of its artillery are CBW capable.
Dale made the point on the podcast the other day that while it is of concern that North Korea has the nuclear technology and materials necessary to build a nuclear weapon, it is the proliferation of that technology and weaponry that is the major concern. And, of course, here we're talking about spreading it not only to other rogue nations but to non-state actors such as terrorist groups.

Well the same point holds for other WMDs as well. And frankly sarin, phsgene and mustard gas would be much easier to smuggle and deploy given a proper and effective method of dispersal. The bio agents are a degree harder to deploy, but still easier than nukes to handle and deploy. So while I may worry a little about North Korea and nukes, I have a tendency to worry a lot more about chem and bio from NoKo getting in the wrong hands. Especially when the country in question is isolated, angry, cash strapped, starving and treating the UN sanctions recently imposed as an "act of war".

You know, I'd love to be able to say, "this is what we ought to do next", but other than advocating an "Ahmadinejad" and wiping NoKo from the map, I have no good solutions.

None. North Korea is going to resist any attempts to limit their pursuit of nuclear weapons and sanctions are only going to make conditions within the country worse and more desperate. Given Kim's power rests with the military, you can imagine, as everything gets more scarce, who is going to suffer the consequences. And that's very unfortunate. However, as long as Kim has the military, Kim has power.

Feeding and keeping a military of 1.2 million happy, however, is expensive. Short version? What has NoKo to trade and trade immediately?

See above.

Not a pretty picture.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Maybe we should invade them, or at least threaten them with "liberation."
Written By: william
URL: http://
Or we could wait until freedom takes hold of some minds and it spreads.

I recall it was pretty doom & gloom about the Soviets and their grip and
Mao’s government was pretty ’dangerous’ to us too.

Sometimes perhaps being unable to ’do’ anything serves a practical purpose.

Just because we can now, as the remaining super power, consider throwing our weight around, which we could NOT do much before the beginning of the 90’s, doesn’t mean we ought to be talking about doing it quite so frequently.
I’m beginning to appreciate the brinksmanship of the Cold War.
We wouldn’t be discussing invading anybody on such a regular basis.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Yeah, your way is better.
Written By: william
URL: http://
Whatever William is advocating, put me down for the exact opposite. Thanks.
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
It has it’s risks.
When you ’wait and see’ a premise is usually that we’re dealing with a rational actor. The Soviets were always rational, and although we didn’t always understand the rationale, so were the Chinese.

NoKo and Iran?
I’m not sure their leaders are rational.
Perhaps that’s less of a danger in Iran.
In NoKo on the other hand?

Running it strictly by numbers -
IF they go non-linear and attack - a lot of people might die in their attack, followed by a lot more dying in the retalitation.

IF they don’t go non-linear, and we attack - a lot of people die.

Either way, a lot of people die.
I’m back to viewing first strike as a bad option though.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Can’t we all just get along?
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Sooner or later, NoKo is going to fall. It is going to be a long and painfull process for the slaves of NoKo. A lot more people are going to die as the result of whatever course of action we take. Either through starvation or violence, or both.

And now you can see why some people want the killing to go faster. The faster the regime falls, the faster something else can take its place and start rebuilding.

If China and others refused to prop-up the Kim Jong Il regime, with the promise of aid to a more open regime, I think we’d see a military coup there within a few weeks of such promises.

Or we could wait for the next grand parade in front of their "dear leader" and take out Kim and as much of their heavy weaponry as possible. Take out the tanks, missles, and any airforce, and they would be much more managable for the Chinese/SoKo/Japanese alliance that would be required to rebuild the country.

Then let the North Koreans themselves decide what they want to do, other then pursue weapons of mass destruction.
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
My question is, "HOW do we know what germs the North Koreans have been working on?" I support(ed) the war against Iraq, still do, but given the lamentable pre-war intelligence regarding Saddam’s WMD Programs I wonder about the ability of the US to penetrate the Korean Programs.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Can’t we all just get along?
You have one last chance,
Bow to the mighty power and wisdom of Dear Leader,
accept the yoke of servitude bestowed upon you by your Korean masters;
two last chances,
and give us your acquired wealth.

Three, you have three last chances.

Unrightous round eyed creature, how do you plead?
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker I tell you his vicotry is "inevitabre" and I personally welcome our new Korean, Poofy-Haired Overlord.....
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The problem with invading NoKo was the fact that Seoul was pretty much assured of destruction. 15 million people living that close to the border & well within NoKo’s (non wmd equipped) artillery spelled big problems if we got into a war with North Korea; this would make the ~"650k" killed in Iraq look like nothing.

And this is completely ignoring the Nork WMD programs.

Written By: h0mi
URL: http://
The only correct solution is as follows:

Since military attacks would be dangerous, we have to put North Korea under siege. nothing gets out, and nothing gets in, except for things they buy with hard currency...

No aid whatsover, no matter how bad it gets. The last time Kim lost some power was when starvation made people ignore his directives. (Which is why there are now informal markets for many products in N. Korea.)

This would work very quickly, especially if we helped to smuggle radios, cell phones, etc. into the country. We could also make a public offer of aid to any new government of N. Korea that would renounce nukes, i.e. entice coups.

There have already been several coup attempts, but they failed.

Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Oh, but my idea won’t work because South Koreans are ethnically chauvinist and softies for the Norks, so they will never agree.

Except maybe if we said we would withdraw our forces and remove the nuclear umbrella unless they agreed.

China might go for this, but would also would be a hard sell.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://

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