Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Counterfeit Korea?

Reason Express summarises my own reservations about North Korea's nuke, whose explosion nuke-wise was in the 'bloody small' category:

Did North Korea really explode a nuclear device? Or just several tons of TNT spiked with radioactive material? The Hermit Kingdom is one of the few places on earth where you might be able to gather that much conventional explosive in one place, in secret, and have a leader crazy enough to set it all off.

The possibility of an elaborate fake has to be considered given the fact that North Korea called the world's attention to its nuclear test ahead of time. India and Pakistan, in contrast, just did it; there was no confusion about what they did once it was over. The entire rationale of the North Korean nuke program is to win stuff from the rest of the world with its nuclear bargaining chip. For that purpose, a counterfeit chip would do just as well.

DPRK 'industry,' such as it is, would have to be at full stretch to produce even one nuke, let alone several. And seismic data suggest that at just 0.55 kilotons this 'nuke' is so small, (almost thirty-six times smaller than the first ever nuke, 'Trinity,' and a pimple against the former Soviet Union's 50 Megaton monster) that you really do need proof before you bet the farm.

The DPRK have every reason to lie, to bluff and to bluster, and none whatsoever to tell the truth.

So I'd like to see this thing authenticated before I start worrying in earnest, but the reaction so far has been interesting. North Korea is so bad that even the moral relativists who see no problem with a theocratic Iran having nukes have pulled out their 'Oh Shit!' cards at the North Korean news and waved them around.

So even in bad news there's something good.

LINK: Boom goes the dynamite - Reason Express
Trinity - Wikipedia
Nuclear weapon yield - Wikipedia

RELATED: Politics-World, War, Cartoons


  1. The USGC value of 4.2 suggests an eplosion size of over 1 kilotons, well within the scope of a small nuclear weapon, although you are right that this doesn't confirm that it was nuclear.

    Note also, radioactive monitoring aircraft are yet to detect radioactive debri, although again, that isn't evidence that there wasn't a Nuke.

  2. Last I heard, you were claiming that Iraq had WMD, despite an overwhelming lack of evidence.

    Now you are suggesting that North Korea doesn't have WMD, despite the considerable evidence.

  3. You've made two errors, Richard.

    1. That wasn't "claiming," that was "pointing out."

    2. I'm not suggesting they don't "despite" the evidence,I'm simply pointing out that "considerable evidence" does not yet exist, and until it does there are grounds on which to wonder.

    Given the context, you have a problem with not rushing to judgement until all the evidence is in?


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.