Well, it’s not really a button but a card with a random set of characters and numbers, of which are to be given to an assistant; putting into effect the process for obliterating possibly millions of people.
There is so much more to this process but this really is how it begins, with a card and a suitcase. Just like in the movies the whole ordeal is so simple we even give these terrifying items playful nicknames: the biscuit and the football.
Nuclear proliferation has been on the minds of the world for some time now and that topic is really reaching its peak with the recent missile tests conducted by the North Korean government—wherein military officials either launched a Pukguksksong- 2 ballistic missile or a Scud-ER, the debate is still out for which, toward the Japanese coast. Luckily the missiles never reached the area and fell into the ocean.
This isn’t necessarily a North Korean problem, either. Back in February Iran launched a couple of Mersad surface-to-air missiles, possibly violating UN resolutions. On the proliferation note, many countries are against the non-proliferation treaty because they feel left out. India is part of this group; angry that their social rivals the Chinese are allowed to hold nukes but not able to in their country.
Now of course, anything with nuclear weapons seems bad inherently. However, the reason this irks so many different countries is because of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, an international agreement that says no countries except Russia, UK, France, and China can hold nuclear weapons. All countries have the right to research nuclear technologies and countries can even help in that effort. The treaty also calls for nuclear disarmament; where the amount of nukes in each country should be less every year.
Dismantling nukes takes time and money as well. It’s not really a process where we can just turn every nuke off. There are questions like what do you do with the waste, or “the pit”. A small bit of fissionable material usually containing plutonium or uranium 235. Some treaties have been made to recycle these devices in the making of new nuclear reactors.
Now, when it comes to North Korea, they are years from reaching American soil, but that doesn’t mean the relationship hasn’t become extremely complicated. Since I began writing this article, the USS Carl Vinson was diverted from its planned visit to Australia and is now heading towards the Western Pacific, straight towards the Korean coast.
This move has been called “reckless” by the North Korean government, and they have issued a statement that actions will be taken if we double down on this position. Here is where we get to the scary part because this can only go down a number of ways.
First, let’s acknowledge that Korea is worried about being invaded. This is a position that we have seen other dictators in, the likes of Saddam Hussein in Iraq or Muammar Qaddafi in Libya. Kim Jong Un understands that he could end up in positions like this and do something crazy. The tests that the North Korean government has been doing have a goal in mind—hitting targets that would aid America in an invasion.
Launching a strike at targets in South Korea and Japan would be devastating to an invasion effort, not to mention the potential loss of lives.
That’s also to say that South Korea isn’t worried about this outcome. Many reports have come out in South Korea telling citizens that the US will not strike pre-emptively. North Korea would be willing to attack as well; they have provoked South Korea on many occasions. Back in 2010, the North Koreans sunk a South Korean ship and then shelled a nearby island. Just last year, a South Korean soldier’s legs were blown off because North Korean soldiers buried mines in the DMZ.
These last missile tests haven’t exactly fixed the relationship either, making experts wonder: when will it be too much? These next few months will test South Korea’s resolve and stretch their trust in us. If they respond to a provocation, we could have a strike on our hands.
At this point I hope you see why it isn’t as simple as just killing Kim Jong Un or invading the country, because that is a lot of the rhetoric I have heard. North Korea has a lot of problems. Even if we were to remove the governments influence we would have one of the biggest human rights issues on our hands. Not to mention, the fact that we would destabilize the area, creating a fight for power among armed groups. We would see situations like Syria and Libya all over again, except this time we would have to find and recover nuclear weapons.
These things are just possibilities, and they aren’t they only ones. We could start an arms race in Japan, strain foreign relations until they snap, or maybe even begin a proxy war with other countries. I’m not spelling doomsday here, merely a complicated situation. I implore you to learn more about these kinds of weapons and their capabilities. Also, look into the debate of nuclear weapons as deterrents and the disarmament of nuclear missiles. The logistics of these weapons are interesting and maybe it will help you keep up with the news for the next few months. This story is fairly important, we should all see how it plays out.