North Korea’s Show of Strength Puts US on Alert
North Korea has become increasingly more aggressive in recent years. Kim Jong-un has asserted his power by threatening the US…
North Korea has become increasingly more aggressive in recent years. Kim Jong-un has asserted his power by threatening the US and its allies. The authoritarian nation has also begun testing missiles again. Recently, the country recently unveiled a display that is cause for concern.
On February 8, North Korea held a military parade. These events are common in a country that constantly tries to show off its alleged strength. According to Fox News, satellite images revealed a number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The photos showed 12 Hwasong-17 ICBM launchers.
The US missile defenses could potentially be overwhelmed by North Korea if their launchers have a payload of four warheads each. As of April 2018, America had 40 ground-based interceptors (GBIs) in Alaska at Fort Greely. There were four more at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The news isn’t all doom and gloom, though. It’s unclear how many of North Korea’s ICBMs could actually reach the US. The country has not demonstrated the missiles are capable of hitting long-range targets or the warhead’s ability to survive upon reentry.
Further, during former President Donald Trump’s administration, the Pentagon ordered the deployment of 20 more GBIs to Fort Greely. That would bring the total number of interceptors up from 44 to 64 this year sometime, which theoretically would be enough to stop North Korea. Still, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Senior Fellow Ankit Panda told POLITICO the advancements in North Korea have “punch[ed] a hole in 20-plus years of U.S. homeland missile defense policy” that has predicted the country is a “‘limited’ missile threat” to America.
The Biden Administration has been pretty hands-off with North Korea, unlike Trump. The former POTUS focused on building a relationship with Kim as a way to stop war with the country. Biden, on the other hand, has reverted back to the previous US policy of treating the despot like a nuisance.