Once more many people are getting scared as a result of the recent North Korea test which puts the whole of the US in range. The headlines say it puts all of US in range. You have to read carefully to discover it was probably a lightweight mock warhead. The way over hyped news stories about North Korea scare vulnerable young children and adults. So I write this to help put it in perspective. Also to explain why there is no way North Korea want to attack the US with a nuclear weapon. Nor does the US have any military options involving an invasion of North Korea, and both sides know that.
First, in this most recent test, the missile probably disintegrated on re-entry. Also the experts think its payload is probably quite small, just a few diagnostic instruments - a nuclear weapon would be big and heavy. So it is more of an incremental improvement. David Wright for the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote:
"We do not know how heavy a payload this missile carried, but given the increase in range it seems likely that it carried a very light mock warhead. If true, that means it would be incapable of carrying a nuclear warhead to this long distance, since such a warhead would be much heavier."
Interviewed by Wired magazine he went into more details.
'But while North Korea’s ICBM progress rightly rings plenty of alarms, in practice it looks less like a significant technological advancement and more like an incremental improvement. “It probably was very similar to the missile that they launched twice in July, the Hwasong-14,” Wright tells WIRED. “At the time, in looking at the second stage, we realized that there were some obvious things they could do to increase the capabilities of the second stage, and my guess is that’s what they did this time.'
Philip Coyle, also interviewed by Wired, says:
“I think that their payload is probably quite small, maybe just some diagnostics instruments to help them know what happened,” says Philip Coyle, senior fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and former head of the Pentagon’s test and evaluation office, about Tuesday’s launch. “But a real nuclear weapon, especially one that North Korea might have, could be big and heavy.”
That “big and heavy” doesn't travel as far on the same missile as “quite small” is not the stuff of advanced degrees. While the exact size of North Korea’s potential nuclear payload is unknown, Wright suggests that adding it to a missile like North Korea just tested could shave its range by about a third
See also this article in Business Insider.
So, this ICBM seems to be much less of an increase in capability than most of the stories about it made it out to be. If it had a nuclear weapon on board its range would probably be less than 9,000 km instead of 13,000 km. Also it seems likely that they haven't yet worked out how to miniaturize a warhead. Also they probably have not yet learnt how to make an ICBM that can survive reentry.
But some time in the next year or several years North Korea probably will get the capability to put a nuclear weapon on an ICBM that can hit the US. So what then if diplomacy fails to divert them from this path?
NOT WWIII - NORTH KOREA DOESN'T WANT TO ATTACK THE US AND THE US CAN'T INVADE NORTH KOREA
We get so many stories discussing this idea of North Korea starting WWIII or US invading North Korea. There is no way either is going to happen.
Despite their fighting talk, neither Trump nor Kim Jong Un want to start a war. Both would suffer heavy losses in that case, Kim Jong Un most of all, but Trump also.
It would be political suicide for them to do that. For Kim Jong Un it would be the end of his regime and a national disaster for his country. For Trump it would be a war that leads to thousands of US civilians dying in South Korea and again a political disaster for himself. The recent letter to Trump from the Joint Chiefs of Staff was widely misreported. They did not recommend an invasion. The opposite. They made it clear that the costs of an invasion on the US would be appalling and that it is not an option. They asked Trump to stop threatening to do this as it gets in the way of diplomacy which is the only way ahead.
Also when Kim Jong Un said that they might carry out a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific there were many uninformed sensationalist articles about it. We have had many hydrogen bomb tests in the past including a massive one carried out by Russia over its own territory, which at 50 megatons was the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated, and lots of ones over the sea carried out by the UK. The NK one, if they do it, would probably be set to explode under water in the deep Pacific, and the radioactivity effects would be minimal (by design, their aim is to demonstrate the capability, not to create radioactive fallout).
It’s not something to be scared of. It would not be a prelude to a war. They would be sure to announce it first, if they do it at all, and at the moment it is just an idea and they haven’t said they will do it. It may also be a year or several years before they have the capability to launch such a bomb on an ICBM.
Also, it’s not literally a button that Trump presses. So, despite his aggressive language, he can’t start a war in a fit of temper. He rings up a four star general who who then in turn orders the launch - and the military can refuse orders. It would be like a commander ordering a soldier to fire on unarmed civilians in a village. The soldier not only can, but is required to refuse such an order. In the same way, it would be an extraordinary situation if this ever happened, but a four star general would definitely not carry out an illegal order from a president, and an order to drop a nuclear weapon on North Korea when the US is not under a present and imminent national threat would be illegal. And having the ability to hit the US with a nuclear weapon does not make it an imminent threat.
His language is surely just bluster but some people do worry about him starting a war in a fit of temper so hopefully that helps there.
We may end up in a year from now or a few years in a situation where North Korea does have the capability to launch a nuclear weapon to hit the US, but if so it would still be a deterrent. There is no way it would actually use this as a first strike as that would be the end of it for them. As it was in the cold war - there are no winners in a nuclear war. Not only that, both sides lose heavily - and North Korea would lose most of all, with its few unreliable ICBMs it's never going to be a match for the US military.
So that’s a brief summary, let’s look at it more closely.
WHY THE US CAN’T INVADE
It's not a military option at all. If the US tried that, then even without the nuclear weapons, North Korea has vast numbers of mobile weapons that can be camouflaged and moved anywhere. The US military could not deal with them all until a day or two later at least, by which time there would be hundreds of thousands and probably millions of civilians dead in South Korea and probably Japan too. Many would be US civilians. This is just not a viable option for Trump.
In more detail
US can’t invade North Korea because the casualties in South Korea would be hundreds of thousands to millions or people including many US civilians. This is what makes it different from Syria and Iraq. Though many died in those wars, few were from the US and the US citizens that died were mainly soldiers.
Let’s take an example: the Iraq war had 4,491 US casualties, and a total of 4,809 from coalition forces. There were over 100,000 Iraqi civilian casualties and possibly over a million, with the higher estimates very controversial. Casualties of the Iraq War
The US is especially sensitive to US civilian casualties. It hasn’t had a war on home soil since the US civil war. A new Korean war would lead to a minimum of tens of thousands of civilian South Korean casualties, but more likely, hundreds of thousands through to millions.
There are over 150,000 people from the US in South Korea and many of those are civilians - many of them families of the military or civil servants in the South Korea civil service. If the US seriously intended to invade North Korea their first step would be to evacuate these people from South Korea.
Trump talks often about invading North Korea but his advisers tell him that he has no military options there and that his aggressive speech is getting in the way of diplomatic solutions, which is the only way ahead.
COULD TRUMP JUST ORDER AN ATTACK IN A FIT OF TEMPER?
Some people worry that Donald Trump would start a nuclear war in a fit of temper or some such. However he can’t do that. He can't launch a nuclear weapon by himself. It’s not literally a button he presses. Rather he phones up a four star general who in turn carries out the order.
As with any military order there are two things to take account of when someone issues you with an order. Does it come from someone with the proper authority to issue the order? And does it meet the legal tests of the law of armed conflict? It would be like a soldier ordered to open fire on unarmed villagers. The soldier is responsible for what happens and is actually required to refuse the order.
If he was clearly deranged or out of control, then they would refuse to obey and it would probably lead swiftly to impeachment. If it wasn’t authorized by Congress and it was disproportionate or didn’t pass the legal tests of the law of armed conflict then they would say they can’t proceed - and the general would have a team of lawyers at hand to advise him.
It would need extraordinary circumstances for this to apply to an order from the president. The assumption would be that the order is legal. But if a president issued an illegal order, the general who received the order would be in the same position as the soldier in that example and would be required by law to refuse to follow the order. And General Kehler said four star generals are no shrinking violets and can and would say they can’t go any further if the order didn’t pass the legal tests. They would not test the law themselves - instead they have a playbook of scenarios worked out for their legality. They involve situations where the US is in imminent national threat.
The reason the president was given this power to launch a nuclear attack without consulting anyone was to deal with the situation of an imminent nuclear attack, or one actually underway. If Russia had nuclear weapons already in the air the president might have only minutes to respond.
If the US was under nuclear attack - if the military wake up Trump is the way general Kehler put it - then he has minutes to respond and then they don’t go through all this. That situation is the reason the president was given this power originally. Someone has to give the order (if you accept that it is necessary to be able to do it of course) and that person, they decided, has to be a civilian and not a military commander - and so it comes from the president. (If the president is incapacitated or killed then someone else takes over in the line of succession, which always includes a “designated survivor” who is kept in a secure undisclosed location when the others all gather together for a state of union address or similar).
But if Trump wakes up the military then there is no reason to respond swiftly. In that case, if not ordered by Congress and if it doesn’t fit the playbook situations the general would get the lawyers involved and if it is not proportional and in accord with international law he not only could but would be required to just tell the president he can’t take it any further. And General Kehler said you don’t get to be a four star general if you are a shrinking violet and the general would definitely say this.
There are senators in Congress who want to take this further and put it into law that a president can’t order a first strike but there are others saying such a law would have unintended consequences. So - this is currently stalled though supported by many democrats and one republican in view of the situation of Trump’s unusually volatile command. General Kehler’s remarks were in response to an unusual Senate hearing called in response to these concerns. Others there including a legal expert also testified and agreed with him. For details see: Can Trump order a nuclear attack on civilians in North Korea in peace time without Congress approval? General Kehler says no.
WHY THE US HAS NO MILITARY OPTIONS IN NORTH KOREA - IN MORE DETAIL
This has been made starkly clear by a recent letter by Rear Admiral Dumont on behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who advise the President on military actions to congressman Ted W. Lieu who asked them questions on behalf of sixteen military veterans and law makers.
The response in brief is that the US has no good military options for North Korea.
To understand the letter you need the context. It’s in response to this letter, and this page has links to the question, reply, and has the statement by the sixteen veterans.
An article on the BBC site summarizes it like this:
“Rear Admiral Dumont opened his letter with a clear indication that his office supported economic and diplomatic solutions ahead of any military action”
"… Their assessment underscores what we've known all along: there are no good military options for North Korea,"
"The assessment by military chiefs follows the release of a report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, which warned that even a brief conflict without the use of banned weapons could cost tens of thousands of lives."
An article in the Japan Times goes into a lot more detail. Including (naturally) the risk to Japan - that North Korea could respond to such an attack by attacking Tokyo which is within reach of its missiles and has millions of inhabitants.
His letter also noted that the North “may consider the use of biological weapons as an option, contrary to its obligations under the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention,” adding that it continues to bolster its research and development capabilities in this area.
North Korea, the letter went on, “has a long-standing chemical weapons program with the capability to produce nerve, blister, blood and choking agents and it likely possesses a CW stockpile.”
The country “probably could employ CW agents by modifying a variety of conventional munitions, including artillery and ballistic missiles, though whether it would so employ CW agents remains an open question,” Dumont said, again noting that a detailed discussion would need to be held in a classified setting.
…More pressingly for Japan, the report noted is that “Pyongyang could also escalate to attacking Japan with ballistic missiles, including the greater Tokyo area and its roughly 38 million residents. Pentagon says securing North Korean nukes would require U.S. ground invasion | The Japan Times
16 lawmakers responded to the letter by Rear Admiral Dumont. These include fifteen democrats and one republican, all military veterans:
“Invading North Korea could result in a catastrophic loss of lives for U.S. troops and U.S. civilians in South Korea,” the lawmakers said. “It could kill millions of South Koreans and put troops and civilians in Guam and Japan at risk.
“As Veterans, we have defended this nation in war and we remain committed to this country’s security. We also understand that entering into a protracted and massive ground war with North Korea would be disastrous for U.S. troops and our allies,”
These military veterans
called the assessment that a ground invasion would be required to destroy the North’s nuclear arsenal “deeply disturbing” and that such an action “could result in hundreds of thousands, or even millions of deaths in just the first few days of fighting”.
“It is our intent to have a full public accounting of the potential cost of war, so the American people understand the commitment we would be making as a nation if we were to pursue military action,” they said.
They also said the Trump administration “has failed to articulate any plans to prevent the military conflict from expanding beyond the Korean Peninsula and to manage what happens after the conflict is over”.
“With that in mind, the thought of sending troops into harm’s way and expending resources on another potentially unwinnable war is chilling.
“The president needs to stop making provocative statements that hinder diplomatic options and put American troops further at risk,” they said.
There is just no way the US can try to invade North Korea as it did with Syria and Iraq.
The letter to the the Joint Chiefs of Staff also asks what happens if China or Russia oppose US military action against North Korea. The reply says
“There are several key areas where our interests do not diverge significantly, and it is possible that both Russia and China may prefer to avoid conflict with the US, or possibly co-operate with us, at least in those areas where our interests overlap.”
For more details you can read the original reports that the news stories are based on yourself here:
- The Joint Chiefs of Staff letter is here
- The questions they answered are here: questions raised by Reps. Lieu and Gallego
- The statement by the sixteen veterans is here: REP LIEU LEADS 16 VETERAN MEMBER STATEMENT ON DANGERS OF GROUND INVASION IN NORTH KOREA
WHY IT’S HARD FOR THE US TO DESTROY THE NORTH KOREAN C0NVENTIONAL AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS
The main risk right now is from conventional weapons which are camouflaged and mobile and have a long range, and also can be fitted with chemical or biological weapons too. There is no way the US could destroy all of these before hundreds of thousands and probably millions of civilians in South Korea and possibly Japan too were killed.
As for nuclear weapons, then modern weapons are easy to hide too. They don’t say this in the report, but given that the military objective would be to destroy the North Korean nuclear weapons capability - look at the small size of the alleged hydrogen bomb in this photo:
If they have indeed miniaturized the bomb to this size, then it would fit into a camouflaged truck easily.
The US and Russia developed far smaller nuclear bombs that can fit in a backpack in the 1970s including ones that can be fired as artillery shells too. That’s with 1970s technology.
Though both the US and Russia have never said they have developed smaller bombs, in principle a nuclear bomb could be small enough to fit into a briefcase. Suitcase nuclear device - Wikipedia
If North Korea is indeed in the process of miniaturizing its nuclear bombs, then they will surely be very hard to destroy by any military action.
WHY NORTH KOREA CAN’T START A WAR
So, that’s the situation for the US, but what about North Korea?
There I think it doesn’t help that Kim Jong Un is portrayed as a mad fanatical dictator in the West. That suggests he would do anything just out of madness.
But it’s not really like that. There is a reason why North Korea are so desperate to get a nuclear deterrent, so desperate that they are pressing ahead even with sanctions that cripple their country economically, even sanctions freezing overseas assets of the leaders, making industry very hard for them, leading to poverty and hardship for their inhabitants.
To understand all this, you need to know the background.
They have the experience of the Korean war which their oldest will have lived through. For the US it was one campaign of many. But for the North Koreans the US bombing runs lead to so many civilian deaths that as a civilian then it was as dangerous as it was for a soldier in the trenches in WWI. That's why they are willing to endure so much hardship to make sure something like that can't happen again.
That's not to justify them, but to make it politically understandable why they put such a high priority on making sure the US can't invade them. For them, these are living memories of their older people who would have been teenagers or young adults during the Korean war.
They also see the invasions of Syria and Iraq which for them are clear signs that the US hasn’t changed. Again not saying they are right in this, but it is how they see things, and we need to understand that background,.
They also have a strange religion called Chendoism, a variety of Taoism, with the aim to make a kind of Heaven on Earth with their leaders as head. They are not a standard communist state and China has a very uneasy relationship with them, but don’t want their regime toppled as they are a buffer state and because of refugee issues. For more on this: North Korea Update
It's not just a mad dictator. The people are behind him enough for him to keep along this track. That’s also why those who expect him to give up keep getting confounded by their determination to continue along this track. He will do everything he can to make sure that North Korea has a credible nuclear deterrent to prevent an invasion by the US or regime change.
So that's basically the conundrum. But North Korea only want it as a deterrent. If they use it then it's disaster for them. He is not as mad and as irrational as he is made out to be - making out that it is just a mad dictator gives a false impression and leads people to think he would just launch it out of pure madness, but he's not like that. That's not to justify it but to understand what is happening.
NK cannot engage in a global nuclear war even if they wanted to. They would not have the support of China or Russia who are not keen on them having nuclear weapons, especially China. The main reason China doesn't want to do tougher sanctions is because it would lead to millions of NK refugees streaming into China.
Probably - well definitely - the US would be reluctant to impose increased sanctions too if it risked millions of North Korean refugees flooding into the US. This is China's big dilemma for NK.
The idea of a first strike was insane anyway back in the cold war - Russia would have had everything to lose and nothing to gain from launching thousands of nuclear weapons against the US, with at least some US nuclear weapons bound to get through and hit Russia, and all the financial and other issues of a post nuclear war world, and of course a humanitarian disaster.
Their only possible reason for doing it in the cold war would have been if they had military intelligence that the US was about to do a first strike against Russia. But for similar reasons it would have made no sense for the US to do a first strike either. The whole thing was MAD as in the acronym “Mutually Assured Destruction”.
Not only would there be no winners. It’s not just a draw that neither side can win. Both sides would also be losers big time after a nuclear exchange no matter which side starts it.
To do it now would be totally bonkers.
For North Korea to take part in something like that would be utter disaster for their country. And there would be no reason at all for China or Russia to ally themselves with North Korea with its strange religion and its unreliable ICBMs.
So, the whole idea of a first strike against the US makes no sense at all for NK either, even if they could get China and Russia on their side (implausibly).
North Korea’s only reason to have nuclear weapons is to prevent the US from invading them as they did in Syria and Iraq.
US AND JAPAN HAVE THE CAPABILITY TO INTERCEPT ICBMS
This is something that came up earlier this year with the threat to Guam. North Korea planned to fire a missile test to land in the sea 60 km from Guam. They did not threaten to drop a nuclear weapon. The missile would fly over Japan. Japan have said they will shoot it down if necessary, in collaboration with the US.
“Elleman expects the missile to be accurate only within 6 miles, but points out that even a small misstep during the firing process could lead to a wide miss. Also, the missiles would fly over Japan, which endangers aviation and huge civilian populations on the ground.
“Luckily, the US and Japan have tremendous missile defense capabilities, to include US and Japanese guided-missile destroyers, an Aegis radar missile defense site on Japan, and finally a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in Guam.”
““Basically, if the North Korean test looks like its targeting an area that's too close for comfort, both states will coordinate a defense. If the missiles look headed for the ocean, the states may well look to let them fly past without incident.””
“If the US and Japan decide the missiles pose a threat, then US and Japanese Navy ships equipped with Aegis radars, the best radar ever put to sea, will head out to optimal spots along the trajectory of the missiles, according to Baker.”
“"THAAD and Aegis have the capacity to intercept the HS-12," Elleman told Business Insider. If the US has two interceptors fired at each North Korean threat "the odds of success are good," said Elleman, who said the US has a 96% chance of downing each individual missile.”
Here is a video of a Japanese ship destroying an incoming ballistic missile in a 2010 test.
WHAT ABOUT NORTH KOREA’S THREAT TO LET OFF A HYDROGEN BOMB IN THE PACIFIC?
Short summary, NK don't want to start a war, as we already saw - and they wouldn’t start one using a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific either. They might want to test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific to demonstrate to the world that they have this capability. Especially they would want to fire it on an ICBM to prove that they can miniaturize a hydrogen bomb - if they can indeed do this.
They wouldn't want there to be any misunderstanding so would surely warn first if they do this, and do an unarmed test first. There have been many hydrogen bomb atmospheric tests in the past.
It seems likely that they would do an underwater test and a hydrogen bomb exploding underwater in the remote Pacific would have minimal effects worldwide. Most effects would be local to the spot in the Pacific hit by the bomb. Our bodies are radioactive naturally and there is natural radioactivity in the oceans too, and a few percent radioactivity from previous nuclear tests. I, like others of my generation have lived through many atmospheric tests. It's not something to worry about personally if they do a nuclear test in the Pacific. They haven't said for sure they will do it and there are political and technical reasons why they might not do it.
Yes they have talked about doing a hydrogen bomb test over the remote Pacific which is not at all as scary as it seems. There have been many such by the US. UK etc
If North Korea do an atmospheric nuclear test then they are violating the comprehensive test ban treaty, but this is not actually in force and their underground tests of course also violate it. It also violates the partial nuclear test ban treaty which bans tests under water, in the atmosphere and in space. This treaty is in force but they aren't actually a signatory to it.
If they did an atmospheric test in a remote area of the Pacific then the effects would depend on the weather. The radioactivity is mostly short lived, with the worst effects over in hours to days. Usually atmospheric tests were done on the ground or on towers and most of the worst radioactivity would come from dirt caught up in the explosion - atmospheric is a broad term and means any test that releases substantial amounts of radioactivity to the atmosphere. If their test was done higher in the atmosphere then it would have much less radioactivity than most past atmospheric tests.
That's because there isn't much in a nuclear weapon itself that can generate long lived radiation - it's from the ground or the sea. Any nuclear weapon in the atmosphere would contribute to the C14 in the atmosphere as a result of irradiation of Nitrogen. Remember we have had lots of radioactivity already from atmospheric testing in the past, hundreds of megatons.
It would surely lead to an increase in global C14, not sure what else. With a hydrogen bomb most of the explosion is due to fusion of hydrogen to helium which is relatively clean. So in terms of radioactive fallout then exploding a hydrogen bomb in the atmosphere is not such a big concern as you'd think.
The largest nuclear weapon ever tested, the Tsar Bomba by the Russians, yield 50 Mt was a hydrogen bomb exploded at a height of 4 km in the atmosphere. That’s far larger than anything North Korea is likely to test, and it was exploded in the air above a remote area of Russia, much closer to populated areas than a remote area in the Pacific. Though it was very powerful, it was relatively clean because most of the effects were due to nuclear fusion, which does not produce any radioactive byproducts, fusing hydrogen to helium.
So, we have been here before. If it is announced in advance as a nuclear test it would not start a nuclear war I think.
Whether they will do it or not, I don't know. Their main reason would be to prove to the world that they have this capability. They won't want to start a war and would surely design it to reduce the fallout as much as possible, and the main risk would be of something going wrong in the trajectory of the test.
Even then it’s not a risk of it detonating above a civilian population - nuclear weapons need to be triggered to fire. They obviously don’t go off unless triggered, or it would not be safe to launch a missile, indeed they could explode before launching. They are launched in a configuration that can’t explode until triggered. NK would surely not trigger it to explode if it went off course. If it was headed towards a civilian population then the Japanese and US forces would surely launch anti ballistic missiles with a decent chance of destroying it first.
For background see:
- Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty - Wikipedia
- Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty - Wikipedia
- Nuclear weapons testing - Wikipedia
- Tsar Bomba - Wikipedia
This is a video of one of many atmospheric tests of hydrogen bombs done by the UK. I don’t think that many people know this, but we were only the third state to develop nuclear weapons, after the US and Russia, and before France and China. See List of states with nuclear weapons - Wikipedia
So, the UK did many nuclear weapons tests in the early years.
To find out more about the UK series of hydrogen bomb atmospheric tests: Operation Grapple - Wikipedia
If NK did an atmospheric test, it would be similar to these UK tests, deployed in the air, not on a tower.
There was a lot of nonsense published about the idea of a North Korea hydrogen bomb test, even in mainstream papers like the New York Times claiming that it would cause long lived dangerous radioactivity.
This is the most scientifically well informed article that I found, they think they probably mean a detonation in the sea. If so much of the radiation would be diluted by the sea which is vast, though of course locally it would have a big effect and further afield it would depend on ocean currents.
This is another good article about it.
Another comment here
Other experts said such an atmospheric nuclear test is unlikely for now due to its substantial technical and diplomatic risks.
Joshua Pollack, editor of the Washington-based Nonproliferation Review, said it would be an “end-to-end demo of everything.”
“But I would be surprised if this were their very next move. They have yet to test an ICBM at full range into the Pacific,” said Pollack. “That will probably come first.”
It wouldn't actually have a significant effect on the ocean as a whole, which already has a lot of radiation from past nuclear tests - also a lot of natural radioactivity and our bodies also have a fair bit of radioactivity in them naturally anyway.
Locally it would have longer term effects, wherever it happens in the Pacific ocean with most of the radioactivity settling to the sea floor wherever it is, but some radioactivity would be carried in currents so it would depend on those currents wherever they go before it disperses in the ocean.
This is about the natural radiation in our bodies - it is actually normal, we have always had slightly radioactive bodies long before nuclear testing, all animals do.
The worst effects of a North Korea test might well be irrational fear by people not well read on the effects of nuclear weapons tests in a world which hasn’t had them for a long time. This would depend on how the test is reported and whether journalists cover the effects of the radiation accurately or sensationalize it.
Anyway - a hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific by North Korea is not something to be scared of in itself.
It would however make it clear that North Korea is a nuclear power with hydrogen bomb armed ICBMs.
It might be that we have to live with a future in which North Korea is a nuclear power. Which it is already of course at least has nuclear weapons. The alternative is a diplomatic solution. There is no military solution,the military experts seem agreed on that.
Sanctions may help, but China is in a quandary as it doesn’t want millions of North Korean refugees and you have to think also about the effects on ordinary people in North Korea of sanctions.
JOURNALISTS - PLEASE CONSIDER THE EFFECTS OF YOUR STORIES LIKE THIS ON YOUNG CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
I know it makes a more exciting story to add dramatic headlines. But scared people are unable to sleep up till the early hours as a result of these stories. And they often get scared just by reading the headlines.
Even the Wired article, one of the best, debunked all the hype in the body of the article, still had as its headline: NORTH KOREA’S LATEST MISSILE TEST PUTS THE ENTIRE US IN RANGE. When you read the article then in short it said "Actually it doesn't, not for a nuclear weapon". That's common - a click bait scary title and then a story that debunks it. And many of the stories were far scarier than that. Imagine the story read by a 13 year old, reading it in their google news feed on their mobile phone - maybe even younger, and then perhaps you might consider moderating the title a bit and taking more care over the content?
There are many stories like this shared that scare young children and young adults. Though this is not the intention of journalists, and this is not fake news, just sensationalized news, there is also a lot of fake Doomsday news too.
I wrote this article as someone who is doing my best to help these vulnerable scared people.
See also List of the articles in my Debunking Doomsday blog to date and you can try searching that page for a word like “Nibiru” or “Yellowstone” or whatever to find articles of interest.
Also if you want to help make a difference, you can sign and share these petitions- and do have a look at the comments to get an idea of the scale of the problem. Click “Join Conversation” to see more of them.
- To Google - please do something about the nonsense in Google News!
- To Youtube: Halt Ads on Doomsday Videos
- To Journalists: Debunk Rather than Dramatize "Doomsday" Stories - The Vulnerable Get Suicidal
And if you need help - well message me of course and comment on any of these posts - and you can also join our Facebook group Doomsday Debunked.
One of the things that our members report help most of all is to stop watching the fake doomsday videos on YouTube and to stop reading the fake doomsday news.
For the searches, try my Google News Without The Nonsense. You can bookmark that site and use it instead of Google News. It’s just the same but with the sensationalist nonsense fake news filtered out.