When Americans typically envision the North Korean military, there is a reasonable expectation of rickety equipment, ill-fitting uniforms, and downright dysfunctional artillery littering the imagination.
This comes not from some secret programming or propaganda piece, but, rather, from North Korea themselves. The hermit kingdom has long been the butt of their own jokes, consistently misfiring test after test of their supposedly “advanced” military equipment that tends to crash and burn long before any foreign defense systems even consider tracking it. This has been the case for decades, leading to a reputation of incompetence that will not be easily shaken from the rogue regime.
2017 was a slightly different story, with a grand total of three successful missile tests and one possible hydrogen bomb detonation to show for the year. This has ultimately changed the game for North Korea, who was once thought to be decades away from such successes. Now, the rest of the world has to at least pretend to pay attention for a moment.
Kim Jong Un, not one to ever waste such an opportunity, has now made the ever-bold claim that the thermonuclear annihilation of the United States is one push of a button away…a laughable threat even after his recent lucky streak.
“In his annual New Year’s address on Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned the United States that his country’s completed nuclear arsenal is now a button-push away.
“‘The U.S. should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table,’ he said, according to the Associated Press translation, in a speech carried by state television. ‘The entire area of the U.S. mainland is within our nuclear strike range. … The United States can never start a war against me and our country.’
“‘This year we should focus on mass producing nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for operational deployment,’ Kim added. ‘These weapons will be used only if our security is threatened.'”
Of course, given the dictator’s record of human rights abuses and horrific behavior, there is no scenario in which any sane person would trust such a statement.
This still leaves the United States with a true call to action in the case of Kim and his crazed cronies. A non-response will only trigger more of the same from the Kim regime, whose bizarre bargaining ploys have been almost working for the last several years. Any effective military response by the U.S., however, will more than certainly result in the relentless shelling of Seoul, South Korea and its citizens – something that the entire world is hoping to avoid.