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North Korea Versus Austin

Kim Jong-un planning nuclear strike on the 512. Few problems with that.

By Richard Whittaker, 12:22PM, Fri. Mar. 29, 2013

When did we get so dangerous? North Korea plays wargame mind games with threat of Austin strike
When did we get so dangerous? North Korea plays wargame mind games with threat of Austin strike

So, for some unknown reason, North Korea's dictator has decided that he would like to drop a nuclear warhead on Austin.

According to London's The Daily Telegraph, Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un was photographed for Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, with his chiefs of staff in a war room. Analysis of the the map behind them, entitled "US mainland strike plan", showed missile trajectories landing in Hawaii, Washington DC, Los Angeles and Austin.

The selection seems more than a little arbitrary (who knows, maybe Dennis Rodman said something on his recent visit). However, arbitrary is often the name of the game when it comes to North Korean politics.

Much of the affair may be put down to internal political wrangling. Kim Jong-un was not the original front runner to replace his father, Kim Jong-il, as supreme commander of the isolated dictatorship. His father's favorite, he surpassed his older half brother Kim Jong-nam and brother Kim Jong-chul: That family succession re-affirms that North Korea is a monarchy in all but name. However, Korea's government is riddled with feuding factions, and there were reports earlier this month of an assassination attempt after demoting a general. Ripping a page straight from his father's playbook, Jong-un had ramped up the military rhetoric in an attempt to re-enforce his grip on power (not that it seems likely that the general populace had heard word: Korea's media is a masterclass in censorship and propaganda).

Even if the intention was serious, the threat analysis consensus is that North Korea is nowhere near having a working nuclear missile system, never mind one that could reach Texas. There have been two major underground explosions that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has claimed are successful nuclear weapons tests, and there is speculation that they are working on a hydrogen bomb. However, the nation lacks the delivery systems. While the nation is banned by international sanctions from working on ballistic weaponry since the second underground test, they have tested missiles with a 300 mile range in the South China Sea. However, they lack intercontinental technology (either the missiles, or the payload small enough to fit on one) and with their long-time sponsor China increasingly disinterested in propping up their unstable proxy, it seems unlikely that the threats will mean missiles over Barton Springs any time soon.

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