Fear of a World War 3 outbreak due to North Korea's continuous proliferation of nuclear weapons is more real now than ever. Despite warnings from U.S., China, and other nations, Pyongyang has blatantly continued testing missiles week after week. While Kim Jong-un's testing of atmosphere re-entry technology sent shock waves across the world, an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by a former director of strategic defense initiative, Henry F. Cooper shed some light on more devastating and real threats that exist at present.
The former U.S. ambassador has warned that North Korea's nuclear threat is not limited to a direct strike on the American mainland. They could explode the nukes mid-air that will result in the emission of an electromagnetic pulse, which will lead to airplane crashes, failure of electricity, destruction of satellites, and crippling of communication. Cooper, a military expert, claims that this high-altitude weapon may inflict "catastrophic damages."
North Korea may have already tested air-burst as a trial run for the real nuke explosion. According to Cooper, the failed missile test that was conducted from Pukchang Airfield was actually meant to check the mid-air explosion of the ballistic missile, as reported by the Sun. So, it is entirely possible that the missile was deliberately detonated mid-air as a preparation for World War 3.
Henry F. Cooper gave an example known to the U.S. about the effects of EMP. He said that in 1962 U.S. had detonated a nuclear warhead 900 miles of Hawaii. The blast had resulted in electrical surges on airplanes in the vicinity and damaged at least six satellites. It also destroyed hundreds of streetlights in Honolulu.
The article further revealed that an EMP attack needs less accuracy than attacking directly and thus is a more viable option for North Korea. The op-ed points out that 75 percent of the U.S. electricity supply that comes from the Eastern Grid can be disrupted by a simple balloon-lofted warhead that is detonated at a mere 30 Kilometers altitude. Such an attack can cripple the U.S., leaving the country without electricity for a considerable period.
Cooper further clarified the myth that to produce such effects, hundreds of kilotons of nukes are required. A detonation at 30 Kilometers altitude with nuclear warheads that yield 10-20 kilotons would create significant EMP effects, damaging electronics across hundreds of miles of surface territory. Interestingly, North Korea has tested nuclear warheads capable of these yields.
In 2004, Russian generals had reported that North Korea had in its possession the designs for "super-EMP nuclear weapons." Congress at that time had formed a commission to determine the effects of such a blast. The committee found that a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse may not have a wide impact on the ground but could render critical electricity dependent infrastructure inoperable.
This is not the first time that a military expert has raised serious doubts over North Korea's capabilities of carrying out an EMP attack. As earlier reported by the Inquisitr, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, had also expressed similar concerns.
He believed that Pyongyang could use its satellites to carry out an EMP attack on the American mainland. Such an attack would plunge U.S. back to the Stone Age and knock out strategic military installation instantly. It could have devastating effects and can lead to the death of nine out of ten Americans if the blackout were to last a year.
While some experts still feel that North Korea is not capable of carrying out such large-scale nuclear attack, the mere theoretical possibility of such a strike should be sufficient to take precautionary steps and avoid a direct confrontation which could lead to World War 3.
[Featured Image by Sdecoret/Shutterstock]