Creative Destruction

October 9, 2006

North Korean Nuclear Bomb Test – Neither a Fizzle, nor a Mini?

Filed under: Current Events,Uncategorized — Robert @ 5:10 pm

Donald Sensing thinks it possible that the North Korean bomb test wasn’t a fizzle (the prevalent theory), but that it was instead a successful proof-of-concept test for a bomb design. The North Koreans are probably short on fissionable materials and don’t have any to waste on showy tests. It’s a credible idea.

Another possibility is that the test was a complete success – of an attempt to fool Kim Jong Il into believing his country has a WMD program. North Korea is desperately poor. It is on the borderline of credibility that they could mount a successful nuclear research effort. But it is believable that Kim Jong Il has ordered such a program nonetheless – in fact, any other proposition here IS unbelievable – and that some poor bastard in North Korea is trying to make it come true. And probably failing – but where it is difficult to build a nuclear bomb, it is relatively easy to make a stack of conventional explosives – and to pass it off to your nut of a boss as a successful small-scale test.

There’s reason to believe it’s happened before; it’s almost certain that Saddam Hussein thought his regime had certain capabilities which in fact only existed in Potemkin fashion. This is a standing problem with certain forms of authoritarian governance. But sometimes the royal visitor says “that’s a lovely shop, let’s dash in for a moment”, and Potemkin is forced to go to more extreme measures. It’s possible that’s what happened here.

1 Comment »

  1. I’m bothered by the notion that concrete information is no longer knowable. With so many plausible spins flying around, and the very real possibility or even likelihood of one branch of government lying to another branch (Korean, American, British, doesn’t matter), it’s nigh on impossible that truth can ever be established. Of course spin doctors will do their work, but the verifiability of information has taken a serious tumble in what’s become a paranoid, cloak-and-dagger world.

    Comment by Brutus — October 10, 2006 @ 12:33 pm | Reply

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