The article to which I’ve linked is from a site that revels in conspiracy theory and predicts the end of the world in at least 3-4 ways every day. While it is entertaining reading simply for the sheer absurdity of much of what is posted I suspect few people take it seriously.
This particular article is not much different from the run of the mill ones they publish but after reading it while drinking coffee this morning and trying to wake up sufficiently to go to work a few thoughts did occur to me.
First the scenario he describes is extremely unlikely. Were North Korea to actually attack the United States with nuclear weapons even as an EMP weapon rather than one using a nuclear device to cause physical damage it would mean the end of North Korea. It has always been the policy of the United States that an attack on us with nuclear weapons would most likely trigger a nuclear response. Even as primitive as North Korea is as an industrial society it would only take a few nuclear strike to transform it into something akin to a hunter-gatherer society for the foreseeable future. As insane as the leadership of North Korea appears to be I suspect that even they would prefer to avoid that fate.
Second if there were any suggestion through the intelligence sources that such were planned the Chinese or Japanese would most likely shoot the missile down during it’s boost stage. I say China or Japan because the U.S. government (as well as the intelligence community) and thus the command of our military, as powerful as it may still be, is pretty close to completely dysfunctional at this point. Neither China nor Japan would be happy losing the U.S. as a market for it’s good.
Third, lets face it, North Korea has not demonstrated particularly spectacular technological expertise. Yes they built nuclear weapons but then the United states did so in the 1940s using slide rules and chalk boards. The North Koreans do seem to be technologically at least comparable to 1940s U.S. engineering levels. 1940’s level technology is not really impressive when it comes to ballistic missiles. The V2s might have been pretty but they were horribly unreliable and as likely to blow up on launch as to actually travel somewhere in the general vicinity of their target. A friend pointed out that they are using technology they got from the Chinese who got it from the Russians. True but the Russians got it from the guys who designed the V2s and early Russian missile technology was not actually much better than V2s (nor was ours).
All that being said what is disturbing is that the scenario described in the article is actually quite realistically possible. While unlikely it is entirely within the technological capacity of a North Korea, a Pakistan and possibly an Iran to do exactly what is described in the article. It would require even more insanity than they have so far demonstrated and it would require a lot of luck considering the reliability of their technology. Even the Western world occasionally loses rockets on launch and they are a far sight better than their North Korean counterparts.
Yet it remains well within the technical capability of several nation states. Something to keep in mind.