This is the latest of a number of articles on North Korea’s satellites which periodically pass over the U.S. and the potential threat they pose. It’s worth revisiting especially right now when tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are at such a high level.

While my immediate reflex is to dismiss the threat as being all bluster and bluff like the much vaunted Saddam Hussein’s army (fourth largest army in the world at the time) which crumbled like tissue paper on both occasions when we actually met them in battle.

But I’ve long studied WWII history having grown up in a period where the legacy of WWII surrounded me and influenced much of my early years.

In the late 30s, continuing right up to December 7, 1941, the West and especially America dismissed the Japanese as backwards, silly, pompous and as posing little or no threat to modern, “civilized” countries like Britain and the U.S.

Japanese aircraft were considered to be little more than toys, bamboo and rice paper contraptions that could barely fly much less actually pose a threat. Japanese soldiers were little buck toothed, slant eyed monkeys that were laughable at best and sad and pathetic imitations of real soldiers.

Everyone assumed that if they were silly enough to start a war our fleet would sail out of Pearl heading West and once it encountered the Japanese fleet, made of scrap metal we had sold them, we’d sink them without even slowing down then go on to the home islands and set things right.

Anyone who has read a bit about the Pacific War knows what actually happened.

1. The Japanese “Zero” and the “Betty” bomber far surpassed anything we had in the air. It took us a several years into the war to field a fighter that could compete with the Japanese aircraft.

2. Japanese soldiers displayed impressive feats of tactical improvisation, discipline and fighting spirit while sweeping through the Western Pacific. None of the military they encountered posed more than a minor nuisance to them.

3. The Japanese Navy not only carried out the Pearl Harbor attack crippling much of the Pacific Fleet but for several years in naval battles proved a serious competitor to the U.S. and British navies. The repeated naval battles around Guadalcanal proved just how good the Japanese Navy was.

Every time I see the threat posed by North Korea dismissed as nothing more than hysteria and bluff Pearl Harbor comes to mind.

American Brewster Buffalo fighters facing Japanese Zeros comes to mind.

The battle of Savo Island comes to mind where in our first major naval surface engagement with the Japanese Navy we lost 4 heavy cruisers and a couple destroyers. The Japanese suffered relatively minor damage to 3 cruisers.

Then you have to add in the fact that the North Koreans have, in fact, orbited 2 satellites which periodically pass over the U.S.

KMS 3-2:
KMS 4:

They are orbiting at an altitude of 300 miles which is an ideal altitude for a maximum effect EMP device but on the low end of normal satellite altitudes.

My inclination is still to dismiss an EMP threat from Korea since the U.S. response to such an attack would be for our nuclear submarine fleet to erase North Korea from the map for all intents and purposes.

But then that rationale only applies if one assumes the leadership of North Korea is making decisions based on rational thinking. The validity of that assumption is a serious question.

Am I stressed about the likelihood of North Korea carrying out an EMP attack on the U.S.?


I’m not losing any sleep over it and can’t think of any specific action I’m taking based on such a belief.

Would I be surprised should such an attack occur and catch the U.S. unprepared?


But then I’ve already done about as much in the way of preparing myself and my family for such an event whether it were to come from the Sun, the North Koreans or any other looney tunes potentate running loose on the world’s stage these days.

We don’t let children play with dangerous weapons like guns and, in fact, have multiple laws requiring that guns be locked up where children can’t access them. So how has it come about that certifiably insane regimes like North Korea, Iran and Pakistan have nuclear weapons and the capability to deliver them?

So I will simply continue on as I have been just noting the potential threat in passing and maybe spend a few more minutes this week cataloging some new additions to the Library.

The Librarian

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