I can imagine President Trump saying “Can you believe this guy?” as he watched Kim smoking next to his prized ICBM, which is fueled by ultra-touchy liquid explosives. Kim Jong Un and his lit cigarette were about three feet away from regime change in a spectacular Fourth of July fireworks display.
As North Korea readied the new Hwasong-14 for flight, the U.S. was watching. We knew what they had been building after watching them recently test the engine. Kim loves to give us some fireworks on the Fourth in an almost a regular tradition. Not only did the brass know this was coming, everyone watching the big screens in the situation room knew they had the power to stop it. They could blast Kim and his rocket into a big glass crater any time they wanted. What did Trump and our big wigs do for seventy minutes? They watched and laughed as Kim almost blasted himself half way to Japan.
The next day, Trump put on a little show of his own to answer Kim back. In joint drills between US and South Korean forces, we gave our allies a taste of what we can do.
Daily Mail turned this tweet into an article, but links back to it if anyone wants to "Read more." What. https://t.co/H0S1S8eghi
— Ankit Panda (@nktpnd) July 9, 2017
An Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) rocket was fired, followed by one of SK’s Hyunmoo II’s. The target practice was a complete success and showed our ability to “engage the full array of time critical targets under all weather conditions.” Another joint exercise was done on Saturday featuring B-1B Lancer strategic bombers. The drills simulated total annihilation of enemy ballistic missile launchers and the underground bunkers that shield them in a live fire exercise.
Rodger Baker of geopolitical consulting firm, Stratfor, said the most important thing that the administration wants Kim to know is we had him in the cross-hairs. “The unusual aspect may be saying they were watching, or at least allowing that to leak.” By letting Kim know he was under constant surveillance as he strutted around his launchpad, the very fact he is alive to find out about it, shows we would still rather buy him a burger than take him out — for good. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the US wants “to bring Kim Jong Un to his senses, not his knees.”
The second thing the U.S. is trying to get across is that our end goal is not regime change. Kim Jong Un believes his only chance to keep control involves the ability to deliver nuclear weapons to the mainland U.S. By showing we don’t want to kill him or have him removed from power, we give him some room to back down off the nuclear blast and missile tests in favor of negotiations.
Kim now knows, if he continues acting belligerent, we have the ability to use the alternative option. “If the program is continued,” Baker said, the U.S. showed it could “strike it and Kim.”
According to experts in the industry, this rocket clearly crosses a line and has to be addressed seriously one way or another. Russia is downplaying the launch and refusing to acknowledge the new weapon’s capabilities, mostly in an attempt to prevent automatic action in the UN Security council.
After watching the launch, government sources tell Ankit Panda of the Diplomat, our assessment is that the new missile has a range of 7,500 to 9,500 kilometers which would allow targeting of the U.S. mainland including LA and San Francisco. That alone shows the new rocket worthy of the ICBM designation.
Russia, on the other hand, compares the trajectory of the latest launch with one of North Korea’s submarine launched missiles, the medium range Pukkuksong-1 and 2. U.S. Experts point out our observations show the motors were shut off intentionally early in order to avoid “overflying Japan or splashing down farther into its exclusive economic zone.”
The discrepancy in Russia’s opinion should not be seen as a failure of their intelligence gathering or defensive capabilities, rather experts feel “this could be political and diplomatic gamesmanship; Russia may be deliberately stalling action at the UN Security Council over the July 4 launch. This could be so for a variety of reasons, ranging from seeking a quid pro quo from the United States in other areas or out of an interest in seeing North Korea spared another round of condemnation at the Security Council.”