A highly reliable source informed me this evening that what we had during the cold war was, in fact, nothing short of amazing. But sound deadening technology and other advances have increased markedly in the years since, and there’s no telling just how much has been given to the North Koreans. My counter to that turned out to be embarrassingly naive – almost immediately. I said something to the effect that I thought the Russians and the Chinese were too smart to trust a loose canon like the DPRK with sophisticated technology. His response immediately made sense (and reflected his background). Sometimes a loose canon can be useful. Let them do something stupid, create great (but still limited) havoc, then rush in to crush their stupidity and come out looking like a savior. Instantly I saw the “wisdom” in that for either/both the Russians and the Chinese. So whether we do or don’t know where those 50 subs are (we probably do), we can’t discount the possible level of technology that the DPRK has. And while they’ve got their economic problems, both the Russians (DARN I want to say “Soviets” so badly!) and the Chinese have spent considerably on their military – particularly the Chinese – while we’ve been letting ours rust away and diminish. Few realize just how bad things are for ours now.
While the DPRK may have a several-generations old sub fleet in many cases, there’s no telling (at least us in the general public) just how sophisticated they really are with at least some of their fleet. And it would only take ONE sub to wreak havoc on the world, literally. With a dozen or two SLBMs, each with multiple independently targeted warheads, on any one given sub, the scenery could get very messy very fast. And just think what would happen if just one of those was able to go undetected long enough to get within range of the U.S., or decided to launch on South Korea, before the Chinese came in to save the day? Talk about an instant balance of power shift, with us licking our very large, open wounds, while the “good” Chinese came in to save our bacon. Our credibility would be entirely out the window. (Just one possible scenario – not a prediction.)
And remember that like Iran (and most of the militant Muslim countries), North Korea threatens WAY beyond their actual intent – or even capability. So making it look like they’re going to go off screen and suddenly pop up and deliver some “big ones” is all part of the game they play far better than we do. We westerners don’t really understand Asian or middle eastern ways of thinking, and at our own peril consider them far too unsophisticated or capable. Our State Department is so woefully inadequate in their understanding of those areas of the world, it’s a wonder we’ve been able to avoid more than even this much “war” that we’ve been in since before 9/11.