Monday, January 08, 2018

Nuclear Miscalculation

Oh well, they're certainly giving it the old college try, at least:

At the start of Donald Trump’s presidency, American intelligence agencies told the new administration that while North Korea had built the bomb, there was still ample time — upward of four years — to slow or stop its development of a missile capable of hitting an American city with a nuclear warhead. ...

Within months, those comforting assessments looked wildly out of date.

At a speed that caught American intelligence officials off guard, Mr. Kim rolled out new missile technology — based on a decades-old Soviet engine design, apparently developed in a parallel program — and in quick succession demonstrated ranges that could reach Guam, then the West Coast, then Washington.

And on the first Sunday in September, he detonated a sixth nuclear bomb. After early hesitation among analysts, a consensus has now emerged that it was the North’s first successful test of a hydrogen weapon, with explosive force some 15 times greater than the atom bomb that leveled Hiroshima. ...

The C.I.A. and other American intelligence services had predicted this moment would come, eventually. For decades, they accurately projected the broad trajectory of North Korea’s nuclear program. Yet their inability to foresee the North’s rapid strides over the past several months now ranks among America’s most significant intelligence failures, current and former officials said in recent interviews.

I've long said that the whole "imminent" standard for when we can justify a disarming strike on a rogue nation seeking WMD that they will eventually get if not stopped is astonishingly stupid.

And as North Korea has gotten closer and closer to long-range nuclear missiles, far faster than our intelligence community believed possible, I reminded you again of the utter stupidity of this standard.

"Better dead than rude" is no way to run national security policies.

Have a super sparkly friggin' day.