In the past few years I have presented as number of posts on North Korea:
North Korea’s Nuclear Hatchet: 12-12-12 Remember This Date
Iran North Korea: How Similar, How Different
North Korea, The Axis and Physics Class
North Korea, Iran and The Bell Curve
North Korea “Threat Rising
I was right. The North Korean nuclear threat is rising. The fact that a small and poor country like North Korea can present a credible nuclear threat demonstrates the competence of Korean engineers, the importance of technical talent in the development of nuclear weapons, and, compared with other major weapon systems, the lighter role of capital.
On the specific issue, Was it a hydrogen bom?, the answer seems to be “No.”
What kind of bomb did North Korea detonate? : Nature News & Comment
But it is possible that by “hydrogen bomb”, North Korea was referring to a boosted fission device that contains hydrogen, Acton says. This is a conventional fission bomb that contains a small quantity of the hydrogen isotopes tritium and deuterium, which fuse to release extra neutrons that greatly boost the fission reaction and explosive yield.
Experts have speculated for years that North Korea might be working on such a device. Boosted devices are smaller yet can be just as powerful as fission bombs, making them more suitable for use in missile warheads. The research involved in developing them is also a step along the way to developing thermonuclear weapons.
This is the key point. Go back over my previous posts and you will see the reference to a characterization of North Koreans as “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.” Well, they are shooting straighter.
We have all heard the mantra, “This is China’s problem.” In fact we have heard Trump in the chorus.
What the consensus misses is that the same behavioral feaures that make nuclear weapons a terrible threat to the U.S.make the same, or worse, threat to China. How big does the blast have to be if North Korea wants to ensure that China stays out of Korea?
Marco Rubio has proposed an additional trillion dollars in U.S. defense spending over a decade. Now, interestingly enough, at the January 28, 2015, Rubio also stated that the “mistake” that was made with North Korea should not be made with Iran. Rubio should be pressed on the point. What would Rubio have done different in North Korea if he had been President in, say, 2000?
At any rate it is now 2016; consider what is being discussed as the American response.
“The launch prompted South Korea and the United States to announce that they would explore the feasibility of deploying an advanced missile defence system in South Korea, which China and Russia both oppose, ‘at the earliest possible date.’ “(Newsmax, February 8, 2016.)
Does anyone think that more American investment on the peninsular will dampen North Korea’s appetite for a credible nuclear threat? Does anyone think that more investment in military technology on the peninsular will help with limiting Chinese investment in nuclear weapons?
The educated, middle class, middle age American citizen will someday come to a conclusion: America is more vulnerable to nuclear weapons than it was when that citizen was a child. There is a reason for that.