North Korea launched this weekend another medium- range missile in just over a week of the previous test, this time with success. The beef between the North Korean regime and the US is so thick, you’d need to slow roast it for the better part of a day just to get it tender. The two world powers find themselves in a political game of chicken once again as Kim Jong-un’s regime continues to test long-range missiles, and the Trump White House continues to make noise about “decisive action” next time they do.
It’s worth noting that both leaders have something to prove here — president Trump is still in the early days of his presidency and is still looking to make his mark, and Kim Jong-un is still relatively young and new to his role as dictator, looking to show his muscle through military action that doesn’t bend to the will of foreign powers.
It’s the perfect recipe for a standoff. And every time the North defies the rest of the world in testing missiles and further developing their nuclear program, it puts the US in quite a pickle. More sanctions don’t seem to be an effective deterrent, and any sort of meatier military response would not only be costly, but also escalate the situation to a global crisis.
So in addition to deploying destroyers equipped with anti-missile systems to the South China Sea, the US will be combatting North Korea’s hunger for long-range nuclear capabilities in the shadowy world of cyberwarfare. This is in keeping with Obama Administration’s approach to hinder Kim Jong-un’s missile tests in 2014. It is unclear whether the tests failed because of pre-existing glitches in the North’s imperfect system, or because of the US cyber-sabotage efforts. Whatever the reason, the launches failed pretty consistently.
Thus, Donald Trump has inherited from his predecessor not only a diplomatic conflict with the impenetrable Asian country, but also a solid plan to avoid a nuclear war thanks to ones and the zeros. According to experts, the main advantage of this strategy is that US cyberattacks could target supply chains that service North Korea’s programs, since the regime does not have the necessary technology to manufacture its own missiles and is forced to import specialized hardware from other countries.
According to several media outlets, North Korea’s most recent failures were provoked by US acts of cyberwarfare. If this is true, NSA satellites will have sent the order to activate malware already installed in the missile shortly after learning of the upcoming launch.
Be that as it may, it seems that the time of anti-missile shields (ballistic systems that target enemy projectiles) are on the wane. The greatest military power in the world is placing its bets on cyberwarfare as the primary means of avoiding nuclear conflict.