Last January, when I wrote the blog post North Korea goes thermonuclear, we weren't actually sure whether the latest explosion was due to a Hydrogen bomb.
Well, yesterday's Magnitude 6.3 earthquake wasn't too natural. Because the estimated power is more than an order of magnitude above the previous one, I guess that this time, the explosion was almost certainly thermonuclear.
I can't say "welcome to the club" because Czechia hasn't managed to build even the most ordinary nuclear weapons. So maybe "welcome, our new overlords". ;-)
North Korea bragged about the perfect success of its yesterday's test while their bomb
[...] is a multifunctional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attack.Well, they're threatening but they have a good reason to threaten because I believe that they're capable of such an event, indeed.
Business Insider ran a story about the EMP attack in July and Zero Hedge added one yesterday.
Recall that a very strong electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is ignited whenever a nuclear bomb detonates and under certain assumptions, it is capable of knocking down the electric grid or destroying all electronic devices in an area.
Ideally, the attacker wants to detonate the bomb somewhere above the atmosphere.
It's been said that such a bomb sent from a submarine above the U.S. East Coast could destroy 75% of the electricity supply in the U.S. or some time. Lots of experts are extremely skeptical about such big effects of the EMP attack, however. I actually think it could be a greater fun for Kim III and his comrades to make one EMP above the Silicon Valley and send the U.S. high tech sector – and much of the world – back to the Stone Age. Intuitively, I think that the modern electronic gadgets simply have to be more sensitive to the pulse than some thick old wires in the electric grid.
Google, Facebook, and similar companies could easily become "easy come, easy go" lessons from the history.
In my opinion, the threat is damn real right now and responsible people in the companies and the U.S. government should think about moves that would make the most essential pillars of the civilization and even the servers resilient towards minor glitches such as "the disappearance of California from the electronic map".
Data on hard disks will be lost in the EMP case.
Just to be sure, when California is knocked down, I will try to upload a backup of this blog somewhere and you should be able to find the location using a surviving search engine, e.g. Seznam.cz. I am partly joking but not quite. I really do think this is relatively possible and the unnecessarily hostile talk in between the two countries makes such an EMP attack more likely than it has ever been. So please, if you're in charge of the security of big Internet companies or whole countries, you should think about ways to make much of the country or the world relatively immune to a regionally limited complete destruction of some electronics infrastructure.
Think about the psychology for a while. Does North Korea want to nuke U.S. cities? A complete destruction of North Korea would probably come soon afterwards. They probably don't want to do that. They're arguably much less suicidal than the Islamists.
But what about the EMP attack? Just imagine what happens when North Korea manages to knock down most of the U.S. grid by an EMP attack on the East Coast, or most of the Internet infrastructure by an attack around the Silicon Valley. How will the Americans react? Will they also destroy North Korea? Would an EMP attack by North Korea be suicidal?
I think that the answer may very well be No.
We've been talking about nuclear exchanges since 1945 but after Nagasaki, all this talk has been absolutely hypothetical. For us, this is just a talk to amuse and impress each other during parties. We don't really know how we would feel and react if such an event arrived. We don't really know whether we would be willing to use nuclear bombs in the situation A or B.
My point is that the country that uses such a powerful tool as the first one will automatically become a formidable superpower, just because of the unprecedented clout of courage. It will be the country that will have proven not to be afraid of such big tools. And because it wasn't afraid of an EMP attack on the Silicon Valley, maybe it isn't afraid of flattening the New York City or Boston, either.
So imagine that you're an adviser to Donald Trump and California was just knocked down by an EMP attack. Will you try to flatten North Korea? I would be extremely afraid of doing so because a country that has already demonstrated this kind of extreme assertivity could cause much more devastation than the devastation we have already seen – namely the elimination of Silicon Valley's silicon industries.
The logic would immediately be very different after such an EMP attack. You would know: "big 21st century conflicts have began". Where will they continue, you would ask? Clearly, things that will have been science-fiction up to that moment would become real possibilities. You could suddenly realize that the sacrifice of California's Internet companies is a tiny sacrifice relatively to some others that would suddenly be "just one wrong move away". After all, the destruction of Google, an Orwellian company terrorizing all of its employees who aren't politically brain-dead, would have lots of wonderful positive side effects.
If I were an aide, I would actually recommend Trump to surrender in that Blitzkrieg mainly because America has much more to lose than North Korea.
Dear comrades in North Korea, I don't have much against you and if you become the global overlords, I will negotiate with my classmates to make sure that you will get some of the newest trams and trolley buses made by Škoda Transportation for your cities for free. ;-)