Photo: iStock
The first stage of a hydrogen bomb cannot be scaled down, at least not easily. Photo: iStock

With its recent threat to detonate a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean, North Korea continues to be a major irritant with respect to maintaining peace and security in the region around itself and also in the whole world.

With the continuing assistance of China – both financial and technological – Pyongyang has been making rapid strides in achieving the latest technologies for the making of nuclear weapons, proved by its recent successful test of a hydrogen bomb and its ongoing endeavor to develop an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) system capable of delivering such weapons.

It is well known that hydrogen bombs are more dangerous than  standard atomic bombs because they are based on nuclear-fusion technology, which produces much more energy than the nuclear-fission technology used in less powerful bombs. Meanwhile North Korea is in possession of a large conventional arsenal including missiles, bomb launchers, and naval ships.

Equipped with such a huge buildup of arms along with autocratic and dictatorial pomp and glory, North Korea’s ruler persists with his arrogant and stubborn style of governance and scoffs at his opponents within his country and also all over in the world. This has been seen in its utter disregard of US pressure and threats to itself as well as its mentor China.

The North Korean dictator remains undeterred and unperturbed. Perhaps that is what forced US President Donald Trump to issue fresh threats of even wiping out the country along with its dictator, but the tyrant still looks undisturbed. Further, he and one of his close aides openly rebuked the American president by pronouncing him a mentally deranged person and his threats as utter nonsense. Not only that, the dictator has now threatened to submerge the US with a tsunami caused by exploding a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.

But what does this mean? Should the president of the United States be taken lightly? This question is particularly pertinent because today the US enjoys an unquestioned status as the world’s first hyper-power with untrammeled authority and unparalleled military power that arouses awe and fear among all nations. And that has been seen by the whole world in the form of the American wrath over Saddam Hussein in Iraq or the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden while he was hiding in Abbottabad, very close to the Pakistan Army headquarters – the most secure area in the country.

China too is helpless before US hegemony, as Beijing had to eat humble pie at the hands of the US in the South China Sea crisis last year.

There are several other challenges facing Pyongyang’s dictator, as all of the countries nearby and also in more distant adjoining regions, particularly South Korea, Japan and Australia, besides all the NATO powers, are following the US line of action, and hence they are committed opponents of North Korea.

Still another challenge is the likely chance of terrorists getting control of North Korea’s nuclear weapons in the event the regime falls.

In this scenario any loss of restraint by either side will inevitably result in a nuclear holocaust of unimaginable magnitude resulting in the elimination of almost half of humanity, along with millions upon millions of creatures living in the water and the air, thereby destroying the ecological balance and also closing doors for the future survival of humanity.

But this menace can be prevented, as there is no dearth of saner minds in the world, be it in Russia or China or even Pakistan. They all can be mobilized to stand together against North Korea’s mounting passion for nuclear weapons by diplomatically isolating Pyongyang and its supporters like China and Pakistan and putting its nuclear weapons and other lethal arsenals under supervision of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Though that looks like wishful thinking, there is no other way out.

Sudhanshu Tripathi

Sudhanshu Tripathi is a professor of political science at Uttar Pradesh Rajarshi Tandon Open University. His book NAM and India was published in 2012 and he co-authored the textbook Political Concepts (In Hindi) in 2001.

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