In harm’s way


The ongoing war of words and threats of full scale war and destruction between Trump and Kim Jong Un of North Korea may blow up at any minute and result in the exchange of conventional and nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles between the two countries and everything else in between.

For now, we’re just pawns, innocent bystanders, but we’re in harm’s way. No one wants to admit to this, but we, the Marianas, is part of the second layer of defense, along with the Philippines and Hawaii. The first layer being Australia, South Korea, Japan, and Alaska. With us in the way, the continental United States might just get enough breathing to survive a limited exchange with another country. In this case and for now, North Korea and perhaps China.

So why should we be concerned? After all, Guam has the THAADs and there’s a strong possibility of U.S. warships cruising the waters between us and North Korea. It all boils down to the type of weapons used.

ICBMs require some sort of guidance system, preferably sophisticated and using geo-synchronous satellites. North Korea has been isolated from most of the world and its technologies are as antiquated as they come. That’s why they’re proposing launching and letting the missile burn its fuel for a predetermined amount of time and hopefully it will hit its target. Hopefully?

When an ICBM is launched, not only will it be going at thousands of miles per hour but it goes into the upper reaches of our atmosphere on its way to its target. Nations with the requisite equipment will be tracking the missile but the actual intercept by an anti-ballistic missile system can only happen as the missile has reached a low enough altitude on its downward flight, unfortunately reducing the probability and the accuracy of an intercept. Worse, THAADs only have a range of around 200 kilometers or about 124 miles. How far away are we from Guam?

On a side note, China has issued a warning to the U.S. that if the U.S. initiates a pre-emptive strike against North Korea, it will defend North Korea. Not exactly a promise of hope.

So, what will it take to ease the tensions and/or resolve this issue once and for all? Well, Japan can start stocking its own weapons using its own military. Don’t worry, WWII is stuck in history books not bound for a repeat. WWIII, on the other hand, will destroy most everything on this planet and may wipe out life everywhere. Don’t think so? There are approximately XXXX nuclear warheads in the hands of the U.S., Russia, China, North Korea, India, and Pakistan. Each one capable of wreaking unspeakable destruction.

In the meantime, we sit and pray. Should war break out, the CNMI will not know it. Some will catch the news but because the CNMI government has no money to install a warning system to warn its population, it will not matter. Where can we hide? Never mind. But hey, such a warning system can save thousands in the event of a tsunami as well. If anything, the presence of the military’s pre-positioning ships off our coast may provide peace of mind to those who worry. Oh well, such is life in this paradise. Peace.

Noel Reyes
Dandan, Saipan

Noel Reyes

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