Proliferation Pathways: Critical Indicators of wmd pursuit Introduction

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North Korea

State objectives: Regime survival. North Korea will do whatever it takes to preserve the regime, indiscriminate of where aid comes from or whether lack of aid results in the starvation of its own people. Second regime goal is strengthening of state, primarily internally, to allow for regime and nation survival. Third goal is reunification, preferably peacefully, under DPRK system.
State alliances: China is currently North Korea’s largest ally, and the perception of being able to influence North Korea gives China greater leverage in the global community. Russia also maintains relations with North Korea, and somewhat competes with China for influence and the global leverage that would result. It also has alliances with other states in the non-aligned movement, namely Iran. South Korea wants to see a peaceful state and hopes for eventual unification; therefore it frequently runs interference for the DPRK within the international community and against strict sanctions imposed from the U.S. and Japan.


State targets:

UNITED STATES – The North Korean Taepodong 2 missile supposedly has the capability to reach the mainland United States, but North Korea’s test of the missile in July 2006 resulted in an unimpressive landing in the Sea of Japan after suspected staging problems. In theory, though, the United States is within reach and could be attacked, though this is unlikely because it would result in the North Korean regime being destroyed. North Korea has yet to demonstrate the ability to miniaturize and ruggedize a nuclear warhead. Miniaturization and ruggedization are necessary in order for a successful ICBM attack. North Korea does not have the capability to attack the U.S. on its own soil with WMD, but could target U.S. military bases in South Korea and Japan. They could also target U.S. bases in South Korea and Japan with conventional weapons. Furthermore, the U.S. flies reconnaissance missions over and near North Korea, which could be targeted. They would do this if the regime felt threatened by an imminent attack or if they were put on the defensive, otherwise, they prefer posturing to obtain their goal of regime survival.
SOUTH KOREA – North Korea uses the possibility of leveling Seoul as a deterrent for action taken against it by the international community. An attack could happen despite both countries being Korean and ambitions for reunification. DPRK wants reunification, but the survival of the DPRK elite is their aim in reunification, and if the regime was threatened, it might attack. It views a unified Korea under leadership from the South as a threat. They still have naval clashes and small incident along the DMZ with South Korea.
JAPAN – North Korea could attack Japan if tensions escalated rapidly. There is a long-standing Korean concern with Japanese actions, past and future. U.S. forces in Japan are also a major target. North Korea would attack Japan preemptively or in defense. However, an offensive attack is unlikely because they know that Japan and the U.S. would react with the goal of the destroying the regime. However there are frequent chances for small-scale conflicts, as Japan steps up its participation in Proliferation Security Iniative, which would allow Japan to search planes an ships that are suspect of carrying illegal weapons or missile technologies. There have also been naval skirmishes in the past.
CHINA – North Korea could become actively aggressive toward China if Beijing’s distrust turned into destabilizing manipulation or military action to preserve its interests in North Korea. China has plans to invade North Korea if it chooses to do so. This would only be a preemptive attack in the case of an immediate threat or defensive attack.
Operational History: North Korea has never used WMD in combat, although it has been suggested that they have tested biological weapons on their island territories. Prior to the Korean War they relied on guerrilla forces to infiltrate the south with security guarantees from Russia and China, the outbreak of war came as the north led a full-frontal invasion on the south. After the war, North Korea had the security guarantees of Russia and China’s nuclear umbrella and undertook destabilizing infiltrations of the south, including assassination attempts on leaders. Near the end of the Cold War they changed survival tactics, and started their nuclear program as a deterrent. Their primary mode of operation is to play on international fears. It is mainly posturing to ensure regime survival and the eventual unification with the south under DPRK rule. They often antagonize the south by firing into the DMZ or putting more troops on their side of the fences. There have also been some skirmishes in the disputed territorial waters between the south and the north. Their military build-up is meant to be used as a deterrent, but they would be used in a preemptive attack. Finally, they use what Stratfor calls the Crazy Fearsome Cripple Gambit—They present an image of instability and unreliability to sow doubt among U.S., South Korean and Japanese policymakers. Then they raise the specter of developing and deploying nuclear weapons. Finally, they simultaneously project an image of weakness, on the verge of collapse, a collapse that would have dire consequences for its neighbors. This strategy is meant to get its neighbors and the U.S. to continue to support North Korea for fear of a collapse, without threatening Pyongyang with a military attack.

Potential Usage of WMD: North Korea would attempt to use nuclear weapons in an open conflict, however they have not weaponized their nuclear devices, making effective deployment difficult, but not impossible (they could put a device in a truck or ship and explode it). They would use chemical or biological weapons on domestic factions that threaten to destabilize the regime and could also use such weapons against South Korea, Japan or U.S. military targets in both countries. Such an overture however would threaten their regime survival and increase the likelihood that other states would attack North Korea. This is not in Pyongyang’s interests. Therefore, the most likely use of CBRN would be nuclear devices, and only in a defensive posture. However, they could use chemical and biological weapons on their own soil defensively to defend the regime and make the DPRK unusable—denying the enemy the space to maneuver, and allowing them to revert to guerilla tactics.
North Korea does not have the ability to use biological weapons on a large scale, and lacks the technology for deployment and storage. They have produced chemical weapons and could potentially do a potent chemical attack—they have both the agents and the delivery capability. Again, such an attack would only be defensive. They are most interested in preserving their regime and being able to flaunt nuclear weapons is part of their strategy. Actually attacking a country, outside of a few minor conventional skirmishes, is not their objective. However, if they did feel like they were going to be attacked, they would react. Chemical weapons would not be their first weapon of choice, but they may resort to some chemical weapons attacks in Seoul or U.S. military bases in South Korea.
Finally, North Korea is unlikely to sell its nuclear weapons. They are primarily used for defensive or deterrent purposes and as a bargaining chip. If they start to sell weapons, this would increase the likelihood that they would be attacked, defeating their purpose.

Unlike most of the other countries that we will be examining for P4, Serbia’s policy changes are imminent. As such there are few things that can at this point be inserted into the regional dynamic which could change Serb actions one way or another. Events will begin quickly -- parliamentary elections are on Jan. 21 -- and should the Serbian Radical Party win they will come to power by Feb. 21 at the latest.

At present it is impossible to predict the results of the Serb elections. The Radicals are the single most popular party among likely voters, although that support level is only at about 30 percent. Yet because parties must gain 5 percent of the popular vote to gain representation in the parliament, currently there are even odds that the Radicals will gain majority control (or a coalition with a tiny party that can push them over the majority threshold).
Assuming for the moment that the Radicals do not control the next government, Serbia is extremely unlikely to follow a WMD/CBRN path. The leading pro-Western parties -- the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Serbia and New Serbia -- have worked together before with additional parties and would actually be more likely to form a stable coalition (by Balkan standards) in 2007 than they were in 2003. The main goals of such a pro-Western government would be eventual membership in both the European Union and NATO. The prime stability question in this circumstance would not emanate from Serbia, but from Kosovo where international efforts to manage Albanian Kosovar expectations may falter. While such a situation would be complicated and likely bloody, it would not involve WMD/CBRN -- certainly not on the part of Belgrade.
But should the Radicals take over government an extremely different picture arises. Among their top goals would be formal integration with the Serb portion of Bosnia -- Republika Srpska. Despite the potential for follow on actions by the Serbs, this is a move that the international community is unlikely to counter with anything more than diplomatic efforts. Western militaries are overextended in Afghanistan and Iraq, and no European power is likely to want to draw a proverbial line in the sand -- especially since all the Serbs of Bosnia are requesting is the same right to self-determination that Montenegro and Kosovo sought.
Flush with success, the Radical’s next likely step will be to attempt to use ethnic Serb militias to stir up problems in the border regions of Republika Srpska that Belgrade believes should be Serb regions. Barring robust responses from the international community -- and considering how thinly spread Western military force is, such responses are unlikely -- they will expand this effort both within Bosnia and to Montenegro, another location where ethnic Serbs are a sizable proportion of the population.
Should all these operations prove relatively successful and painless for the Serbs, the next logical target is Kosovo with regular Serb forces likely to first move into the northern portions where ethnic Serbs predominate. After that, it is an open question whether Belgrade will simply attempt to retake all of Kosovo. The effort the Serbs put forth will be inversely proportionate to Western actions to date.
Aside from the (para)military angle, the Serbs have one other very definite policy they will follow. Belgrade will do everything in its power to first solidify a partnership with the Russians. The two Slavic peoples share a great deal of affinity for one another that goes well beyond ethnic ties. A core defining principle of both cultures is their persecution and entitlement complexes. Russia feels the Europeans own them because Russia suffered so much under Mongol rule, believing that if Russia had not suffered so greatly that the Mongols would have gone on to conquer Europe. Serbia feels the same about another power: Ottoman Turkey. Bound together by language, ethnicity, culture and this complex, the two have been allies throughout most of modern history.
In the case of a Radical victory in the Jan. 21 elections this relationship would take a more ominous -- and somewhat familiar -- turnn. During Milosevic’s rule Russia regularly provided diplomatic cover for Serb actions throughout the Yugoslav war, occasionally using its veto power in the U.N. Security Council to hobble Western initiatives at a time when the West was attempting to actively intervene in the war. In 2007 with Western forces scattered and a Russian resurgence in progress, such diplomatic cover could prove even more effective.
WMD -- specifically chemical weapons -- could provide one more bit of cover. Serbia retains military forces capable of striking at all of its neighbors and potentially Italy as well. Should Serbia follow the path of militancy, a chemical weapons deterrent could prove useful to dissuading NATO from intervening on behalf of the Bosnian Croats, Bosnian Muslims or Kosovar Albanians. Serbia sported an advanced and fielded chemical weapons program during the Cold War that was developed indigenously. Most of its output came from Serbia’s Pancevo facility which remains operational. The state retains majority ownership of Pancevo***. All that remains for Serbia to relaunch a chemical program is a political decision from Belgrade.

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