North Korea's Latest Missile Test Brings Us One Step Closer To WWIII (Here's How We Got Here)
As time goes on, North Korea’s nuclear program is making war with the United States more and more likely. As SHTFplan.com’s Daniel Lang details, we’re on a terrible path that no one knows how to escape from.
On the one hand, North Korea is clearly led by an unhinged and tyrannical government that can’t be trusted with nuclear weapons. So you can understand why the US is so determined to stop their progress with these weapons. But at the same time, those nuclear weapons could one day guarantee that the leaders of North Korea will remain in power for a long time. Those weapons would make any potential aggressor think twice about trying to invade the bellicose nation, so there’s no way that North Korea is going to abandon its nuclear program.
Perhaps the only thing that’s preventing a war from breaking out right now, is the fact that North Korea doesn’t have an effective way to deliver a nuke, nor have they been making much progress in that arena. It seems like every time they test a long range missile, it fails spectacularly. So long as that state of affairs continues, war can be averted.
Unfortunately, North Korea’s missile program has just made a huge leap. On Sunday they tested a new missile that was arguably far more effective than anything they’ve ever launched before.
A Hwasong-12, a new medium long-range surface-to-surface missile, was launched from Kusong early Sunday morning. The missile flew roughly 430 miles, but the weapon was intentionally lofted. Analysts suspect the missile could potentially hit targets 2,800 miles away if fired along a standard trajectory.
In other words, the missile was launched with a steep arc, as a opposed to a relatively flat trajectory. This was done so that the missile could be tested without launching it over any neighboring countries. Most experts believe that if the missile had been given a flatter trajectory, it could have reached American military assets throughout much of the Pacific.
The North “appears to have not only demonstrated an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) that might enable them to reliably strike the U.S. base at Guam, but more importantly, may represent a substantial advance to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM),” John Schilling, a respected aerospace engineer who specializes in rockets, explained.
With the ability to strike Guam, the North may now have the means to strike most major U.S. strategic assets in East Asia and the western Pacific. While this would be an impressive achievement, North Korea is determined to master ICBM technology. The missile tested Sunday may be the predecessor to a future ICBM.
Is it any wonder why North Korea is the perfect trigger for World War 3? This unstable nation is rapidly increasing its nuclear capabilities, and it’s a nation that China and Russia have a vested interest in keeping alive. They want a buffer state between their borders and South Korea, which is allied with the United States. So any conflict with North Korea (a conflict that is looking more likely every day) could easily drag more nuclear armed nations into the fray.
Unless one side of this fight backs down, World War 3 is inevitable. And so far it doesn’t look like either side is willing to compromise on North Korea’s missile program.
And here is how we got here, courtesy of Goldman Sachs – The Timeline of North Korea Developments
Finally, Goldman’s Jeff Currie and Mikhail Sprogis discuss gold as a hedge against geopolitical events…
…we find that gold can effectively hedge against geopolitical risk if the geopolitical event is extreme enough that it leads to some sort of currency debasement, and especially if the gold price move is much sharper than the move in real rates or the dollar. For these events, gold essentially serves as a call option and can therefore be thought of as a “geopolitical hedge of last resort.”
…This analysis, however, doesn’t take into consideration gold market liquidity itself, which can be crucial when deciding to hedge via physical gold in a vault versus COMEX gold futures.
Using a gold futures contract as the basis of the hedge makes the implicit assumption that market liquidity will not be a problem in the realization of a geopolitical event. The importance of liquidity was tested during the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Gold prices declined sharply as both traded volumes and open interest on the exchange plummeted. After this liquidity event, investors became more conscious of the physical vs. futures market distinction and began to demand more physical gold or physically-backed ETFs as a hedge against black-swan events.
The lesson learned was that if gold liquidity dries up along with the broader market’s, so does your hedge – unless it is physical gold in a vault, the true “hedge of last resort.”