Slave to the Blog: The Survivor Edition
I thought that summer in Hawaii might provide respite from all things North Korea. Fat chance. As soon as I arrive Pyongyang tests a missile and we’re back to duck and cover. (Millennials can google that reference. Really young readers—don’t worry, you’ll be practicing it when school re-opens next month.) The state of Hawaii is initiating civil defense planning for a North Korean nuclear attack.
It’s estimated that it would take a North Korean missile 20 minutes to reach the Sandwich Islands, so state officials figure they have 12-15 minutes to warn the public. Accordingly, the public education campaign will emphasize actions that can be undertaken quickly. The gist of the plan: well, since Hawaii doesn’t have fallout shelters per se, grab your shades (that blast can be bright), find a place to shelter, preferably made of concrete, and bring with you enough provisions to hole up for two weeks or until you hear the all clear signal, whichever comes first. Siren testing begins in November.
But it’s not all hiding in the basement! The Defense Department has gotten with the program working on a variety of radar interceptor options which could include a system linked to interceptors in Alaska and California, an expansion of the existing Aegis test site on Kauai, and the installation of a THAAD system. (Hmm, I think I might know where we could pick up some of those THAAD batteries cheap.) Adm. Harry Harris, head of the Pacific Command, thinks that a system could be up and running by 2023.
Not everyone is on board, however. According to Hawaii Tourism Authority director of communications Charlene Chan, while safety is of course the HTA’s top priority, “we also know from speaking to our tourism industry partners that if reports are misinterpreted about the state’s need to prepare for an attack, this could lead to travelers and groups staying away from Hawaii. The effect of such a downturn would ultimately be felt by residents who rely on tourism’s success for their livelihood.” The threat of a North Korean missile attack on Hawaii “is a very remote possibility at this time,” she added.
(Is this starting to sound like the plot of “Jaws”? “Admiral, we’re going to need a bigger interceptor.”)
And besides, those North Korea guidance systems are a little sketchy. At 38 North, John Schilling believes that “the emerging reality is that the North has an unreliable missile that… with a single nuclear warhead, and would be lucky to hit even a city-sized target.” Hmm. I suppose the glass half full interpretation is that the KPA could aim at PACOM and instead detonate over the ocean and kill a lot of fish. The glass half empty version is that you could be minding your own business in Hilo (seriously, who would want to bomb Hilo?) and get hit with a missile meant for the Schofield Barracks. Yikes!
Grab your shades (that blast can be bright), find a place to shelter, preferably made of concrete, and bring with you enough provisions to hole up for two weeks or until you hear the all clear signal, whichever comes first.
Personally, if I am going underground for two weeks I want to be well-provisioned. Have all my basic food groups—meat, vegetables, starches, beer—covered. And I know just where I might score some cheap beer for the hibernation.
According to tour operators, the rip-roaring Taedonggang Beer Festival, scheduled for earlier this week, was abruptly cancelled. Simon Cockerell of Koryo Tours speculated that the cancellation was not linked to the US tourist ban, but rather was undertaken in response to deteriorating food security, and the perception that with “aid fatigue” already well-entrenched, a hoity-toity beer bash would send the wrong signal to potential relief donors.
So what to do with the beer? I know it would run afoul of sanctions, but I know where you can find 1.4 million consumers, looking to stock their bomb shelters….