While North Korea is recklessly and dangerously chasing the atom bomb, other countries like Cuba, are demonstrating how technology is revolutionizing warfare, especially clandestine and harassing weapons. Atomic weapons and their delivery systems are very expensive and require multitudes of infrastructure systems to develop, deploy and use as weapons. Before the technological revolution we are undergoing currently, richer countries could develop and deploy sophisticated weapon systems that other countries envied. Super jets able to track and shoot down multiple targets over the horizon were limited to a small number of countries. Likewise, nuclear weapons.
The United States has been working on large bulky sonic and ultrasonic weapons systems designed to stop armies and weapons systems through sound waves. Like drones, which the United States weaponized, sound waves are the new tech in waging war or harassing adversaries. The U.S. and other countries are spending large amounts of taxpayer monies on the new tech. But like drones, commercial and inexpensive off the shelf systems are being deployed by terrorists and smaller countries.
Although it is yet too soon to know for sure, it appears that Cuba has been harassing Canadian and U.S. diplomats with some type of sonic weapon. It appears the weapon is being used to harass the diplomats. The reason has yet to be determined and it has yet to be proven that it is a Cuban provication.
But, the likelihood of Cuba deploying unsophisticated man-portable sonic weapons against the Canadian and U.S. diplomats is high. Whether it is to test the weapon’s capabilities or effectiveness or they are being deployed as part of a harassing attack does not matter because diplomats are supposed to be protected under the auspices of various international agreements. That is not to say that diplomats or diplomatic immunity has been ignored before, but doing so carries serious repercussions for the country violating diplomatic protection.
Obviously, an overt attack like barging into an embassy or bombing it can be readily proven. Even contaminating water delivery systems or food supplies can be traced. Sonic weapons, although can be detected and traced are harder to source to the culprit because of their inexpensive and unsophisticated technology.
But the sonic attack demonstrates an even more difficult conundrum for diplomatic affairs and holding nation states to account for deploying weapon systems. Clearly North Korea is not able to hide its nuclear ambitions and it is likely they want the world to know their capability as some sort of deterrence or ability to impose themselves on the world stage.
Cuba, or any other nation deploying sonic-type weapons based on off-the-shelf technology can feign ignorance to the attack. Very much like what Russia does when confronted with evidence of computer tampering in different countries. They blame it on rogue individuals instead of government sponsored attacks. This makes it much more difficult to penalize the aggressor nation states.
If in fact, the Cuban illnesses upon the diplomats is proven or traced to a sonic weapon of some type, then the next North Korea will not be about nuclear weapons, or other mass destruction weapons, but swarms of low-tech weapon systems designed to keep the attacker secret and offer plausible deniability. Whereas countries like the United States spends untold amounts developing the next generation of weapon systems, other countries are taking off-the-shelf technology and adopting them as weapons. In addition to saving money, they are creating a layer of uncertainty as to who is actually the attacker.