05 April 2009

Provocative, reckless, regrettable, blah blah

As we all know, North Korea went ahead with its missile test. The US and Japan made no effort to shoot the thing down (probably because anti-missile -missile technology is of dubious effective-ness at best, and an unsuccessful attempt to shoot it down would merely have added spice to Kim Jong Il's propaganda coup). So far it looks as though the world's response will be diplomatic protests, UN meetings, economic sanctions -- that is, nothing. If this was a test of what troublemakers can get away with, the powers-that-be in Pyongyang -- not to mention in Tehran, Beijing, and Moscow -- have drawn the worst possible lesson from it.

Granted, an effective response -- such as shooting the missile down immediately upon launch when doing so would have had the best chance of success, or destroying it on the launch pad -- would have risked casualties in North Korea, and there are good reasons for having avoided that. But if the US and Japan knew they were not going to do anything to enforce their ultimatum, they would have been wiser not to issue it in the first place.

Oh, and the North Korean regime says the satellite is transmitting "revolutionary songs", doubtless excruciating. Maybe exasperated space aliens will blow it out of the sky.

Update: 57% of American voters favor a military response, only 15% oppose one. American and South Korean sources deny that the rocket placed a satellite in orbit at all, which supports the view that this was actually a military missile test.

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