Friday, April 03, 2009

North Korean Launch Imminent

The North Koreans have begun fueling their Taepodong-2 missile. That means that the launch will go forward. (The corrosive rocket fuels cannot be removed and have to be burned - which means the missile will be launched.)

I'm sure the Iranian missile team will be in eager attendance.

Japan continues its alert. As North Korean missile tests have in the past involved firing over the main island of Japan, the Japanese are understandably concerned about this, and are prepared to attempt to destroy the NK missile should it approach Japan. In reply, North Korea has threatened military retribution against Japan. Apparently, freedom of navigation includes the right to lob ballistic projectiles through your neighbor's airspace.

Meanwhile, President Obama is in Europe, and his administration appears to be unconcerned about the geopolitical or proliferation implications of a successful launch.

I have no doubt they believe their diplomacy will solve the problem.

I doubt it will. Although I am amused at how much their tone has changed since Obama took office.

So why worry? Two reasons.

First, the North Koreans' filed flight plan suggests that the North Koreans are developing the capability to reach American targets. Definitely Hawaii, and probably the West Coast. In the event of a second Korean War - a war that the United States would be both honor-bound and treaty-bound to participate in - the North Koreans would seek to threaten American naval bases and cities with nuclear weapons. At first it would be merely a threat, in order to sway ever-fickle public opinion and keep America out of a war; if that fails attacks on Guam, Pearl Harbor, Everett, and San Diego would cripple if not eliminate the American war effort on the West Coast.

The mere capability to visit such destruction on the United States would change how America would respond to a crisis in the region, reduce or eliminate Japan's ability to influence events (as it too would be staring down a nuclear threat), and possibly result in a second Korean war being lost before it has even begun.

Second, the presence of an Iranian missile team means the North Koreans are going to sell this technology as soon as they have anything someone is willing to buy. The Iranians are willing.

A Taepodong-2 based in Iran could hit targets in Israel, Russia, and Europe.

And the missile defense capability that could help counter both of these threat is being cut back or given up by the Obama administration.

So, I have reasons to worry. How about you?

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