Thursday, July 06, 2006

North Korea's Missile Firings: The Tantrum Of A Dictator

At the time of this writing, it is being reported that North Korea has fired a total of seven missiles in what amounts to a "hissy fit", because they are not getting enough attention. Talks are going nowhere (mainly because of the NK government) and Kim wants to let it be known that he's still around. Like a spoiled little brat that doesn't get enough of mommy and daddy's attention, when they are occupied with other things, he is making noise in a crowded restaurant.

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to downplay this at all. But before we get ahead of the game here, we must think this thing out, just a little.

The Taepodong-2 missile, which is believed to be capable of striking the U.S., failed and failed miserably. The other missiles were not long range and they already had them in their arsenal. So, there's really nothing new here, except that they fired them (instead of talking about firing them). They hit nothing. They hurt no one (except for one hell of a contusion on Kim's ego).

The main point in all of this is, the failure takes a lot steam out of things, at least for the time being. A little leverage is lost, when those kinds of things happen. The bargaining power slips away.

Now, it appears that NK may be preparing for another attempted launch of a T-2, as NBC is currently reporting. And so, the real pressure is now on. If this one fails, then it's bound to be a case of "back to the drawing board" for the North Korean engineering staff. That is, it will be after the current project director is executed or sent to a harsh North Korean prison for the rest of his life. If there is another failure, it is likely that there will be new people working on the program for awhile. If that turns out to be the case, more time can be bought.

But what does this matter? Kim is showing the hand he is playing. One can argue that he has even overplayed it. We can see it, as it unfolds. We can study it and learn how to best outplay him.

China and Russia don't seem to be too worried at this time. And I do not believe that they have a lot of influence with him, anyway. So even if they were upset, nothing could be done about it, certainly not much more than already has been done. Jon Henke of Q and O, also believes that China isn't worried and tells us all why:
At first glance, it's very difficult to tell what North Korea was hoping to accomplish with their recent missile tests. The threat of indeterminate missile capability was one of the few tools in the North Korean foreign policy toolbox. One would think this means North Korea is getting (much more) desparate.

Perhaps for that reason, China does not "appear too upset by the launches", and is generally asking everybody involved to settle down and resume negotiations. It's difficult to discern the motivations and interests of each actor involved, but Chinese ennui may arise from the fact that, without it's missile leverage, North Korea now finds itself with fewer diplomatic and military options. This means North Korea is now much more dependent on China, both for protection and aid.

It could be selfishness on the part of China, but they may be right on this one.

As long as he doesn't send one packed towards civilization, I say let him "expend all ammo". Each missile dropped into the sea, is one that he can't use against us or his neighbors. That's one less that he has. I know he can make more, but as desperate as he is for funds (which is what this is really all about), it will not be easy to raise the financing for this kind of rearmament, and the price tag that comes with it. Then we can all have him over a barrel.

But make no mistake. This bears watching and deserves full attention. With a madman like this, he may just throw a tantrum right in the middle of the store, if ignored too long. He may decide to push the boundaries out a bit further, if he doesn't get the response he wants. And if he does, he should then be taken out into the parking lot, for a spanking that he will never forget.

If this next T-2 so much as looks like it will head into the airspace of the western hemisphere, it needs to be shot down by our missile defense system. What a blow that would be. I would hate to be the cook in the Kim house that night, as well as, all of the department heads.

6 comments:

Always On Watch said...

I'd hate to be living in Japan right now!

LASunsett said...

AOW,

Yes. I bet it is a little tense over there, right now. But, I think that little brat Kim should know that one false move and NK can be transformed from a mountainous region, into a canyon, real quick.

I just think he is acting out, right now. The more attention he gets will only reinforce that behavior.

A.C. said...

I'm pretty much on board with your opinion here. Regards the ICBM's, he needs to be watched, but to pull the trigger means he's suicidal, which he's not.

For example, the first time he played golf he claimed to have made 11 holes-on-one. That would be all 4 par 3s, and 7 of 10 par fours. Surely anyone who questioned that score card got dead real quick.

LASunsett said...

AC,

For example, the first time he played golf he claimed to have made 11 holes-on-one. That would be all 4 par 3s, and 7 of 10 par fours. Surely anyone who questioned that score card got dead real quick.

Was that where they got the "Dorf does golf" video?

Shah Alexander said...

Some TV commentators suspect that there are domestic political conflicts in North Korea. They say that Kim Jong Il cannot control hawkish military.

Whatever the reason is, North Korean neighbors are puzzled. Commercial sailors around Vladivostok worry whether they can navigate safely. A Japanese fishery school stopped on the boat training. Can they finish the course this year?

LASunsett said...

Hello Shah,

Some TV commentators suspect that there are domestic political conflicts in North Korea. They say that Kim Jong Il cannot control hawkish military.

As I read this staement of yours, I honestly think they might be right. In any nation, he who controls the miltary, controls the nation. It might be that the military has been running things for some time now. Kim may have lost his mind a long time ago and as long as he can drink his cognac, brandy, or whatever it is he drinks and live a life of luxury, he lets them do whatever they want.

I have to say that just looking at Kim, I see a pretty benign character. He looks too harmless. Plus, most people around the world can now identify his picture. But how many can spot the top General out of a line-up?

Yes, sir. I think it is entirely possible that Kim is just a figurehead.