July 9, 2006


India tests nuclear-capable missile (AFP, 7/09/06)

India successfully carried out its first test of a nuclear-capable ballistic missile with a range of 4,000 kilometres (2,480 miles), defence officials said.

Making North Korea look even more backwards, if that's possible.

This time, Crazy Kim has upset the wrong country: China (Niall Ferguson, 09/07/2006, Sunday Telegraph)

The intercontinental Taepodong-2, which is supposed to have a range of up to 3,750 miles, crashed just 40 seconds after being launched.

Now, I can understand why some people find it hard to take North Korea seriously. As the ruler of the world's maddest Marxist dictatorship, Kim Jong-il makes Fidel Castro look like a model of political gravitas. For one thing, he is effectively a hereditary monarch, having stepped into the shoes of his father, Kim Il-sung, following the latter's death on July 8, 1994. For another, "the Dear Leader" - as he likes to be known - looks like an escaper from a lunatic asylum. With his Elvis hairstyle, his outsize specs and his khaki pyjama suit, he's the kind of person we would all cross the street to avoid.

There's also Kim's Olympic-standard hypocrisy. While millions of his subjects were starving to death in the famine of 2000-1 as a result of his policy of "self-reliance", his eldest son was arrested at Tokyo's Narita airport, apparently en route to Japan's Disneyland. This is surely more than just a rogue regime. It's a raving mad regime.

But madmen with missiles need to be taken seriously.

Why? Just take him out and move on.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 9, 2006 9:48 AM

I think the ideal goal is to provoke him into really angering China, and then either let them take him out or let them not care about us taking him out.

Posted by: John at July 9, 2006 11:23 AM

The NORKs supposedly have thousands of artillery pieces aimed at Seoul. They could reduce it to rubble in a few hours. One might want to take that into consideration.

Posted by: PapayaSF at July 9, 2006 1:03 PM

Yes, the first strike should be quite thorough.

Posted by: oj at July 9, 2006 1:07 PM

The danger in the North Korea situation is that all the dithering about what kind of response if "moral" may enable the enemy to dream of surviving having made atomic strike against ourselves or an important ally.

The dream is that sort of "flexible" response will allow them to escape total destruction,that there will be some sort of loss of nerve on our part.

The danger grows out of the absurd notion that North Korea is "mad," and hence undeterrable. Of course this is false. If the countervalue threat is truly credible, someone is going to say, "Dear Leader, I don't think we should be doing this."

There can be no possibility of any other reaction than massive retaliation. The man with his hand on the North Korean launch button has to know that 15 minutes after he presses it his language will be spoken only in South Korea and Hell.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 9, 2006 4:48 PM

retaliation is immoral, which was why Reagan felt compelled to end the Cold War at any cost.

Posted by: oj at July 9, 2006 4:51 PM