Obama Responds to North Korea Rocket Launch

President Obama responded in Prague today to North Korea's rocket launch.

"I call on North Korea to honor its commitment to abandon all nuclear weapons programs, to abide by recognized norms of international relations, and to work to promote peace and stability in Northeast Asia," Obama said.

What's behind the launch? A cry for attention? A message that Kim Jong il has recovered from his stroke and is still a big, bad force to be reckoned with?

Apparently, the launch was unsuccessful and fell into the sea. The U.N. will meet today and discuss it, but further tough sanctions are not expected because Russia and China oppose them.

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    What... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by lentinel on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 09:12:40 AM EST
    What exactly did they launch that went into the air and fell into the sea. The fevered response implies - even states - that it has to do with nukes... but none of the articles that I have seen refer to a payload - if any.

    It just seems to me to be a bit screwy for countries that are armed to the teeth - circling the globe in the air and underwater with thousands of nuclear warheads - (manned by highly sophisticated individuals...) - to scream bloody murder when someone else tries to get in on the act.

    I would have to (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by CoralGables on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 09:29:10 AM EST
    very quietly agree with you. Those most up in arms have done the same thing.

    The only way it appears for anyone to have a chip at the bargaining table is if you have the ability to strike a neighbor that is already at the table.

    Perhaps Obama's speech today in Prague calling for an end to nuclear weapons is the first step in the right direction. Someone already at the table talking about stopping is far more productive that those at the table telling others they can't have a seat.


    "Those most up in arms..." (none / 0) (#35)
    by Upstart Crow on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 09:36:45 PM EST

    They launched (none / 0) (#4)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 09:53:17 AM EST
    a communications satellite.  The U.S. and other countries verified that's what was on the rocket before it was launched.

    The assumption, though, which is surely correct, is that the point of it was to test the rocket itself, which can also carry a nuclear payload.

    Personally, I think the U.S. needs to work harder at figuring out how to live in a world in which places like North Korea and Iran have nuclear weapons because it's proved impossible to prevent them from getting or developing them.

    If Iran ever had any doubts about whether it should continue its nuclear program, the U.S. invasion of Iraq put an end to those doubts.  These countries have every reason to want at least primitive nuclear weapons as a deterrent because they quite obviously do work as a deterrent to attack by rogue states-- oops, sorry-- "civilized" countries like the U.S.


    hm (none / 0) (#17)
    by connecticut yankee on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 12:45:28 PM EST
    I think the North Koreans exist in a state of perpetual humiliation.  They are Asia's sick man but are highly self-reliant and proud.   Not a good combination for the ego.

    It seems like many third world tinderboxes suffer from that sense of humiliation.


    My inclination would be to find a way (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 10:05:47 AM EST
    to make this very unpleasant for Kim himself. Waste his palaces.

    That would make us wrose... (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by kdog on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 10:31:41 AM EST
    than psycho-Jong, wouldn't it?  They haven't attacked anybody, ya can't just go around dropping bombs and still call yourself the "good guy".

    I say ignore N. Korea, if they fire a nuke at somebody, sh*t if anybody fires a nuke at anybody, party up because the game is over.


    Korea attacked the ocean (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 11:00:50 AM EST
    so let it rise up and smite him with a tsunami.  We're got two wars already.  

    Make that 2 occupations... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 11:03:27 AM EST
    war to me implies that we are at some risk...the two countries we are violently occupying have no means to attack us.

    Not to nitpick or anything:)


    They're attacking us there (none / 0) (#15)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 11:14:33 AM EST
    and that looks like war to me.  

    i could be wrong, (none / 0) (#26)
    by cpinva on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 04:48:21 PM EST
    They're attacking us there and that looks like war to me.

    but i believe we attacked them first. them attacking us there seems like a perfectly reasonable response to me.

    i could be mistaken, perhaps i missed the afghanistan & iraq attacks on pearl harbor?

    the "communications satellite" launch was seen as a test for the long-range rocket carrying it, a rocket designed for the purpose of carrying a nuclear payload to japan, and farther, if possible.

    ultimately, it's another attempt to blackmail the rest of the world into continuing to provide material support for the world's looniest country, unable even to supply the basic necessities of life to its population.

    of all the countries in the world i don't want having access to nuclear weapons, and the ability to deliver them, north korea would be at the top of any sane person's list.

    yes, iran is a danger, to itself and others, but even at that, they are sane enough to recognize that if they were indeed foolish enough to launch a nuclear strike at israel, iran as a country would shortly afterwards cease to exist, except as the world's largest sheet of nuclear glass.

    north korea doesn't suffer from such sanity, kim jong II is such a nutjob, he assumes he would survive the aftermath, and he certainly doesn't give two nanny goat sh*ts about his people.

    frankly, if i were china, i'd snuff this nutball right now, before he has a chance to improve his technology.


    Of course, we waged pre-emptive war (none / 0) (#28)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 06:04:15 PM EST
    in Iraq and Afghanistan, cpinva.  Six years ago.  

    Please read my reply in context -- as a reply to the parent comment, okay?  Thanks.


    Like breaking into someones (none / 0) (#27)
    by jondee on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 05:15:08 PM EST
    house and the occupant has the temerity to put up a fight. This means war!

    They dont call it exceptionalism for nothin'.


    Would you also please (none / 0) (#29)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 06:04:46 PM EST
    read my comment as a reply to its parent comment.  Thanks, too.

    We've done it before (none / 0) (#9)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 10:55:11 AM EST
    They haven't attacked anybody, ya can't just go around dropping bombs and still call yourself the "good guy".

    And, will probably do it again.


    Sad but true Inspector... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by kdog on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 11:00:22 AM EST
    sad but true.

    And when even good liberals like andgarden are down with shock and awe, what chance is there for peace?


    "Peace" is a relative concept (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 11:06:19 AM EST
    Ten years ago, did the Kosovo Albanians have "peace?"

    Seems, Andgarden, is ... (none / 0) (#22)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 02:59:08 PM EST
    consulting his Ingsoc manual before posting today.

    peace actually has a chance? (none / 0) (#32)
    by connecticut yankee on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 07:39:31 PM EST
    I did not know that.

    You also can't (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 12:17:14 PM EST
    Just sit back and let psychos like Kim Jong-Il build nuclear weapons and say we should just hold hands and sing Kum-bay-yah either.  While that's a lovely fantasy ("If we don't provoke anyone, and we ignore what's going on because 'they haven't attacked anyone (yet)', then they won't hurt us."), here in the real world, this needs to be addressed, and not just with Obama giving sternly worded soundbites.

    Maybe not lay waste to his palaces (yet), but this needs to be addressed and it needs to be dealt with NOW. Despite the rosy outlook by the western press calling it a "failure" and the opposite declaration by the North Korean state press, calling it a "success", it's somewhere in between.

    Joseph Bermudez is a leading world expert on North Korean rocketry for the British-based Jane's Defense Group. He says, regardless of the fate of the satellite, the first and second stages of Sunday's launch were noteworthy.

    "It demonstrates that they were successful in staging and ground control, guidance, and a number of other technical issues," he said.

    Bermudez says those first two stages of the launch will truly benefit the North Koreans, if they were able to capture all the real-time data the rocket produced moment-by-moment in its flight.

    "It will tell them exactly what was happening on the system as it launched, and whether their calculations are correct. About speed, altitude, pressure, the health of the system, how much fuel is being used," added Bermudez, "that sort of information."

    Ivan Oelrich, the Vice President of the Strategic Security Program at the Federation of American Scientists, says even if the satellite did not reach space, Sunday's launch is, in his words "a bad development." He says it is especially alarming in the context of Pyongyang's 2006 nuclear weapons test.

    "There's no one that seriously believes that North Korea is interested in a low earth orbit communications satellite," said Oelrich. "This is a way for them to test a long-range rocket that has military applications."

    Oelrich says North Korea does not need to develop its missile program to the same extent as more advanced countries, in order to benefit from it.

    "The North Koreans probably don't want it for a normal kind of military deployment. They want to have one or two of these - perhaps armed with nuclear weapons," he said. "At least they want the world to believe that, that they can use for political leverage in the future."



    Bottom line.... (none / 0) (#41)
    by kdog on Mon Apr 06, 2009 at 08:50:56 AM EST
    as long as nuclear weapons are the only true deterrent to being invaded by a foreign power; and as long as the US, Russia, India, Pakistan, France, Israel, etc. have nukes...we have no moral leg to stand on to tell N. Korea or Iran no.    

    Believe me, I wish nobody had 'em...but as long as we do others will feel the need to get them at any cost...especially two-bit tyrants like Jong.  It's the only way to get respect internationally....without nukes you're a joke and ripe to be invaded.


    Agree with you entirely, kdog (none / 0) (#18)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 12:59:16 PM EST
    (Oh, Lordy, that makes twice I've had to type that in a month!)

    Depends how you define attack (none / 0) (#38)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 06, 2009 at 01:45:07 AM EST
    Kim has throughout his reign sponsored terrorism directed at S. Korea and backed kidnappings of Japanese civilians (see: his Godzilla knock-off, and how he made it).

    First you support taxing smokers, (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 10:24:21 AM EST
    now this?  Life is so interesting.

    Apparently Desert Fox was effective (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 10:39:34 AM EST
    Perhaps it's possible to duplicate.

    So was the Blitzkrieg! (none / 0) (#21)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 02:57:13 PM EST
    I hope your statements here are meant to be read with Swiftian irony.

    N. Korea ... (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 02:55:12 PM EST
    tests a rocket.  We invade and occupy a couple of countries that didn't attack us.

    But N. Korea broke the rules?

    This is through the looking glass thinking.  Ask Alice.

    This is when the Michelle/Carla (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by KeysDan on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 03:04:52 PM EST
    wardrobe discussions come in handy. Oh, and what about that pink dress of the Queen?  I think it made her look matronly.

    Heh ... (none / 0) (#24)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 03:13:12 PM EST
    isn't matronly the preferred look for a queen?

    Well, (none / 0) (#25)
    by bocajeff on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 03:21:06 PM EST
    Afghanistan did pretty much allow the attacks to occur by openly allowing Al Qaida to set up shop and train there in the open...And the Taliban weren't exactly the Quakers.

    Iraq is a lot more complicate and one can argue that the invasion of Kuwait was the beginning.

    But I worry less about us attacking Iraq than Iran or North Korea having the bomb. Sort of like I don't care that Britain or France has the bomb.


    All would be well-advised (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by KeysDan on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 02:55:33 PM EST
    to lie down for a while and then take a cold shower.  We will discuss it again in the morning.

    We should just say we shot it down. (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by connecticut yankee on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 07:49:25 PM EST
    Issue a press release in that crazy asian dictator style: "Today the glorious empire of America destroyed a short and impotent missile fired by the ineffective government of North Korea. Double damn on them and their humiliating wrongness!"

    The last time N. Korea tested nuclear weapons (4.00 / 1) (#42)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Apr 06, 2009 at 10:13:29 AM EST
    in 2006, we rewarded them by increasing the amount of money we send to them every year.  This time, we should immediately cut U.S. AID payments in half, then offer to increase it back to it's current level if they don't fire off any rockets for the next two years.

    We should also offer to launch satellites for them, using the 50% of their annual buy off, er aid, that we just took away.  

    WSWS on US threats against North Korea (none / 0) (#1)
    by Andreas on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 08:59:24 AM EST
    About a month ago the WSWS published this article:

    US general menaces North Korea with the "military option"

    By Peter Symonds, 11 February 2009

    Did it fail or succeed? (none / 0) (#14)
    by noonan on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 11:14:31 AM EST
    This says it succeeded, according to DRK sources.

    Apparently we didn't shoot the missle down... (none / 0) (#31)
    by EL seattle on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 07:29:57 PM EST
    ...but it did fall into the sea.  Fortunately, it did not strike Gamera, who was flying nearby.  (At the time, Gamera was en route to western Kaishu, to help a child who'd fallen into a well. Gamera is a friend to children everywhere.)

    Well (none / 0) (#39)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 06, 2009 at 06:50:12 AM EST
    I'm with those who think we need to figure out a way to deal with North Korea. Obama's statement really means nothing and thinking that he or we can stop the spread of nuclear weapons is beyond naive. Heck, we can't control Iraq and Afghanistan and there's no way we are going to prevent nuclear weapons from spreading.

    They failed. Good we didn't shoot (none / 0) (#40)
    by lilybart on Mon Apr 06, 2009 at 07:34:44 AM EST
    it down or the world would not have seen how lame they really are.

    Ha Ha (none / 0) (#43)
    by KoolJeffrey on Mon Apr 06, 2009 at 12:06:16 PM EST
    Nice picture of L. Ron John Il. This guy died years ago.