While North Koreans Starve, Missiles Plummet
Austin Bay takes a look at the context of the North Korean missile radar blips from yesterday, and does it by returning to 1998. He calls it The Missiles Behind the Elvis Summit.
The six North Korean missiles on Tuesday are big news, but they aren't the strategic shocker. The shocker occurred in August 1998, when Pyongyang tested a long-range ballistic missile. That launch revitalized the United States-Japanese alliance and blew away any legitimate arguments that the United States could wait to develop and deploy ballistic missile defenses.
Pyongyang's 1998 test shot demonstrated that Japan and the United States -- and for that matter, Europe -- are vulnerable to rogue missile attack, and it's utterly false to argue otherwise. It meant U.S. diplomacy and the world economy are potential hostages to missile blackmail by regional tinpots.
Japan got North Korea's message. The Japanese also observed China's steady military modernization and concluded the logical, most impressive and most reliable "strategic balance" to China is the United States.
Kim Jong-Il plows millions and millions of dollars into failed splashes in the Sea of Japan. Meanwhile, millions and millions of destitute North Koreans face starvation on their own soil, sacrificed by Dear Leader in ill-advised attempts to rescue them through international extortion rather than applied marketable technology and prosperity.
North Korea is a dark, bleak, seemingly hopeless mass of land, imprisoned by the dictatorship of a deranged man.