North Korea Testing Obama

What with discussions of whether it would be nice if would-be Obama appointees paid their taxes and which quarterbacks belong in the Hall of Fame, there are some other issues getting short shrift.  For example, as noted over at New Atlanticist, “North Korea about to test a missile that could hit the United States.”

The piece looks at the strategy behind the news and gives props to the Norks: “Ratcheting things up a notch to both test the resolve of the incoming American president and put themselves higher on his agenda is, while frustrating from an external standpoint, brilliant politics on their part.”

More analysis at the link.

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Brilliant politics? Or dangerous politics for us and for them?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Brilliant politics? Or dangerous politics for us and for them?

    Nah, they’ve got nukes. So do we. That pretty much bounds the game, making this a mere publicity stunt rather than cause for concern.

  3. Drew says:

    If you were an enemy of the US, and having watched Team Obama fumble, what with tax cheats, retread hacks, lobbyists galore and the traditional left leaning economics…….showing themselves right out of the box to be garden variety social program focused leftists…….wouldn’t you test these obvious easy marks? (Can’t you hear them thinking Jimmy II ?)

    American voters may have been mesmerized by dopey rhetoric and slobbering media air cover, but back in the real world, our enemies sense and prey on weakness, and exploit it.

    Brace yourselves.

  4. Michael says:

    they’ve got nukes.

    They’ve got nuclear material, but so far no demonstration that they have a working warhead, let alone the capabilities of delivering it.

    Also, this new missiles can reach Hawaii and Alaska, but the DPRK isn’t going to be posing an existential threat to the USA like the USSR did. We, however, do pose an existential threat to them. Realistically, our concerns with this involve Japan, which is much more vulnerable to this missile that we are.

  5. James Joyner says:

    They’ve got nuclear material, but so far no demonstration that they have a working warhead, let alone the capabilities of delivering it.

    They acknowledged having nuclear weapons six years ago, have conducted underground detonations, and fired missiles across other countries. They ain’t the USSR but they’re a nuclear weapons state.

  6. Michael says:

    They acknowledged having nuclear weapons six years ago

    Well if the DPRK says so, it must be true.

    have conducted underground detonations

    That fizzled, meaning their warhead design and/or materials aren’t ready.

    and fired missiles across other countries

    That can’t carry the weight of the single-stage warhead design everyone thinks they’re using.

    I believe that they could destroy several square miles of Seoul, but I don’t think that Anchorage or Honolulu are in any danger from nuclear weapons.

  7. Dave Schuler says:

    Unless you’ve got better information than I do, James, the last I heard is that North Korea might have detonated a nuclear weapon. It might have fizzled (or it might not have been a nuclear weapon at all. Is there better information than that?

    Also, the number of nuclear weapons that they might have produced is believed to be rather small, no?

    The TD-2, if successful, carries a payload of something like 500 kg. Can the North Koreans build a nuclear weapon that it could carry? Nobody knows.

    Bottom line: Japan is more a nuclear power than NK is and the Japanese haven’t tried to build a nuclear weapon yet. When the Japanese start building nukes of their own, I’ll believe that the North Koreans have a nuclear capability we should be worried about.

  8. DL says:

    If North Korea fires a few rounds of nukes into the USA will the UN allow us to return fire with ours or will we get treated like Israel by the world community. Please tell me – inquiring minds want to know.

  9. Michael says:

    If North Korea fires a few rounds of nukes into the USA will the UN allow us to return fire with ours or will we get treated like Israel by the world community. Please tell me – inquiring minds want to know.

    I’m guessing we’d have enough nukes in the air to decimate the North Korean population before theirs even detonated, so what the UN would or wouldn’t do is kind of a moot point.

  10. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I like your solution Michael. I only hope the city you reside in is the recipient of the first srike (assuming you do not live in the same city I do) as you seem to think the risk of a srike by an unstable leader may seem unlikely to you. However an attack on the United States by Japan in 1941 seemed to be unbalanced behavior. It did, never the less, occur. I believe the President of the United States, in his oath of office pledges to protect the United States from all enemies both foreign and domestic. Bush did a wonderful job. The inexperienced B.H. Obama has yet to show he is willing and capable of doing his main job.

  11. Michael says:

    I like your solution Michael. I only hope the city you reside in is the recipient of the first srike

    I’m pretty sure they can’t reach Florida, so I’m okay.

    as you seem to think the risk of a srike by an unstable leader may seem unlikely to you

    Don’t think my position comes from by geographic location. We have to assume that the DPRK will act in their own perceived interest, and as long as attaching us will guarantee their destruction, they won’t do it. If we can’t act on that assumption, if they are truly varelse, then we’d may as well destroy them now.

    However an attack on the United States by Japan in 1941 seemed to be unbalanced behavior. It did, never the less, occur.

    Actually that was a very logical decision on their part. Japan was hoping for a knock-out blow to force us into a treaty that was favorable to their goals of a Pacific empire.