Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Big Noise From Pyongyang: An Update

As everyone except three guys in Greenland up on the rapidly shrinking polar icepack knows, those wonderful folks from North Korea followed through on their threat, celebrating July 4 by launching the Taepodong 2 missile yesterday. I mentioned the possibility a couple weeks ago on 19 June, and said then that the best result would be for the Taepodong 2 to blow up on the pad.

At the same time yesterday the North Koreans launched a bunch of SCUDs, perhaps to impress the rest of the world or confuse the spy satellites parked over the Taepodong 2 launchpad. A rather expensive demonstration of something or other, no doubt.

Well, it didn't blow up on the pad. It blew up after 40 seconds or so in flight. It seems that reliable ICBM technology of the kind developed in this country and abroad back in the fifties has yet again escaped the North Koreans. It ain't as easy as it looks, folks.

It's kind of pathetic that a country that doesn't seem to be able to feed and clothe its people is wasting resources and man hours on projects that have as little potential as this one to move it toward better relations with the rest of the world. The only thing dumber has to be the atomic bomb, and that's the other big noise from Pyongyang. Sooner or later they will test this one, because that's about all they've got left in the way of sabers to rattle.

One thing's for sure. I'm damned glad I am not the guy who had to tell Kim Jong-il that the Taepodong launch was a failure.

Update: 9.25 pm CDST more on the Taepo Clunker 2

The Australian has a good commentary by a fellow named Peter Alford. In essence what he says is that the launch (if you can call it that) of the Taepo Dong 2 (which may be Korean for "squib") undoubtedly left North Korea in worse shape than they were if that's possible.

Alford says that the events of the last few days have proved a tactical failure if the intent was to bluff the Americans, that we now have more technical information than we need or want about the Taepo Dong 2 because we watched it very carefully, and that the launch of the main event and some Scud pops has embarrassed the Chinese and the government of South Korea with its show of belligerence.

Well worth a read. It reinforces my belief that the guy who had to get on the phone to tell the Beloved Leader Person that the launch was a dud has got to be one sorry mofo.,20867,19699808-31477,00.html


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