A country that can't even power its capital city at night, nor prevent millions of its citizens from starving, may not be the threat that the doom and gloom crowd says. Exhibit infinity, according to ABC news:
North Korea's anticipated missile launch failed today after it fired the long-range test rocket, defying U.N. Security Council resolutions and an agreement with the United States.
The 90-ton rocket launched and there was a larger than anticipated flare.
U.S. officials said that the missile is believed to have crashed into the sea.
This launch, of course, is a swagger move by tubby, 20-something leader Kim Jong-Un. And predictably the international community soundly condemned the missile launch plans and suggested if the country didn't back down, sanctions, censure, and serious international scolding would commence.
But North Korea claimed that 1) this totally doesn't violate the food aid conditions and 2) this was totally not a long-range missile launch test at all and it is actually just satellite "Shining Star" launched in celebration of the anniversary of the birth of eternal-president Kim Il-Sung. But also 3) North Korea does what it wants, dammit.
Said ABC news:
The show of muscle put the region on edge, but Donald Gregg, former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea from 1989-1993 and an ABC News consultant, said he believed it was new leader Kim Jong Un's way of asserting his power.
"The main audience for this missile is internal not external," Gregg said. "This is [Kim Jong Un's] way of demonstrating to the people of North Korea he is in charge and his country is capable of high tech things. It is a manifestation of his power."
Experts did not doubt the possibility of a satellite being attached to the rocket, but feel the satellite is a cover to test a long-range missile.
Gregg says Americans should relax, however, because North Korea is crazy, but not crazy-stupid enough to attack the U.S. since they could guess the end result. Still, nuclear fears are not entirely unfounded. Adds Bloomberg:
A South Korean intelligence report warned that North Korea may follow the rocket launch with the detonation of an atomic device. Recent activity at the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site is consistent with preparations for previous detonations in 2006 and 2009, according to the intelligence report obtained April 9 by Bloomberg News.
The Obama administration has said firing the rocket would breach the February 29 food deal, which included a North Korean pledge to halt uranium enrichment at its main atomic facility in Yongbyon. North Korea has criticized that stance, calling it an overreaction "beyond the limit" in a statement from an unnamed foreign ministry official cited by KCNA last month.
Still, each time North Korea starts trying to play big and bad on the world stage, don't get nervous. Remember that North Korea spends scant resources on boondoggles like the world's biggest, most hideous hotel (that took 20 years to open) and their weirdly beautiful metro, which like most things in Pyongyang, is kind of staged for foreigners and is much weirder and shoddier than it initially appears.
Maybe not a lot of funds or know-how left for feeding people or nuking foreign countries, but there's always enough to imprison 150,000 people in sub-Gulag conditions.
Reason on North Korea.