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View Full Version : North Korea has launched a long range rocket!


PopcornTreeCt
04-12-12, 06:26 PM
Just breaking.

Th0r S1mpson
04-12-12, 06:27 PM
Just breaking.

Yes, it probably is.

We'll see if the younger Il is any better at rocketeering than his father was.

PopcornTreeCt
04-12-12, 06:28 PM
Yes, it probably is.

We'll see if the younger Il is any better at rocketeering than his father was.

Nope.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/north-korea-launches-test-rocket/story?id=16125951#.T4dluY4ycjc

Th0r S1mpson
04-12-12, 06:30 PM
Well, at least he deprived his citizens of food for a good cause.

Also, I was incorrect in calling him Il. He is Un.

X
04-12-12, 06:34 PM
Did you get it into Wikipedia yet?

kvrdave
04-12-12, 06:35 PM
Well, at least he deprived his citizens of food for a good cause.

Also, I was incorrect in calling him Il. He is Un.

I just go with Il II to avoid any confusion.

eXcentris
04-12-12, 07:06 PM
Reports from US, South Korean and Japanese officials suggest the launch failed shortly after take-off.

"The flying object is believed to have flown for more than one minute and fallen into the ocean. This does not affect our country's territory at all," news agency AFP quoted Japanese Defence Minister Naiki Tanaka as saying.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17698438


"Flying object" :lol:

Jason
04-12-12, 07:42 PM
"Flying object" :lol:

A polite way of saying "pile of crap" :lol:

From what I saw on TV, I'm surprised this thing made it off the construction crane, er, launch pad.

Navinabob
04-12-12, 07:43 PM
One of these days I say we let South Korea just obliterate North Korea. The "war" would likely not last the weekend and we'd finally be done with them. I'm fairly certain that the general quality of life of the average North Korean citizen would be improved with the political change as well.

arminius
04-13-12, 08:50 AM
"Flying object" :lol:

I can't believe some of the comments on that news story.

"8.Raj Blake
13 Hours ago
Amazing how the propaganda machine has churned over this story. Any country that doesn't fall into the West's view of things is subject to it's spin doctor's wrath. America with-holds food aid from a million people in North Korea, and the media here doesn't bat an eyelid.

Treat other country's with respect, and accept that they have the right to their own way of life."


"562.Drunken Hobo
2 Hours ago
Many are saying that it was a waste of money that could have been used to help reduce poverty in the country, but that's not how it works. This rocket launch will have created thousands of jobs in North Korea and will help the country progress into the space age. Satellites are a huge part of the Western economy, so this can only help North Korea. Well, if they can get the next one right it will."

"
253.Colinlondon1
6 Hours ago
Can we not try to get closer to N Korea and show them a route to a more open society Surly by including them in as many org is the adult thing to do Be inclusive and open allows openness in both directions The rhetoric used by the USA and others is appalling effectively saying Do it our way or else So last Century Other countries need to speak openly against USA militaristic views and actions"

-eek-

Talkin2Phil
04-13-12, 09:42 AM
A friend's comment:
So Kim Jong Un's inaugural missile lasted less than a minute before blowing its load all over the Pacific. Ah, youth.

Sean O'Hara
04-13-12, 11:41 AM
"Flying object" :lol:

That person quoted Japanese is. Japanese language like not English. Grammar different. Translation much difficult. Stupid sound when bad translators translate bad.

wishbone
04-13-12, 12:07 PM
That person quoted Japanese is. Japanese language like not English. Grammar different. Translation much difficult. Stupid sound when bad translators translate bad.Japan's Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka also confirmed that the launched failed.

"We have confirmed that a certain flying object has been launched and fell after flying for just over a minute," he said.http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=796636&publicationSubCategoryId=63

In context less of a "lost in translation" moment and more of a slam against North Korea. Or Rodan.

arminius
04-13-12, 12:11 PM
Yeah, I took it as an insult to NK, rather than calling it a missle or rocket, it was just some thing they flung into the air.

Sean O'Hara
04-13-12, 12:26 PM
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=796636&publicationSubCategoryId=63

In context less of a "lost in translation" moment and more of a slam against North Korea. Or Rodan.

"A certain _______" is a stock phrase that you find in a lot of bad translations of Japanese lit and movies, along with "that person" and "you are an existence."

Mabuse
04-13-12, 12:29 PM
I can't believe some of the comments on that news story.

"8.Raj Blake
13 Hours ago
Amazing how the propaganda machine has churned over this story. Any country that doesn't fall into the West's view of things is subject to it's spin doctor's wrath. America with-holds food aid from a million people in North Korea, and the media here doesn't bat an eyelid.

Treat other country's with respect, and accept that they have the right to their own way of life."


"562.Drunken Hobo
2 Hours ago
Many are saying that it was a waste of money that could have been used to help reduce poverty in the country, but that's not how it works. This rocket launch will have created thousands of jobs in North Korea and will help the country progress into the space age. Satellites are a huge part of the Western economy, so this can only help North Korea. Well, if they can get the next one right it will."

"
253.Colinlondon1
6 Hours ago
Can we not try to get closer to N Korea and show them a route to a more open society Surly by including them in as many org is the adult thing to do Be inclusive and open allows openness in both directions The rhetoric used by the USA and others is appalling effectively saying Do it our way or else So last Century Other countries need to speak openly against USA militaristic views and actions"

-eek-
Where do people "learn" to be like this? It's like they're brain damaged.

wishbone
04-13-12, 01:02 PM
"A certain _______" is a stock phrase that you find in a lot of bad translations of Japanese lit and movies, along with "that person" and "you are an existence."Here is the press conference (http://news.tv-asahi.co.jp/ann/news/web/html/220413016.html), care to provide us with your translation O'Hara-san?

Kmical
04-13-12, 01:35 PM
Loved some of the opinions expressed about the failure:

In downtown Pyongyang, university student Kim Kwang Jin was sanguine about the news.

"I'm not too disappointed. There was always the chance of failure," he said. "Other nations — including China and Russia — have had failures while building their space programs so why wouldn't we? I hope that in the future, we're able to build a better satellite."

Might be more helpful to build a working rocket instead of building a more expensive satellite destined to splash down in the ocean minutes after launch.

"Scientists, technicians and experts are now <strike> being lined up and shot</strike> looking into the cause of the failure," North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said in a report, which was also read out in a news broadcast on state-run television.

OldDude
04-13-12, 02:20 PM
Where do people "learn" to be like this? It's like they're brain damaged.

College -- liberal poli sci professors.

OldDude
04-13-12, 02:21 PM
Yeah, I took it as an insult to NK, rather than calling it a missle or rocket, it was just some thing they flung into the air.

That's not a missile, that's a fizzle.

Rockmjd23
04-13-12, 02:58 PM
It was actually just one of these.

http://img832.imageshack.us/img832/2728/rocketscience.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/832/rocketscience.jpg/)

Tommy Ceez
04-13-12, 03:01 PM
They are getting WORSE at missle building. But what really shocks me is that they admitted it failed internally. In the hermit kingdom, that might be the most baffling and shocking news report any of the citizens have ever seen.

Some commentators are speculating that Un will use this public failure to garner support to push his opposition out, or scarier, blame South Korea in a sabatoge plot.

Nick Danger
04-13-12, 03:14 PM
I can't believe some of the comments on that news story.

"8.Raj Blake
13 Hours ago
Amazing how the propaganda machine has churned over this story. Any country that doesn't fall into the West's view of things is subject to it's spin doctor's wrath. America with-holds food aid from a million people in North Korea, and the media here doesn't bat an eyelid.

Treat other country's with respect, and accept that they have the right to their own way of life."


"562.Drunken Hobo
2 Hours ago
Many are saying that it was a waste of money that could have been used to help reduce poverty in the country, but that's not how it works. This rocket launch will have created thousands of jobs in North Korea and will help the country progress into the space age. Satellites are a huge part of the Western economy, so this can only help North Korea. Well, if they can get the next one right it will."

"
253.Colinlondon1
6 Hours ago
Can we not try to get closer to N Korea and show them a route to a more open society Surly by including them in as many org is the adult thing to do Be inclusive and open allows openness in both directions The rhetoric used by the USA and others is appalling effectively saying Do it our way or else So last Century Other countries need to speak openly against USA militaristic views and actions"

-eek-

In the comments section of The Economist, there are posters who always praise the actions of the Chinese government. It's almost as if they were employed by the Ministry of Truth. Maybe North Korea is following their example.

Rockmjd23
04-13-12, 03:58 PM
That first comment is silly. It's basically "leave them alone and respect their way of life" but it also chastises the US for not giving them aid. -screwy-

Jason
04-13-12, 04:05 PM
or scarier, blame South Korea in a sabatoge plot.

I was thinking about that too. Apparently, there were some foreign journalists in NK for the "launch". Wouldn't have been too hard to accuse one of them of sabotage and make their lives very miserable.

eXcentris
04-13-12, 04:23 PM
That first comment is silly. It's basically "leave them alone and respect their way of life" but it also chastises the US for not giving them aid. -screwy-

"North Korea is only further isolating itself by engaging in provocative acts, and is wasting its money on weapons and propaganda displays while the North Korean people go hungry," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
.
.
The US has also cancelled a proposed food aid deal with Pyongyang.


It's a tad contradictory to lament North Koreans going hungry and then respond by cancelling a proposed food aid deal.

Rockmjd23
04-13-12, 04:37 PM
Well they have a "right to their own way of life", which is hunger. :lol:

I was only addressing the comment that was posted. I don't like the whole "All you have to do is stop making weapons, and you can have all this great American food that we fat people enjoy!" policy, either.

Mabuse
04-13-12, 06:20 PM
It's better to have food and no weapons than weapons and no food. Especially when, given your place in the international pecking order, that even with the weapons you can't use them to make anyone give you food.

classicman2
04-13-12, 07:20 PM
"North Korea is only further isolating itself by engaging in provocative acts, and is wasting its money on weapons and propaganda displays while the North Korean people go hungry," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
.
.
The US has also cancelled a proposed food aid deal with Pyongyang.


It's a tad contradictory to lament North Koreans going hungry and then respond by cancelling a proposed food aid deal.


Canada will come through with the food. :)

DVD Polizei
04-13-12, 09:05 PM
Can we merge this thread with the Attack On Iran Is Imminent thread?

brayzie
04-13-12, 11:22 PM
"North Korea is only further isolating itself by engaging in provocative acts, and is wasting its money on weapons and propaganda displays while the North Korean people go hungry," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
.
.
The US has also cancelled a proposed food aid deal with Pyongyang.


It's a tad contradictory to lament North Koreans going hungry and then respond by cancelling a proposed food aid deal.

Not really. They're criticizing North Korea for spending money on more weapons instead of trying to feed their people.

Wasn't the US helping North Korea before and in exchange they would NOT develop a nuclear weapon? We helped them and they still went on building a nuclear weapon.

classicman2
04-19-12, 06:32 AM
Where North Korea fails - India does not:

BHUBANESWAR, India (Reuters) - India successfully test-fired on Thursday a nuclear-capable missile that can reach Beijing and Eastern Europe, thrusting the emerging Asian power into a small club of nations that can deploy nuclear weapons at such a great distance.

The Bus
04-19-12, 06:41 AM
So they designed their rocket so it can't hurt white people?

The Bus
04-19-12, 06:42 AM
:lol: @ India being an "emerging" Asian power.

classicman2
04-19-12, 06:44 AM
India emerged as an Asian power quite some time ago.

starman9000
04-19-12, 07:03 AM
I didn't realize they hadn't demonstrated that power already. Putting their flag on the moon seems like a more difficult endeavor.

classicman2
04-19-12, 07:07 AM
I didn't realize they hadn't demonstrated that power already. Putting their flag on the moon seems like a more difficult endeavor.

I doubt their primary purpose is to put their flag on the moon. ;)

starman9000
04-19-12, 07:13 AM
Really? -rolleyes-

Sean O'Hara
04-19-12, 08:47 AM
Where North Korea fails - India does not:

BHUBANESWAR, India (Reuters) - India successfully test-fired on Thursday a nuclear-capable missile that can reach Beijing and Eastern Europe, thrusting the emerging Asian power into a small club of nations that can deploy nuclear weapons at such a great distance.

Rogue nation! Rogue nation! We need sanctions at once.

brayzie
04-19-12, 01:13 PM
That's what I was thinking when reading that.

Have other nations commented on why it's okay for India and not North Korea. Because it makes sense that to discourage both.

Pharoh
04-19-12, 01:26 PM
Rogue nation! Rogue nation! We need sanctions at once.

How can they be a rogue nation when they aren't ignoring any international treaties, requests, or sanctions? Of course you knew that, so what really was the point of the question?

Pharoh
04-19-12, 01:29 PM
That's what I was thinking when reading that.

Have other nations commented on why it's okay for India and not North Korea. Because it makes sense that to discourage both.

Yes. Because India is a responsible global citizen that has not contributed to the spread of nuclear materials.

Th0r S1mpson
04-19-12, 01:32 PM
Indians with nuclear missiles. I bet Columbus is rolling over in his grave!

Sean O'Hara
04-19-12, 01:33 PM
How can they be a rogue nation when they aren't ignoring any international treaties, requests, or sanctions? Of course you knew that, so what really was the point of the question?

The point is the double-standard where American media gets hot and bothered by certain countries developing nukes and strategic rock forces while not batting an eye at others.

Pharoh
04-19-12, 01:40 PM
The point is the double-standard where American media gets hot and bothered by certain countries developing nukes and strategic rock forces while not batting an eye at others.

It isn't America or the American media. It is the entire world. Hell, Pakistan doesn't even seem to care, nor does China. The whole world does though care about North Korea.

There is no double standard.

Tommy Ceez
04-19-12, 02:29 PM
The point is the double-standard where American media gets hot and bothered by certain countries developing nukes and strategic rock forces while not batting an eye at others.

Wait, is there an agreement that India is not allowed to develop long range rockets that its violated that I am missing?

brayzie
04-19-12, 03:53 PM
The point is the double-standard where American media gets hot and bothered by certain countries developing nukes and strategic rock forces while not batting an eye at others.

Well, I got my answer from the other posters.

If North Korea is violating certain agreements by doing this, then it makes sense for members of the international coumminty to be condemning their actions.

Marc Brobard
04-19-12, 04:27 PM
The point is the double-standard where American media gets hot and bothered by certain countries developing nukes and strategic rock forces while not batting an eye at others.

And the response was that there's a reason for that. If you can't see the difference between N Korea and India, I don't know what to tell you.

crazyronin
04-19-12, 04:59 PM
Rogue nation! Rogue nation! We need sanctions at once.

India, Pakistan, and Israel never signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty, thus allowing them the ability to develop nuclear weapons, nor are those states part of the MTCR. The North Koreans were a signatory to the treaty.

Put it back in your pants.

eXcentris
04-19-12, 07:59 PM
If NK and Iran were not NPT signatories, I'm pretty sure everyone else would be going "meh, they didn't sign the thing, let them develop nuclear weapons all they want". ;)

Marc Brobard
04-19-12, 10:38 PM
If NK and Iran were not NPT signatories, I'm pretty sure everyone else would be going "meh, they didn't sign the thing, let them develop nuclear weapons all they want". ;)

Because that's the only thing making us say, "Oh, wait, this probably shouldn't be happening."

Are you seriously so clueless when it comes to foreign affairs? Or do you think foreign affairs is when Bryan Adams bangs one of the chicks from Wilson-Phillips?

brayzie
04-20-12, 01:21 AM
Wasn't North Korea secretly developing nukes during the time they signed the NPT and the Agreed Framework?


It's not good for more countries to have nukes for obvious reasons, but isn't it naive to not show greater concern when a country like North Korea is pursuing nuclear weapons tests?

Marc Brobard
04-22-12, 10:49 PM
Wasn't North Korea secretly developing nukes during the time they signed the NPT and the Agreed Framework?


It's not good for more countries to have nukes for obvious reasons, but isn't it naive to not show greater concern when a country like North Korea is pursuing nuclear weapons tests?

Correct on all counts.

koops
01-23-13, 10:19 PM
North Korea part 3? 4? Looks like they are "aiming at the US." What do you guys think the response from the US will be.... Angry Obama smash?
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/24/us-korea-north-nuclear-idUSBRE90N03I20130124

DVD Polizei
01-23-13, 10:27 PM
They sure do talk a lot.

OldDude
01-24-13, 05:45 AM
North Korea part 3? 4? Looks like they are "aiming at the US." What do you guys think the response from the US will be.... Angry Obama smash?
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/24/us-korea-north-nuclear-idUSBRE90N03I20130124

Well, if they fire one, Obama might wish he hadn't shelved missile defense.

But he would probably man up and glass them over. That, or have Hilary send a strongly worded letter.

Mabuse
01-24-13, 11:52 AM
What's the cure for limp dick North Korean rockets? More black rhino horn and bear gall bladder.

When it comes to North Korea I'm always impressed that these backward people can solder two wires together let alone make a missle, so if it splashes into the pacific it's still pretty good. Like when a retarded kid is able to throw a ball. Good job North Korea. Yeahhhh!

Tracer Bullet
01-24-13, 01:53 PM
North Korea doesn't want a war. They have 50,000 South Korean and American troops over the border.

Of course, South Korea doesn't want a war either, since Seoul is in within artillery range of a shitload of North Korean weapons.

Basically, the US doesn't wildly overreact when North Korea does shit like this because they don't want North Korea bombing the fuck out of Seoul.

Navinabob
01-24-13, 02:56 PM
North Korea doesn't want a war. They have 50,000 South Korean and American troops over the border.

Of course, South Korea doesn't want a war either, since Seoul is in within artillery range of a shitload of North Korean weapons.

Basically, the US doesn't wildly overreact when North Korea does shit like this because they don't want North Korea bombing the fuck out of Seoul.

The war would be over before it started. Every analyst in the world predicts that North Korea would get slaughtered in days. South Korea spends 3 times the amount of money on their well equipped army then North Korea has an entire national budget. And that is without the US support there.

http://www.iiss.org/publications/strategic-dossiers/north-korean-dossier/north-koreas-weapons-programmes-a-net-asses/the-conventional-military-balance-on-the-kore/

Our intel suggests that most of their military vehicles have sat so long without fuel or maintenance that they likely wouldn't even operate.

http://www.japanfocus.org/-Sangkeun-Lee/3333

They are a joke.

Dave99
01-24-13, 03:08 PM
I wonder, since they've now indicated they could be targeting the US directly, if obama would just park an aegis cruiser off the waters of NK. They launch anything, we destroy it in boost phase.

Tracer Bullet
01-24-13, 03:37 PM
The war would be over before it started. Every analyst in the world predicts that North Korea would get slaughtered in days. South Korea spends 3 times the amount of money on their well equipped army then North Korea has an entire national budget. And that is without the US support there.

http://www.iiss.org/publications/strategic-dossiers/north-korean-dossier/north-koreas-weapons-programmes-a-net-asses/the-conventional-military-balance-on-the-kore/

Our intel suggests that most of their military vehicles have sat so long without fuel or maintenance that they likely wouldn't even operate.

http://www.japanfocus.org/-Sangkeun-Lee/3333

They are a joke.

Oh, I don't disagree, just laying out some possible scenarios and reasons for action aside from "Obama is a pussy."

Jason
01-24-13, 03:51 PM
Well, if they fire one, Obama might wish he hadn't shelved missile defense.

I'm sure our present anti-missle technology can take care of anything these dickheads can lob in our general direction.

Not that we shouldn't take it seriously as a "threat", it's just a threat we can readily counter.

Jason
01-24-13, 03:52 PM
I wonder, since they've now indicated they could be targeting the US directly, if obama would just park an aegis cruiser off the waters of NK. They launch anything, we destroy it in boost phase.

Blowing it up on the pad with a cruise missile would be all kinds of awesome.

eXcentris
01-24-13, 05:02 PM
Because that's the only thing making us say, "Oh, wait, this probably shouldn't be happening."

Are you seriously so clueless when it comes to foreign affairs? Or do you think foreign affairs is when Bryan Adams bangs one of the chicks from Wilson-Phillips?

Well it's been over a year, but since you seem to have made a return (under a different username), I will respond:

Are you still easily confused by the meaning of a ' ;) ' at the end of a sentence?

OldDude
01-24-13, 06:47 PM
I'm sure our present anti-missle technology can take care of anything these dickheads can lob in our general direction.

Not that we shouldn't take it seriously as a "threat", it's just a threat we can readily counter.

Do we have any anti-missile technology, anymore? Obama has mothballed the Airborne Laser, and I haven't heard anything about interceptor missiles lately either. Not sure there is any work going on.

Of course if they ONE missile, mutually assured destruction (MAD) becomes unilaterally assured destruction. Only problem is that to play fair, they have to get in one nuclear strike before we glass them over. So it might suck to live on the West Coast.

If we had working missile defense, we could be a lot more tolerant if they fired a missile at us, maybe just fire one back to teach them a lesson. With no defense, we HAVE to glass them over, and teach the rest of the world NEVER, EVER do that to the US. You will be a glassy plain.

MAD works better with sane enemies.

eXcentris
01-24-13, 08:09 PM
NK currently does not have long range missiles capable of reaching the US. Nor do they have the technology to make a nuclear warhead small enough to "fit" on such a missile if it existed.

This newest plan of a 3rd nuclear test by NK is obviously in response to the Security Council expanding sanctions against NK in December. What's interesting is that, this time, China voted "yes" and backed the sanctions.

Dave99
01-24-13, 08:22 PM
Do we have any anti-missile technology, anymore? Obama has mothballed the Airborne Laser, and I haven't heard anything about interceptor missiles lately either. Not sure there is any work going on.

Of course if they ONE missile, mutually assured destruction (MAD) becomes unilaterally assured destruction. Only problem is that to play fair, they have to get in one nuclear strike before we glass them over. So it might suck to live on the West Coast.

If we had working missile defense, we could be a lot more tolerant if they fired a missile at us, maybe just fire one back to teach them a lesson. With no defense, we HAVE to glass them over, and teach the rest of the world NEVER, EVER do that to the US. You will be a glassy plain.

MAD works better with sane enemies.


Spending some time googling around, it appears there are limited installations in alaska and california that have a few missiles operational.
http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/benefits-tradeoffs-seen-canceling-planned-us-icbm-interceptors-europe/

Also some forum posts in various places seem to indicate a small window of opportunity to take a shot right after launch from an aegis cruiser or destroyer, since north korea has so little geography to work with.

DVD Polizei
01-24-13, 08:29 PM
Give them all the norovirus. Not hard to do. Sends a nice message. Shit everywhere.

OldDude
01-25-13, 05:47 AM
Give them all the norovirus. Not hard to do. Sends a nice message. Shit everywhere.

In North Korea, would shit everywhere even be noticable?

DVD Polizei
01-25-13, 08:55 AM
You got me on that one.

Liver&Onions
01-27-13, 12:22 AM
Well it's been over a year, but since you seem to have made a return (under a different username), I will respond:

Are you still easily confused by the meaning of a ' ;) ' at the end of a sentence?

:lol: check the date of his post.

Deadman31
01-29-13, 04:32 AM
Because that's the only thing making us say, "Oh, wait, this probably shouldn't be happening."

Are you seriously so clueless when it comes to foreign affairs? Or do you think foreign affairs is when Bryan Adams bangs one of the chicks from Wilson-Phillips?


it isnt?

VinVega
01-29-13, 08:01 AM
NK currently does not have long range missiles capable of reaching the US. Nor do they have the technology to make a nuclear warhead small enough to "fit" on such a missile if it existed.

This newest plan of a 3rd nuclear test by NK is obviously in response to the Security Council expanding sanctions against NK in December. What's interesting is that, this time, China voted "yes" and backed the sanctions.
Good points, although this article from Strafor seems to suggest that the Chinese are using the North Koreans as bargaining chips in their interests in some disputed islands off their coast. Thought this was an interesting read although it doesn't really say what we should be doing with NK, just what their strategy is.

Ferocious, Weak and Crazy: The North Korean Strategy (http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/ferocious-weak-and-crazy-north-korean-strategy?utm_source=freelist-f&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20130129&utm_term=gweekly&utm_content=readmore&elq=d92574094a734b7c80c3c6281e38171f)

By George Friedman
Founder and Chief Executive Officer

North Korea's state-run media reported Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the country's top security officials to take "substantial and high-profile important state measures," which has been widely interpreted to mean that North Korea is planning its third nuclear test. Kim said the orders were retaliation for the U.S.-led push to tighten U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang following North Korea's missile test in October. A few days before Kim's statement emerged, the North Koreans said future tests would target the United States, which North Korea regards as its key adversary along with Washington's tool, South Korea.

North Korea has been using the threat of tests and the tests themselves as weapons against its neighbors and the United States for years. On the surface, threatening to test weapons does not appear particularly sensible. If the test fails, you look weak. If it succeeds, you look dangerous without actually having a deliverable weapon. And the closer you come to having a weapon, the more likely someone is to attack you so you don't succeed in actually getting one. Developing a weapon in absolute secret would seem to make more sense. When the weapon is ready, you display it, and you have something solid to threaten enemies with.

North Korea, of course, has been doing this for years and doing it successfully, so what appears absurd on the surface quite obviously isn't. On the contrary, it has proved to be a very effective maneuver. North Korea is estimated to have a gross domestic product of about $28 billion, about the same as Latvia or Turkmenistan. Yet it has maneuvered itself into a situation where the United States, Japan, China, Russia and South Korea have sat down with it at the negotiating table in a bid to persuade it not to build weapons. Sometimes, the great powers give North Korea money and food to persuade it not to develop weapons. It sometimes agrees to a halt, but then resumes its nuclear activities. It never completes a weapon, but it frequently threatens to test one. And when it carries out such tests, it claims its tests are directed at the United States and South Korea, as if the test itself were a threat.

There is brilliance in North Korea's strategy. When the Soviet Union collapsed, North Korea was left in dire economic straits. There were reasonable expectations that its government would soon collapse, leading to the unification of the Korean Peninsula. Naturally, the goal of the North Korean government was regime survival, so it was terrified that outside powers would invade or support an uprising against it. It needed a strategy that would dissuade anyone from trying that. Being weak in every sense, this wasn't going to be easy, but the North Koreans developed a strategy that we described more than 10 years ago as ferocious, weak and crazy. North Korea has pursued this course since the 1990s, and the latest manifestation of this strategy was on display last week. The strategy has worked marvelously and is still working.

A Three-Part Strategy

First, the North Koreans positioned themselves as ferocious by appearing to have, or to be on the verge of having, devastating power. Second, they positioned themselves as being weak such that no matter how ferocious they are, there would be no point in pushing them because they are going to collapse anyway. And third, they positioned themselves as crazy, meaning pushing them would be dangerous since they were liable to engage in the greatest risks imaginable at the slightest provocation.

In the beginning, Pyongyang's ability to appear ferocious was limited to the North Korean army's power to shell Seoul. It had massed artillery along the border and could theoretically devastate the southern capital, assuming the North had enough ammunition, its artillery worked and air power didn't lay waste to its massed artillery. The point was not that it was going to level Seoul but that it had the ability to do so. There were benefits to outsiders in destabilizing the northern regime, but Pyongyang's ferocity -- uncertain though its capabilities were -- was enough to dissuade South Korea and its allies from trying to undermine the regime. Its later move to develop missiles and nuclear weapons followed from the strategy of ferocity -- since nothing was worth a nuclear war, enraging the regime by trying to undermine it wasn't worth the risk.

Many nations have tried to play the ferocity game, but the North Koreans added a brilliant and subtle twist to it: being weak. The North Koreans advertised the weakness of their economy, particularly its food insecurity, by various means. This was not done overtly, but by allowing glimpses of its weakness. Given the weakness of its economy and the difficulty of life in North Korea, there was no need to risk trying to undermine the North. It would collapse from its own defects.

This was a double inoculation. The North Koreans' ferocity with weapons whose effectiveness might be questionable, but still pose an unquantifiable threat, caused its enemies to tread carefully. Why risk unleashing its ferocity when its weakness would bring it down? Indeed, a constant debate among Western analysts over the North's power versus its weakness combines to paralyze policymakers.

The North Koreans added a third layer to perfect all of this. They portrayed themselves as crazy, working to appear unpredictable, given to extravagant threats and seeming to welcome a war. Sometimes, they reaffirmed they were crazy via steps like sinking South Korean ships for no apparent reason. As in poker, so with the North: You can play against many sorts of players, from those who truly understand the odds to those who are just playing for fun, but never, ever play poker against a nut. He is totally unpredictable, can't be gamed, and if you play with his head you don't know what will happen.

So long as the North Koreans remained ferocious, weak and crazy, the best thing to do was not irritate them too much and not to worry what kind of government they had. But being weak and crazy was the easy part for the North; maintaining its appearance of ferocity was more challenging. Not only did the North Koreans have to keep increasing their ferocity, they had to avoid increasing it so much that it overpowered the deterrent effect of their weakness and craziness.

A Cautious Nuclear Program

Hence, we have North Korea's eternal nuclear program. It never quite produces a weapon, but no one can be sure whether a weapon might be produced. Due to widespread perceptions that the North Koreans are crazy, it is widely believed they might rush to complete their weapon and go to war at the slightest provocation. The result is the United States, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea holding meetings with North Korea to try to persuade it not to do something crazy.

Interestingly, North Korea never does anything significant and dangerous, or at least not dangerous enough to break the pattern. Since the Korean War, North Korea has carefully calculated its actions, timing them to avoid any move that could force a major reaction. We see this caution built into its nuclear program. After more than a decade of very public ferocity, the North Koreans have not come close to a deliverable weapon. But since if you upset them, they just might, the best bet has been to tread lightly and see if you can gently persuade them not to do something insane.

The North's positioning is superb: Minimal risky action sufficient to lend credibility to its ferocity and craziness plus endless rhetorical threats maneuvers North Korea into being a major global threat in the eyes of the great powers. Having won themselves this position, the North Koreans are not about to risk it, even if a 20-something leader is hurling threats.

The China Angle and the Iranian Pupil

There is, however, a somewhat more interesting dimension emerging. Over the years, the United States, Japan and South Korea have looked to the Chinese to intercede and persuade the North Koreans not to do anything rash. This diplomatic pattern has established itself so firmly that we wonder what the actual Chinese role is in all this. China is currently engaged in territorial disputes with U.S. allies in the South and East China seas. Whether anyone would or could go to war over islands in these waters is dubious, but the situation is still worth noting.

The Chinese and the Japanese have been particularly hostile toward one another in recent weeks in terms of rhetoric and moving their ships around. A crisis in North Korea, particularly one in which the North tested a nuclear weapon, would inevitably initiate the diplomatic dance whereby the Americans and Japanese ask the Chinese to intercede with the North Koreans. The Chinese would oblige. This is not a great effort for them, since having detonated a nuclear device, the North isn't interested in doing much more. In fact, Pyongyang will be drawing on the test's proverbial fallout for some time. The Chinese are calling in no chits with the North Koreans, and the Americans and Japanese -- terribly afraid of what the ferocious, weak, crazy North Koreans will do next -- will be grateful to China for defusing the "crisis." And who could be so churlish as to raise issues on trade or minor islands when China has used its power to force North Korea to step down?

It is impossible for us to know what the Chinese are thinking, and we have no overt basis for assuming the Chinese and North Koreans are collaborating, but we do note that China has taken an increasing interest in stabilizing North Korea. For its part, North Korea has tended to stage these crises -- and their subsequent Chinese interventions -- at quite useful times for Beijing.

It should also be noted that other countries have learned the ferocious, weak, crazy maneuver from North Korea. Iran is the best pupil. It has convincingly portrayed itself as ferocious via its nuclear program, endlessly and quite publicly pursuing its program without ever quite succeeding. It is also persistently seen as weak, perpetually facing economic crises and wrathful mobs of iPod-wielding youths. Whether Iran can play the weakness card as skillfully as North Korea remains unclear -- Iran just doesn't have the famines North Korea has.

Additionally, Iran's rhetoric at times can certainly be considered crazy: Tehran has carefully cultivated perceptions that it would wage nuclear war even if this meant the death of all Iranians. Like North Korea, Iran also has managed to retain its form of government and its national sovereignty. Endless predictions of the fall of the Islamic republic to a rising generation have proved false.

I do not mean to appear to be criticizing the "ferocious, weak and crazy" strategy. When you are playing a weak hand, such a strategy can yield demonstrable benefits. It preserves regimes, centers one as a major international player and can wring concessions out of major powers. It can be pushed too far, however, when the fear of ferocity and craziness undermines the solace your opponents find in your weakness.

Diplomacy is the art of nations achieving their ends without resorting to war. It is particularly important for small, isolated nations to survive without going to war. As in many things, the paradox of appearing willing to go to war in spite of all rational calculations can be the foundation for avoiding war. It is a sound strategy, and for North Korea and Iran, for the time being at least, it has worked.

VinVega
03-25-13, 09:16 AM
B.A.'s video broke the thread, so I deleted the post. We can now resume posting in this riveting thread.