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Worst Birthday Present Ever?

Despite warnings from the United States, the UN, and virtually every major power in Asia, North Korea yesterday went ahead with its planned long-range missile launch. The missile, which supposedly had the capability to reach as far as Australia, fell apart less than two minutes after take-off. It was a serious embarrassment for Pyongyang, which had invited international reporters to view the launch.

North Korean officials claimed the launch was intended as a celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-Sung, the country’s late founder. In reality, the launch probably had more to do with attempts by the newly installed Kim Jong-Un to shore up support within the regime.

Despite its abject failure, the launch is a setback for the most recent diplomatic efforts of the Obama Administration, which is learning the same lesson as its predecessors: North Korea simply cannot be trusted. According to CNN:

The Obama administration says the launch prevents the United States from following through on a deal reached in February to provide much needed food aid to North Korea.

“U.S. delivery of food aid is contingent on our ability to monitor the delivery of that assistance so it goes to North Korea people who are starving and not to elites or the military,” a senior administration official said. “North Korea’s provocations make it impossible to have confidence that those monitoring-agreements can be implemented.”

Despite the seriousness of the situation, Via Meadia couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of nefarious thugs transformed into global laughingstocks. To be fair to the North Koreans, the fact that the missile lasted 90 seconds is a step up from 2006, when a similar rocket plummeted into the ocean after a mere 40 seconds after launch. At this rate, they might be able to crack the two-minute barrier before the end of the decade.

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  • Bill

    Before laughing too hard, review the success of the early Redstone project in the US. It didn’t really take very long after those early failures to be putting men on the moon.

  • Walter Sobchak

    So what is the life expectancy of the chief engineer on the NK missile project?

  • Jim.

    It’s quite a step down from one of their launches earlier in the aughts, though. That one wasn’t nearly so funny.

    So either their engineers and missile manufacturers are getting worse, their management is getting sloppy with schedule pressure, or (if you’re really paranoid) they’re actually trying to lull us into thinking that they don’t actually have anything that could hit California.

    So what’s the deal? Looks like the stages separated at the wrong time, or something?

  • Lorenz Gude

    The NORKs make Mugabe look good.

  • Corlyss

    In the end, the NoKo missile turned out to be just another Chinese rocket set off to celebrate an occasion.

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