Saturday, March 28, 2009

Our Technology is Willing; Political Will is Non-Existent

Our latest article for looks at the potential intercept of North Korea's TD-2 missile, set for launch in early April. As a veteran missile defense executive told us, the chances of a successful shoot down are "very good," based availability of "layered" defenses and recent technological improvements.

Unfortunately, American political will is sorely lacking. Secretary of State Clinton rejected the intercept option earlier this week, saying that the U.S. will address the launch "through the appropriate channels." In other words, we'll run it through the U.N. Security Council, which will (probably) pass another meaningless resolution.

Listen carefully, and you'll hear the sound of Kim Jong-il yawning.


lgude said...

I'm not shocked. I don't know if shooting down the troll's missile or keeping our powder dry is the best way to go or not, but saying in advance that we are going through appropriate channels is to lend legitimacy to the illegitimate.

PCSSEPA said...

WWCLD? What Would Curtis LeMay Do?
You can only reason with reasonable people. You have to smack those with whom you can't reason. It's amateur hour at Foggy Bottom and the White House. Party on Barry.

Paul Gordon said...

If the administration has no intention of attempting a shoot-down, will they try to block any attempt by the Japanese?

Unknown said...

Paul--I'm guessing the administration has tried to arm-twist the Japanese, with no success.

Fact is, Tokyo has been upset with our policy toward North Korea for some time; dating back to Bush #43, they view us as far too accomodating, and willing to overlook blatant agreement violations by the DPRK. They're also upset over the kidnapping of Japanese citizens by the Norks, dating back to the 1970s. Many of those victims have never been accounted for.

Believe me, Japan would prefer for the U.S. to take the lead on this issue. But in the absence of American leadership, the Japanese are doing what they must to (a) protect their territory and citizens, and (b) send a message to the DPRK.

As the poster above you pointed out, it really is amateur hour at the State Dept and White House. The missile issue is just the tip of the iceberg. Wait until North Korea launches a "nuclear breakout" and begins full-scale weapons production. At that point, it's virtually guaranteed that South Korea and Taiwan launch their own programs, and I wouldn't bet against Japan either. And, with their advanced educational systems, technological bases and manufacturing capabilities, all could be nuclear powers in less than a year.

Obama and his so-called "national security team" are whistling past the graveyard on this one. Trying to "engage" the DPRK on the missile test is going to lead to a major foreign policy debacle.

Paul Gordon said...

Thanks, Spook86 (Wasn't Maxwell Smart Agent 86? :-)

I personally hope the Japanese DO take a shot at it.

We appear to be on the same page about some things.

After election day I put this up in many comment sections (but failed to stop the Obama juggernaught):
On election day, the Ace of Spades website posted a picture of two Iraqi women, with purple-stained fingers showing they had voted in an election.

It was a "Get Out The Vote" message, noting that whatever hardships or inconveniences YOU may experience by voting, "These women literally risked their lives to vote".

My first reaction to that was, "And THE ONE can hardly wait to sell them out".

One of my biggest worries about Obama is that his rhetoric on Iraq, and rumored comments about Israel, show an almost casual willingness to sell out allies when convenient.

A commenter on another blog asked, “Who appointed us to be their guardians? Why is it America’s job to make sure they are safe?”

I feel the answer is we'd rather not have the entire world as a nuclear-armed camp, based on the idea that the more countries with these things, the greater the chance that some will eventually be used.

Our alliances with these countries are not out of the goodness of our heart, but for our own best interests. Sell one out, and you can bet the others will sure take notice.

That commenter seemed to be saying, “To hell with them; let them take care of themselves!”

Well, the problem there is they might do exactly that, and we might be less than thrilled with the results.

If countries under threat (Taiwan, maybe South Korea, even Japan) think that our word is no longer any good, they’ll almost certainly feel the need for self-sufficiency in nuclear arms as the only real deterrent to someone like China. And note, those countries ALL have the necessary economic, industrial and technical wherewithal to go nuclear. All they need do is make the decision.

Others, in the Middle East will want them to deter Iran. How about Saudi Arabia and Egypt? Maybe Libya decides that abandoning their efforts was a mistake. THOSE countries may lack the technology, but they can certainly afford to finance it.

It could just go on and on.

THAT, I feel, would be a very likely consequence of us deciding to just disengage ourselves from these countries.

We’ve tried successfully, and for a long time, to convince others that they did not need them, because WE would provide the protection of a nuclear umbrella.

When they decide we cannot be relied on, the whole thing unravels.

If that commenter gets his wish, and they DO take care of themselves, it could get real interesting for us as well.

Seeing that we also reside on the same planet, I think it almost impossible we would remain unaffected.

So, standing up for our allies is not merely a nice thing to do; it makes the hardest kind of common sense.

Simply put, we protect others in order to protect ourselves.

Abandoning them, selling them out, would be an unbelievably short-sighted (as in STUPID) thing to do, and would hurt us more in the long run. No one would trust an agreement with us; and why should they, given such a record?

Instead of being worth anything, our word would only be noise.

And that would be tragic, because WE set its' value, by our actions.


Paul Gordon said...

After election day I put this up in many comment sections (but failed to stop the Obama juggernaught):

I meant I tried to stop it with many other posts, unsuccessfully; not with this one that was after election day.

Unfortunately, time travel is not one of my skills. :-(

Storms24 said...

Combine this with the "Clinton seeks stronger China role" (AP story this earlier this week) and you have the makings of a real disaster. In very short order, we've alienated our allies, embarassed ourselves in front of our rivals, and now shown temerity before our enemies. "Change" indeed...

Now, what would really be inspiring is for the Japanese to take a page from the Israeli playbook and launch an early morning raid on the launch site... Realistically that's probably way too provacative. Still, it would be refreshing to see someone take a decisive leadership role in international security.