Saturday, April 14, 2012

North Korean Launch Fails

See the report at the Wall Street Journal, "Pyongyang Admits Test of Rocket Collapses; U.S. Condemns 'Provocative Action'."

And from the editors, "A Pyongyang Joke" (via Google):
North Korea's declared intention in launching a ballistic missile Friday morning was to place a satellite in orbit to mark the 100th birthday of Kim Il Sung, the regime's founder. After the missile's failure 80 seconds into its flight, current leader Kim Jong Eun will have to come up with some other firecracker for his grandfather, probably another nuclear test. Maybe that will fizzle, too.

The missile failure is now being portrayed as a crashing humiliation for the North, particularly after it had invited foreign media to inspect the launch site. No doubt it represents a loss of face for the young Kim and his military machine, which spent an estimated $450 million on the missile. That the North admitted the failure to its people over state TV may also suggest that the Great Successor's political grip isn't firm.

Then again, more than the North Koreans should feel humiliated by the launch. It was only in February that the Obama Administration struck a deal with Pyongyang, offering 240,000 metric tons of food aid over the next year in exchange for the usual promises of good nuclear behavior. We warned at the time that the North was certain to break the deal. They did so within weeks.

Why they broke their word as quickly as they did is a good question. Maybe it reflects the regime's internal power dynamics—or maybe the North figures it can extract a bigger bribe if it first indulges in some outrageous behavior. It won't be the first time they've played that game to profitable effect.

Whatever the case, the North's decision to launch is also an indication of its disdain for the protests of the U.S. and its allies...
Read it all at that top link.

BONUS: From Dana Pico, "The First Street Journal scoops everybody, with the first film of the failed North Korean rocket launch."