At 3:17 a.m. Wednesday, with no advance notice, North Korea launched its first ballistic missile since September, but this one was different from the others. After launch from Sain-ni near Pyongyang, the Hwasong-15 soared some 2,800 miles into space and flew for nearly an hour before descending. On a flatter trajectory this projectile could fly for about 8,000 miles. As the headline in the Los Angeles Times put it: “Could a North Korean missile hit Washington? Latest ICBM launch suggests it's possible.” Scientists agreed, but that might have been an understatement.
According to Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis, the launch confirmed North Korea’s ability to strike “anywhere in the world.” The New York Times cited experts who agreed that the North Korean missiles could reach the east cost of the United States, depending on the payload they carried. Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association told the Times that “North Korea is searching for ways to get around the United States’ ability to carry out a pre-emptive nuclear strike.”
Rodger Baker, of Stratfor, explained that North Korea is now fueling missiles horizontally before placement on the launchpad because “this shortens the time from when they become visible to when they go in the air, and makes it less likely that the U.S. will be able to strike before it launches.”
Adam Mount, of the Federation of American Scientists told CNN the North Korean missile should “disabuse US officials from thinking military displays, sanctions, or threats are deterring North Korean tests.” The Stalinist regime has conducted six underground tests, the latest on September 3, but according to Mount, the Trump administration “has to get serious about deterring an atmospheric nuclear test.” And according to the Center for International and Strategic Studies, which the Pyongyang regime is set to ramp up testing in the first half of 2018.
Minutes after the North Korean launch, South Korea carried out a “precision missile strike drill” just minutes after North Korea's launch. As General Mattis explained, that was “to make certain North Korea understands that they could be taken under fire by our ally.”
President Trump was briefed while the North Korean missile was still in the air and told reporters “We will take care of it. It is a situation that we will handle.” Trump has recently put North Korea back on the list of nations that sponsor terrorism, which did not deter the latest missile launch.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters the diplomatic options “remain viable and open, for now,” adding that Canada and the United States would convene a meeting of the United Nations Command, including South Korea and Japan counter North Korea’s “threat to international peace.”
For Democrats, the threat does not come from nuclear weapons in the hands of a genocidal Stalinist dictator, one of the most repressive in history. For the Democratic left, the threat always comes from United States, which they see as the locus of evil in the world. As Jeane Kirkpatrick said, the San Francisco Democrats always blame America first and at present, whatever the problem, they always target president Donald Trump.
In the aftermath of the launch, prominent Democrat Mark Green told Tucker Carlson of Fox News that President Trump could start a nuclear war with his tweets. That is a popular theme with billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer, who seeks to have Trump impeached. On the other hand, the notion that the United States is to blame for the Korean conflict is not new.
Leftist icon I.F. Stone, a Soviet agent who took money from the KGB, authored The Hidden History of the Korean War. This book, first published in 1952, charges that South Korea invaded North Korea, the reverse of what actually happened, and the official Communist Party line since the 1950s. Democratic presidents such as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have appeased North Korea. According to Susan Rice, the POTUS 44 advisor who claimed the Benghazi attack was about a video, “we must, tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea.”
President Trump doesn’t think so, and he is on record that “Rocket Man” Kim Jong-un is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime. Trump’s quest to strengthen the U.S. military takes on new importance in the light of the latest North Korean missile launch. As George Will said, if you enter a conflict with less than the best, you have two choices: bluff or fold.
North Korea is not bluffing, and as the launch confirmed, it has the technology to strike anywhere. For his part, President Trump shows no sign of folding. So what inspector Claude Lebel said to Madame de Montpellier in The Day of the Jackal now applies to the world in general and Kim Jong-un in particular: “be in no doubt as to the seriousness of your position.”