December 12, 2012

North Korea’s firing of a long-range missile confirms the complete failure of the Obama administration and, to be fair, the Clinton and Bush administrations to curb the tyrannical regime in Pyongyang. The Post reports: “With its apparent successful launch Wednesday of a satellite into orbit, North Korea showed off an improving weapons program that Washington and its allies have struggled so far to curb, despite heavy international sanctions . . . . [T]he North does as it pleases, relying on domestic and illegally imported technology, in part because it has little fear about further international condemnation, some security analysts said.”


Posters on a Pyongyang street tout slogans of the North Korean government. (Jean H. Lee/Associated Press)

A senior Senate aide involved in national security matters had a sober take. He told me, “This is a reminder of the ever-growing importance of our ballistic missile defenses against long-range threats. North Korea and Iran are working toward a credible intercontinental ballistic missile threat against America. You can be certain North Korea will share all the data and lessons learned from this test. It’s more critical than ever to fund additional missile defense interceptors for Alaska and California, and to fully fund an East Coast intercept site.”

Critics of the administration were both unsurprised and grim. Former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton e-mailed me this morning: “This successful launch represents a substantial step forward for North Korea’s project to create a deliverable nuclear weapons capability. It proves that the Obama strategy of ignoring foreign threats, hoping they will go away, will not work. Neither will slashing our national missile defense program and the overall defense budget.”

Indeed, the effort to woo North Korea with promises of food aid and its leaders’ pledges to allow monitoring of nuclear facilities, championed by, among other people, Undersecretary for Political Affairs in the State Department Wendy Sherman, has been revealed as a farce — over and over again. Likewise, our efforts to cuddle up to China in hopes it would restrain its neighbor have been, we clearly see, useless.

Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute was blunt. She tells me: “We have no influence on North Korea. This is what things will look like with Iran. This should help people understand what ‘containment’ looks like. It looks like weapons testing, proliferation, intimidation and blackmail.”

This incident should also remind us that the regime is far more grotesque than the moniker “family-run government” would suggest. (It’s not exactly the local hardware store.) “Struggles with food shortages” is one way to describe the intentional starvation of the North Korean people so as to give the corrupt regime and military every luxury. “Prison camps” doesn’t really describe the death camps reportedly victimizing some 200,000 souls and from which no one emerges (other than the rare escapee). It is important to be crystal-clear about the nature of the regime we are facing, the degree of evil it perpetrates and the moral and geopolitical urgency of regime change.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.