William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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NORTH KOREA – AT 8:56 A.M. ET:  How well we remember the clownish Jimmy Carter and his trips to North Korea in the 1990s, assuring us that all would be well.

How well we remember former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visiting North Korea – hey, a diplomatic breakthrough – and doing a little dance with North Korean children.

How well we remember Democratic "diplomat" Bill Richardson, who has never been right on anything, engaging in optimistic "diplomacy" with the North.

Surely all that talk would get us somewhere, right?  No North Korean nukes.  No ICBMs.

The actual result:  North Korea has the bomb, and, as of yesterday, it has a functional long-range missile.  Yesterday's launch of a multi-stage rocket, no matter how old the technology, places North Korea in a new category.  And how will the free nations react?  Led by that dynamic lead-from-behind statesman, Barack Nobel Peace Prize Obama, we will probably send a letter. 

This is a very big deal.  From AP, via Fox:

North Korea successfully fired a long-range rocket on Wednesday, defying international warnings as the regime of Kim Jong Un took a big step forward in its quest to develop a nuclear missile.

While the rocket launch will enhance the credentials of young leader Kim, who took power after his father Kim Jong Il's death a year ago, it is also likely to bring fresh sanctions against the country and further complicate relations between North Korea, its neighbors, and the West.

Oh, I'm so impressed.  Those sanctions really worked, didn't they?   Just they way they're working with Iran.

The United States, South Korea and Japan were quick to condemn the morning launch, which they see as a test of technology needed to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile that could one day threaten the U.S. Pyongyang says it was merely a peaceful effort to put a satellite into orbit.

Even China, North Korea's closest ally, expressed "regret" that North Korea went ahead with the launch "in spite of the extensive concerns of international community," said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei.
The White House called it a "highly provocative act that threatens regional security."

The timing of the launch came as something of a surprise after Pyongyang had indicated technical problems might delay it. That it succeeded after several failed attempts was an even greater surprise.

Oh, such a surprise.  It's like those "unexpected" economic reports that we've seen, month after month.  You'll notice that many journalists have a small vocabulary.

"North Korea will now turn its attention to developing bigger rockets with heavier payloads," said Chae Yeon-seok, a rocket expert at South Korea's state-run Korea Aerospace Research Institute. "Its ultimate aim will be putting a nuclear warhead on the tip."

I am shocked, shocked, that they would do such a thing.

The Unha-3 rocket fired just before 10 a.m. local time, and was detected heading south by a South Korean destroyer patrolling the Yellow Sea. Japanese officials said the first rocket stage fell into the Yellow Sea west of the Korean Peninsula; a second stage fell into the Philippine Sea hundreds of miles farther south.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, later confirmed that North Korea did appear to have put an object into space. "Initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit," NORAD said in a statement.

About two hours after the launch, North Korea's state media proclaimed it a success, prompting dancing in the streets of the capital. State media called it a "momentous event" in the country's scientific development.
Rocket tests are seen as crucial to advancing North Korea's nuclear weapons ambitions. Pyongyang is thought to have a handful of rudimentary nuclear bombs, but experts believe it lacks the ability to make a warhead small enough to mount on a missile that could threaten the United States.

COMMENT:  Yeah, right.  Let's continue doubting.  And those blind Japanese couldn't find their way to Pearl Harbor either.  And how could a ragtag bunch of terrorists living in Afghan caves pull off an attack on skyscrapers in the United States?

I love the term "rudimentary" nuclear bomb.  Would you like to be hit by one?  Do you think you'd survive because it's "rudimentary."  Some of the usual suspects were on TV last night ridiculing the North Korean rocket because it's based on old Soviet technology.

Worked, didn't it?

December 12,  2012