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North Korea Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Fails Miserably

Illustration for article titled North Korea Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Fails Miserably

According to the US Northern Command, the infamous North Korean launch of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile—which went over Japan terrifying Brian Ashcraft—has been a complete failure, with its payload falling into the Pacific Ocean:

NORAD and USNORTHCOM monitor North Korean launch

April 05, 2009

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command officials acknowledged today that North Korea launched a Taepo Dong 2 missile at 10:30 p.m. EDT Saturday which passed over the Sea of Japan/East Sea and the nation of Japan.

Stage one of the missile fell into the Sea of Japan/East Sea. The remaining stages along with the payload itself landed in the Pacific Ocean.

No object entered orbit and no debris fell on Japan.

NORAD and USNORTHCOM assessed the space launch vehicle as not a threat to North America or Hawaii and took no action in response to this launch.

This is all of the information that will be provided by NORAD and USNORTHCOM pertaining to the launch.

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Apparently, their rocket technology is not really there yet, and the second stage never separated or ignited, according to Defense Tech's analysis. And that's yet another pathetic failure by the North Korean clowns, boys and girls. Maybe Kim Yong-il and the rest of his gang should develop pork buns for their starving population, rather ICBMs. [Northern Command via Defense Tech]

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DISCUSSION

The other view would be that whether the launch was technically a "success" or a "failure", they achieved exactly what they set out to accomplish. Everything after the button was pushed was simply icing on the cake.

North Korea is partially motivated by making a point within its borders, and partially motivated by making a point within its borders. Within, it lets the regime bask in the glory of having proceeded with its stated intention despite pressure from the US, South Korea, Japan and other nations. The rocket was not shot down as was initially threatened (but later modified) by both the US and Japan. It lets them air footage of the launch to the citizens and claim "successful" outcome. This acts to strengthen the regimes control over the citizens, the government, and the military.

To the outside world, it demonstrates some level of continued progress on what is already considered a threat of various levels. The US and Japan both initially stated that they would shoot down a launch. North Korea proceeded as promised, the other countries did not. This is simply one in a long series of strategic actions in which North Korea has followed through with stated plans and called the bluff of the other powers who have failed to follow through.

Calling the launch a technical "success" or "failure" is completely irrelevant. This was purely a success for the North Korean regime, and purely a failure for the US, South Korea, and Japan. They anticipated the political inability of the three countries to react militarily, thumbed their nose at the hollow threats and followed through with their stated intentions. They know China will veto any UN resolution to punish them in any substantial manner, so they knew they had everything to gain and nothing to lose. They very clearly demonstrated our inability to control them, despite our "power".