Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

What is North Korea thinking?

Posted by sanityinjection on June 19, 2009

Sometimes you have to wonder what is going through the minds of the North Korean leadership. Especially with the latest report from Japanese intelligence that North Korea plans to launch a missile at Hawaii on July 4, America’s Independence Day.

Part of it may be testing the new American President to see if he can be pushed around. Part of it may be a pattern of aggressive blustering to draw attention away from internal instability surrounding a possible transfer of power from Kim Jong Il to his son. But the missile launch still seems like a loony idea. With an effective range of about 4,000 miles, the North Korean Taepodong-2 would almost certainly fall harmlessly into the sea if not intercepted by the US first (which might be necessary if it carries a nuclear or chemical payload.) In any case it is unlikely to present a significant threat to America.

And even if the missile did hit Hawaii – what better way to galvanize US public opinion behind a strong military response to North Korea – which doesn’t exist now and is the very thing North Korea presumably doesn’t want – than an attack on US soil? Remember the unity in this country for a few months after 9-11?

I cannot help but be reminded of a 20th century novella – later made into a movie – called “The Mouse That Roared”. In that book, a tiny European principality, faced with an insurmountable budget crisis, takes the extreme step of declaring war on the United States. Their expectation is that they will quickly be defeated and then the US will spend billions to rebuild their country.

Is that what North Korea is thinking? That the best way to feed their starving people and fix their dysfunctional society would be to let the US defeat them in war and then be obligated to rebuild their country? I doubt it. No country having seen the devastation in Iraq would be likely to volunteer for that role. But it certainly would make for an intriguing conspiracy novel.

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