Despite repeated warnings not to, the Chonger decided yesterday to launch six missiles, including one Taepodong-2 missile, which reportedly failed less than a minute after launch. According to the article linked above, there was a seventh launch as well.
From the article:
The president named North Korea, along with Iran and Iraq, in his "axis of evil," yet has focused most of his attention on the later (sic) two nations even though Pyongyang claims it already has nuclear weapons.
"The American officials have said that if the North Koreans proceed with a test, there are going to be consequences," said Robert Einhorn, former assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation in the Clinton administration and chief U.S. negotiator with North Korea from
1996 to 2000. "If there aren't consequenses, the Bush administration is going to look like a paper tiger."
I don't necessarily agree with that synopsis in whole, but this is something that has been coming for a while. The administration has certainly spent the lion's share of its attention with two nations who did not have nuclear capability and basically ignored North Korea, which, as I've mentioned before, is a nation that suffered 2 MILLION fewer in population between 1994 and 2004, whose principal domestic products are opium, heroin, and counterfeit cigarettes, who admittedly has nuclear weapons, has threatened to use them, who is responsible for the submarine incident, the crab war, the poplar tree, the bombings of ROK ambassadors, kidnapping of japanese women, etc. This is a country where it's against the law to be out of a job, but there's not enough work for everyone; the average prisoner's daily food ration is about 20 kernels of corn and maybe some rice; a country who has followed none of the agreements it has made in return for light water reactors, food aid, medical aid, etc.
This is a country that needed a regime change more than any other. Yet we invaded Iraq before we finished the hunt for Bin Laden, and now we're stuck in both, despite the repeated statements to the effect of we've turned a corner, we're nearing the end, they're in their last throes, etc. We don't really have the resources to deal with North Korea, and any sanctions we proffer are going to be rather minimal compared to what we invaded Iraq over. This was a calculated move by the DPRK, who was looking for more than bargaining leverage, they wanted to stick it to the U.S..