So who looks more foolish here?
A. Kim Jong-Il for staging a July 4th fireworks display that blew up in his face;
B. William Perry and Ash Carter for hyperventilating that we had to blow up this missile on the launch pad, instead of waiting for it to blow itself up 40 seconds after launch;
C. All those reporter who repeated the Pentagon palbum about how until the launch failure “we were ready to do what was necessary to defend the country,” as if the interceptors in Alaska had any chance of intercepting anything; or
D. All of the above.
You can guess my choice.
Let’s be clear what this means. The North Korean have now blown it by actually testing a system that was always worth much more as a bargaining chip than as a military capability. Continued attempts to hype the threat (by either the DPRK or the National Missile Defense Agency) will now be much harder to make with a straight face. (Good thing the Senate added funds to the anti-missile program last week, before it became clear Kim was drawing to an inside straight). Finally, all those reporters and analysts who have been talking about both the North Korean missiles and the US anti-missiles as if both were proven capabilities should slap themselves in the face and snap out of it.
Remember the 1995 NIE on the ballistic missile threat to the United States? The one that said that any country other than Russia or China was a good 15 years away from the ability to strike America with a ballistic missile? The one that drove the Gingrich Republicans so nuts that they created the 1998 Rumsfeld Commission that predicted such a capability within 5 years and then pressured the intelligence agencies to conform their assesments to the party line?
Doesn’t look so bad eleven years later, does it?