Obama Should Shoot Down North Korea's Missile
Vice President Biden once warned that the world would "test" Barack Obama. According to a multitude of reports, that slimy toad Kim Jong Il will be the first to take up the challenge. North Korea is preparing a launch of its Taepodong-2 long-range missile, which would constitute an unjustified provocation from North Korea, although it would be entirely consistent with Kim's previous patterns of behavior.
Victor D. Cha, the former director for Asian affairs in Bush's White House, describes these North Korean escalations as "coercive bargaining" in his 2003 book Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies. Cha explains:
These provocations are deliberate pinpricks -- i.e., they fall short of all-out war but are serious enough to rattle the allies and raise concerns about escalation. Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo are thus manipulated into the awkward position of wanting to respond punitively to DPRK misbehavior, but are constrained by fears of provoking an unnecessary and costly larger conflict. As a result, the allies usually issue a denouncement of the DPRK act, but still come to the negotiating table to reduce tensions. From Pyongyang's perspective, the purpose of these provocations is not to win some military advantage but to create a crisis, disrupting the status quo and initiating a coercive bargaining process that eventuates in a new status quo on current or new negotiations more favorable to the North.
It is high time we stop playing Kim's game. There is no better person than a new president -- and no better time than an economic crisis -- to take serious and swift action against such a tyrannical despot hell bent on nuclear proliferation.
In short, we should blow the North Korean missile out of the sky. Here's why:
Struggling through an economic downturn, Americans are more worried and anxious about domestic issues. The world's tyrants sense this and look on advantageously. Additionally, President Obama is perceived around the world as a borderline pacifist. His is not only a new, untested administration, but he himself is a new, inexperienced face on the international scene. (In case you're wondering, the tyrants like that, too.)
Kim Jong Il no doubt feels more comfortable provoking Obama than he would have, say, John McCain. It should be President Obama's mission, then, to force Kim out of his comfort zone by taking a hard line against Pyongyang. Standing up to North Korea in a brazen fashion would be unexpected at this time and would be unexpected from this administration. It would come as a surprise to Kim's inner circle -- and to dictators all over the globe -- which is all the more reason why Obama should consider doing it.