North Korea's ICBMs and Our Words, Words, Words
As a general rule, there's no call for obscene language in public discourse -- especially from those who serve in the White House. By any workaday standard, Wednesday's "profanity-laced rant" to the New Yorker by the new White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, was way out of line.
But when North Korea on Friday tested yet another intercontinental ballistic missile, and the U.S., United Nations and European Union all responded with the same old diplomatic robo-phrases -- condemning, rejecting, expecting (we all know this routine) -- it hit me that there might be at least one good use for such verbal talents as Scaramucci's. Don't spend that passion (or whatever it was) on trashing fellow Americans, or boosting circulation for the New Yorker. Target North Korea.
I'm only half kidding. As far as words might matter in dealing with North Korea, something other than the usual script is way overdue. Friday's missile test was North Korea's second ICBM launch this month, carried out in violation of multiple United Nations sanctions, and with braggart malevolence toward America and its allies. North Korean authorities described the previous ICBM launch, on July 4th, as a "gift package" which they said was "addressed to none other than the U.S."
North Korea's regime has a record that implies it should not be allowed to possess butter knives, let alone nuclear missiles. Actually, the Pyongyang regime has a record that ever more strongly signals it should not be allowed to exist at all, and the sooner it goes, the better. North Korea's dynastic despotism, currently embodied in Kim Jong Un, has sustained itself over the years by enslaving its own people and terrorizing, abducting and murdering others; counterfeiting foreign currencies; peddling weapons; practicing nuclear extortion; and wheeling and dealing in nuclear and missile technology with networks including Pakistan, Syria and Iran.
Kim Jong Un has presided over the execution of his own uncle, the assassination with VX nerve agent of his half-brother, and the horrifying arrest and abuse that ultimately killed a young American tourist, Otto Warmbier. Since Kim Jong Un inherited power more than five years ago, following the death in Dec., 2011 of his father, Kim Jong Il, North Korea has carried out a staggering number of ballistic missiles tests, plus three of its five nuclear tests to date (one in 2013 and two in 2016, following tests under his father in 2006 and 2009). North Korea has already prepared the site for a sixth nuclear test, and is now amassing a nuclear arsenal and honing those ICBMs with which it is threatening to strike the United States.
In sum, a second North Korean ICBM test in a month is seriously bad news. This must stop.