Pictures now show the North Korean Taepodong 2 missile sitting on the launch pad, ready for fueling and launch within the next two weeks. Predictably, this has caused considerable concern from both Japan and South Korea – but also from the United States, who is also technically within range of the nuclear-capable missile. Though the West cost is just out of reach, both Alaska and Hawaii are within the extended range – as is Northern Australia, which makes you wonder why they’ve been so silent.
Japan has already positioned interceptors on both naval vessels and Japan’s west coast – even pulling missile defenses out of Tokyo to put them within better range of the latest threat. The US has also dispatched ships to the region, and the missile detection facility in Alaska is expected to assist in any attempted intercept.
Its encouraging to see the US taking this threat seriously, but I question the decision to wait for an actual test to occur. Though our intercept technology has improved significantly since the days of President Reagan’s “star wars” proposal, we’re still known to miss one every now and then – and that suggests that the best way to defend against this missile would be to take it out before it even gets off the ground. Yes, it would be provocative – but so is butting the thing on the pad in the first place.
The United States has a wide military arsenal that could be used to take out the missile before it even got out of the ground – from its own missiles to planes to, well, whatever they DON’T tell us about. A night raid or attack launched from a ship would likely succeed without too much of a risk for Americans.
Probably better to blow that thing out of existence before they find out they finally got it right.