By all accounts, President Obama, Europe, and the UN Security Council have completely flunked the latest test put forward by North Korea. Not only did they allow the launch – which was in clear violation of UN mandates – to go forward, but it now appears that further UN action will be weak. Unless the newest round of sanctions contains authorization for the United States to another nation to use military action to enforce the no-missile-launches restriction, the time for diplomacy will have passed.
As with other nations – most notably the Saddam Hussein-era Iraq – who have been placed under UN sanctions, there has been little success in stemming the dangerous and provocative behavior from the tyrannical regime. Despite the warnings from the US, Europe, Japan, and even China, to the North against going ahead with the launch, while most in the US were asleep, the Taepodong-2 missile left the pad and ended up crashing somewhere over the pacific ocean.
Despite this failure to put the actual satallite (if there ever was one) into orbit, its likely that this launch provided the North Koreans (and whichever other anti-American nations they choose) with valuable data about their missile – data that can be used to improve the chances of success on the next attempt, as well as develop even more advanced rockets that could extend the range all the way into the mainland US. The current rocket already has the capability to reach Alaska, and is extremely close to being able to reach Hawaii. Improvements could extend the range into California, Washington State, and beyond. Add that to the capability to place a nuclear warhead on the missile, and you have a very dangerous threat to the United States – one that can now, it seems, only be avoided through the threat and use of military force to eliminate the production, transport, and launch of future missiles.