By Matthew Vadum
Less than six months into Donald Trump’s presidency America has awakened to the nightmare of a North Korea armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles that the Trump administration says are capable of reaching Alaska.
U.S., South Korean, and Japanese officials say the North Korean Hwasong-14 ICBM flew approximately 580 miles in 40 minutes and achieved an altitude of 1,500 miles, besting previously reported North Korean test results. North Korea’s successful but unexpected test is a sobering reminder of how urgently the United States needs to ramp up its antiballistic missile program after years of reckless military downsizing by the Obama administration.
The North Korean launch was “the big story we have all been waiting for,” Professor Bruce Bechtol of Angelo State University in Texas told Fox News on Tuesday. “All of the paradigms have changed. It is now time to see what action the USA will take.”
The missile was apparently launched from a mobile launcher, which “nearly destroys our warning time and also means that the North Koreans have a real shot at launching this system at us without us being able to destroy it on the ground.”
North Korea also carried out a successful ballistic missile test on May 14, and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency conducted its first successful interception of an ICBM on May 30. A long-range ground-based interceptor missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California hit and destroyed the ICBM launched from the U.S. Army’s Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
This idea of missile defense, oft-compared to trying to shoot a bullet with another bullet, grew out of President Reagan’s Strategic Defensive Initiative (SDI), derided by left-wingers at the time and for years after as “Star Wars.” Unsurprisingly, Barack Obama used to scoff at the idea that a missile could take out another missile.
Meanwhile, Monday evening after news of the successful Hwasong-14 ICBM test broke, President Trump took to Twitter.
North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!
Apparently, “this guy” refers to dictator Kim Jong-un. Communist China has been propping up Kim’s dictatorship for years. The Trump administration wants China to push its North Korean ally harder to scrap its nuclear weapons program.
During Independence Day remarks at a picnic for military families on the South Lawn of the White House Trump did not refer to North Korea’s activities but said, “we do have challenges, but we will handle those challenges. Believe me.”
How did we get to this dangerous juncture in world affairs?
Blame the Left. After all, it’s not rocket science.
While left-wingers in Washington were busy reaching out to Islamofascists and projecting American weakness on the international scene over the eight long years of Barack Obama’s presidency, Kim Jong-il and his heir Kim Jong-un were busy transforming their Stalinist hellhole of a country into a nuclear power. They were aided not just by the permissive Obama administration, which did more or less nothing to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, but also years earlier by the enabling Clinton administration.
In 1994 Bill Clinton unveiled an agreement between the U.S. and North Korea that he claimed would achieve “an end to the threat of nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula.” Under the deal, North Korea “agreed to freeze its existing nuclear program and to accept international inspection of all existing facilities,” Clinton said at the time. The pact “is good for the United States, good for our allies, and good for the safety of the entire world.”
But Americans are finally being disabused of left-wing arms control fantasies, and fortunately, after eight years of dithering and appeasement, we now have a president who actually wants to defend the country from external threats.
And alongside President Trump there are serious adults in the White House and Foggy Bottom willing to respond with an appropriate show of force to the latest provocation from Pyongyang and take other necessary action.
While American and South Korean forces conducted joint ballistic missile drills following the North’s ICBM test, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said yesterday that the U.S. government would “never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea.” He urged countries around the world to fully enforce UN sanctions against the rogue nation, saying “global action is required to stop a global threat.”
Pentagon spokesman Dana White said “we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies and to use the full range of capabilities at our disposal against the growing threat from North Korea.”
The UN Security Council may convene an emergency meeting as soon as today. On Twitter, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley demonstrated her exasperation at having to devote her Independence Day holiday to emergency consultations by using the hashtag “#ThanksNorthKorea.”
Haley doesn’t have it quite right. If she wants to sarcastically “thank” anybody for the North Korean ICBM test, she should be “thanking” Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, whose suspect policies helped a pariah nation join the nuclear club.