Obama Should Have Shot Down North Korea's Missile

Michael Mazza thinks the US has been too timid in dealing with Pyongyang

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 13, 2012 12:21 PM CST

(Newser) – North Korea has successfully tested what appears to be an intercontinental ballistic missile, "underscoring the failure of two decades of US policy," Michael Mazza writes for the Diplomat. "How Washington expected to halt Pyongyang's missile development program without taking serious steps to do so remains a mystery." The administration is sticking with a routine that "has all but failed," in which it issues warnings before a launch, and sanctions afterward. Mazza believes President Obama should have gone a step further, and shot the rocket down.

This launch, coming so soon after April's, indicates that the regime is actually serious about developing missiles, and not just using them to extort the West. Striking now would have shaken confidence in Kim Jong Un, and "undermined what is perhaps the regime's greatest myth—that it is powerful and feared abroad. Now that myth has been reinforced." Yes, shooting down the missile would have been provocative. "But no more so than North Korea's decision to launch. Indeed, it would have been the only proportional response." Click for Mazza's full column.

This still frame made of video shows a display of the Unha-3 rocket launch at North Korea's space agency's General Launch Command Center on the outskirts of Pyongyang, Dec. 12, 2012.
This still frame made of video shows a display of the Unha-3 rocket launch at North Korea's space agency's General Launch Command Center on the outskirts of Pyongyang, Dec. 12, 2012.   (AP Photo via APTN)
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