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North Korea Launches Long-Range Rocket 384

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-thing-they-don't-have-oil dept.
virtualXTC writes with news that North Korea, in defiance of international pressure to halt development and testing of long-range weaponry, launched a multi-stage rocket which successfully followed its intended trajectory. The North Korean government claims a weather satellite was placed into orbit. "South Korea has confirmed the launch time, and Japan has confirmed that the rocket went over Okinawa. Two stages of the rocket have successfully avoided other countries and fallen into the sea. While it is still unconfirmed as to whether or not North Korea actually put a satellite into orbit, it seems clear that sanctions have failed to curb North Korea's quest for more powerful weaponry."
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North Korea Launches Long-Range Rocket

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  • by gagol (583737) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @01:15AM (#42257349)
    It is the only thing that protects them from the wrath of US army... ever wondered why the US only attack weak countries?
  • by fredprado (2569351) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @01:18AM (#42257359)
    Exactly. Far from me defending anything about North Korea, but the only guarantee any country can have of sovereignty, for some decades now, is nuclear capacity.
  • Color me Surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Brett Buck (811747) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @01:22AM (#42257369)

    While it is still unconfirmed as to whether or not North Korea actually put a satellite into orbit, it seems clean that sanctions have failed to curb North Korea's quest for more powerful weaponry."

            No kidding? Because I figured that cutting them off would strangle their weapons programs and starve out the current government. Why, it almost seems as of the economic sanctions only hurt the hoi polloi, and that the leaders kept what little resources there were for themselves and let the rest of the country go hungry. What a completely odd and unpredictable event!

  • by fredprado (2569351) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @01:26AM (#42257391)
    That is not what the GP meant. There is nobody stronger than US. US attacks only those that do not present any significant threat, because doing otherwise would risk damage. It is not an unreasonable strategy but maybe not attacking anybody and minding its own business would be a better one, considering that it greatly stimulates countries to go nuclear to guarantee sovereignty.
  • Re:China (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredprado (2569351) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @01:30AM (#42257415)
    North Korea is very stable. It is hell on Earth to most of its population, but it is controlled with an iron fist.

    Now, for China it is a good neighbor to have, because it is generally friendly, its leadership knows it cannot go against China and it is a thorn in US back.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @01:59AM (#42257543)

    ever wondered why the US only attack weak countries?

    What a loaded statement... Considering the amount of funding, its shear size, and how heavily equipped the US military is, isn't every other country weaker?

  • by siddesu (698447) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @02:19AM (#42257623)

    On the contrary, nukes raise the expected cost of any military action significantly. US would accrue huge negatives even if it was only perceived to have provoked NK to use one of their own. Besides, it is unlikely the US will use military force without approval from at least SK and Japan, which isn't happening in the next decade. In 10 years from now things may well be different, as both Japan and SK seem to be growing hawkish, but even such developments are far from certain, as the stances of both SK and Japan will depend much more on the position of China then.

    A US leader will find it much, much harder to cobble up a "coalition of the willing" against anyone in Asia similar to the one W whipped up in Eastern Europe for the Eye-rack invasion.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @02:19AM (#42257627) Homepage Journal

    North Korea + China once fought South Korea + US to a stand still. Today, they're one of the poorest, malnourished, and isolated countries in the world.

    Meh. It would be more accurate to say that China fought the US to a standstill. The only reasons the North Korean forces had such success early on in the Korean War were (a) near-total surprise, and (b) at that point, both Koreas were about equally poor, malnourished, and isolated. Once the UN (mainly US) war machine really got rolling, North Korea itself crumbled pretty fast, and it took what was essentially a Chinese takeover of the war to push the situation to its eventual stalemate.

    You really think China will be there to help them? China has had the ability to put a nuclear icbm on any point on the earth for 30 years. They won't give NK a missile, but you think they'll risk destabilizing their own country for them?

    Unfortunately, I think China would make pretty much the same calculation now they did sixty years ago: they may not give a damn about North Korea as such, but they won't tolerate having the US Army camped out on the Yalu.

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @02:19AM (#42257629) Homepage Journal

    I see no reason why any country should bow to pressure to stop developing weaponry.

    For one thing, it speaks to the sovereignty of the nation in question in the most basic way possible. Weapons can be used to protect citizens from the overbearing dictates of another country. Open yourself to unbridled foreign dictates and they could sack your country. See Danegeld [wikipedia.org].

    For another, as pointed out regularly here on Slashdot, weapons don't kill people - people kill people. If you can argue that the problem is the weapon and not the people (and their interactions), then you're starting down the slippery slope of intercession, pre-emptive war, and so on. Where do you draw the line? Can you dictate to stop other behaviours that don't affect you directly, but that you don't like? Drug farming? Copyright infringement? Smoking? Stem cell research?

    And finally, the general feel here on Slashdot is that places like Iran, NK, et al should not be allowed to have weapons because they would probably use them.As others have pointed out, as soon as a country gets nuclear capability the US stops meddling and takes a more respective stance (viz: India, Pakistan). At the same time we decry US policies that anger other countries and make the world our enemy. If Iran has nuclear capability, it will cause our government to step back from imperialist meddling.

    NK should be free to develop whatever they want in whatever form they want. It is only when they start affecting the people of other nations that remedial measures should be taken.

    And yes - this may mean that a tragic incident happens followed by overwhelming response. This scenario will be better in the long run than leaving things to fester unaddressed. The stark aftermath of the Japan [nuclear] bombing caused the world to be more cautious and circumspect. Had the US *not* bombed Japan, the first nuclear exchange (in the cold war) would have been with improved technology and better delivery vehicles. Much, much worse.

    Let them develop whatever they want. There is no upside to us being a bully.

  • by crutchy (1949900) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @02:19AM (#42257631)
    sounds more like the real worry is that if the US pisses NK off enough, NK may actually have the balls (and a sufficient lack of concern for self-preservation) to unleash cans of nuclear whoop ass across the pacific.

    the reason why this could become a real possibility is that the NK leadership would all be hiding in their nuclear-proof bunkers and would likely not give a rats about its citizens on the surface, so the traditional concept of MAD wouldn't apply to NK
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @02:22AM (#42257643)
    Incorrect. Without the capability to protect an ICBM during the boost phase of the flight, it's vulnerable to attack by an enemy who can establish air superiority over the launch areas. As far as we know, North Korea lacks both SLBMs and long range strategic bombers which means they cannot establish the nuclear triad [wikipedia.org]. In fact, the existence of North Korean nuclear weapons, with neither first [wikipedia.org] nor second strike [wikipedia.org] capability, increases the likelihood that they will be attacked preemptively in the future. The mere possession of nuclear weapons is not enough. A nation must also posses the capability to launch a surprise attack and to guarantee retaliation in the event of a surprise attack. Thus, the only nations with a complete and credible deterrent at this time are the United States and Russia.
  • by siddesu (698447) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @02:31AM (#42257689)
    It is helping them a lot, the fighting with their most serious enemy practically stopped after both countries developed nukes.
  • by crutchy (1949900) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @02:47AM (#42257741)

    You really think China will be there to help them? China has had the ability to put a nuclear icbm on any point on the earth for 30 years. They won't give NK a missile, but you think they'll risk destabilizing their own country for them?

    China could pretty much disable the US economy with sanctions so it wouldn't need to waste any nukes
    the US depends on China a lot more than China depends on the US

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @02:55AM (#42257779)
    And some people continue to claim their smartphone is good enough to make useful work...
  • by rgbrenner (317308) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @03:06AM (#42257827)

    That's pretty dumb. A 14 trillion $ economy is going to be disabled by a country that trades 400b per YEAR with it? Or do you imagine that the 100b a year we export to US is somehow vital to our economy? Or do you imagine that the debt they hold, that we could freely choose to devalue or refuse to pay, somehow could be called-in by China? (btw, it literally can't be called-in by China. If China wants to get rid of it, they have to find another party to buy it from them.)

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @03:33AM (#42257955) Journal

    More likely the fun of autocorrect got you, I don't know how many times I got texts from customers where I go "WTH does this mean?" for them to go "That wasn't what I was trying to type!". You should check out the website devoted to it some time there are some hilarious bloopers on there. I like the one where the mom texted her teen daughter to ask what she was gonna do for the weekend and the text came back "I'm gonna get pregnant" which naturally caused the mom to flip her shit until the daughter texted back she was trying to type pringles and got bit by autocorrect.

    As for TFA? Meh, not really worried too much about NK. I have a feeling that if it looks like they are getting ready to roll the tanks rather than have a hot and possibly nuclear war in their backyard the Chinese will drop the hammer on their asses, and considering most of the stuff NK uses is based on 60s and 70s Soviet tech I really doubt they are gonna get much in the way of accuracy on these things. If anybody should be worried its Japan as having cheap NK junk falling in their backyard could be a problem but SK has one of the most modern military forces on the planet so I kinda doubt NK is gonna be stupid enough to try a full blown restart of the Korean war.

    More likely this is more weenie waving by NK so they don't look so weak compared to their neighbors and so they can get more aid, that's all. Its pretty common knowledge that Juce is a failure, their economy is a bad joke, and if it weren't for aid the whole thing would fall down, so most likely this is just another attempt to extort more aid to prop the place up. Frankly I'm shocked after "dear leader" bought the farm that they let the kid take over, frankly right up until it was certain daddy wasn't gonna make it nobody had even heard of the kid, so I have to wonder if he isn't just a puppet told to STFU and stand there while the generals really run the show.

  • by schnell (163007) <meNO@SPAMschnell.net> on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:01AM (#42258079) Homepage

    the only guarantee any country can have of sovereignty, for some decades now, is nuclear capacity

    I agree - every two-bit, four-bit or eight-bit nation state must pursue a nuclear program regardless of the cost in terms of international trade of humanitarian aid. The sovereignty of Canada, Australia, Mexico, Japan, Brazil and the rest of South America, most of Africa, all the Scandinavian countries and southern Europe, and Switzerland have been teetering daily on the brink for decades. How is it that these non-nuclear nations [wikipedia.org] have not yet been annexed by the nuclear powers and overrun with McDonalds [mcdonalds.com] drive-throughs or Trabant [time.com] factories? Or maybe bagel shops [einsteinbros.com] instead?

  • Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:17AM (#42258149) Journal

    You are aware that the US has active invasion plans for The Netherlands? It is home to the internation court in The Hague and the US has plans to invade a friendly nation if ever a US citizen goes on trial for war crimes.

    So... what was your point again? The US does not even respect sovereign nations that have been friendly for centuries.

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:58AM (#42258335)

    disabled by a country that trades 400b per YEAR with it?

    The USs biggest strategic weakness is its indebtedness and addiction to consumer goods. Keep thinking deeper about that and you'll come to the realisation about how wars are fought in the 21st century. No country has to start attacking the US physically, they just have to cut off the supply of whatever goodies (electronics, drugs, energy - for now, rare-earths, cheap labour) they supply to american markets and the citizens themselves will force regime change in the United States.

    It won't even hurt the supplier as there are now plenty of alternative markets they can fulfill. Relying on a military, to fight for poorly explained causes in places no american has heard of is an increasingly lost cause. Hitting your target in it's soft underbelly is virtually painless, very effective and none of your own people suffer.

  • by runeghost (2509522) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:09AM (#42258371)

    Excellent post. Along similar lines, it's a little odd to consider how cheerfully we celebrate WWII as a "victory" while ignoring inconvenient little bits, like how the war in the European theater started with the invasion and conquest of Poland... and ended with Poland invaded and conquered. By our supposed ally, Russia, which was one of the two countries that invaded it in the first place.

  • by runeghost (2509522) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:24AM (#42258435)

    The real threat N. Korea poses (even beyond the ability level Seoul with artillery and set a couple of low-tech nukes loose) to both China and S. Korea (and arguably Japan as well) is the humanitarian disaster that would result from a rapid collapse. Integrating East Germany into West Germany cost an estimated two trillon euros. And East Germany was functional and much closer to West Germany in terms of infrastructure than North Korea is to South Korea. North Korea has half-again as many people as East Germany did, while South Korea has only about 80% of West Germany's population. A disintegrating N. Korea would be a complete nightmare for everyone in the region.

  • by wisty (1335733) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:59AM (#42258593)

    > Unfortunately, I think China would make pretty much the same calculation now they did sixty years ago: they may not give a damn about North Korea as such, but they won't tolerate having the US Army camped out on the Yalu.

    The difference is, there's no way in hell the US will actually threaten China, like they did in the Korean war. General MacArthur genuinely thought they could invade China next. They would have probably won, too.

    Now, China will hope the US downgrades its presence in South Korea and Japan. If North Korea goes, so do a lot of US soldiers, which makes it easier for China to throw its weight around the region.

  • by AchilleTalon (540925) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @07:19AM (#42258915) Homepage

    I believe you haven't really catch the point about the Holocaust. Even if the British killed millions of Indians, their intent wasn't to kill all the Indians because they believed they were evil. That's not something you just compare by body count. That's the difference between a genocide and a war, civil war, revolt, riot or whatever. The plan behind the Holocaust was to withdraw completely the Jews from the Earth. That's why some caution should be taken when doing some comparisons.

    The Nazis weren't killing Jews in direct reprisals of something. They were killing them because they believe they have no right to live.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @08:34AM (#42259321) Homepage

    NK and Iran are both free to develop whatever weapons they want, but obviously other countries are also free not to support them or actively try to prevent them getting hold of the materials and technology required.

    NK, for example, is dependent on food aid to feed its people. They are free to develop long range ICBMs, but can't reasonably expect the food aid to keep coming if they do. They can expect other countries to point their missiles at them and keep their fingers hovering over the launch buttons.

    Welcome to the world. We all have to live in it and you can't expect to just do what you like without consequences. But, yeah, I do agree that there should be no pre-emptive military action or anything like that.

  • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dave Emami (237460) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @09:31AM (#42259669) Homepage

    You'd be a fool to think that the Pentagon draws up contingencies just for the sake of it, w/o intentions of really doing it.

    I'm not a fool, thank you very much, but that's exactly what they do. When country X does Y, and the president asks the generals what his options are, they're not supposed to respond with "Sorry, Mr. President, we never thought country X would do Y." Generals deal with "what can country X do, and what can we do to country X." Diplomats deal with "what will country X do, and what do we want to do to country X."

Byte your tongue.

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