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North Korea Launches Long-Range Rocket 384

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?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fredprado ( 2569351 )
      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.
      • by schnell ( 163007 ) <me&schnell,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 [] have not yet been annexed by the nuclear powers and overrun with McDonalds [] drive-throughs or Trabant [] factories? Or maybe bagel shops [] instead?

        • Well (Score:3, Insightful)

          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.

          • Re:Well (Score:5, Informative)

            by Dave Emami ( 237460 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:03AM (#42258359) Homepage

            You are aware that the US has active invasion plans for The Netherlands?

            The Pentagon draws up contingency plans for pretty much every conceivable situation. One of the categorizations when it comes to things military is capabilities vs. intentions. It's the job of the generals think about capabilities and to have a plan ready if a president ever orders them to do something. Whether a president is ever likely to order them to do so, or whether or not a given country is ever likely to become hostile to the US falls under "intentions" and isn't something they're supposed to consider. There were plans for wars against Germany, Japan, France, Britain, and others as early as 1904. There was a sub-plan for a US invasion of Canada, and the Canadians likewise had a plan for invading the US. I'm sure that, for example, the generals in both the British and French defense ministries have plans ready if, some day, the leader across the channel goes nuts -- yet France and Britain have been each others' allies for over a century. (Not counting the Vichy as French for these purposes).

        • Well, Australia at least has most definitely been overrun with McDonalds outlets... :)

        • How frequently do those apparently sovereign countries act in ways that benefit the United States (and its controlling corporations) and that harm their own national interests? I don't know the answer in overall terms, but there are certainly a large number of instances that range from the U.S.-imposed War on Non-Corporate Drugs in Mexico, to kidnappings and deaths in Italy, to U.S. military bases in Japan, where those governments are doing the bidding of the United States and instead of their own citizens.

    • North Korea's greatest weapon isn't their nuclear arsenal or ballistic missiles--neither of which are an effective deterrent.

      The only real concern at this point is the conventional artillery within range of Seoul.

      • Oh... and the fact that China would retaliate against anyone who attacks North Korea.

        • by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @01:32AM (#42257429)

          I wonder if that's because North Korea supplies China with all that yellowcake they got buried under there?

          • by sFurbo ( 1361249 )
            No, it is because China really doesn't want the entire population of NK as refugees.
        • I actually kind of doubt that China would pick NK over the US, one of use is worth a LOT more to their economy. Not to say they'd be happy about it.
          • 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 AHuxley ( 892839 )
          That depends. East German top officials saw their country as a product of post ww2 Russia - as in a Russian 'prize', something to be protected and cared for at any cost by Russia. I recall reading some top staff members made a long glowing toast about the unique relationship. The Russians in the room changed the wording just a bit - the more wise in the relaxed room setting understood the meaning - they where not special.
          China likes China and what was part of China. NK is more a pool of intel, cheap ex
      • Any functional ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead is a good enough deterrent. No sane country would risk even a single city annihilation without a very strong motive.
        • 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 []. In fact, the existence of North Korean nuclear weapons, with neither first [] nor second strike [] 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 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?

    • Lets phrase this properly, shall we. NK uses the threat of nuking SK and Japan and the prospect of millions of refugees flooding into China to keep China compliant, the US at bay and everyone giving one of the most tyrannical and inept regimes in existence the food and other humanitarian supplies its pathetic and abused citizens need to survive because it has redirected most of its economic output to its insanely disproportionate military machine.

      I give the Kims' credit for the cleverness by which they mani

    • Rubbish - they have no need of nukes or ballistic missiles, with their conventional forces they could still be in Seoul pretty fast; it's about 30 miles from the boarder.
      That's more than 10 million people within artilliary range...

    • 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 [].

      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.

      • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ArcherB ( 796902 )

      It is the only thing that protects them from the wrath of US army... ever wondered why the US only attack weak countries?

      You do realize that when the US liberated Kuwait in the '90's, that Iraq had the fourth largest military in the world, don't you? This military was not only large, but battle hardened after fighting Iran for years. That kind of blows a whole in your whole " the US only attack weak countries" theory, doesn't it?

      • by gagol ( 583737 )
        Lots and lots of antiquated soviet equipment does not make an army strong. Quality is much more important than quantity in threat analysis.
      • by treeves ( 963993 )

        Any military is going to be appear weak, in the usual sense, against the US military. What country, that the US would have conceivable any reason to attack, could be considered (relatively) strong?

      • Battle hardened? They were fighting suicide waves of children and they very nearly lost the war against Iran.

      • Battle-weary might have been a better description. Army strength is not measured only by size, as evidenced by the conscripts who surrendered in waves during Bush the Elder's Iraq war. You also have a funny definition of "liberate". While Saddam was certainly no prize as a head of state, I certainly wouldn't want to be "liberated" back into the rule of an autocratic abusive monarchy.

    • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @02:33AM (#42257699) Homepage Journal
      No one wants to attack or invade North Korea. Taking out the government means taking care of the people, and somewhere in there that would mean a lot of unskilled immigrants that South Korea can't support economically. It would make no sense. The rest of the world is much more interested in pressuring the DPRK into reform, so it can take care of its citizens on its own. No one knows how to actually do that, but they certainly have no interest in anything else, other than preventing the country from harming its neighbours.
      • The same situation happened with German unification. WG undertook a massive (Trillion $$$ +) programme of investment in the former East Germany and I expect that S. Korea will, some day, do the same with the north. The great thing about these sorts of programmes is that they really ARE investment programmes, not aid or just costs. The investment pays back when the newly unified country creates masses of extra jobs doing the reconstruction, installing infrastructure and then making better use of the newly ac
  • When you are willing to let your people starve and work them as slave labor, then kill them, sanctions doesn't really matter. What is the saying, I don't care about money, give me minions. This will continue until China steps in or the country revolts, which due to the level of imprisonment, propaganda, force, and international apathy is unlikely. Think about it. Who will be responsible to clean up the mess if the country falls? China? The US? Its easier to just let them be.
    • whoever steps in to clean up the mess will be in for rich rewards of as much yellowcake as they can stuff in their jackets.

      • That sounds healthy.

    • by tsotha ( 720379 )

      As much as the man on the street tries to maintain the dream of a unified Korea, the people who would actually have to coordinate unification balk at the unimaginable burden rebuilding the North would represent. Even Germany had a hard time absorbing the East. At the time a) West Germany was wealthier than South Korea and b) East Germany was in a lot better shape than North Korea.

      So South Korea and China will continue to send enough aid that they don't have millions of refugees flooding over the border.

    • I've actually wondered about what woudl happen if the Koreas unified, even if SK was the lead it wouldn't be pretty for them.
      • It would cost SK trillions, and while it would certainly gain the benefits of NK's technical expertise surrounding certain types of weaponry, I think it would probably do SK severe damage. I don't think you could do a German style reunification. Maybe a stages approach, but that would pretty much mean the Kims and the senior military brass would have to be out of the picture, and as we've seen, the Kim's are very very good at keeping their power base intact.

  • I'm curious at what point the Chinese leadership starts getting really antsy about an unstable, nuclear armed neighbor with missiles capable of reaching its own economic centers.

    I suppose even North Korea realizes if it ever threatened China, China would simply Nuke it so hard that the glowing remains of South Korea would become an island.

    • 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 dbIII ( 701233 )
        It is not friendly and not a good neighbour, but there are no US bases there, so the Chinese government probably still prefers it to a unified Korea for that reason. Mao played all kinds of odd mind games on the first Kim (eg. fabricating "evidence" of a US biological weapons attack on NK and convincing Kim that it was real), then a couple of decades ago there was an attempted coup in NK with apparent Chinese involvement and the border has been almost closed since then.
      • North Korea is very stable. It is hell on Earth to most of its population, but it is controlled with an iron fist.

        Do you really think that is a stable condition? How long can that situation really last?

  • 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 petsounds ( 593538 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @01:46AM (#42257489)

    NORAD statement []

    "Initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit."

    Of course, WHAT they put into orbit is open to speculation.

    • by gagol ( 583737 )
      Until the Air Force mini space plane give it a visit...
    • by _merlin ( 160982 )

      Even if all they put into orbit is dead weight, it's hard not to be at least a little excited about it. In the face of idiotic domestic policy, sanctions, and enemies on all sides they've managed to build a multi-stage rocket and put something into orbit with it.

  • Solid propellants are better suited for quick reaction and storage.

  • You are in Obama's war room, you suggest:
    A) Just Nuke Em and get it over with!
    B) Send in the drones after Kim Jong-un
    C) We need more sanctions.
    D) Screw the budget gap; we need more military spending!
    E) Other?
  • Two stages of the rocket have unsuccessfully avoided other countries


Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?