North Korea’s asinine decision to execute a test of their ever evolving ballistic missile technology, under the guise of a “peaceful satellite launch,” is exactly the wrong move at the wrong time for the “Hermit Kingdom” to make. Now under the new quasi-leadership of boy-maniac Kim Jong Un, many were hoping that the old childish North Korean playbook on foreign relations would finally be thrown out. Why on earth would they do such a thing right as negotiations over their rogue nuclear program are about to begin and as the US is increasingly positioning it’s forces and arming those around them with highly potent weapon systems? If anything this just makes the case for allied nations to pursue controversial missile shields and massive offensive arsenals more clear. In other words, we get it, you are a maniac recluse slave state with super scary weapons technology, why attempt to prove that again to an ever inpatient free-world? Whatever slight increase in bargaining power the North Koreans may gain by commencing with such a launch will be far overshadowed by the increase in proliferation of countermeasures towards such weapons as well as conventional arsenals by US aligned nations in North Korea’s backyard.
In response to this situation, countries like the US, Taiwan and Japan are deploying forces to knock the North Korean missile out of the sky if it threatens their territories. The US has deployed it’s recently de-funded X-Band mobile tracking radar, Taiwan is deploying it’s PAC-3 Patriot batteries to its east coast, and Japan is putting it’s AEGIS anti-ballistic missile equipped Destroyers out to sea with F-15 combat air patrols overhead. The F-15s are needed because it is widely understood that current blocks of missile defense capable AEGIS equipped ships cannot look for sub-orbital targets while also scanning for air-breathing threats at the same time.
Good for the free people of the Pacific! I say shoot down the North Korean test no matter what. Don’t let them garner anything from this proactive display. This would be a great exercise for America’s and our Allies’ growing missile defense shield, and it would prove to our enemies that we can counter their capabilities at will. Even better, shoot it down over their own country, and if possible do it without anyone knowing. Make the North Koreans and the world think that this test was a miserable and embarrassing failure.
Shooting down their test missile within their own borders sounds like a good idea, but how can we do it? This was supposed to be the job of the now mothballed Airborne Laser (YABL-1). Maybe we should have further developed it’s capabilities, regardless of their future technological relevancy, for just such occurrences. Hopefully we already have something in testing that is far superior, probably based on a high-flying long endurance UAV that could be used. Regardless, even if the world knows America and her allies shot down the missile it will be much better than a successful test. The bottom line is why should we let North Korea validate technologies that they will surely sell to other rogue states and irrational actors? In reality, this test is a big form of marketing for them, like a theater preview for an upcoming movie release. They have a “captive audience” made up of the free world as well as increasingly under pressure despots watching to see what the North Koreans will have for sale soon. On one hand a successful test launch will incite fear amongst freedom loving people and on the other hand it will make tyrants and bad actors reach for their checkbooks. Don’t let them run their sinister advertisement, shoot down their weapon while it rises over their own country, and if laser technology is not available use conventional interceptors and release the films for the world to see. Deny the North Koreans their prize on every level and there will not be ample enough rewards for them to conduct such breathtakingly reckless weapons tests in the future.