In response to North Korea’s recent announcement that it plans to launch a satellite within a few days, Washington and its partners are speaking loudly to condemn the regime but carrying very small sticks to stop it. If Teddy Roosevelt were still alive, he would not be impressed.
A White House spokesman called North Korea’s plans “another irresponsible provocation” and a senior State Department official demanded “tough additional sanctions,” as if those had ever deterred the Pyongyang regime. South Korea blustered that its northern counterpart will pay a “grave price” if it follows through with the launch, without offering anything more than rhetoric.
The satellite launch — which critics view as a cover for a ballistic missile test — comes only a month after the North held its firstclaimed hydrogen bomb test. By most accounts, that test was a failure. No one doubts, however, that North Korea will someday get an effective bomb, and a delivery vehicle, unless it experiences a dramatic change of heart.