So Little Rocket Man may be giving up his nukes. We’ll see how that works out.
If it does, it will be an interesting precedent for other countries with weak economies that can’t carry the load of paying simultaneously for weapons development and economic development. Iran has a bigger economy than North Korea, but the mullahs have stunted their civil economies growth. Pakistan has lots of nukes and rampant poverty. The collapse of the Soviet Union was driven in large part by that country’s inability to pay for guns and butter. The Russians changed leaders, got a modestly improved economy, and kept their nukes. Will Kim preserve his hold on power by giving up his nukes for economic development? Will anyone else?
One of the great weaknesses of totalitarian governments (and government wannabes such as ISIS) is their tendency to think that free societies are run as theirs are.
One of the Nork’s diplomats has gone on record saying that President Trump has declared war on them. While Rocket Man has the authority to declare war, the President of the United States does not. According to Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 11 of the Constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war.
The President hasn’t and can’t declare war or North Korea. However, he does have the general authority to order our forces to act in self-defense. Further, if presented with a violation of the 1953 Korean armistice agreement, he probably has the authority to carry forward the UN police action prosecuted by Presidents Truman and (briefly) Eisenhower.
The Daily Caller report that North Korea has its missile forces on alert and aimed at US targets.
I believe VodkaPundit has properly analyzed the situation:
UPDATE—The Telegraph reports that the Nork’s target list includes Washington, DC; Hawaii; Los Angeles; and Austin, Texas.
The first three targets make sense, but Austin? Someone should tell them, “Don’t mess with Texas.”
The North Koreans say they launched their Unha-3 with the goal of putting a weather satellite in orbit. CNN is quoting “U. S. officials” as saying that the launch failed because the rocket fell apart shortly after launch.
UPDATE—The WSJ reports:
About 90 seconds into flight, roughly the time its first stage should have burned out and second stage kicked in, the rocket flared brightly and apparently exploded, according to ABC News, which cited U.S. defense officials. Parts fell into water near South Korea’s Jeju Island, South Korean media reported.
UPDATE 2—”The rocket’s name Unha means ‘Milky Way,'” Tom snickered.
UPDATE 3—Allahpundit is collecting reports from several sources. He notes that the Security Council should meet tomorrow “to issue the obligatory strongly-worded statement.”
R. I. P. Ave Atque Vale Good Riddance!
The BBC has a report here.