Former Vice President Walter Mondale says he supports a pre-emptive U.S. strike against a North Korean missile that is raising nuclear fears around the globe.Didn't that guy die? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he's still alive, but I though I'd heard that he died a while back.
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Mondale said on WCCO-AM Friday that the United States should tell North Korea "defuel that missile. It has three boosters. Dismantle it and put it back in the sheds. Because if you're getting ready to fire this, we'll take it out."
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Mondale and other former top Democrats are convinced apparently that action is the key to ending the standoff.
"This is such a legitimate thing for the United States to do," Mondale said. "The nature of the threat is so serious that I think we should knock it out right there if they won't stop."
I'm against shooting down the missile. Firing a test missile, assuming they aim it at international waters, is provocative as Condoleezza Rice said. But it is not an act of war. Shooting a test missile down is an act of war. We don't need to escalate this latest confrontation with North Korea into a hot war.
I'm not sure whether Mondale thinks we can shoot the missile out of the sky or whether he thinks we should hit it before it launches. In the audio, he said that
. . . one missile like the one that took out Zarqawi could take out this [the North Korean] missile.I'll cut the old man some slack, but he seems to have forgotten that we used bombs to kill Zarqawi, not missiles.
Now if we were to blow up the test missile on the ground, we would ignite a shit storm of unimaginable proportions. North Korea would be able to claim justification for some kind of retaliation, and the world might start calling us the rogue state. I would not be surprised if the UN Security Council met to discuss sanctions against the US.
If we were to shoot the missile out of the sky, we'd run the risk that our anti-missile missile might miss. That would be worse than doing nothing. Our anti-missile technology is far from perfect. The task has often been described as "hitting a bullet with a bullet." If we were to try for the Korean missile, we could not afford to miss. And I don't care for the odds.
However, if we let the North Koreans shoot their wad, we can monitor its performance much better than even they can. We'll gain important intelligence on their capabilities, both in missile technology and in electronic missile tracking. (Since they'll be watching the missile, we'll be able to watch their radars.) Diplomatically, we can use their "provocative act" against them if and when we need international support for action in the future.
I say, complain about it, but if they're determined to test their missile, don't stop them.
h/t to Larry at Beth's.