Nothing’s “more American than ‘bombs bursting in air’ on the Fourth of July,” said Ed Morrissey in Hot Air, but North Korea’s “nutcase dictator,” Kim Jong Il, might be taking it a bit too literally. A report in Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper says Pyongyang is planning to fire a long-range ballistic missile at Hawaii on July 4. Any shot aimed at the U.S. would be “an act of war,” but perhaps Kim has taken measure of Obama and “found him wanting.”
This isn’t Kim Jong Il’s first display of “saber rattling,” said the Honolulu Star Bulletin in an editorial, and Obama should refuse to “mollify” him with economic aid to reward this strategically “bizarre behavior.” U.S. intelligence suggests that North Korea could be a threat to the U.S. in three to five years, but it’s good to remember that the last time Pyongyang shot a missile toward Hawaii, in July 2006, it crashed into the ocean 42 seconds after launch.
Even if Hawaii isn’t (yet) in range of Pyongyang’s 4-kilaton nuclear warheads, said Hui Zhang in Foreign Policy, Japan and South Korea are. And North Korea will continue its escalating game of “nuclear chicken” until it gets what it wants—reliable assurances that the U.S. won’t attack it. The only way to win without carnage is for the U.S. to give Pyongyang a big “carrot” to get it to denuclearize, and make sure China has some big “sticks” to enforce the deal.