North Korea successfully tested a multi-stage ICBM that many experts believe has the range to hit Alaska and perhaps even major population centers on the west coast of the US.
The missile, Hwasong-14, flew 580 miles reaching an altitude of 1,741 miles in its 39 minutes of flight. The flight profile suggested the missile had a range of about 5,000 miles and perhaps as much as 7,100 miles.
Alarm bells went off all over the world when the test became public. The planet's most paranoid, unstable regime is now in possession of a weapon that, once the technological hurdles of marrying a nuclear warhead to the missile are overcome, threatens tens of millions of lives.
Without exaggeration, the test is a game changer.
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un is impervious to the kinds of pressures that the world would normally place on a rogue nation. The North is already sanctioned to the hilt - the US and South Korea have no more cards to play in that game. Better enforcement of existing sanctions, including penalizing countries that allow North Korean citizens to work in their countries, would hardly cause a ripple.
Nothing, it seems, will deter the North from developing their nuclear program. And that includes pressure by China.
The U.N. Security Council, currently chaired by China, will hold an emergency meeting on the matter at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) on Wednesday, following a request by the United States, Japan and South Korea.
Diplomats say Beijing has not been fully enforcing existing international sanctions on its neighbor, and has resisted tougher measures, such as an oil embargo, bans on the North Korean airline and guest workers, and measures against Chinese banks and other firms doing business with the North.
Following North Korea's latest provocation, the launch of an ICBM that, for the first time, demonstrated North Korea's ability to strike the continental United States, General Vincent Brooks, Commander of Combined Forces Command and General Lee, Sun Jin, Chairman of the Republic of Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a rather forceful combined statement directly warning North Korea they're prepared for war at any time.
The statement was issued after allied armies conducted a rare live-fire drill, launching tactical surface-to-surface missiles off the east coast of Korea—an action they said was aimed directly at “countering North Korea’s destabilizing and unlawful actions on July 4.” The drill and tough language appeared meant to reassure Seoul after North Korea’s successful ICBM test, a significant advance.
Of course, despite the tough talk, with Seoul, a city of 10 million people, sitting just 35 miles south of the North Korean border, any military action would almost certainly result in devastating casualties for allied forces. Per the Wall Street Journal:
North Korea's destabilizing actions are closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution and could force the United States to take military action, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Wednesday.
"North Korea's destabilizing escalation is a threat to all nations, in the region and beyond. Their actions are quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution. The United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies. One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must," Haley said at an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reiterated earlier remarks that Europe can no longer rely on the United States.
Just two days before the G20 summit of world leaders, which will include the attendance of the increasingly polarizing figure of US President Donald Trump, Merkel doubled down on earlier remarks, affirming that Europe "really must take our fate into our own hands," according to the Washington Examiner.
The nation of Poland prepared a hero's welcome for U.S. President Donald Trump in advance of his Wednesday night arrival in Warsaw. But the Polish government executed a decidedly understated ceremony to greet Air Force One at Chopin Airport.
Lawmakers in the formerly communist nation see in Trump a mirror of their own brand of nationalism that has seen many Poles bristle against an iron-fisted European Union centered on Germany.
Among the European nations, Poland is one of the holdouts against the notion of resettling massive numbers of foreigners.
'The Polish government has the same position as Americans — we want strict restrictions on refugees,” legislator Krzysztof Mróz told The Wall Street Journal.
For Trump's arrival, President Andrzej Duda sent his top aides to put on a far smaller affair than the all-out pomp and circumstance that awaited the U.S. leader in Saudi Arabia when he deplaned on his first foreign presidential trip six weeks ago.
In 1962 the former US Secretary of State Dean Acheson quipped that: «Britain had lost an Empire and yet to find a role». Well, perhaps the same can now tentatively be said of the United States in these early, but profoundly debilitating days, of the Trump administration and its chaotic, incoherent foreign policy. The Trump administration's approach to traditional American allies in Europe, the Middle East and Asia has been belligerent, nonsensical and highly neurotic. American foreign policy is a complete mess and the only people and country this is inflicting real damage on is the United States. For too long the United States’ global strategic posture has been one of extreme dominance, interference and intervention.
Dominating Europe through NATO by pushing for unwise expansion of NATO's borders all the way right up to Russia's backyard. Dominating the Middle East through CIA interference, absurd and dangerous alliances with repressive Islamist backing Gulf Monarchies such as Saudi Arabia or barbaric secular military dictatorships such as Saddam Hussein's Iraq in the 1970s and 1980s. Dominating the Asia-Pacific with its aircraft carrier (Japan) and certain puppet governments in South Korea; brutal and misguided interventions such as the grotesque Vietnam War and ludicrous/unnecessary «freedom of navigation» and «freedom of overflight» operations in the South China Sea.
America now must learn the hard truth of it's global position during this period of the Trump administration and beyond: the days of the United States dominating the world in an arrogant, absolutist, heavy-handed fashion and dictating to other nations what they can and cannot do (in particular in other nations territorial spheres of influence and backyards such as the South China Sea) are over and the United States must come to realise this and make the required if painful adjustment. It is no longer the only superpower on the planet and the days of American unilateral leadership are over whether it be political leadership, economic leadership or military leadership.
The European Union is just as powerful economically as the United States when you combine the EU27 GDPs or PPPs. Russia is resurgent on the world stage, in particular in the Middle East, and most likely will be the main broker of peace in Syria. China is catching up economically fast on the United States and will undoubtedly overtake it economically within a few years (if it has not already) to become the planets number one economy while the days of American extreme and reckless military and political interference in the Middle East and Asia have produced nothing but chaos, violence, death & destruction and should be heavily curtailed with the prime examples being Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Korea.
China Issues Dire Warning On North Korea: “It Will Get Out Of Control... Consequences Would Be Disastrous”
All of the signs suggest that military action is about to occur. And while most Americans may think that North Korea would be another Iraq, wherein the battle could be won in a matter days, the fact is that North Korea has a massive military and now, as confirmed yesterday, an ICBM capable of striking long-range targets.