North Korea fires ballistic missile, first since Trump elected in U.S.
TOKYO –North Korea fired a ballistic missile Sunday morning, its first provocation since Donald Trump was elected president of the United States and one that sets up a test for the new administration in Washington.
The launch happened while Trump was hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his golf resort in Florida, and analysts said that the hawkish Abe will likely push Trump issue a strong rebuke.
“I don’t think this is designed to respond to Trump, I think this is part of Kim Jong Un’s continued efforts to try to advance his programs,” said Jon Wolfsthal, a senior non-proliferation official in the Obama administration now at Harvard’s Belfer Center. “But it has the added effect of calling Trump’s bluff. The real question is not what North Korea has done, but what the U.S. is going to do about it,” he said.
A test, in more ways than one. For more on the multiple choice options, we turn to a Foreign Policy piece posted a couple days ago:
North Korea Is Trump’s Kobayashi Maru: Here Are 4 Approaches to the No-Win Nuke Test
I grew up in New York, just like President Donald Trump did, so perhaps like me he became a Star Trek fan watching reruns on WPIX at 11 p.m. every weeknight. If so, hopefully he knows about the Kobayashi Maru — a test every Starfleet cadet takes to experience a no-win scenario. If unfamiliar with the Kobayashi Maru, Trump may soon learn the lesson a different way as he decides how to manage the persistent challenge of North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile programs.Frankly, I’m surprised Trump has not been forced to take the test already. While North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been patient, this is unlikely to last for long. All indications are that Kim can test at any time a long-range missile that could deliver a nuclear weapon to the United States. Perhaps he is waiting to see what Trump does. More likely, he is allowing the slow-moving train wreck that is South Korea politics to play out. But instead of using this interval to calm U.S. allies and plan for the inevitable provocation, Trump decided to do the one thing we knew would make North Korea want to test a missile sooner rather than later: He dared Kim to do it —
— and in so doing drew the new administraion’s first of two “red lines.”