Archive for February 3rd, 2009

While Everyone Watches Iran…

While everyone watches Iran, North Korea appears to be quietly preparing for another missile test, according to experts. As the BBC points out, this is yet another in a recent spate of worrisome moves by the country, which – according to some – might now or very soon be in a position to physically threaten the continental United States.

Yes, yes, it’s fashionable to worry about Iran at the moment, but the odds of their doing anything particularly stupid are, objectively, fairly low – President Ahmadinejad would, I’m fairly sure, not like to see his country turned into a large, smoking crater. Whoever happens to be in charge of North Korea at the moment – which may or may not be Kim Jong-il – may or may not care, and if it is Kim Jong-il, might not even notice. (There are, shall we say, fairly well-founded concerns as to whether Kim is still alive, let alone in possession of any degree of mental acuity.)

I linked to it yesterday, but if you missed it, you might want to have a look at this comprehensive look at the North Korean ballistic missile program (928KB PDF). Hey, you never know; it might become of more than just academic interest within a few days…

Published in: General, Security | on February 3rd, 2009 | No Comments »

Impotence or Impudence

For a while, I’ve been questioning the story behind the U.S. Navy presence around Somalia. A number of warships from the U.S. Navy and allied countries patrol the waters of the region, ostensibly with a broad “maritime security” mandate. I’ve criticized them in the past for doing absolutely nothing about the rapidly-growing piracy problem in the area, but after many discussions with others, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been needlessly harsh: CTF 150’s operations have nothing whatsoever to do with piracy, despite frequent assertions to the contrary.

Not only aren’t they doing anything against piracy, they can’t, because they’re handicapped by international law. Thing is, those same laws make their official raison d’etre moot, as well. They can’t legally take action against pirates, and for the most part they can’t legally take action against smugglers, or anyone else, either.
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Published in: General, Security | on February 3rd, 2009 | 1 Comment »