North Korea put the international community on its heels earlier this week with the news that they were going to launch a satellite to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of their fearless leader. While they innocently claimed that it was a weather satellite, the rest of the world had its own ideas of what the test was for. USA was particularly concerned, with the intention of suspending a food aid program to North Korea in exchange for a rollback of its nuclear programs, while neighbouring Asian nations were more concerned about the safety of their citizens.
While there's been much ado about the test, including some scientists revealing that North Korea's geographical reality poses a logistic problem for the launch, the regime has remained defiant. Faced with obstacles ranging from political to scientific, the regime stayed true to its plan and vision, eschewing international concern and basic geography. And the end result? They failed.
It has a certain poetic quality to it, and yet, a mitigated amount of hilarity. It's kind of like the teenager who decides he's leaving home and decides he will defiantly take the family car with him, despite the fact that he has no plans and no insurance or license and is very likely to be grounded for life. Maybe he can't even drive. The truly important thing is that he gets to leave. Then, faced with all the potential consequences of his actions, and amid calls to reason from friends and family, he sets off on his quest, only to run out of gas two blocks down the street.
North Korea is not going to be so easily discouraged. They will keep testing and they will keep working on their projects, some of which may or may not include the destruction of its neighbours, South Korea for example, or ones a little farther away, like the USA. They will probably continue to play innocent and make it seem like they're very interested in weather. They will probably recklessly continue to defy and nudge the international community like the kid who loses it one day in the playground and chucks a marble at the biggest kid in school.
The international community is going to have to keep watching North Korea and keep issuing warnings when it steps over the line. But for today, it looks like they might have foiled their own evil plan.