Pyongyang warns rockets ready “to settle accounts with the US”

posted at 8:01 am on March 29, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Which means … what, exactly? We’ve always assumed that the Kim regime has a rational purpose, which is its self-perpetuation, unlike Iran, whose purposes fall into the realm of the non-rational (apocalyptic religious fervor), on which the Iranians act rationally.  Rationally speaking, there is no way that North Korea can expect to win a war with the US.  That assumption is why CBS and AP take great pains at the start of the article to argue that the Kim regime doesn’t mean what it says in its latest pronouncement:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned Friday that his rocket forces were ready “to settle accounts with the U.S.,” unleashing a new round of bellicose rhetoric after U.S. nuclear-capable B-2 bombers dropped dummy munitions in joint military drills with South Korea.

Kim’s warning, and the litany of threats that have preceded it, don’t indicate an imminent war. In fact, they’re most likely meant to coerce South Korea into softening its policies, win direct talks and aid from Washington, and strengthen the young leader’s credentials and image at home.

Well, that’s only true if the Kim regime is acting rationally on rational goals.  If they wanted softer policies in the South, though, they could have gotten that with some diplomatic outreach during the most recent election.  If they want more aid from the US, they could have put off their long-range missile and nuclear tests.  Everything they have done over the last three or four months has been irrational in respect to those goals, except for burnishing the leadership credentials of the latest hereditary dictator.  And even in that case, analysts have begun to suspect that it’s the hardline military leadership that’s running Kim and not the other way around.

The DPRK is serious about the rockets, though:

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted military officials in the country as saying there had been “increased activity” at some of the North’s missile sites in recent days.

“North Korea’s launch sites to fire off mid- and long-range missiles have recently shown increased movement of vehicles and forces,” Yonhap quoted one anonymous official as saying. “We are closely watching possibilities of missile launches.”

And so is their state-run media:

Kim said “the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation,” according to a report by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

So, once again the question: is this regime rational? If so, then we should expect a climbdown soon, or perhaps a declare-victory-and-go-home PR moment to which Pyongyang can cling. However, the assumption of rationality may not hold for much longer, and the closer both sides get to the brink, the less influence that any rationality north of the 38th Parallel will have.


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It might be weird, but Austin is ours.

And if we have to accept Lubbock and Mesquite, we might as well accept Austin.

Hey now…can’t compare Lubbock to Austin! :) We may have tons of wind and dirt but we are still VERY conservative.

maables on March 29, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Is there any functionality associated with wearing a kite for a hat?

BobMbx on March 29, 2013 at 10:08 AM

hides the tinfoil????

i got nuttin…./

ted c on March 29, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Contingency planning for a Nork nuke strike was recently published in the Korean Journal of Defense Analysis.

Their sobering analysis makes it obvious that (even using the most primitive type of nuclear weapon) North Korea could launch a nuclear strike that would likely kill tens of thousands of people. This is a capability that North Korea possesses right now.

North Koreans often “re-flag” their ships, sailing under the flags of other nations (this has been a largely successful mode of operation for them in the past).

There are two key advantages for using a merchant ship or a specially equipped fishing trawler as a delivery means for a nuclear weapon: 1) It would be much easier to get this delivery means past defensive measures in US port cities because of the high scale of merchant vessel traffic that transits their ports; and 2) a primitive weapon would probably be less limited by size than a weapon carried on an aircraft such as the Nork H-5.

Terp Mole on March 29, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Obama is the luckiest stiff in the world. The only people who challenge him are cheap dates that are easy to please with shiny trinkets. Like his voters.

Cindy Munford on March 29, 2013 at 10:28 AM

This looks like a perfect storm for the Obama. It will get everyone’s eyes off the economy, gun control, healthcare, and anything else tearing this country apart, and galvanize support for the president who is fending off the North Koreans.

This is a crisis that won’t be wasted.

Pazman on March 29, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Isn’t this an admission by the DPRK that threats and blackmail are part and parcel of its strategy?

BobMbx on March 29, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Actually, he’s claiming that’s what we’re doing. He’s claiming that flying those B-52s and B-2s in our joint exercise is threatening and applying blackmail. (I don’t think they truly understand the meaning of that term.)

GWB on March 29, 2013 at 10:37 AM

He’s claiming that flying those B-52s and B-2s in our joint exercise is threatening

GWB on March 29, 2013 at 10:37 AM

He’s right and it is by design. Not only did it cost a lot to send those B-2s but it is rare that they make sure to take pictures. It was all a friendly reminder to lil Kim that the US doesn’t have to photo shop amphibious landings if need be.

Happy Nomad on March 29, 2013 at 10:44 AM

workingclass artist on March 29, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Kim’s definition of victory and that around the world is not the same as ours. Not surrendering is victory for them.

dogsoldier on March 29, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Yet when was the last time America lost a battle?

tommyboy on March 29, 2013 at 9:08 AM

September, 2012?

Washington Nearsider on March 29, 2013 at 9:16 AM

I was going to say Benghazi, but you example is better.

Bulletchaser on March 29, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Really? When was the last time America really won a war? Do you think the rest of the world interprets Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan as victories?

ProfessorMiao on March 29, 2013 at 8:06 AM

When was the last time the United States fought a war to win it? America could have easily made Iraq or Afghanistan into the world’s largest parking lot. Instead we pretend that the locals have some redemptive value and fight with half measures. Guaranteed that won’t be quite the case if lil Kim decides to sink Guam.

Happy Nomad on March 29, 2013 at 8:11 AM

The Vietnam War had been won; the Russians knews it, the North Vietnamese knew it, -it was all but over.

Then the democratics, in a panic because they realized that President Nixon might be credited with the victory, cancelled all materiel support for South Vietnam. That allowed the North to restart the war and win it quickly.

The democratics made their personal politics a higher priority than winning a war.

slickwillie2001 on March 29, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Dennis Rodman you have a call on the red courtesy phone.

Paging Mr. Rodman!

PappyD61 on March 29, 2013 at 10:57 AM

The democratics made their personal politics a higher priority than winning a war.

slickwillie2001 on March 29, 2013 at 10:57 AM

The personal politics of the left is always a higher priority than anything, up to and including the solvency (and arguably, survivability) of the nation.

Washington Nearsider on March 29, 2013 at 10:59 AM

He’s claiming that flying those B-52s and B-2s in our joint exercise is threatening.

GWB on March 29, 2013 at 10:37 AM

He’s right and it is by design. Not only did it cost a lot to send those B-2s but it is rare that they make sure to take pictures. It was all a friendly reminder to lil Kim that the US doesn’t have to photo shop amphibious landings if need be.

Happy Nomad on March 29, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Greta was wringing her hands over the B-2 exercise last night, she thought it might be needlessly provocative. This is all our fault!

slickwillie2001 on March 29, 2013 at 11:00 AM

I think every time we hear more BS from the Democrats we should call it “bellicose rhetoric”.

“Today, the dear leader released more bellicose rhetoric about violence committed by firearms.”

bernverdnardo1 on March 29, 2013 at 11:05 AM

It seems to me NK’s claim to be targeting Austin and DC are based on the range of their Taep’o-Dong-2.

They’ve shown their missile tech capabilities by putting a satellite into space, so there is that, but who knows what their accuracy is. If their accuracy isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, and they realize it, I’d guess they’re choice will be to target the continental US rather than chance hitting a pin prick in the Pacific such as Guam or Hawaii, because anything that hit the ground in the mainland will be considered a success and especially so since Kim will probably already be as good as dead and have “died” thinking he killed 10 million Americans or something.

Ed’s suggested “Rationally speaking, there is no way that North Korea can expect to win a war with the US”, and we’ve always assumed their rational goal is self-perpetuation. But, as Ed notes, not only would that would mean a different approach to getting outside aid, it would mean they continue to believe in self-perpetuation.

If that self-perpetuation includes maintaining the economic system they’ve got, that may now be a problem, if rightly, the Chinese have been counseling them to change it, as in saying something like, ‘at some point you folks are going to have to adopt a freer economic system or you won’t survive any longer.’

I’ve done a little looking and it appears the Norks haven’t been getting much aid since April 2012. If their people have been dropping like frozen flies this past winter, the Norks might be saying to themselves that self-perpetuation is a thing of the past.

So what takes the place of that in the devoutly rational minds of Kim & Cohort, if self-perpetuation is now spelled “DOOMED”. Is it, “We’ll take as many as we can with us before we’re gone?”

Can we take out all the Norks throw at our lower 48, if it’s five or six Taep’o-Dong-2? What if it’s not just those but a bunch of smaller one from ships (I don’t know if they can do that.)

I wouldn’t bet that what will prevent us from finding out is NK caring that they’d lose, since they may have already decided that they have lost.

Dusty on March 29, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Greta was wringing her hands over the B-2 exercise last night, she thought it might be needlessly provocative. This is all our fault!

slickwillie2001 on March 29, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Consider the source. I’ll give the female version of Geraldo the provocative part but not the needlessly.

Happy Nomad on March 29, 2013 at 11:07 AM

eon on March 29, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Your evaluation makes the most sense, and scares me the most because it’s predicated on a major truism: Obama owes Beijing more than he owes the U.S. or South Korea.

I’ve got friends in Japan. I worry for their safety as well as ours.

This is one of those times that I feel absolutely vulnerable in the world, because of who’s in the White House. The last time I felt this way was during Clinton’s regime. Elections have consequences.

And lest anyone brings it up, yes I did vote for Mitt. Kicking and screaming, but I did my best to not have to have to face this sick feeling of worry dogging my days.

theotherone on March 29, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Don’t worry, Obama will issue an executive order to confiscate all guns to make sure any post-nuclear sites do not descend into vigilantism.

profitsbeard on March 29, 2013 at 11:16 AM

These are very dangerous times for our young patriots who are currently in the military. I am afraid I would try and prevent anyone close to me from joining any branch of the armed forces at this time and would ask anyone who is currently a member now not to re-enlist. Their patriotism and lives do not appear to be valued by the current administration. The military seems to be a political pawn rather then used for the reasons it was created.

It would ultimately be better to have those patriots join the political fight now rather then feel a sense of duty to protect a country that has lost it’s way and be led by someone who does not value their service.

Rockshine on March 29, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Their patriotism and lives do not appear to be valued by the current administration.

Rockshine on March 29, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Not true Rockshine!

They make excellent props for the rat-eared devil’s speeches.

It’s a large enough group subject to the UCMJ which makes them perfect lab rats for social engineering experiments like incorporating gays and women into combat units.

Air Force One doesn’t fly itself and the filthy grifter married to the rat-eared devil will not be denied vacations for she and the mini-moochers.

Happy Nomad on March 29, 2013 at 11:24 AM

ProfessorMiao on March 29, 2013 at 8:06 AM

Operation Urgent Fury. Grenada. I think we won that one, but I’m not sure.

Jocundus on March 29, 2013 at 11:29 AM

OT but it is Easter………..

Pope delivers message to Islam on status and relationship.

BL@KBIRD on March 29, 2013 at 11:33 AM

workingclass artist on March 29, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Man, what do have against the hill country? Austin and San Antonio nuked? Fredricksberg, Luckenbach, Enchanted Rock, the caves and Hippy Hollow, what would happen to them?

cozmo on March 29, 2013 at 9:59 AM

nuthin’ really….Love the region but a lot of the residents want to turn the rest of Texas into California.

So there’s that.

workingclass artist on March 29, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Does it not bother the leftists that the only corpulent man in N. Korea is this swine?

Schadenfreude on March 29, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Fatso attacks Dumbo?

The tiny man does what he does because the inept one lets him.

Schadenfreude on March 29, 2013 at 11:48 AM

“Pyongyang warns rockets ready “to settle accounts with the US””

Maybe they could start by settling up for all the food we’ve been giving them for decades.

Russ in OR on March 29, 2013 at 11:52 AM

That warning reminds me of something . . . . . . . . . . .

“Ok Imperial Star Fleet, … time to suck some Dack . . . . . . “

.
Yeah, that.

listens2glenn on March 29, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Maybe they could start by settling up for all the food we’ve been giving them for decades.

Russ in OR on March 29, 2013 at 11:52 AM

That lil Kim dude looks like a dine-and-dash kind of despot.

Happy Nomad on March 29, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Everyone calm down. We’ve got Chuck Hagel – who promised to brush up on his knowledge while he’s learning on the job – in charge.

Matticus Finch on March 29, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Everyone calm down. We’ve got Chuck Hagel – who promised to brush up on his knowledge while he’s learning on the job – in charge.

[Matticus Finch on March 29, 2013 at 12:16 PM]

I just hope he keeps his mouth shut. The last thing we need here is him letting what he thinks pass his lips.

Dusty on March 29, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Why do we obsess over tin pot dictators?

This one was allowed to get a nuke, and we don’t want to offend anybody, even if it should be someone else’s problem.

Odd that we can’t seem to evolve to a place that affords the opportunity to move the entities who should be shouldering the responsibility to engage.

China should be containing NoKo but instead uses the Korean conflict against us.

Speakup on March 29, 2013 at 12:42 PM

I guess we’ll see just how good our missile defense systems are…..

dentarthurdent on March 29, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Everyone calm down. We’ve got Chuck Hagel – who promised to brush up on his knowledge while he’s learning on the job – in charge.

[Matticus Finch on March 29, 2013 at 12:16 PM]

McHagels Navy to the rescue.

BobMbx on March 29, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Nope, the treaties the US signed with South Korea guarantee US support if the Norks attack again.

cozmo on March 29, 2013 at 8:53 AM

I seem to remember another treaty like that. It was with S. Vietnam after we forced the North to capitulate with that 24/7 Christmas Bombing blitz. How did that work out when the brown wastes hit the rotary blower and Democrats controlled the house and senate. That’s right our government didn’t honor that treaty.

We may have more at stake with S. Korea but I have no reason to believe that the Dems would honor that treaty with them.

chemman on March 29, 2013 at 12:59 PM

We should have finished the job with Russia and China in 1945, with Korea in 1953, with Vietnam in 1970, with Iraq in 1991. The US needs to stop fighting wars with ROE that the Beverly Hills PD would find unacceptable.

Old eagle on March 29, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Please please give us an excuse.

The Notorious G.O.P on March 29, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Apparently Pyongyang had an anti-US rally today:

Men and women, many of them in olive drab uniforms, stood in arrow-straight lines, fists raised as they chanted, “Death to the U.S. imperialists.” Placards in the plaza bore harsh words for South Korea as well, including, “Let’s rip the puppet traitors to death!”

Puppets! I repeat my call for Team America, World Police.

Happy Nomad on March 29, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Rationally speaking, there is no way that North Korea can expect to win a war with the US.

Unless NK is under the delusion, or perhaps have real reason to believe, that China would intervene to bail them out again just like the last time.

It was totally irrational for Japan to attack the U.S. in 1941. They could have simply attacked the British and other European colonies in Asia and gotten all the oil they needed and completely ignored the U.S. It is my opinion that the U.S. did not have the political will at that time to declare war on Japan for invading some British colonies in Asia when you consider that that U.S. did not declare war on Germany for bombing Britain itself. Yet Japan did attack the U.S. because of some idiotic assumptions that were completely wrong. NK’s leaders are even more isolated and more un-worldly than the Japanese leadership was in 1941. So yes NK could do something completely insane but from their bizarre view of the world it might look completely rational to them.

William Eaton on March 29, 2013 at 1:05 PM

The best scenario would be if the little gargoyle started to launch a rocket and it blew up on the pad and obliterated half the country.

Don’t you just love the United Nations?

ultracon on March 29, 2013 at 1:27 PM

How dare them wanting to wipe out 60 percent of Texas’ Liberals (Austin). But if they really have to start somewhere, I suppose we can deal with it.

DDay on March 29, 2013 at 1:35 PM

, once again the question: is this regime rational?

No freaking way it’s rational..look what it does to it’s people..look how their ‘leader’ is praised as a God..They don’t even know what being rational is

sadsushi on March 29, 2013 at 1:46 PM

The pictures look like screen shots from a new Austin Powers movies. I expect the fat kid to demand one million dollars or he will destroy the US. He has painted himself into quite a corner though to try and build up his tough guy, military cred, what is he going to do now? He was schooled outside of the country and may be one of the few that actually know nobody takes him seriously.

Ellis on March 29, 2013 at 1:52 PM

He wants to destroy DC, LA and Austin, TX. DC and LA are fine with me. Just stay out of Texas, Kim.

The Rogue Tomato on March 29, 2013 at 9:02 AM

I don’t count Austin as part of Texas. It’s like the embassy of Cloud CuckooLand.

squint on March 29, 2013 at 1:55 PM

I still think that’s Bobby Lee from MadTV.
I’ve been wondering what he’s been doing.

I’ll bet fairly soon Bobby springs the whole prank on the NorKs – they’ve been pwned. Big laughs all around….

dentarthurdent on March 29, 2013 at 2:45 PM

The Dems are focusing on gun control, SSM, immigration reform, and all the rest to avoid talking about and to distract attention from the economy, the debt, the deficit, and escalating health care costs caused by Obamacare. The mainstream media propaganda machine apparatchiks, including the denizens of Tinseltown, are doing all they can to help in that effort.

Forward, comrades!

farsighted on March 29, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Who said the rockets would be North Korean, or launched from North Korea?

North Korea has one significant export product and they recently advertised it to seismic sensors around the world.

Did anybody buy the remaining stock?

YiZhangZhe on March 29, 2013 at 3:52 PM

Pyongyang warns rockets ready “to settle accounts with the US”

I’ve been wondering – will those rockets be loaded with money?
Cuz I’d say if they want to “settle accounts” with us, they should be writing one big @ss check – considering how much “humanitarian aid” we’ve given them over the years.

dentarthurdent on March 29, 2013 at 4:02 PM

I have a list of qualified targets I would like to submit.

enginemike on March 29, 2013 at 8:37 PM

I don’t think most people realize that the nukes we have now aren’t like the little pea shooters used in Japan.

The Notorious G.O.P on March 30, 2013 at 2:10 AM

I don’t think most people realize that the nukes we have now aren’t like the little pea shooters used in Japan.

The Notorious G.O.P on March 30, 2013 at 2:10 AM

Take ‘em out. Right now.

tbear44 on March 30, 2013 at 3:15 AM

Did this 24yr old kid, Kim Jong Un-Balanced, inherit these wacko ideas from his father, Kin Jong Mentally Il ? Or, more likely he is having his strings pulled by a few power crazed Generals, who want to take over all of Korea. It will be interesting to watch how the Teleprompter in Chief and his band of not so professional adviser’s handle this mess. Where is Hillary when he needs her ? Oh that’s right, he has Kerry, Hmmmmmmm. I know, he can send Ole Joe Plugs over to talk to em about banning guns or something.
yeah, that would work !

BillyPenn on March 30, 2013 at 7:23 AM

Does this nut case in North Korea want his Country turned into a sheet of glass?

mixplix on March 30, 2013 at 3:20 PM

Actually, NorKo CAN win a war with us. What they can do is get a few Sahab2 missiles from Iran, and a Kline missile launch system from Russia. That system is basically a modified cargo container like you see on 18wheelers and cargo ships, and holds 4 missiles. Anyways, NorKo can slap one of their high gamma yeild nukes on the sahab2s, put them in a Kline, load it on a cargo ship, then launch the missiles from international water where they’d be very hard to detect. BUT…they wouldn’t aim them for cities. Instead, program them to detonate over Ohio in the stratosphere. This would trigger an EMP that would wipe out our electrical grid. The 300 super transformers that run our system would be destroyed. We have no replacements, it takes 16 months to build one, and they aren’t made in the USA. Not that it matters, since without power we couldn’t build one anyways. Further, an EMP doesn’t just take out power, but it kills vehicles. Our cities have about 3 days worth of food stockpiled in the stores and such; stores don’t keep a large stock because they get daily, sometimes multiple, deliveries. Water would run out in a few days. In 2 weeks, people would be dying of dehydration. Starvation will set in in a few weeks.

Sure, our ships at sea can retaliate…but the country would still be pretty much destroyed. As much as 90% of the population dead in 1 year. So, it’s not hard at all for NorKo to actually win a war with us. Kim’s probably to stupid to do it though. Gods…I hope he doesn’t read HA!

wolfva on March 30, 2013 at 10:04 PM

Cool your jets, man!

unclesmrgol on March 31, 2013 at 1:44 PM

We should keep in mind that there are two worlds out there. The world we see and the world that only exists inside North Korea. The belicose stance of the North Korean government seems to me to be for internal consumption — we, the valient North Korean people, defy and challenge the evil Americans, who invaded our country in 1950 only to be routed and run like cowards when confronted by our brave soldiers.

It is possible the regime in North Korea is crazy (or desperate) enough to start a shooting war, but it seems they will walk up to the edge if only to keep their propaganda alive and justify their government’s existence.

Russ808 on April 2, 2013 at 9:32 PM

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