Another missile test in the guise of a satellite launch, a la Iran’s fireworks last month, but with the stakes much higher. The regime’s less predictable; the missile is longer range; and the chances of a regional war being touched off by a misfire are greater.

Other than that, nothing to worry about.

The launch has drawn concern from the United States and Asian countries because the same technology used to launch a satellite can be used to launch ballistic missiles and would amount to a test of North Korea’s ability to reach the United States with a ballistic missile.

One US official says that North Korea appears to have set up two stages of a three stage Taepodong 2 missile at the Musudan Ni launch facility located on the country’s northeast coast…

The State Department and regional partners have stated that the launch of any missile, even the launch of a satellite, is a violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution that North Korea from engaging in ballistic missile activity…

Admiral Timothy Keating, who heads US Pacific Command, told a congressional panel yesterday that the US military is ready for a North Korean launch.

Via Closing Velocity, North Korea says it’ll regard a rocket intercept as an act of war but Japan has no choice except to prepare one. The One certainly isn’t going to intercept it unless it’s absolutely necessary: Not only would it put us on the brink but it’d demonstrate the utility of that missile defense system he’s so ambivalent about. Exit question: Any U.S. options here besides crossing our fingers and hoping the missile falls harmlessly into the Pacific? One possibility is shooting it down secretly and announcing publicly that the missile failed on its own, a la the 2006 Taepodong launch. That would let the North Koreans save face, which might be enough to avoid confrontation.