Say what you will about Rocket Man, but he’s having a major impact on the rest of the world before firing a single shot in anger. Kim Jong-un’s development of ICBMs and hydrogen bombs has spurred not only political rhetoric, but actual changes in the military policies of nations around the globe. The latest instance of this comes from Australia.
While we don’t normally think of the Aussies as one of the major global powers when it comes to military conflict, they do have their own forces to deploy, including a navy. And with Kim’s announcement that his missiles could fly all the way to their continent, the Aussies are investing in upgrading their warships with modern defense systems. (Reuters)
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday nine war ships set for construction in 2020 will be fitted with long-range anti-missile defense systems to counter the threat of rogue nations.
Australia’s proposed frigates will use Aegis combat systems, produced by Lockheed Martin, in conjunction with SAAB Australia technology, Turnbull said.
Tensions in the region have spiked considerably in recent months as North Korea conducted a series of tests of its medium- and long-range ballistic missiles, some of which flew over Japan, as well as its sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3.
Going with the Aegis system won’t safeguard the Aussies against everything, but it’s a good start. And it also allows them to more closely coordinate with American and other allied forces in the event that things progress to a worst case scenario. Of course, they’re talking about ships that won’t even be under construction for a few years and at the rate Kim is going these days, God only knows if that will be soon enough.
But North Korea is affecting the policies of more nations than just Australia. In just the past few weeks, Japan has opened up discussions of upgrading their own missile defense systems, possibly acquiring cruise missile capability and even modifying their constitution to allow for action other than simply responding to a first attack. Even India, themselves a nuclear power but one which largely stays out of fights not involving Pakistan, has been doing a bit of saber rattling when it comes to North Korea.
You won’t find many people in the entire world defending Kim Jong-un’s actions, but it’s undeniable that he’s having an effect across the globe. The more countries begin to mobilize and militarize in response to the diminutive tyrant, the more the entire planet is on a war footing. Even if the threat from North Korea is eventually eliminated – either through diplomacy or something more extreme – Kim Jong-un will have left the world a far more bristling place, poised for battle when diplomacy fails. If he’s been looking to ensure that history will not forget him, it seems to be working.