With the Fourth of July fireworks show put on by North Korea as the backdrop, security analysts and pundits had a field day dissecting what the event signals for the holdout Stalinists in Pyongyang. Writing in the New York Post, the Heritage Foundation’s Peter Brookes said the provocation will turn out to be “a complete loser” for the North Korean regime. In addition to looking foolish after their prized Taepo Dong II failed in its launch, making their game of brinkmanship seem ridiculous, other potential missile shoppers will now think twice about adding a North Korean missile to their arsenal. The Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Anthony Cordesman takes a different tack, saying that regardless of the diplomatic reprisals for Pyongyang ahead, the regime has reminded everyone how serious its threat can be and how limited most military options are. Cordesman believes Pyongyang was, among other goals, “sending an even more direct signal to its neighbors: Japan and South Korea. It was showing that it could ignore their main military ally, and efforts at regional persuasion from both those states and China.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.