One of the most impoverished countries in the world is wasting $850 million on launching a communications satellite into space. Most observers point out that the rocket launch is more of a test for the development of an intercontinental missile than for the space program.
As the Telegraph reports, this money would have purchased 2.5 million tons of corn of and 1.4 million tons of rice. The rocket was financed by $1.14 billion in coal exports last year. In this economic basket case of a country, one-third of the children are malnourished.
With a GDP of about $40 billion, North Korea will spend over 2% of its total national output on this single launch. With a GDP slightly above $15 trillion, the United States would need to spend $330 billion to proportionally equal North Korea’s GDP expenditures. Add in that North Korea can’t even feed its own people, and the spending of this sum of money is criminal.
The launch of the rocket will also endanger international economic and food aid programs to North Korea. This episode in geopolitical blustering by the North Koreans will simply create more hardships for the poor North Korean people. That is part of the plan. By keeping its people underfed, North Korea prevents uprisings. The people will be no match for the military and police, who are well-armed and, more importantly, well-fed.
Most observers see this is an attempt by Kim Jung Un and his supporters to firm his political support. The military and Communist Party are the most powerful institutions in North Korea. There are no moderates in either organization. The leadership always takes the position that is the most extreme and unflinching. This is why it is impossible to negotiate with the North Koreans. They never compromise. They also believe that the more dangerous they appear, then even greater international aid will be promised.
It is this unpredictability that has all of North Korea’s neighbors on high alert. It is not just the fear that the North Koreans might wrap a more overt military test into this missile launch but that they are also technologically incompetent. The last time they tried a long-range missile launch, it fell short of its goal and plummeted into the Pacific Ocean. This is like giving a shotgun to someone who can’t shoot straight and having that person roam the countryside taking target practice. The likelihood of someone getting hurt is always there.
This is just more crazy and dangerous behavior from the world’s primary outlaw nation.
Correction: The U.S. GDP was changed from billion to trillion, which just made us all 1000% wealthier.