The AP is reporting:
North Korea has restarted its nuclear facilities to harvest weapons-grade plutonium, an official said Saturday, in an escalation of the communist state's standoff with the international community over its nuclear and missile programs.
The move "will contribute to bolstering the nuclear deterrence for self-defense in every way to cope with the increasing military threats from the hostile forces," the North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said in comments carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
Diplomacy has been a miserable failure as a strategy for the West to deal with North Korea. Negotiations with the NoKors have been dead in the water since December. And, like Generalissimo Francisco Franco, they are still dead. The United Nations, in a characteristically ineffective move, announced sanctions against three North Korean companies. I'm sure that Kim is quaking in his jack boots. The UN is the Barney Fife of world cops. But Barney, at least, had a bullet and he wasn't afraid to use it.
This comes on the heels of a recent article from The Times of London:
The world’s intelligence agencies and defense experts are quietly acknowledging that North Korea has become a fully fledged nuclear power with the capacity to wipe out entire cities in Japan and South Korea, the Times of London reported.
The new reality has emerged in off-hand remarks and in single sentences buried in lengthy reports. Increasing numbers of authoritative experts — from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the U.S. Defense Secretary — are admitting that North Korea has miniaturized nuclear warheads to the extent that they can be launched on medium-range missiles, according to intelligence briefings.
At least the Korean communists, unlike their Iranian allies, are beyond the stage of trying to convince the rest of the world that their nuclear development is for the peaceful purposes of generating electricity. This would be refreshinghly straightforward of the communist dictatorship were it not so incredibly alarming. No, Kim makes no bones about the fact that he has the bomb and he's willing to use it.
The Obama administration doesn't seem to be sufficiently "up on the wheel" about the stunning and dangerous elevation of North Korea to full-fledged nuclear power status. It is cutting back on missle defense and taking the posture that our most critical threat comes from sources other than rogue nations. At a time when the world is getting more dangerous, Obama is cutting back on critical defense programs and weapons systems. The political Left always dismisses any cautionary talk of what the NoKors have been up to. Their standing talking point is, "North Korea's latest missile test was a failure. Nothing to see here, folks. Don't worry, be happy. Move along."
One who does not dismiss the significance of North Korea's 50 years of missile and warhead development is Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin:
"I am deeply concerned with North Korea’s development and testing program which has clear potential of impacting Alaska, a sovereign state of the United States, with a potentially nuclear armed warhead," Governor Palin said. "I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that we continue to develop and perfect the global missile defense network. Alaska’s strategic location and the system in place here have proven invaluable in defending the nation."
Governor Palin never misses an opportunity to stress the importance of Fort Greely and the need for continued funding for the Missile Defense Agency. The governor opposes SECDEF Robert Gates’ proposed $1.4 billion reduction of the Missile Defense Agency. Greely is the nation’s only ground-based missile defense complex:
Critics of missile defense take the "can't do" approach, as if these arguments are some kind of rationale for not taking every precaution we can to defend our country. The same sort of arguments were being made in 1914, "Aeroplanes are not reliable weapons platforms. The bombs they carry are not accurate. There is no future for military aviation." Yet we now have precision-guided bombs and missiles which can penetrate a building and be detonated inside it. It's a good thing the naysayers did not prevail in those early days of military aircraft development nearly a century ago.
Sarah Palin is not just a voice in the Alaskan wilderness. She is joined by Alaska's bipartisan congressional delegation of Senators Murkowski and Begich, along with Rep. Young:
"Our early opposition to reduced funding for the Missile Defense Agency is proving to be well-founded during this turbulent time," Governor Palin said. "I continue to support the development and implementation of a defensive missile shield based in Alaska. We are strategically placed to defend the critical assets of the United States and our allies in the Pacific Theater."
Her political opponents, of course, attempt to deflect her compelling argument with such nonsense as, "What does this snowbilly know? She said that she could see Russia from her house." Not only does this not address the issue, but Sarah Palin never said that. Her detractors have her confused with comedic actress Tina Fey. But this isn't the first time that small minds have been unable to distinguish between whimsy and reality. They've got nothing more than snark, and they're not afraid to use it.