Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/4/2012 (1743 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Sometime in the next week, North Korea is expected to launch a ballistic missile intended to carry a satellite into space. That seems innocent enough, but the launch is in violation of agreements reached with the United States and the United Nations, and the Americans suspect it is, in truth, a test launch of a missile that could deliver a nuclear payload in a future attack on the U.S.
That is not a far-fetched fantasy. North Korea has had one of the world's most erratic and brutally totalitarian governments through three generations of rule by the Kim family, beginning with Kim Il Sung (the Great and Glorious Leader), his son, Kim Jong Il (the Dear Leader) and his grandson, Kim Jong Un, who is expected to be affirmed as president today (and will then, one assumes, be bestowed with an equally endearing byname).
Washington has already warned Pyongyang that if the satellite launch takes place, it will negate a deal reached in February that saw America agree to provide 240,000 tons of food aid to North Korea in exchange for that country's commitment to refrain from testing missiles and nuclear weapons.
Clearly, Pyongyang's Communist bureaucracy does not care. North Koreans have gone hungry for years so the regime can profit. There is an abundance of evidence, in fact, that the satellite launch will be followed by the country's third test of a nuclear weapon, which will bring down even more severe sanctions and more deprivation.
It is good policy to support the people while opposing the government that oppresses them, but when a nation has had its tongue cut out by its government, as North Korea has, it is the duty of the international community to speak for it.