Defying an international outcry, North Korea yesterday launched a rocket that looked vaguely like a hand-me-down they’d found it in some NASA thrift store, and slapped their flag and markings on the sides. Given that it’s a country that prioritizes the growth of its military power over even feeding its own people, one might have expected better. North Korea certainly did; breaking with their usual lockdown secrecy, they invited a coterie of international journalists to the launch (including NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, who spoke to Rachel Maddow about it last night in the video below).
But once again, North Korea discovered the difference between being iconoclastic, and merely isolationist, adding to a history of failed ballistic endeavors. Yesterday’s launch, intended to celebrate the 100th birthday of the country’s founder, Kim Il-Sung, went over like a wet candle:
…in what was a major embarrassment to the North and its young new leader, the rocket disintegrated moments after the launching, and American and Japanese officials said its remnants fell harmlessly into the sea.
The New York Times added that this even the North Koreans, given their international guests, couldn’t get away with the kind of lies they’re known for; their state-run news media reported the failure several hours after it happened. But while it’s tempting to make North Korea a laughingstock, the White House certainly isn’t: