Once again, North Korea is attempting to stretch its muscles by launching a missile test. North Korea has told the local news media that it is fueling up a long range rocket in preparation for the test. The key issue is the response of the international community including the Obama administration. The problem is that the Obama administration does not have too many options at this point. It has indicated it is going to seek a broad international consensus to condemn North Korea’s actions.
Nevertheless, further options are limited as heavy sanctions have already been levied upon North Korea. Most importantly, the White House would unlikely seek further sanctions because Mr. Obama does not seek to anger Russia and China. Both Russia and China have ties to North Korea, and the White House will need Russia and China’s backing of sanctions against Syria. Interestingly, the Obama administration appears to be relying upon China to prod North Korea to cut back upon its belligerence. The Chinese President insists that he will be compliant, but Chinese statements against the rocket launch have not stopped North Korea.
The White House is seeking to win the public relations battle against Pyongyang. Basically, they are asking media outlets not to overembellish the launch so as to give North Korean propagandists a victory. They have described the rocket as a dishwasher wrapped in tin foil. Nevertheless, it is clear that the dishwasher wrapped in tin foil is making Washington look weak.