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So what's the big fuss?

Yesterday, North Korea fired about half a dozen missiles, including one or two of their most ambitious project, a planned intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could, conceivably, reach as far as Chicago. And all of them plunged into the Sea of Japan.

Let's see... North Korea is working on nuclear weapons, but hasn't tested one yet (to the best of my knowledge). And their prized delivery system is a flop -- the Taepodong-2 missile didn't even last a minute off the launchpad. So what's the problem here?

After all, it's just been pretty much conclusively proven that North Korea poses no imminent threat to the United States directly. There are a bunch of Americans (both military and civilian) in South Korea who live under the gun, but that's nothing new. That situation's been around for about 50 years.

That, you see, is the new standard for dealing with international threats. One must wait until the threat is imminent (as in "almost ready to cause us a serious hurting") before one can legitimately respond. In Iraq, for example, Saddam posed no real threat to the US, so we had no business invading and removing him based on his past actions and future intentions. The only thing that matters is how much of a threat he was at that very moment, and that was negligible.

You know, this policy could also be the answer to our health care financing crisis. Let's stop a lot of the medical tests we do now, the ones aimed at early detection of diseases and other health problems. Let's just wait until they made themselves known on their own, and treat them at that point.

Some would argue that this will be more expensive in the long run, as treatment will be far more expensive and complicated, but that's tomorrow's problem. And if some conditions progress too far before presenting themselves frankly, well, that's just the price of saving all that time and money on early prevention.

(Update: "Satire" tag added.)


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Comments (6)

There are two sides to this... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

There are two sides to this. Patton wanted to take care of the coming cold war right after WWII. He didn't. Millions of people died including tens of thousands of Americans. 45 years later the communist government had collapsed and the slower containment strategy worked.

About 30 years before Patton, the US landed troops to help stop the communist coming to power. It was direct action and it failed. Part of the results of that failure led to tens of millions of people dying.

I think the answer is less whether you should act early or late, but rather make sure that you act effectively and do not waver in your resolve.

One of the problems with pr... (Below threshold)

One of the problems with preventive screening in medicine is the false positive rate. Occult blood in the stool as a screen for cancer of the bowel can detect tumors, but also a myriad of other diseases that aren't cancer. For every cancer detected this way, a number of folks without cancer are subjected to expensive and sometimes dangerous studies to determine if there is a cancer there at all.

I also have a little trouble telling if the sarcasm is on or off for part or all of the post, JT. I'd guess NK is an imminent threat. But the country sitting behind it is even more of a threat, and is likely using intense intelligence gathering around these missile launches to probe our defense and response capabilities.

No system will be perfect. ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

No system will be perfect. So one can always find some pros and cons. Common sense tells us that we should spend most of the effort on prediction and prevention. Are we guaranteed to succeed 100% of the time. Obviously not, but we try to prevent most of the problems first. Then we try for the cure where we fail to prevent. That 's why we have financial planning, market study etc... The same holds in national defense.

Free hint JT... they're try... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Free hint JT... they're trying and even though they can't means that with each failure they learn a bit more what not to do so that they get closer to a success.

ICBM doesn't mean it has to have a MIRV on it. Just one will cause a real shitstorm and just ruin what was left of your day.

They are *not* doing this to learn how to launch satellites or for peacefull purposes.

Jay - It all comes down to ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Jay - It all comes down to your tolerance for living with threats. Different people react to threats in different ways. For example, the following test was developed to measure one's tolerance for perceived "dangers"....

Scenario:

You are driving in a car at a constant speed.

On your left is a valley and on your right is a fire engine traveling at the same speed you are.

In front of you is a galloping pig which is the same size as your car and you cannot overtake it.

Behind you is a helicopter flying at ground level.

Both the giant pig and the helicopter are traveling at the same speed you are.

What must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation?

Answer:

Get off the children's Merry-Go-Round, you idiot! You're hammered!
-------------

Psst - The pig was from North Korea

The best analogy I've seen ... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

The best analogy I've seen to the Iraq, Iran, and NK situations is the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark is the scene where the swordsman is about to attack Indy and starts waving his sword, despite observing that Indy has a pistol on his hip. What happens? Indy draws and fires. Problem solved.




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