The multiple-stage Taepo Dong-2- potentially capable of reaching parts of the United States with a nuclear-weapon-sized payload-may be ready for flight-testing.
How's that drill go again? Duck and...
Update: Need specification on the TD-2? Try this.
The Taep’o-dong 2’s major use is as a weapon of international blackmail. Easily equipped with a nuclear weapon, it is the first direct threat to the United States from North Korea. It will likely be used as a threat of nuclear escalation in response to any American intervention during a second Korean war. Just as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Lt. Gen. Xiong Guang Kai stated that Americans “care more about Los Angeles than they do Tai Pei,” North Korea will likely rely on American unwillingness to lose cities rather than withdraw from Korea. In addition, it will likely be used to blackmail wealthier countries for energy and food, similar to how the North Korean nuclear program has been used. It is also a major income generator as an item for export.
In an earlier post I offered up a link to Nicholas Eberstadt's excellent Policy Review piece on the North Korean economy. Here's the part most relevant to the TD-2 in light of the above:
In most of the world today, a country’s defense outlays are regarded as a weight that must be shouldered by the value-adding sectors of the national economy (hence the phrase “military burden”). North Korea’s leadership, however, evidently entertains the concept of a “self-sustaining” defense sector — implying that Pyongyang views its military activities as generating resources rather than absorbing them. In the enunciated view of Pyongyang’s leadership, the dprk’s military sector is the key to financing the recovery of the national economy.
It does not require a great deal of imagination to spell out the operational details of this approach. While forswearing any appreciable export revenues from legitimate commerce with advanced market economies, North Korean policy today seems to be banking on the possibility of financing state survival by exporting strategic insecurity to the rest of the world. In part, such dividends are derived from exports of merchandise (e.g., missile sales, international transfer of wmd technology). But these revenues also depend heavily on what might be described as an export of services: in this case, military extortion services (or, perhaps better yet, “revenue-sensitive threat reduction services”) based upon Pyongyang’s nuclear development and ballistic missile programs.
One man's nuclear blackmail is another man's national economic strategy.