Alas. Dennis Rodman's promise of eternal friendship was not enough. Renewed aggression from North Korea has prompted newly-installed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to beef up missile defense sites, deploying 14 new interceptors in Alaska. After its nuclear test, which of course America gave North Korea no choice but to do, it seems the reculsive communist nation has prompted U.S. officials to be prepared for the worst, just in case.
The new interceptors will be based at Fort Greely, an Army launch site about 100 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska, and are projected to be fully deployed by 2017, Hagel said. The additions will bring the U.S.-based ground interceptor deployment from 30 to 44, including four that are based in California.
That will boost U.S. missile defense capability by 50 percent and "make clear to the world that the United States stands firm against aggression," he said in a briefing at the Pentagon.
North Korea is famed for its much-hyped, minimally successful weapons tests, so it may seem like they're just blowing smoke again. But recently, they've stepped up the belligerent language, and are threatening to pull out of armistice, thereby reigniting the unresolved Korean War. For example, Kim Jong-Un gave this lovely speech to his troops the other day:
New video broadcast on North Korean television showed the nation's leader, Kim Jong Un, addressing his troops along the border on Monday and issuing a blood-chilling threat, "Throw all enemies into the caldron, break their waists and crack their windpipes." It was the same location he and his late father visited in November 2010, just two days before the North shelled an island, killing four South Koreans.
The bellicose comments have been intensifying over the past months, increasing worry about Kim's unpredictability.
"I am very concerned about what they might do. And they are certainly, if they chose ... could initiate a provocative action against the South," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.
Of course, the administration wanted to emphasize that we're not really worried about nuclear apocalypse courtesy of the DPRK, so perhaps President Obama said it best:
"They probably can't, but we don't like margin of error," Obama told ABC News.