2.24.2009

North Korean Missile Program

We as military historians do the world at large a disservice by confining ourselves to the past. When dealing with an individual or a country, we judge their trustworthiness and predict their future actions through examination of their recent and past actions, whether it is a decision to dispense a mortgage or on the grandest scale of international politics. We as historians can provide the richest, most detailed package of knowledge to the present decision-makers that we have gathered through a lifetime of study. Is anyone more qualified to make such a judgment?

North Korea announced its intentions to launch an experimental satellite in the near future. Intelligence services believe that this package will be carried by a missile of reaching the Western U.S. This standoff with North Korea has existed for the better part of a century, and is badly in need of a detente. Every president or head of state has a different approach to this situation, mostly based on whatever their area of personal expertise or the prepackaged stance of their political party.

An historian would approach this problem from the past, looking back over the years of detente with the Soviet Union, or even to the more recent situations with Iraq's WMDs and Iran's nuclear programme. This is public knowledge that is out there and is rarely drawn upon by the primary audience- those that make decisions and need it most.

We as historians are obligated to make a foray into the present from time to time, to give the world the benefit our of esoteric, perhaps archaic craft.

Further Reading

Wall Street Journal Article

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