This past weekend North Korea brazenly launched another test of their nuclear missile capability, despite U.N. resolutions forbidding such tests. And with every test, no matter the success, North Korea learns more about how to improve its ballistic missile capability.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is one of the world’s most oppressed and closed countries, and its Communist rulers have repressed basic human rights and nationalized all industry since the country’s founding in 1948. Since the early 1990s, North Korea has replaced the doctrine of Marxism Leninism with the late Kim Il-Sungs juche (self-reliance) as the official state ideology. They spend an exorbitant amount of their GDP on defense spending.
North Korea remains one of the worst proliferators of missile and weapons technology. North Korea already has a missile, called a Taepodong 2, that can potentially reach parts of the U.S. including Alaska and Hawaii. And North Korea shares technology and expertise with Iran and they watch each others missile programs to see what they can get away with from the international community and the U.S. And while North Korea claims that the test was merely a peaceful satellite, a “satellite” launch is still a ballistic missile test, violating U.N. sanctions, since it tests all the key components of launching a long-range missile.
Twenty six years ago during the Cold War, Ronald Reagan outlined to the nation his vision of a Strategic Defense Initiative that would protect America from incoming missiles before they exploded in U.S. cities. Since that time, a missile defense system has been established, and the United States has performed 35 successful tests on our existing system. But the system is by no means complete. More bases are needed, and sufficient funds have to be allocated to the existing system for proper upkeep. If the United States does not build a missile defense base in Europe, we will have no defense against an Iranian missile.
Yet, despite the urgent need for missile defense, the current Administration plans to cut funding for the program by 16 percent. Missile defense is not costly, at only two percent of the Department of Defense budget. In fact, if you add up every cent spent on missile defense over the past 30 years, it is still less than the cost of the damage done by the planes on 9-11.
The threat hasn’t changed; the science hasn’t changed; the need hasn’t changed. A ballistic missile can reach and obliterate a U.S. city from anywhere in the world in just 33 minutes. And North Korea has both nuclear arms, and missile capability. Now is not the time to significantly cut and rollback a missile defense plan that has been in place for years to protect us. Now is the time to expand missile defense to the robust defense system Reagan imagined. To learn more, watch the trailer below of Heritages new documentary, aptly named 33 Minutes, or sign up to host a screening.