N. Korea Gives Obama a Holiday Test
By Ben Pershing
We'll never know whether North Korea consulted the American holiday calendar before deciding to conduct a nuclear test and test-fire missiles Monday -- three years ago, similar missile tests occurred around July 4th -- but deliberately or not, the secretive regime did President Obama a favor by committing its latest provocation during Memorial Day weekend. That timing served to muffled and delay the reaction from administration critics, who are only now returning from vacation to start criticizing Obama for his alleged foreign policy weakness.
Just in case the world didn't get the message yesterday, North Korea reportedly launched two more missiles today. The moves are widely seen as a test of the new president's mettle, and its decision to eschew a policy of isolation in favor of engagement with rogue nations. It's still unclear whether the White House was officially surprised by the timing of the nuclear test, but it is clear that the administration wants to project an air of determination and strength.
Of course, Obama's wasn't too worried to squeeze in a round of golf Monday. To use an increasingly common but still irritating word, the "optics" are never good when the president plays golf. But again, it was a holiday, so how many Americans noticed?
Posted at 8:21 AM ET on May 26, 2009
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