Sonia Sotomayor vs. Kim Jong Il
Kim Jong Il, I’m told, is a leader with a few deficiencies. Add this to the list: terrible news judgment.
The mercurial Stalinist who runs North Korea, after all, decided to test a nuclear weapon yesterday -- Memorial Day. If you didn’t hear, I don’t really blame you. Americans are far more likely to be charring chicken in the back yard than staring at CNN on their three-day weekends. Still, I suppose, he could have been counting on a wave of worry breaking today as Americans retired their BBQ brushes and began fretting about when nuke-tipped Taepodongs might threaten Hollywood.
But if Kim had given an American newspaper even a cursory look over the last week or so, he would have known that President Obama was set to announce his Supreme Court pick this week, too, and once that happened, his saber-rattling would get pushed below the metaphorical fold. True to expectation, this morning Obama announced he would nominate Sonia Sotomayer to the high court, and even after a couple of missile tests today, Kim’s provocations haven’t registered as they would have during any normal news week. Instead Sonia Sotomayor’s life story is taking up most of the bandwidth. And much of the rest is going to the California Supreme Court’s -- also long-anticipated -- ruling upholding Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in the state. Clearly, Kim has no business running North Korea’s state-run press, let alone the rest of the country.
This isn’t a frivolous observation. Nuclear weapons are near useless if your adversaries don’t know about and actively fear the ones you’ve got.
If the American public isn’t paying attention to Pyonyang’s nuclear testing and Congress is obsessing over the politics of confirmation, the pressure on Obama to hastily deal with the regime -- and it is likely that Kim is after some quick concessions from this new American president -- is diminished. Which makes it much easier for Obama to take The Post’s advice and decline to treat North Korea’s latest test as the crisis Kim Jong Il wishes it would be.
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