Maybe it was intended to be a show of farce instead?
The botched launching early Friday (Thursday afternoon in the Eastern United States) of a long-range rocket wasn't exactly the show of strength that the third generation of North Korean dictators wanted to mark the 100th year of his family's regime.
But it may have been the most appropriate one for a government that's done little more than repress its people and drive them into economic hardship over the past century.
The satellite launch by Pyongyang from North Korea's west coast fizzled in spectacular fashion, as young dictator Kim Jong Un watched $1 billion worth of hope disintegrate over the Yellow Sea. The failure of the launch, which the North Korean government had bragged would demonstrate its power, was such a big issue that even Pyongyang officials had to admit it publicly -- albeit four hours later, long after the United States and South Korea had broken the news.
So, what did North Korea get for its ill-planned party fireworks?
It got hungrier. President Obama quickly announced that the United States was suspending its food aid.
It lost even more of what little credibility it had in agreements it has made with other nations. A promise from North Korea's government is worth about as much as one from Iran's.
It increased the concerns of many nations -- including Russia -- that swiftly condemned the action as provocative. The U.N. Security Council said it deplored the rocket launch, citing two violations of council resolutions. It did not announce the imposition of any new sanctions, however, and only said that its members had agreed to continue talking and determine "an appropriate response" that would be in accordance with the Council's responsibilities "given the urgency of the matter."
The most worrying thought for the United States and other countries is that the North, having flopped so visibly this time, will feel a need to do something to show it still has sharp teeth. That something might be the detonation of its third nuclear test.
The only positive is that while North Korea is believed to have two nuclear explosive devices, neither is small enough to fit on one of these so-called "Bright Shining Star" rockets, and the rocket is not get capable to getting out of Korean air space, much less crossing the ocean and striking the United States.
But it is no time to sit back and feel secure. First launches often end in failure. Unless there is some sort of strong action taken by other nations to prevent it, North Korea's government will redirect whatever money it has to from the welfare of its citizens until it achieves its goal of gaining a nuclear missile capable of crossing the ocean.
If we and rest of the world allow that to happen, we will have allowed the world to become a much more dangerous place.