Asia's Autocrats Are Calling, Mr. Biden
While President Joe Biden was in Brussels and Warsaw showing U.S. solidarity with Ukraine, the 38-year-old autocrat who rules North Korea made a bold bid for the president's attention.
For the first time since 2017, Kim Jong Un test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-17, the largest road-mobile missile ever launched.
While it flew 600 miles from Pyongyang into the Sea of Japan, the mammoth missile flew for 71 minutes, reaching an altitude of 3,852 miles.
Had it been fired in a normal trajectory, its missile warheads could have reached Washington, D.C., and every city in the USA.
As any first strike on the United States with such a weapon would ensure the destruction of Kim's dynasty, regime and country, clearly, this ICBM test is a bid to demand new negotiations with the U.S.
Kim's goals are to have the U.S. lift sanctions, recognize his regime, remove U.S. bases and troops from South Korea, and start up trade while he steadily expands his arsenal of missiles and nuclear warheads as both an insurance policy and an instrument of extortion.
The U.S. and South Korea have both expressed skepticism about the launch, believing Pyongyang may have test-fired an upgraded and older Hwasong-15 that carries a single warhead.
But Kim is not the only Asian autocrat on the move.
China's President Xi Jinping and Russia's President Vladimir Putin lately sent a flotilla of 10 warships -- destroyers, frigates, corvettes -- five Chinese and five Russian -- through the Tsugaru Strait between Japan's home islands of Honshu and Hokkaido and then back again through the Osumi Strait off the Japanese island of Kyushu.
This is believed to be the first joint Chinese-Russian naval patrol ever conducted in the Western Pacific.