North Korea made international headlines last week by conducting a ballistic missile test in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions that explicitly disallow the hermit kingdom from conducting any tests of the sort. The test came during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to President Trump and the United States, which according to some national defense experts, is hardly a coincidence. Though North Korea’s leadership likely thinks that the testing of intermediate-range ballistic missiles will help it appear powerful before the world, it is more than likely that the test and future ones like it will not benefit the small yet volatile nation. This ballistic missile test and future ones like it will likely cause North Korea to draw ire from President Donald Trump and other Western leaders, thus making these leaders less likely to offer key economic sanction relief to the poor nation. Though Trump responded to the missile launch with uncharacteristic restraint, it is unlikely that this restraint will be maintained for long, as he as an extensive history of shifting policy on the fly, most recently evidenced by his support for the “One China” policy despite strong rhetoric against the People’s Republic of China both on the campaign trail and more recently, in office. Consequentially, it would be very unwise for North Korean policy makers to assume that their actions will go without a sudden and significant reprisal. The possibility of a strong American reprisal alone makes North Korea’s saber rattling extremely unwise.