However, the bombing of Flight 858 more closely resembles the Lockerbie bombing perpetrated by Libyan agents in 1988. Both were deliberate and spiteful state-led projects to massacre civilians in pursuance of political objectives. It still sounds absurd to state the fact plainly: North Korea blew up an airliner to drive down attendance at an athletic event.
Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.
This article first appeared in 2017.