In what may be the least surprising event of the year, the "Democratic (hah!) Peoples Republic (hah!) of North Korean DPRK successfully threw the world's press in a panic with the confirmation test of one of its nuclear weapons in an underground test. See here for some reaction:
For the Bush administration, the fact that one of the countries described by the president as part of an "axis of evil" has apparently confirmed its membership of the nuclear weapons' club means that, short of military action, there is little it can really do to enforce a change of policy.Some sensible reaction at North Korea zone:
Any military action against the North might provoke it into a reckless response.
Its nuclear test does not mean that it now has a useable nuclear bomb.
The device would be too large to be put onto one of its missiles but it has a huge conventional army along the border line with the South.
this changes everything -- and nothing. On the one hand (if it is all true), North Korea has now joined a very elite club, as the ninth nuclear power -- and the world is a more dangerous place.And at OneFreeKorea:
On the other, very little changes -- no country is likely to respond militarily. So that status quo will remain in place, but with heightened rhetoric and tension.
President Bush will probably have no choice but to ignore the counsel of State Department doves who had nearly unopposed control of Bush’s North Korea policy until last August. Now, he’ll most likely use many of the options he didn’t use after North Korea’s July missile tests. I would expect some very severe sanctions and a move for a U.N. arms embargo. Stronger sanctions, along the lines of PATRIOT 311, are likely. A “soft” naval blockade, meaning enhanced enforcement under the Proliferation Security Initiative, is also likely.For some reason the management of the DPRK reminds me of the plant in Little Shop of Horrors: "Feed me, Seymour!"
UPDATE: China Confidential looks at
how the "appeasers" will play the test here.