Monday, October 09, 2006

a strategic failure of the first order

Guardian Unlimited

North Korea today announced the successful conclusion of its first nuclear test, sparking a wave of international condemnation from old enemies and traditional allies alike.

The controlled explosion, carried out at Hwaderi, near the north-eastern city of Kilju, sent shockwaves across the world and escalated tensions in north-east Asia.

According to the US Geological Survey, a magnitude 4.2 seismic event was registered on the peninsula at 10.37am local time (0237 BST).

We'll need to wait a few more hours for confirmation. But initial signs suggest that the US picked up the seismic signature of the underground nuclear test the North Koreans are claiming to have carried out. We've been pretty sure for some time that the North Koreans had developed a nuclear capacity. This would not only confirm that assumption, but the decision to conduct the test will be interpreted as a sign of belligerence that will send ripples throughout the region, probably first through Japanese rearmament.

For the US this is a strategic failure of the first order.

The origins of the failure are ones anyone familiar with the last six years in this country will readily recognize: chest-thumping followed by failure followed by cover-up and denial. The same story as Iraq. Even the same story as Foley.

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