Before we panic about North Korea’s alleged acquisition of The Bomb, we need to take a couple steps toward understanding what we’re really dealing with here.
First, did North Korea really successfully test a nuclear device? There seem to be some doubt about that. See here and here.
Normally, I’d believe a country’s claim to having done what North Korea says it’s accomplished, but we're talking about North Korea and they have about zero credibility. This could all be a stunt to provide a kind of pseudo-nuclear deterrence based on the illusion they have nuclear weapons. Hell, Saddam Hussein did a similar thing by not fully admitting he had gotten rid of his now famous “weapons of mass destruction”. It’s defense by threat only, paper tigers if you will.
Next, even if the North Koreans have successfully detonated a nuclear bomb, I suspect it will be a long, long time before they are in any position to effectively use it offensively. And they are decades or more away from being able to lob one over the Pacific our way.
Also consider this: the reasons for the NKs resuming their nuclear program may have more to do with fear from without than any desire from within to become aggressive. Remember, while we don’t like other countries to have access to nuclear weapons, the populations of those countries, by and large, do like the idea of getting their own bomb. Membership in the nuclear club had it’s advantages, like deterrence, credibility and status on many levels.
The atomic weapons programs in Pakistan and India are quite popular domestically. And while Iran isn’t very close to developing an atomic weapon, it seems they may be on the path to one. And guess what, everyday Iranians like the idea. I suspect the Iranian nuclear program, such as it is, is far more popular than the government perusing the nuclear ends. Meaning even with “regime change” the march to nukes may continue there.
It’s a sad reality but nuclear proliferation will continue. We should to everything reasonable to slow it but it is here to stay. I suggest we all, globally, do a Rodney King and ask, “Can’t we all just get along?”