In a double blow for North Korea over the weekend, the U.N. Security Council and then the world's eight top industrialized countries condemned the reclusive Stalinist regime for carrying out a series of missile tests two weeks ago.
Both China and Russia, North Korea's closest allies, went along with their partners in the two bodies, despite a longstanding reluctance to take a firm stand towards Pyongyang.
Naturally, North Korea was not happy.
Pyongyang reacted with characteristic defiance. Accusing the U.S. of forcing the U.N. resolution, the country's foreign ministry vowed to bolster its self-defense deterrent, hinting at further missile tests.
I don't know if that's a smart defense or not. I think they'll learn their allies have less patience than they might imagine for any more saber-rattling. Everybody wants them back at the table, but of course N. Korea can't just say, "oops, my bad" and come back. No, they have to show that they can't be forced to do anything by anybody (although we might force them to collapse if we quit giving them food aid). Or maybe they're just bargaining with us for concessions which will get them to come back to the table. N. Korea is recalcitrant to be sure, but most of us don't believe they're bent on nuclear holocaust. They just want stuff from us, so it may be they're playing the card they have in hand now. Concessiions just for returning to the table, which, if they get them, will have played out nicely for them. We'll see what happens.