Well, they're claiming that it was, and there's evidence that it happened in the form of an earthquake,so that's how everyone is betting. Japan is calling for an emergency UNSC meeting; South Korea, dealing simultaneously with this and the suddenly-more-murky suicide of its former President, is doing the same. The White House hasn't put up the President's official statement on this yet, but you can read it here - it differs from the White House statement in 2006 most notably in its unconscious reliance on the UNSC to resolve this situation. Also missing is any indication that the President has personally consulted with our allies in the region, but no doubt he'll address that when he holds a press conference this morning on the North Korean crisis. Note that I am merely assuming at this point that there will be one, and that it will take place before noon.
Meanwhile, John Bolton predicted that this test was going to happen last week; he also noted last week that the administration wasn't taking the possibility of a second test all that seriously. Compare the White House statements from today and 2006 again and ask yourself, Which one sounds like it was written by people taken by surprise? Also ask yourself, Is Bolton right when he suggests that not taking even a soft line on this will merely encourage North Korea - and Iran - to proceed?
Please also note that we are in a situation where two of the biggest current, active, and intractable threats to world peace are rogue nations simultaneously pursuing nuclear weapons and missile technology. Successful creation of both will put at immediate risk our regional allies; allies that we have spent a lifetime cultivating; and who are genuinely alarmed at the activities of their neighbors. And in both cases, the enemies of said rogue nations were picked for essentially irrational reasons, meaning that normal rules of deterrence may or may not work.
Meanwhile, President Obama wants to gut missile defense programs*.
Um, no. That's stupid.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.