The fact that today's North Korean nuclear test came without any warning indicates a serious intelligence failure regarding North Korea's military buildup. We've had long warnings about other North Korean nuclear and missile tests, which turned out to be less than successful. This test, which appears to have been successful, came without warning.
The New York Times says that it is a signal for the succession process, by which Kim Jong Il will replaced. If so, it may mean that constant messing around by conservative Republicans has lost our best chance to constrain the North Korean program. They refused to negotiate with the North, broke off the previous, Clinton agreement, and generally stuck their fingers in North Korea's eye. I'm sure they feel better and will probably say, "See, we told you negotiations were impossible." Of course they were, because the Republicans would not negotiate in good faith. And now, there is nobody in North Korea to negotiate with.
Thanks a lot, John Bolton, for putting the atomic bomb in the hands of maniacs. The Bush administration, and the Republican Congress under Newt Gingrich and Denny Hastert before them, were just monumentally stupid and incompetent.