Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them...
Possible cannon to the north of them, volleying and thundering. Speculation and fear are more prevalent in the news than facts at this point. I don't want to be one of the ones that report two minutes of news and leave you with ten hours of guesswork. The facts are:
1. North Korea confirmed that a nuclear explosion occurred northeast of their capital, Pyongyang, in a controlled underground facility
2. The explosion registered as significantly less magnitude than expected
3. That is all
Everything else is mere speculation at this point: some justified, some time-killers. Ignore all that - what went wrong, why might they have faked it, are they faking it, will they launch... these are questions that have no answers and only serve to heighten suspicion and fear.
As far as the everyday Japanese citizen is concerned, there have been a wide range of reactions. The general consensus seems to be that Jim Kong Il is nothing more than a tyrannical lunatic whose intentions are impossible to gage. Still others believe this is an elaborate international stunt to solidify his position in the world and maintain power.
So are we dealing with a genuine military strategy, or a sly (albeit dangerous) political manuever? Neither would surprise me at this point. If the DPRK is hoping for a nuclear playing card to bring them to the table, however, they might be fresh out of luck. Already Japan is considering economic sanctions for its northerly neighbor, and probably isn't too far away from outward military action.
China, which has defended North Korean actions on many occasions, isn't backing them this time. The nuclear test, and ignoring the Chinese warnings not to proceed, were the final straws. Not only are Chinese officials condemning the North Koreans, but they are discussing how best to enforce a punishment - cutting off much needed oil, perhaps?
"The era of Chinese and North Korea's relationship of `comrades and brothers' is over..."
"Some Japanese commentators speculate that the North Korean move could spur Japan to cross its own ideological taboo against developing nuclear weapons of its own. But on Tuesday, Abe underscored that 'there will be no change in our non-nuclear arms principles.'"
Other business this week - Google may be buying YouTube for an estimated $1.6 billion. Comparing with the market, analyzing recent activity, and considering other fake factors, I would estimate the value of this webpage at a mere $642 million. I've got to get back on the ball. Read on; spread the word, heroes.
South Park continues to amaze me. Just like Supersize Me, this episode will definitely encourage me to spend less time on my computer. Oh, I'm writing this entry with a pen and paper first... yeah, right.