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Tipsheet

"Bluffing and bravado," a "War of nerves," or "Time to get serious"?

Responding to the news that North Korea had conducted a nuclear test on Tuesday, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said that a "hot war" between Russia and Pyongyang is unlikely. Brinkmanship -- a "war of nerves" -- is the greatest threat, so Russia is preparing for defensive action only if North Korea steps up its aggression.
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North Korea did indeed step up its aggression, though it wasn't directed at Russia itself. In a message this morning, Kim Jong-Il threatened military action against South Korean and American ships who were patrolling waters around North Korea, trying to intercept ships that are assisting North Korea's nuclear programs.

Brian Klein of the Council on Foreign Relations thinks these developments could be enough to provoke a response from the international community:
While brinksmanship is nothing new for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and previous outbursts have often brought increased attention — and rewards — this time international reaction is likely to be swift and unforgiving.
Stephen Yates with the American Foreign Policy Council thinks its time to roll, too:
It's time that we get serious....the United States "cannot afford to wait until intelligence confirms its capability, because they can surprise us even with a test.
FOX quotes a senior White House official saying that North Korea, while annoying, is mostly full of bluffing and bravado:
North Korea continues to isolate itself. Threats and bluster will not get North Korea the attention and respect it craves.

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