"No matter how one spins it, North Korea's nuclear test of October 9, 2006 represents a major defeat for U.S. foreign policy. Pyongyang torpedoed the stalemated six-party talks on its nuclear proliferation and also called what it sees as Washington's bluff, i.e. that America can put enough pressure on North Korea-by imposing sanctions on the DPRK's foreign banking after the six parties' preliminary agreement in September, 2005 and by placing human rights on the negotiating agenda-that it will collapse, circumventing the need for detailed engagement with Pyongyang over proliferation. Indeed, if anything, the test shows Pyongyang's continuing self-confidence about the future. A careful analysis of propaganda, policy, and planning leads to a high degree of skepticism about the possibility that North Korea is focused on mere survival: simply maintaining a self-defense capability, engineering a modest economic recovery, and coexisting peacefully with South Korea. Pyongyang appears to have far more ambitious intentions, and nothing indicates absolute desperation on the part of North Korean leaders…The indications are that Pyongyang envisions a bright future-it is considering significant economic changes and examining foreign systems as models."
Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil
Strategic Insights (January 2007), v.6 no.1