North Korea carried out a surprise nuclear test today. While the total magnitude registered less than 1/3 of the Hiroshima bomb, the political and social implications are great.
First of all, the U.N. is placing record sanctions on Korea, and has turned most of the world's nations against them. But that didn't stop them. Their people are starving and impoverished, and this is what they spend their money on. North Korea has also conducted long-range missile tests with the intention of targeting the US.
The problem appears to be that North Korea sees sanction by the international community as a challenge to be overcome. Their people may starve, but if they can blow something up with a big enough bang, they'll get people's attention.
I don't think we're at a point where force is needed, but we have to do something. Personally, I think we need to start putting pressure on North Korea's allies to either cut them off or face sanction themselves. There are also humanitarian questions to ask. For example, is there a way to help the Korean people while their government violates international statutes? Whose responsibility is that?
I take some comfort in knowing, though, that North Korea will never be able to strike America. Even if they develop technology that can reach our shores, our own defense will certainly stop them before they strike. And one attack is all the provocation needed for the international community to declare war. I'm not a proponent of pre-emptive war, and I think it should be avoided at all costs, but in the case of North Korea, I don't see any other solutions if things get that far.