In our forecast for 2016, we said the following three things about North Korea: “1. At some point in 2016, it is highly likely that the DPRK will carry out some seemingly irrational action, from a nuclear test to sinking a ship. It will certainly engage in making bizarre threats. 2. The global media will become intensely concerned, feeling as if the world is on the brink of war. 3. No war will begin. It will all be part of the concerted and effective strategy the DPRK has pursued since the fall of the Soviet Union.”
North Korea announced today that it carried out its fourth nuclear test, the other three having been carried out in 2006, 2009 and 2013. What made today’s test different than the previous ones was that North Korea claimed it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb as opposed to an atomic bomb. The North Korean claim raises four questions.
First, obviously, was it actually a hydrogen bomb? Second, was it a bomb or merely a device suitable for testing but not deployme