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Slate: First, Take a Deep Breath

Author: Fred Kaplan, Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow
May 26, 2009

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President Barack Obama shouldn't respond too quickly, or too aggressively, to the North Korean nuclear test.

So North Korea has tested a nuclear bomb. What should President Barack Obama do about it? Ideally, nothing. A shrug may be the response that Kim Jong-il fears most.

This, after all, was only the second A-bomb that Pyongyang has ever tested. (The first was in October 2006.) And a recent long-range missile test, last April, seems to have been a dud-as were both of the other such tests it's attempted in the past decade. If the big fear is that this loathsome dictatorship might fit a nuclear warhead onto a missile with the range to hit Japan or beyond, the worry seems premature by many years.

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