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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2006
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EDITORIAL

North Korea’s nuclear test comes with burden

The world changed substantially in 1949 when the former Soviet Union exploded its first nuclear device. That meant that the United States was no longer in sole possession of the atom bomb. It also meant that the world's No. 1 threat to peace was on the road to superpower status.

North Korea's apparent success in its first nuclear test Sunday night again shakes up the world order. North Korea, like the old Soviet Union, is unpredictable.

North Korea certainly is no Soviet Union but its leader is equally as ruthless as the late Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and can do monumental damage with his crude nuclear weapons.

During the period known as the Cold War, President Kennedy once said that the United States had the nuclear missile capacity to wipe out the Soviet Union two times over, while the Soviet Union had enough atomic weapons to wipe out the United States only once.

Kim Jong Il called the North Korea nuclear milestone a giant leap forward for his impoverished nation. Unfortunately, there is some merit in having the ability to destroy your adversaries even if they can wipe you out many times over.

Possessing nuclear material, however, can be a greater liability than doing without the bomb. North Korea can now be a bigger bully, but playing that role also makes it a bigger target for other nations that will be less forgiving after Sunday's test.

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