It’s looking more and more like the North Korea nuke test was a dud. If it’s true, that’s obviously very good news. We know from the July 4 launches that North Korea’s long-range missiles got no dong–they don’t work. NoKo scientists may have gotten good telemetry data even from the flubbed launches, though, and they’re undoubtedly studying that data to improve the next batch.

Now we see an apparently failed North Korean nuclear test. But like the dud missiles, NoKo scientists will learn from the nuke failure (if that’s what it was). They’ll use the data from this test to improve the next batch. That’s how science works.

We now know that we have a window of time in which to deal with a North Korea that has played its cards before the world: It wants ICBM tech and it wants nuclear weaponry and obviously has the will to use both even in defiance of its allies in Beijing. NoKo’s will to defy should have also awakened South Korea and killed off its misguided “Sunshine” policy for good. But while we know what NoKo will do, we also know what it can’t do, yet, and that’s put a working nuke on a working ICBM and either use that weapon or sell it. NoKo doesn’t have either the working ICBM or the working nuke. But it’s working on both, and has data to point it in the direction of obtaining both.

The window in which we can deal with a non-nuclear, non-ICBM North Korea is probably very short, probably less than a year and no more than 18 months. The US has cards to play, including the Japan card, now the South Korea card and even the Taiwan card in convincing China that it is in its interests to deal with Kim Jong-Il. Since North Korea has shown its hand and how it intends to behave, the US is in a stronger position now than it was in yesterday to get serious international action mustered against Pyongyang. And it may be true now that China may finally see Kim for what he is, which is an uncontrollable menace that sits right on China’s border. With the Chinese ambition to be seen as a real world leader, and with the Olympics coming to Beijing in 2008 and with Taiwan possibly slipping away for good if North Korea isn’t dealt with, China may finally be ready to work its hand. We’ll find out shortly.

As for Japan, it will re-arm. I don’t see any logic that leads anywhere but Japan becoming a world power again. It won’t take them long to get back to that position once they decide to do it.

But that’s enough of the serious talk. Forget that North Korean dud for a few minutes and check out some Japanese fireworks. No duds in this batch.

What’s Keith Olberman got to do with this? Spittle-flecked ranter, frothing at the mouth pseudojournalist who should have stuck to sports, a hero only to the nutroots and a man who’s not exactly building up a TV audience–Olberman is apparently not just a dud in the ratings.

He may find himself as ronery as Lil Kim.

(h/t to Ian for that last link)