North Korea probably will test another nuclear weapon soon, President Obama's coordinator for policy on weapons of mass destruction predicted recently. There is no reason to doubt Obama aide Gary Samore's assessment - particularly in view of the world community's failure to do anything meaningful to punish North Korea for its recent test firing of a medium-range missile.
At first glance, Samore's policy prescription for the United States does not sound appealing. "We'll just wait," he said in answer to a question about how Obama would respond to a new nuclear weapons test.
But Samore may have a good point. He explained that he believes a nuclear weapons test would convince other nations to support new sanctions against North Korea. He added that Chinese leaders are "very, very angry at the North Koreans."
We hope so. Because unless something is done to stop North Korea's steady march toward nuclear missile capability, that country soon will pose a threat to peace - and perhaps to millions of lives.
Obama and his diplomats, in chosing the "just wait" strategy, need to work intensively behind the scenes to mobilize international anger at the threat from North Korean aggressiveness. Enlisting China in a serious campaign to stop Pyongyang's technological mobilization may well be the most promising avenue of action.
Beijing needs to be convinced that it is not in China's interests to allow North Korea to proceed with its weapons buildup.