Despite Missile Failure, North Korea is Still the Big Winner

Pyongyang's launch buys more time to continue nuclear, missile work.

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North Korea's long-range missile might have crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff, but the defiant regime got most of what it wanted from the failed launch.

"The North Koreans certainly hope they're buying themselves more time," says Jan van Tol, a former senior White House and Pentagon official. "If the U.S. doesn't do something more forcefully this time, the North Koreans—like the Iranians—simply continue to buy time building nuclear weapons and acquiring a ballistic missile capability."

Read more about how the chilly relations the failed launch will produce gives North Korea time and space for nuclear weapons work.