For MEB, forever. I love you very much. Ne adoptee. Shah e mat.
Every empire has its peaks and valleys, flourescence and decline, as empires are living things made of living creatures. Every dog has its day.
American hegemony since the end of the Cold War was not likely to last forever, for all sorts of reason, faction being high among them.
In the end, the State of the Union was revealed for all to see, by small mention of the North Korean nuclear test, in spite of alleged opposition of China and Russia, and others actually to the nuclear test that the North conducted as the celebration of rather a lot.
The ROK will survive, as it has much reach and power in the international system, and the North needs its economic assistance, so it's not the end end, but a very new beginning too, and an inevitable one.
Clearly people didn't have the stomach to go the distance, and so did not run the risks of doing what it would have taken to have the North test as a fully nuclear-armed state, bottom-line, whatever the functionality of the satellite.
The launch of the satellite both times was clearly a provocation under existing UN Resolutions, if a clever gambit by the North, to get to what they want, which was mating of nuclear weapons to missiles as a possibility even.
The argument that the North has to test missiles at the number of times as was done in the West is misleading, because to have even a significant possibility is enough to make one pause.
That is the function of deterrence, per Shelling and the "threat that leaves something to chance, and as to the satellite, unless it is confirmed by imagery, that was enough to make the point, hence the argument about why the satellite mattered; "The threat that leaves something to chance, including its very existence."
That is the nature of the "bomb in the basement" theory of nuclear deterrence: "Maybe they do, maybe they don't, but I don't really want to find out."
Clearly, the Great Powers just decided not to take those chances, as can be seen in the very gracious ROK Air Force video in response to the North's video "nuking" New York, in which lots of Great Powers played a double game to weaken the alliance with the ROK fundamentally, as to not being willing to use force to prevent the North from demonstrating that they are a fully nuclear armed state, if Brilliant General should be given credit, along with his advisors, Russian and Chinese not unlikely, if others too one might suspect.
For some reason, some people never took to the ROK, like Carter, who tried to throw them under the bus as far back as 1977. Just one of those things, and the ROK will thrive still, as it has much maneuver space, thinking in terms of Go.
The bottom line was that the U.S. opposed the North Korean test, to protect the ally most dependent on it, the ROK, and was not able to prevent the North from acquiring nuclear weapons and visibly demonstrating it, parts thanks to Carter, clearly as to the actual current State of the Union, because the American political class as a whole concluded that it wasn't worth the risk, as what people care about now is the economy, Democrats and Republicans.
Some may someday call that craven cowardice in the face of the enemy, if to be fair, the Great Powers aligned against us in a way that left little choice, something to look forward to in the future as the character of Great Power Politics Redux.
The economy will perform far better because of this decision, so perhaps the majority chose wisely. Upon further reflection, Brilliant General, and Putin I bet, hence the 2002 visit, have strong incentives to allow for much American power in the world still, so if it is the end of American hegemony, it is a new normal, like everything else.
No use crying over spilled milk.
Time will tell if that was a wise decision overall, but that this was the decision is loud and clear as will be the media silence, save for a small fire, for those who understand such things.
And, appropriately enough in a Republic of some sort still, the majority spoke, and had what they wanted, and thus ended American hegemony, on Lincoln's birthday ironically enough.
It's not the end of everything, just a new beginning.