Every neighborhood has one - that one kid who took a left turn at Albuquerque (emotionally), and causes trouble for everyone. In global terms, that kid is North Korea. A thorn in the side of national diplomacy when Kim Jun Il was in charge, that thorn is causing a festering sore now that his son has assumed the throne. He's that kid that throws firecrackers at the neighborhood pets until he accidentally blows his own fingers off.
One has to wonder what's going on. Kim Jun Un was schooled in Switzerland and Bern, so he should be familiar with "western" norms - they wouldn't be alien to him. Perhaps his young age (about 30) makes him feel like he needs to prove something. Perhaps he's just a petulant asshole who's let the sudden power go to his head.
This time, the trigger supposedly was that the UN imposed more harsh sanctions
after a nuclear test in March. These additional sanctions seemed to have pushed Un over the edge, and declare war on S. Korea and threaten the U.S. with missile attacks. That latter threat is a joke, of course, because their missiles sometimes have trouble hitting the ocean without exploding first. One can only imagine the B-Move course of events with N. Korean television and newspapers
proudly claiming a direct hit on U.S. cities while the rest of the world shrugs its shoulders.
Recently, the UN passed a treaty
nearly unanimously to control arms trafficking between countries. The three countries who voted against it? Syria, North Korea, and Iran. No word from Syria yet, but Iran stands by its fellow voter and blames the U.S. for "provoking" N. Korea
. No surprise there - blame the US for the actions of the UN and the Un.
China - on the other hand - is trying to dampen the flames
. It's understandable... they share a border. China knows that it will suffer if war actually breaks out. Villages near the border would likely see refugees pouring over into their towns
. As totalitarian as China is, it still sees N. Korea as it's redneck cousin, prone to irrational outbursts and reckless behavior.
The questions that remain are: will he follow through this time or is it just more bluster, and if he follows through - how much of a response should be returned? Is it a matter of taking out a few military installations?... trying to take out Un and his military advisors?... a full-scale invasion (by S. Korean forces)?
The last times things were this hot was in 1950, when N. Korea invaded S. Korea, kicking off the Korean War. It remains to be seen whether Un is hell-bent on reprising that. This time, the world, S. Korea, and its allies are much better armed and prepared for any action taken by N. Korea. It would be suicide for N. Korea to try anything too drastic. One has to wonder if Un knows this, or if he's bought his own propaganda and rosy success stories from his military scientists too scared to give him the truth.