I guess it only makes sense that I should put in my two cents about North Korea.
I believe that Kim is no longer in power. He's either on a ventilator somewhere because he had a second stroke, or he's abdicated his power.
I believe this because of three things they've just demonstrated.
1. That they have a demonstrated functional nuclear arsenal, though of unknown quantity and quality.
2. The surface to air launch is an act of deterrence against fly overs.
3. The surface to ship launch is an act against the many navies (including our own) who have surface intelligence gathering ships.
All this adds up to a new dictatorship that wants to show the world how strong it is.
Think about the environment in NK. You have at this point two generations of people who've been schooled in the idea that they are at war with the west. Now these people are coming to power. They've been convinced their whole lives that we're in South Korea just waiting for the chance to pounce on North Korea and destroy them.
What is the first thing their going to do when their in power? Show the world how strong they are. Now that their is a new administration in Washington, Pyongyang wants to be taken seriously.
Hopefully those in North Korea who are a bit even temperament will explain to the new people in charge how tenuous their position is. Though I doubt those in power will listen to them.
Now how this bodes for the international community is yet to be seen. Do I think the North Koreans are crazy enough to attack South Korea. I'm not sure their that crazy. However if they do think that their still at war (which they do) and they think that their about to be attacked (who knows) maybe that would start something stupid.
I sure hope not. The North Koreans have a huge stock pile of chemical and biological weapons.
People tend to forget that the last war that we were involved with in the Korean peninsula cost more lives then Vietnam and only lasted a year.
A bloody war is the last thing anybody needs. Not the least of which is the fact that the North would invariably get their asses handed to them (though it would be an ugly costly affair on both sides) but with it would come a really messy humanitarian problem as well.