It seems that the Obama administration has stepped up its action plan against the North Koreans and their recent nuclear and missile tests. The indifference the North Koreans have shown to the world is apochryphal and surely the defiance was aimed at the Obama administration, the U.s. and its allies particularly.
A stepped up action plan in the Obama adminstration typically means additional talking. Keep in mind that Obama and his crew have been unable to get any action out of the United Nations.
Hillary Clinton warned the North Koreans. President Obama himself warned the North Koreans. And now Defense Secretary Gates warned the North Koreans. Presumably, the comments from the Defense Secretary may be viewed as being something more serious than earnest hand-wringing worrying by Obama admin policy wonks.
But let's hope the shark has teeth if the whip should come down. It would be a great tragedy to underestimate the North Korean military. Their troops are disciplined and tough, the type of soldiers who make the Taliban and Al Qaeda troops look like a bunch of boy scouts.
I know it is the fashion among political analysts to mention how frequently the NK leadership threatens their neighbors. The message we're to get is that it's all bluff, bluster, and sabre-rattling. But wouldn't all that bluff, bluster, and sabre-rattling give you an advantage against your opponents should you suddenly decide to launch an attack?
We've got 28,000 troops there and that's said to be sufficient--for now. That's not a great number, certainly, but the ROK troops are there, too, and neither are they a bunch of wussies. I'd sleep with one eye open where N. Korea is ooncerned, and I hope there is plenty of backup ordnance to halt an irrational move by the North Korean dictator.
Meanwhile, over at the state department, people are working feverishly in air-conditioned rooms to arrange a parlay...:)