One of the first things you learn in diplomacy 101 is not to make threats you can’t back up. But that is just what US Defense Secretary Robert Gates did last week by thundering the
The Pentagon has run out of troops and borrowed money, and is reluctant to tangle with
If Kim Jong-il refuses to back down,
Kim Jong-il is happy to play chicken with Washington because this dangerous game boosts his stature at home and makes him a hero to some Koreans, both North and South, who see Kim as the authentic Korean leader for defying the mighty US and refusing to give in to its threats – a sort of Korean Saddam Hussein.
Kim Jong-il has picked his time well.
[Excerpt of an article by Eric Margolis, veteran foreign correspondent]