North Korea Explodes

There’s trouble in North Korea again — or still.

Artillery shells exchanged. Homes destroyed in the South. Two deaths so far, civilian. China is asking for talks. All this, just days after the revelation, by the North, of a very advanced nuclear enrichment facility. They wanted us to know it was there. And then they started lobbing shells over the border, and making the usual threats.

The last two items are the key to unlocking this particular mystery in Pyongyang — yet another internal power struggle. And it must be a messy one, as the heir apparent is young, inexperienced, and has no discernible power base other than his last name.

First, reveal the plant to make the North look untouchable. “Hey, we’ve got this — guess what else we might have ready to go?” No nation-state has yet to directly attack a nuclear-armed nation-state, after all.

Second, show the rest of your brutal little hermit kingdom that you’ve got the big brass ones, by taking on the South (and the US) with a spectacular show of violent nuttiness.

It’s been done before. It will be done again. The question is: What’s the line in the South, for absorbing attacks before they march on Pyongyang? The other question is: How many more of these power struggles before one of them turns nuclear?

There are no easy answers, and no easy solutions.

With North Korea, there never are.