A small, poor nation, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea should be an international nullity, irrelevant to global affairs. Yet it again dominated headlines in the U.S. with the hacking of Sony and cancellation of the broad release of the movie The Interview, a comedy featuring the assassination of the younger Kim.
Murder, enslavement, torture, rape, and enforced disappearance are just a few of the "unspeakable atrocities" cataloged in an unprecedented U.N. report on North Korea. In short, you can control 25 million people if you kill, maim and imprison enough of them. And if your neighbor, in this case China, cuts off escape routes.