The North Korean leadership has used its nuclear program for theatrical purposes from the very beginning. It has relied on the spectacle of rocket launches and covert nuclear facilities to keep the attention of its foreign and domestic audiences.
A cosmetic company in Gaza has launched a new perfume named M-75, after the new long-range missile designed by Hamas with Iranian assistance.
Predictions about the end of North Korea keep coming, but the truth about the regime seems to elude most analysts.
While most Olympic athletes had an extraordinary opportunity to mingle with competitors from every corner of the globe, the North Korean team was treated like high-security prisoners by their ever-present minders.
The fact remains that being the spouse of a world leader is a complicated job. While, naturally, the wives are accorded all the same luxurious trappings that their husbands enjoy, they also live under the same scrutiny, and often grab the spotlight unwittingly.
Until I saw sixteen hot North Korean chicks singing "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" to Kim Jong-un, the strangest video that I'd ever seen of a head of state enjoying a performance was Pope Benedict XVI watching four ripped acrobats strip off their shirts and put on a show.
We took the threat of Saddam seriously. Likewise, there has been no comedic perspective over the slaughter of the Syrian people happening at this very moment. Yet for some reason North Korea doesn't come across as such a pressing matter that must be dealt with forthwith.
Even before the humiliating failure of North Korea's Taepo Dong-2 missile launch, the regime there was already considering the possibility of failure and whom to blame it on.
North Korea remains a serious military threat. It still possesses as many as a dozen nuclear warheads, proven short-range missiles, and a formidable conventional fighting force. It is as much an army with a country as vice-versa.
Given North Korea's lengthy history of stringing out the negotiation process with West to deliver little or nothing in return, and given its history of reneging on previously agreed deals, we are skeptical that this deal will achieve what the Obama administration hopes it will.
In all likelihood, in the absence of any meaningful options, and without the support of China to pursue an alternative path, Japan will simply choose to live with its dangerous neighbor for the time being, as it has in the past.
If anything has become clear in the weeks following Kim Jong Il's passing, it is that regime collapse is not in the cards for North Korea.
As North Koreans mourn the death of Kim Jong Il, and the world wonders what the future holds with his 20-something untested youngest son set to take control of a nuclear nation, my thoughts return to a somewhat unlikely visit to a country like no other.
South Korea toiled its way out of dire poverty four decades ago, creating an economic miracle. Equally industrious, determined North Koreans could do the same today, if given half a chance.
As long as Kim Jong Il's policies remain in force, the North's future remains dismal. The U.S. should watch for glimmers of reform while backing away, allowing South Korea to deal with whatever emerges in Pyongyang.