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.
North Korea's military capabilities and intentions get scant attention in the American media, among politicians, and in Congress, in contrast to the all-consuming obsession with Iran. Why?
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.
Truculence reinforced by conciliation guarantees more of the former. But North Korea is no child. Nor should it be treated like one given the catastrophic consequences that war on the Korean peninsula would bring. Yet, analysts tend to exaggerate North's power.
After Rick Santorum's sudden withdrawal essentially handed the Republican nomination to Mitt Romney, on the 100th anniversary of Titanic setting sail on its fateful voyage, President Barack Obama had a mostly good week.
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.
One thing we know for sure is that Rhee has gathered followers all over the world who are eagerly anticipating his reappearance. In his absence, the legend only grows stronger.
"I don't oppose all wars," said a young Barack Obama in 2002 during the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. "I am opposed to a dumb war, a rash war," and a war with Iran is dumb and rash.
Trimming Cold War arsenals, bringing our nuclear strategy into the 21st century, makes sense. It makes sense for Republicans and Democrats, defense hawks and budget hawks. Politicians trying to score cheap political points do so at the expense of our national security.
There is no need to idealize Korea. But it is hard not to admire the resolution of a country surrounded by big brothers and an enemy. It is a country of talents.
The real nuclear threat to the United States does not lie in the fact that it does not (or will not) possess enough nuclear weapons to deter a nuclear attack. Rather, it is that there is no guarantee that nuclear deterrence works.
Who should be the ones to care when Korea's territorial integrity and its national sovereignty are threatened? First and foremost, it should be Koreans.
The bribery of Israel consists of guns: more weapons to add to the disgraceful arms race in the region. And what we get in return is a dubious pledge that Israel will not attack Iran for the next 12 months.
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.
Shifting the conversation in Washington from one about war to one about solutions is still possible. It's imperative for the Obama administration to do this, both for its own survival and for the security and stability of the Middle East.
There is no logical reason why we cannot address the regime's nuclear energy goals simultaneously with the country's appalling human rights conditions, which violate every imaginable facet of basic human liberties.