Little rocket man's risky game
In the morning darkness of Wednesday, Kim Jong Un launched an ICBM that rose almost 2,800 miles into the sky before falling into the Sea of Japan.
North Korea now has the proven ability to hit Washington, D.C.
Unproven still is whether Kim can put a miniaturized nuclear warhead atop that missile, which could be fired with precision, and survive the severe vibrations of re-entry. More tests and more time are needed for that.
Thus, U.S. markets brushed off the news of Kim's Hwasong-15 missile and roared to record heights on Wednesday and Thursday.
President Donald Trump took it less well. "Little Rocket Man" is one "sick puppy," he told an audience in Missouri.
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council that "if war comes ... the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed." She than warned Xi Jinping that "if China does not halt the oil shipments" to North Korea, "we can take the oil situation into our own hands."
Is Haley talking about bombing pipelines in North Korea -- or China?
The rage of the president and bluster of Haley reflect a painful reality: As inhumane and ruthless as the 33-year-old dictator of North Korea is, he is playing the highest stakes poker game on the planet, against the world's superpower, and playing it remarkably well.
Reason: Kim may understand us better than we do him, which is why he seems less hesitant to invite the risks of a war he cannot win.
While a Korean War II might well end with annihilation of the North's army and Kim's regime, it would almost surely result in untold thousands of dead South Koreans and Americans.