Does the latest rhetoric emanating from North Korea portend fractious events on that divided peninsula?
In December, North Korea successfully launched a long-ranged missile, though experts believe the rogue nation does not have the capability to mount a nuclear weapon on such a device.
"They don't have the capability to deliver a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile that could reach the U.S.," Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, told CNN.
However, he added, "In the next two to three years ... (they may) be able to deliver a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile that could strike their neighbors."
In February, it announced it had tested a third nuclear bomb and just one week ago, its leader threatened to "Throw all enemies into the cauldron, break their waists and crack their windpipes."
To make matters worse, Kim Jong Un, the most recent in line of nepotistic rulers of North Korea, said he had torn up the armistice agreement that ushered in the uneasy 60-year cease fire that has kept the two Koreas in relative peace since the end of the war there.
North Korea has even taken to YouTube, releasing a four-minute video, "Firestorms will rain on the Headquarters of War," that simulates an attack on Washington, D.C., and another video that depicts a nuclear blast in New York City. If you haven't seen the videos, you will have to trust us when we say, Hollywood doesn't have
While much of the propaganda coming from the north is laughable, the truth is there are nearly 30,000 Americans in uniform in South Korea who are put on high alert every time Kim Jong Un spouts his nonsense.
Those troops and millions of Koreans, both from the north and the south, live in fear that the bellicose talk will one day become full-scale action.
There is little doubt once mobilized, the military might of the world would thoroughly devastate the northern half of the peninsula, but not before North Korea would inflict serious ruin upon the south, its inhabitants and its defenders.
And while China has sided with world powers that are calling on restraint from the north, how it might react if its dubious ally was to launch an attack on its southern brethren or some other nation in the region, is not known.
Glyn Davies, the U.S. Special envoy to North Korea told a Congressional panel that finding a solution to tensions on the peninsula is "one of the hardest foreign policy problems out there," adding unless it agrees to restart negotiations and de-nuclearize, its future is "bleak."
"North Korea will not achieve security, economic prosperity and integration into the international community while it pursues nuclear weapons, while it threatens its neighbors, while it tramples on international norms, abuses its own people and refuses to fulfill its long-standing obligations and commitments," said Davies.
We don't hold out much hope that things will change anytime soon in North Korea, especially while it's controlled by a devious maniac and his sycophants. We also don't expect North Korea will launch an attack on South Korea or nearby Japan or the United States.
The bluster coming from Kim Jong Un is just that ... bluster. But meanwhile, millions of his subjects live in hunger, degrading servitude and unremitting misery. It's a fiefdom of historical absurdity and its threats would be ludicrous if it wasn't for the malignancy that has kept the south in terror for the past 60 years and the malfeasance that has murdered North Koreans by the thousands.
And in all truth, there's not much that we can do except contain the cancer and hope it doesn't spread.