North Korea is one of the few surviving Stalinist regimes around the world (fortunately). Back in February last year, they pulled out of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons treaty. This probaly would not have happened without Washington’s increasing beligerence since 9/11, Bush’s “axis of evil” speech and so on. The US and Japan continued posturing after this pull out.
However, as several academics noted elsewhere, the US is extremely unlikely to try to defeat North Korea using force. Not least of the reasons for this are “Dear Leader’s” million-strong standing army, and Seoul’s reluctance to confront the North (due in no small part to a strong anti-war movement in the South – who are regularly beaten up by Southern police). Hmm… Why did we have to invade Iraq again? Nasty dictator? Um: Kim Jong-il, anyone? Weapons of mass destruction? North Korea might have nuclear weapons, or at least is developing them. Mass graves? Yeah right; as if the British and US governments were concerned when Saddam was filling them. As we know, they even helped him to fill them.