North Korea's whole idea is to create a crisis to solve a crisis. They're so poor and they're so desperate that they realize that this bombastic rhetoric can drive the South Korean stock market down and get the U.S. in a tizzy. And it's a game they've been playing for many, many years.
North Korea, under its thirtysomething Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, is no country for old men. The latest casualty in Kim's ongoing purge of the senior military command was the defense minister, Hyon Yong-chol, who reportedly committed the classic old man's offense of falling asleep in a meeting.
Gonpo Tso was born a princess. As a young woman, she dressed in fur-trimmed robes with fat ropes of coral beads strung around her neck. She lived in an adobe castle on the edge of the Tibetan plateau with a reception room large enough to accommodate the thousand Buddhist monks who once paid tribute to her father.