The United States has guaranteed the integrity and existence of South Korea, meaning that minor provocations from North Korea will be accepted with no response …
Consider the current situation …
One, their single goal – the one that drives the entire nation with a unity of purpose – is unification of the Peninsula.
Two, the United States is extraordinarily disadvantaged: weak leadership with anti-military tendancies, fiscal crisis, troop engagements elsewhere, a tired population, and a majority of liberal left-leaning people driving the political process.
Three, they are massing their troops in an annual exercise, in essence, preparing for war in plain sight of American, South Korean, Chinese, and Russian observers. It would be a surprise of incalculable proportions if they mounted an attack.
Four, they are a nuclear power with an aging military leadership with little or nothing to lose as we approach the sixtieth anniversary of the Korean war. (1950-1953). The population is starving and the nation has nine days of food reserve, mostly allocated to the military.
Five, they are not crazy in the conventional sense – nor were they crazy when the marched South across the line, sparking the Korean War to enforce U.N. mandates. They are a patient people, not given to irrational actions. Everything has a purpose – like the lifting of sanctions, more food, technical equipment, etc.
Six, the South Koreans and Americans appear to be disinclined to fight back as part of a deal with America to provide for the defense of South Korea. Remember the lack of action when the DPRK sunk a South Korean frigate killing 46 or so sailors. One cannot believe that the submarine was not detected in South Korean waters and the evidence tends to indicate that the attack was allowed to proceed to maintain the balance of power and status quo.
Seven, the North Koreans have given foreign diplomatic staff until April 10th to leave their embassies along with putting up YouTube. (Even though there are not enough flights out of the country.)
Eight, Keep in mind that any attack would devastate South Korean industry with a significant financial impact on the United States. Seoul is only 26 miles away and within the attack zone.
The United States is now ratcheting down the political rhetoric coming out of Washington and has postponed a missile launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base by one month. With everyone believing that this is a case of North Korean brinkmanship to gain something of value, what better time to attack.
Bottom line …
At the end of the current exercise, look for another covert provocation, followed by a request for something of value or an actual invasion. These is a time of desperation for North Korea and April 15th is the anniversary of the birth of the country's founder, Kim Il Sung.
The North Koreans are on an unsustainable future path. So it would be a brilliant tactical move to actually strike.