The bellicose rhetoric emanating from North Korea recently would have outsiders believe the world is but a step or two away from a military showdown, including the possibility of nuclear war. The threat from North Korea is a serious one if perhaps, for the moment, overstated.

North Korea is long on confrontational commentary but, at this stage, is has not yet developed its nuclear or missile delivery technology sufficiently to be more than a tactical threat. Its conventional military forces are significant relative to its population of about 25 million and its impoverished economy, although less developed than that of South Korea.