"If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you," said Calvin Coolidge, who ever counseled patience over the rash response.
Unfortunately, the troubles presented by North Korea's Kim Jong Un seem unlikely to run into a ditch before they reach us.
For Kim has crawled out on a limb. He has threatened to attack U.S. forces in Korea and bases in Asia, even U.S. cities. He has declared the truce that ended the Korean War dead and that "a state of war" exists with the South. All ties to the South have been cut.
The United States has sent B-52s and stealth fighters to Korea and anti-missile warships to the Sea of Japan. Two B-2 bombers flew from Missouri to Korea and back in a provocative fly-by of the Hermit Kingdom. And both South Korea and we have warned that, should the North attack, swift retribution will follow.
Kim Jong Un is in a box. If he launches an attack, he risks escalation into war. But if his bluster about battling the United States turns out to be all bluff, he risks becoming an object of ridicule in Asia and at home.
Why is he playing with fire? Because his father and grandfather did, and got away with murder.