And it's not nukes, but a sudden television appearance by a North Korean army spokesman threatening to annihilate the South:
SEOUL, Jan 17 (Reuters) - North Korea's army said on Saturday it would assume an "all-out confrontational posture" against the South and wipe out the conservative government in Seoul for refusing to cooperate with them.
Ties across the heavily-armed border between the two Koreas have turned icy since President Lee Myung-bak came to office last year on a promise to get tough on his communist neighbour after 10 years of liberal leaders' efforts to engage Pyongyang.
"Now that traitor Lee Myung Bak and his group opted for confrontation, denying national reconciliation and cooperation, backed by foreign forces, our revolutionary armed forces are compelled to take an all-out confrontational posture to shatter them," the North's army spokesman said.
The spokesman said Lee and his "puppet military warhawks" have driven "our revolutionary armed forces to take a strong military retaliatory step to wipe them out," in comments carried by the official KCNA news agency....
The army spokesman, appearing in full uniform on North Korea's state television, said provocations by the South's military including naval intrusions have cross the "danger line" and it could "no longer remain an onlooker to them." (Reporting by Jack Kim)
Here's the problem: from the Koreas to the Indian subcontinent to the Caucasus to the Middle East to Sub-saharan Africa to the northern coast of South America, the last eight years have left us in a far more de-stabilized world.
You can lay any amount of that at the feet of Dubya (although Russian expansionism, the India-Pakistani embitterment, and other regional conflicts have far less to do with the US than we'd like to think), but the fact of the matter is that we now have to look forward.
Here's hoping that beyond responding to immediate crises (which he has to do), President Obama and Secretary Clinton are actually developing a workable doctrine for when and where to deploy military forces.
Unfortunately, one of the reasons we're where we are is that the last President who actually did this (believe it or not) was Richard Nixon.