Thin Red Line

CHUNG SUNG-JUN/GETTY IMAGES

Battle Ready: U.S. soldiers train for combat near Seoul

The dysfunctional exchanges in the North Korean nuclear crisis are starting to become as predictable as dialogue in a cold war–era Hollywood thriller. Every week, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il turns up the heat on the U.S. with a carefully choreographed provocation or two — last week's spy-plane intercept was followed by an announcement of another surface-to-surface–missile test. The U.S. in turn issues a warning that Kim had better not try anything really crazy, or else. And every week the world holds its breath, wondering if this time Kim has tugged on the superpower's cape a little too hard —...

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