Secretary of State John Kerry is in South Korea today in hopes of deescalating the crisis instigated by North Korea’s third nuclear weapons test. In response to the weapons test the United States along with others nations passed new sanctions on North Korea. North Korea responded with a number of threats ranging from restarting the Korea War to a nuclear attack on America.

Though these previous threats were considered mostly hyperbole – especially given that Austin, Texas was being considered a major target – the escalating rhetoric worried many in the region and in Washington. Though North Korea is in the habit of making threats the rhetoric is rarely this intense and even if the nuclear capability is overstated the DPRK’s conventional weapons systems are more than sufficient to obliterate Seoul and attack the US bases in South Korea and the region.

And now there are repeated reports about a missile test/launch coming. The launch may coincide with the anniversary of the founding of North Korea on April 15th. And though there is skepticism of North Korea’s capacity claims, there is no clear evidence North Korea does not have the capability to launch a nuclear missile.

With newly-revealed U.S. intelligence showing that North Korea may already be able to arm a missile with a nuclear warhead, President Obama said on Thursday that North Korea must end its “belligerent approach.”…

Obama’s rebuke came as a new U.S. intelligence report was made public showing North Korea probably has advanced its nuclear knowhow to the point that it could arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead, though the weapon wouldn’t be very reliable.

Does the “not reliable” part make it better or wose?

Responding to the current crisis former Vice President Dick Cheney showed his typical rhetorical flair telling Republican colleagues “we’re in deep doo doo.” Hopefully Secretary Kerry will be more articulate in his negotiations.