North Korea is a terrible regime which deprives its citizens of freedom and doesn't care if they starve to death. That doesn't change the other truths that South Korea has a larger population, a more advanced economy and is fully capable of defending itself from any mad onslaught from the north. It is the relentless hostility of the US, with its penchant for preemptive wars and obsession with regime change and perverse interference in the affairs of other nations that pushes North Korea and Iran to exercise the nuclear option.
The world would be a better place with no nation having nuclear weapons but the permanent five have done nothing to fulfill their obligations to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. No nation is going to pay the slightest attention to the hypocritical preaching of a nation with a long record of war crimes and a history of using nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state.
The usual worries proclaimed publicly are that Kim Jong Il is trying to ensure the dynastic succession of his son by thumbing his nose at the US and that he could sell or gift the bomb to highest bidders including non-state terrorists. As usual all US power elite try to instill fear in its multiply challenged electorate to hide their redistribution of wealth to their rich supporters and divert the attention of the electorate from current more pressing economic and other problems. Even if one were to admit that the North Korean leader is irrational, which is not the case in how he made a fool of Bush, he is certainly more intelligent, less irrational or ethically challenged than Reagan or the shrub. It is highly unlikely that he would give or barter his bomb after a simple, unequivocal and calm warning that at the slightest hint of such an event, he would face massive nuclear retaliation. That stick and a carrot of direct face to face talks with reasonable aid without the Kabuki dance of six party shenanigans and loud threats without the ability or intention of anything concretely deliverable, may achieve more. At least it would prevent China from making a fool out of the US, just as the Pakistani military and ISI have been doing for ten years at cost of tens of billions of dollars and American casualties in Afghanistan.
The real reason for US troop presence in South Korea and Japan is to prevent them from going nuclear and exiting from the American orbit. The natural consequence of those would be loss of support for the US dollar and its role as the main reserve currency, with the two refusing to finance American debt and profligacy. Unfortunately the stupid follies of the US are bringing about the bad results nevertheless. The Korean national pension fund has announced that it will not buy US treasuries. China has stopped buying long term US government bonds and US agency paper. Even Germany has demanded that its gold reserves be flown back to Germany from Fort Knox. There is considerable ill will even in South Korea and Okinawa, Japan towards the US, as polls show.
Iran has suffered greatly from interference by Britain and the US in its internal affairs, ranging from sabotaging its democratic experiments in 1906 and 1953 and exploitation of its oil and oil workers. Iran is not innocent and committed the crime of holding American diplomats hostage for which the US goaded Saddam to attack it and helped Saddam with battle information and shooting down an Iranian civil passenger plane. Once again the current hue and cry against Iranian uranium enrichment is not only without the support of laws or treaties. During the Shah regime, the US encouraged and trained Iranians in nuclear technology and agreed to provide it with nuclear plants. Now that current Iranian regime is hostile it has naturally changed to opposing it. The real reason for the pathological opposition is that it would break Israel's monopoly on nuclear arms in the Middle East, increase Iranian hegemony and decrease that of the US. Once again the accusation that the Iranian regime is irrational and suicidal is used to divert public attention from truth and reality. More importantly Saudi Arabia may opt for nuclear arms and thus exit the US orbit and follow an independent foreign and economic policy, unwilling to increase the world oil production at US convenience and reduce financing of US debt.
Debtors are often placed in difficult circumstances and have to acquiesce to terms not in their interest. Saudi Arabia is the cancer that spreads terrorism by proselytizing radical Islam, finances the extremists and the hotbed madrassas that spawn them and was the main source of 9-11 terrorists, yet the US with its mendicant condition cannot criticize Saudi Arabia. Pakistan also is a basket case debtor. It obtained nuclear weapons by theft and clandestine means and has traded them to Libya, Iran and North Korea for cash and missile technology. The US turned a blind eye to this illicit proliferation for punishing the Soviets with their Vietnam in Afghanistan. Even worse, it partially and not definitely inadvertently funded the terrorists and Pakistani nukes which have now become blowbacks. It still continues to fund the Pakistani military to the tune of billions each year.
To avoid losing in Afghanistan and with futile hopes of using an Afghanistan victory to dominate the energy resources of Central Asian states, it is locked in a damaging liaison with Pakistan. Debtor Pakistan, desperate for a monetary fix, is compelled to make war on its own citizens which will eventually result in secession of the NWFP into Pakhtunistan and the Baluchi province into a new nation, just as it happened when it made war on its own people in East Pakistan, which resulted in the birth of Bangladesh. The Taliban are crazy fanatics but their creators were Bhutto, Pakistani ISI, US and Saudi Arabia and America.
They have risen from the ashes due to America's asinine promotion of criminal warlords and the corrupt Karzai government, siphoning off US aid to vested interests without any reconstruction in Afghanistan and indiscriminate US aerial bombings. Lack of adequate troops, funding, patience, perseverance and time America will lose in Afghanistan. Then a fearful US worried about the Pak nukes will try to take them out with Israeli or maybe even Indian help. Mr. Ten Percent, the president of Pakistan, who bribed some American expert to certify that he was demented, to escape prosecution in Pakistan from his nemesis Musharraf, will escape with him to the US and they will both become roommates in an American asylum, run by Bush and Cheney, the managing inmates.