North Korea's recent missile tests suggest that at present the DPRK would probably not be able reap destruction on neighbouring countries with nuclear weaponry. But presumably sooner or later the DPRK will have this capability. But while many countries have the capability, none make use of it due to the horrendous risk of escalation into a full-blown nuclear war. The rather dilatory response of the global community to the stream of bellicose utterances pouring out of the Government in Pyongyang, suggests that most people do not think that these threats are real.
The other evening I had a chat with my Uncle Patrick Greaves over supper at the Swiss Chalet at the corner of Bathurst and Bloor in Toronto. His memory is that a major factor that informed the unpreparedness of the United States for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 was the racist assumption on the part of many in the West that it was inconceivable that Japanese pilots and aircraft could possibly be of a level comparable to that of European 'planes and military pilots. There may be some parallel with the dismissive Western attitude toward the DPRK today. Moreover my Uncle speculates that if Germany had had a nuclear bomb when Adolph Hitler was holed up in his Berlin bunker in 1945 that Hitler would likely have ordered its use and that the German military would have followed this order. Presumably the same might well turn out to be true of Kim Jong Il when his time comes.