Vice President Mike Pence paid a surprise visit to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on Monday just to give the stink-eye to North Korean soldiers snapping pictures of him from the other side of the security border.

If looks could kill, Pence would be in a lot of trouble, because the vice president's eyes were loaded with daggers.

Pence's unannounced visit to the DMZ served as a warning to North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs. Recent ICBM tests conducted by the north have led to widespread fear of an all-out war if Kim Jong-Un doesn't take U.S. warnings to cease testing seriously.

Fortunately for the world, the erratic communist boss stood down from conducting a nuclear test over the weekend -- just days after the north conducted a failed missile launch.

Pence warned North Korea on Monday not to test "the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region." He also conveyed President Trump's desire to find a solution to the standoff "through peaceable means" and "negotiations."

The president's rhetoric seems to have toned down in light of recent developments and the extreme potential for nuclear and conventional war with the north.

Writes Bruce Cummings, chairman of the history department at the University of Chicago, in "The Nation": "A bigger lesson awaits Donald Trump, should he attack North Korea. It has the fourth-largest army in the world, as many as 200,000 highly trained special forces, 10,000 artillery pieces in the mountains north of Seoul, mobile missiles that can hit all American military bases in the region (there are hundreds), and nuclear weapons more than twice as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb.

"North Korea is the only country in the world to have been systematically blackmailed by US nuclear weapons going back to the 1950s, when hundreds of nukes were installed in South Korea. Why on earth would Pyongyang not seek a nuclear deterrent? But this crucial background doesn’t enter mainstream American discourse. History doesn’t matter, until it does — when it rears up and smacks you in the face."

At present, 28,000 U.S. troops remain stationed in South Korea following the 1953 truce that postponed but did not end the Korean War. The north technically has been in a state of war with the U.S. since the ceasefire 63 years ago.

While the U.S. has had many chances to end the conflict by military or diplomatic means, the introduction of nuclear weapons into North Korea's arsenal takes risk management to an entirely new level.

 
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