Sometimes there are problems without solutions. For example, North Korea.
To those outside its borders, the behavior of North Korea seems driven by madness. Its actions make no sense; they seem random and incoherent, carried out with no apparent long-term in mind.
But that’s probably wrong. Those actions — testing nuclear weapons, firing missiles — probably do make some kind of sense when viewed from the only perspective that matters in North Korea, from inside the government. It’s a schizophrenic state, listening only to the voices inside its own head and not at all to those of the outside world.
That makes it a problem to be managed, not solved. The first President Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush all took different approaches, but with equally little or no progress. The same will likely be true of Barack Obama. Again, what’s going on inside North Korea is far more determinative than anything that happens outside.
So, we have to be ready for military action should that come; we have to contain North Korea’s nuclear weaponry, technology and material, so the problem doesn’t spread. And we have to be prepared for the day when it all falls apart.