I've been meaning to post about the use and abuse of the word "rational" for some time. But I've actually said most of what I want to say here, and Scott Wolford beat me to the punch on most of what else I might have said here. So I'm not going to talk about how it's less than useful that so many people, pundits and scholars, keep repeating the meme that Kim Jong-Il is irrational.
I'm instead going to take issue with three other frequent claims: 1) Kim Jong-Il has deliberately fostered his reputation of being crazy because there is a strategic incentive for him to do so, 2) failure by the US or South Korea to take a hardline here undermines their reputation, inviting future aggression, and 3) recent actions by North Korea constitute an "act of war".
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