By Matthew Prosper Columnist North Korea: the nation ranked first in corruption, third in meting out the death penalty, and where the average life expectancy is barely into the early sixties. For years, North Korea’s main export has been unfounded threats made to the United States, which have caused us few problems until the present. It now appears as though the North Korean nuclear program is finally ramping up, and action needs to be taken. Currently, North Korea is not on possession of missiles capable of making it to the United States. The nation’s stockpile does, however, pose a threat to U.S. allies in Asia. Japan and South Korea are located very close to North Korea, and although North Korean missiles have generally been failures, it is not unlikely that they will develop missiles capable of reaching those countries in the near future. It can be easy to pass North Korea off as a non-threat, a visibly dilapidated regime with a near non-existent economy, but this is not necessarily the case. The one government institution that North Korea manages to maintain is the military, with total personnel very close to that of the United States. Of course, their resources, training, and capabilities are inferior to those of the U.S. and its allies, but not all wars are won by skill. Wars of attrition are won by the unrelenting willingness to fight by an army, and to not give up regardless of the odds. It was by this that a militia of untrained farmers with hunting rifles were able to oust the largest, most powerful imperial force in the world in 1776. North Korea cannot be treated as a non-threat, because underestimating them and allowing them to continue on the current trajectory will just give them incredible advantage over us. The North Korean nuclear program has been in existence for over ten years at this point, and it is time that the United States put an end to it. After ten years of trying, it is only a matter of time before North Korea finally figures out how to develop a working nuclear missile. The technology to do so has been around since the 1950’s, so it is likely going to be relatively soon that they are able to construct weapons. Regardless of the years of failed tests conducted by North Korea, it only takes one working missile for them to be able to do damage. Failing to take leaders and threats seriously was exactly what led to the outbreak of the Second World War, and the world should not make that mistake again. Every threat, especially when there has been a declaration of war by the nation threatening, should be taken seriously and dealt with accordingly. Defending American lives takes more than crossing out fingers and hoping that a nation’s top scientists don’t crack the code to sixty-year-old technology, and then being too late to take action when they do.