Our isolationist friends, particularly those on the west coast, had best pay attention to goings-on in North Korea.
There's a school of thought on the political left that if we just bring our troops home, the world will play nice and everyone will get along.
Wrong. Much of the world is unstable, violent and dangerous. And when you live in a dangerous neighborhood, you are in danger whether you keep a low profile or not. You're not safer because you're simply minding your own business.
It's true of the world at large, as well.
One of the most unstable and despotic leaders in modern history holds sway over a closed and brainwashed society in North Korea. Remarkably isolated and fed a steady diet of anti-Americanism - and often very little real food - the North Korean people are said to have very twisted and primitive views of life outside their country.
This combination - a deranged leader and a willing flock - makes North Korea more than dangerous.
The country's apparent plans to test-launch a long-range ballistic missile make North Korea a downright frightening risk impossible to ignore.
The missile is said to have a range capable of striking the United States.
That, combined with leader Kim Jong Il's unabated nuclear weapons program, should get the world's attention.
Certainly Asia is destabilized by a nutty North Korea. Japan and Australia both are warning North Korea of "serious consequences" to a missile test. A Japanese official initially said his country would regard Japan's getting hit, even accidentally, as "an attack." He later backed off that assessment - but that's just how jittery and serious the situation is.
A test-firing of a long-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead "would be highly provocative," said Australia Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, "and would further isolate (North Korea)."
Is the impending launch a bluff - a mere upping of the ante by a North Korea to see what goodies it can blackmail the world into giving it? Perhaps. And the South Korean ambassador to the United States says "we cannot rule out the possibility that at the last moment," Kim Jong Il's unpredictable regime will reverse course.
You can't count on it, however.
"Assuming ... the missile test is successful," one former National Security Council aide told The New York Times, "North Korea would demonstrate that they have made important progress toward the ability to hit targets in the continental United States with a missile large enough to carry a nuclear weapon."
Leftist extremists such as talk show hostess Randi Rhodes want to whip Americans up into a lather about U.S. plans to test weapons in Nevada. Blame America first and always.
The real threat is in places such as North Korea and Iran. And it is looming.