Doctor Fate wrote:If anyone believes Kim is rational, I’d like to see the evidence.
That Kim's rationale does not fit into a classic western paradigm is not evidence of a lack of rationale. There's a reason why there hasn't been a full-scale war on the Korean Peninsula in 60+ years and it's because while their guiding principles may differ, all of the actors involved - North Korea, China, Russia, United States, Japan, and South Korea - are all operating in their own particular rational ways that all sides have acknowledged, at least until the current administration in the United States took office.
China: no full-scale war, no United States allies on its immediate borders, no refugee crisis
Russia: generalized containment of United States foreign objectives
North Korea: maintain the status quo (Kim regime in power; enough foreign aid to survive)
South Korea: maintain the status quo (growing economy, no full-scale war), cultural and financial independence from China
United States: minimize humanitarian crisis, strong alliance with Japan and South Korea to hem in China
Japan: no direct lethal threat to Japanese citizens, strong trade ties with China and South Korea, cultural and financial independence from China
It's odd to think of one of the most tense situations in the world as fundamentally stable, but because all parties involved find it in their best interests to maintain the status quo, war between parties with fundamentally different world views has been avoided for decades. North Korea's efforts to gain nuclear weapons, intercontinental missiles, and at least some level of conventional army functionality are actually perfect examples of seeking to maintain the status quo because they prevent an American demagogue from seeking to collapse the Pyongyang regime without fear of serious retaliation.