Watching the images on CNN of nuclear missiles on parade in North Korea and of Kim Jong Un proudly viewing test firings and war games, I can't help but be struck by how close the pictures from Pyongyang are to the images we saw from Moscow at various points during the Cold War. Now that Kim has demonstrated not only that he is more militant than his father and grandfather, but that he is probably crazier and more paranoid as well, only one question remains: who, exactly, is financing all of this bravado?
Using the "follow the money" dictum, I suspect we can find out whose interest Kim's provocations benefit. The USSR could pay its own way, but an epically dysfunctional state like N. Korea needs an external source of funds to do what they are doing. Sure, poking others in the eye might be fun for despots like the Kim's, but it is to someone's benefit to ratchet up the scale just now but giving them ever larger sticks (or the capacity to create their own).