A few days after it warned the US of launching attacks against Hawaii and Guam, North Korea ratcheted up tensions on Thursday by issuing a direct warning of an attack on the US that it said could possibly include the use of nuclear weapons.

What particularly suggests that this threat is not an empty one is the statement of its General Staff of Korean People’s Army that, ‘the moment of explosion is approaching fast’. Where this must give the world jitters about the dangers of a conflict brewing as of now, this represents a challenge to the US supremacy in the globe. North Korea’s enmity with the US is not new; but it was taken to a dangerous level by the Bush regime that demonized it as a part of the ‘axis of evil’. The other ‘evil’ country was Iran. Venezuela under Chavez provides yet another example of a country trying to survive in this unipolar world but not compromising on its principles relating to foreign policy. Collectively the hostility of these nations ought to bring home to the US that it cannot indefinitely go on dictating its terms to the world. There has to be some sense of proportion. By avoiding a knee-jerk reaction to the North Korean sabre-rattling, President Obama, the recipient of the Nobel Prize for peace, could demonstrate that he really deserved the prize.