(CNN)-There is something that instinctively scares us when we see slavish military synchronicity.
It awakens deep fear, an inescapable conditioning that tells us such an excess of squeaky precise coordination won't end well.
Kim Jong Un may not intend us to read him this way, although much of his behavior suggests that he does.
Of course, what is really getting under our skin, beyond the parades of soldiers and civilians, is that this third-generation dictator still only in his 30s is on the verge of nuclearizing his intercontinental ballistic missiles -- and if something isn't done soon, he might make good on his promise and lob one at the US.
If he does that, the gloves come off and the Korean Peninsula is blasted backward 70 years into regional warfare and instability.
No general worth his salt ever gambled that his adversary wasn't capable of the unthinkable. But what if this worst-case scenario paranoia is Kim's real problem? What if he is trapped in his own imagined view of what the US might do should he back down?
When he weighs the world calculating his next move, for he is no madman, does he eye Moammar Gadhafi's grisly end in Libya -- as North Korean state media has hinted numerous times at the "tragic consequences" of giving up a "treasured sword for frustrating outsiders' aggression" -- and shun compromise, or is there another demon burdening his brain?
I was in Libya as Gadhafi's regime was coming down and met with some of his top advisers -- including his son Saif.
They were sure the West wouldn't let them down. Britain in particular, they thought, would hold their corner. Not only had they cooperated with the UK in capturing terror suspects, Gadhafi Sr. had handed over all his nuclear know-how.
For them, it was supposed to be the ultimate deal: rehabilitation in to the international community. And for several years it worked, more or less.
Per capita, Libyan GDP rose to the highest in Africa. The country's single biggest impediment to progress was Gadhafi himself. He was alive and rich, albeit defanged.
But then came the Arab Spring street protests to topple the Great Leader. As Gadhafi resisted the rebel attacks, NATO -- and his old allies in the UK picked a side -- and bombed Libyan forces.
That's when I was meeting with his lieutenants. He didn't know it at the time, but his past belligerence was like a target on the shoulder of stag. That stag keeps running, even though the bullet has pierced its heart.
When the bombs began to fall, Gadhafi was already dead -- he just didn't know it yet.
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