Though the Koreas are prone to confrontational bouts and false-starts, the aftermath of the sinking of the "Cheonan" seems to have ignited a fire under the South which is steadily growing in intensity. South Korea's president has vowed "revenge." The navy chief of staff swore vengeance: "We will track them down to the end and we will, by all means, make them pay for this."
And evidence is mounting that North Korea is responsible, having planned the strike in retaliation for a skirmish last November which they are seen to have lost.
Many are apparently claiming "the time for war has come." An editorial in S. Korea's leading newspaper declares:
There is no doubt that South Korea would suffer huge losses if it clashes militarily with North Korea. But another thing is also clear: a military confrontation with South Korea would spell the end of the North Korean regime.
Keep in mind: These countries are still formally at war. North Korea is a nuclear power. And there e are nearly 30,000 U.S. service-members currently stationed in South Korea. If the Koreas near the brink of war, the only outside actor in a position to affect their conduct is Barack Obama.