There is chatter in the nuclear scientist community that North Korea's nuclear test may have been faked. Thus far, no radioactive evidence of an atomic explosion has been detected, putting the test at odds with North Korea's previous one, and with just about every other underground nuclear test ever conducted. The explosion is estimated at 4,000 tons of TNT; assembling that much TNT is difficult, but hardly impossible.
Last year, Russia's armed forces were undergoing a mild revitalization after years of Kremlin neglect. The flood of petrodollars gave Moscow the opportunity to undertake some modernization of forces that had remained static or declined since the end of the Cold War. The number of personnel in uniform mildly increased to about 1.1 million, from a post-Cold War low of 900,000. Then came the war with Georgia, and the global financial crisis.
I'm not sure what submarines have to do with human nature, but, in any case, William Saletan has devoted a column to discussion of the threat posed to the U.S. by submarine-operating terrorists. Saletan points out that drug cartels have used submersibles to good effect -- though the amount's debatable, he says they transport up to a third of the U.S. cocaine supply. Cartels value the subs because they're difficult to detect, and because they have heretofore enjoyed legal near-immunity. When a drug-carrying submarine is identified by the Coast Guard or the Navy, the crew abandons ship and scuttles the boat, sending the evidence to the bottom.