I agree with about half of Tom Friedman’s assertion in his New York Times column:
The more we freak out about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, the more leverage it has. Instead we should be telling Kim Jong-un: “Hey, pal, not impressed with your nuclear toys, been there, done that with the Soviet Union. Time is on our side — and now the whole world is asking why you won’t accept our credible peace proposal. So have fun with your firecrackers! Don’t even think about lobbing one near us, or we might just shut off all the lights in your pathetic failing state. We can do that — just like we can make your rockets blow up or go off course. Have you noticed? And when your people get tired of eating potatoes every night, give us a call: 202-456-1414. Ask for Donald.”
However where he’s wrong is that we can’t deter North Korea any more than we already have, which isn’t much. And how do we contain North Korea without the active cooperation of China, their primary patron?