The actions of Kim Jong-un and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have surprised and frustrated analysts and national security thinkers’ best guesses over the past weeks. In life, there are adversaries and competitors who are unpredictable, and act contrary to your best assessment of their predicted behaviors. The difficulty of determining the strategy of a dictator, terrorist, or loose cannon is the assumption that their actions are rational and have the same value of potential risk. With the rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, the U.S. government and the Republic of Korea (ROK) fell into several thinking traps that a red team could have solved. The belief that the DPRK and baby dictator Kim Jong-un were up to the “normal” North Korean saber rattling of the past was challenged repeatedly as the tensions escalated through last week. As the game of brinkmanship has raised concerns worldwide the conflict highlights the difficulty of predicting the actions of an adversary who has very different end state goals.