Ten years ago, in the summer of 1995, it was fashionable in Washington and Seoul to predict the imminent collapse of North Korea's political and economic systems, and even the state itself. While clearly an errant forecast, it is easy to see why pundits and analysts thought as they did. Kim Il-Sung had died. Kim's son and successor, Kim Jong-Il, was failing to lead just as the country suffered a massive agricultural failure. A nuclear-weapons dispute with the United States had forced a costly full-scale mobilization of the country's million-man army.