"It's like they're dying to try out their new toys and finding any excuse to do so..."
No, it's more like they're bluffing to try and scare the rest of the world into submission, completely deluding themselves that this will work.
On Norway's role in WW2, here's what Wikipedia tells us: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupat...y_Nazi_Germany
It seems a bit odd to say that Germany's occupation of Norway somehow hurt the Germans.
About sanctions, it's true that it hurts the people more than the leaders. But it's hard to think of any other means of pressure one state can give another. Maybe if there were a warrant for Kim Jong Il's arrest, preventing him from travel. Haven't we already done this too? I know the ruling elite are forbidden from travel. Anywho, Jared Diamond made a good point that leaders only make good decisions when they're not insulated from the consequences of their actions. So long as he can live in his ivory tower, a leader doesn't care if he hurts his own people.