A North Korean video last month depicted New York City aflame after what is presumed to be a missile strike. A sequel showed President Barack Obama and U.S. military personnel burning in the inferno of a nuclear attack.
North Korea’s most recent offering is “Firestorms will Rain on the Headquarters of War.” It’s on YouTube, and its highlight is animated footage of the U.S. Capitol dome exploding in a ball of flame. That’s preceded by footage intended to depict the United States bullying poor North Korea and then, for good measure, film of a sniper’s crosshairs over the White House.
The recent propaganda assault, which follows U.N. sanctions that even China — North Korea’s apologist and the closest thing North Korea has to a friend — didn’t block, comes with threats of pre-emptive strikes on both the United States and South Korea.
No wonder U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, is alarmed. Said Rep. Rogers: “You have a 28-year-old leader who is trying to prove himself to the military, and the military is eager to have a saber-rattling for their own self-interest. The combination of that is proving to be very, very deadly.”
So far, the overwhelming majority of the victims of North Korea’s policies have been its own citizens. Vast numbers are believed to have died of starvation, and many of those who survive are malnourished. They’re the collateral damage of Kim Jong-Un’s twisted conviction that the United States is out to destroy his country. To be fair, he inherited much of his worldview from his father and grandfather, who set in motion policies that have impoverished and isolated the country.
About all North Korea seems to have money for is militarization, the development of nuclear weapons and a missile program that Kim apparently believes will make his dream of a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the United States a reality.
That experts say such a prospect is years away provides only modest comfort. For years, U.S. presidents have tried to deal fairly, patiently — even generously — with North Korea, only to fail — usually double-crossed by North Korea — and were criticized domestically for not seeing it coming.
The nations dealing most closely with North Korea reject military action, as they should. Yet they are at a loss for alternatives. They also don’t know whether the military or Kim is in charge or what Kim’s state of mind is (Dennis Rodman’s observations notwithstanding). About all that’s clear is that North Korea’s threats, as outrageous as they are, cannot be ignored.