reply to post by princeofpeace
North Korea is a very strange beast. A lot of what is done by the regime, there, is done as an internal display - and its international impacts are,
generally, not given much consideration.
North Koreans are conditioned, from an early age, to believe the rest of the world is a brutal hell-scape whose population looks jealously upon the
bounty and splendor of Korea. Their past leaders have been so effective and the military strength of North Korea so overpowering - the the rest of
the world dares not to encroach upon the utopia of Korea.
Sounds completely ridiculous to any of us - but we think it horrible to go a day without food. A nation with, quite literally, no outside contact
with the outside world doesn't know that they are missing out... having dinner three times a week beats the hell out of none. Innovations such as TV
and luxuries such as theaters are marveled there - rather than seen as the standard (and why should they think otherwise - if that's all they've
grown up in?)
I'm sure those closer to the operations of the regime start putting the inconsistencies together... but they also get their flavor of school girl at
the end of the week - and that is one perk of continuing the regime that is difficult to carry over into non-dictatorial governing strategies.
In all honesty - I think most of those in the upper echelons of the DPRK know, full well, that they walk a razor's edge when taking military action
against South Korea - and that it would turn into an international gang-bang in the streets of Pyongyang if they went too far. They have a pretty
cushy seat of power, and don't want to lose it.
That said - Their new, young leader is going to be feeling the pressure to prove himself. He may also have his own personal ambitions clouding his
judgment (he may want to go down in history as the man who unified Korea).... and that can lead to all kinds of wonky behavior from an already alien
Further, this specific threat doesn't have to be an immediate one. There is also the possibility that the North Korean operatives this threat was
based upon have already been routed by South Korean authorities (it is not entirely uncommon for operatives and spies to be apprehended after having
come in via submarine or small water craft).
But I think the statement was for broadcast to their population, and they really didn't care how it sounded to the rest of the world.
For those interested, however:
The VICE Guide to North Korea:
To quote part of the description:
Then they said, “OK, OK, you can come. But only as tourists.” We had no idea what that was supposed to mean. They already knew we were
journalists, and over there if you get caught being a journalist when you’re supposed to be a tourist you go to jail. We don’t like jail. And
we’re willing to bet we’d hate jail in North Korea. But we went for it