Yappy North Korea demands attention, and we should stop giving it to them

Pyongyang wants you to know that it didn’t hack Sony but it’s also SUPER MAD about “The Interview” and it will WREAK TERRIBLE VENGEANCE on all of us for such a flagrant insult:

While steadfastly denying involvement in the hack, North Korea accused U.S. President Barack Obama of calling for “symmetric counteraction.”

“The DPRK has already launched the toughest counteraction. Nothing is more serious miscalculation than guessing that just a single movie production company is the target of this counteraction. Our target is all the citadels of the U.S. imperialists who earned the bitterest grudge of all Koreans,” a report on state-run KCNA read.

“Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland, the cesspool of terrorism,” the report said, adding that “fighters for justice” including the “Guardians of Peace” — a group that claimed responsibility for the Sony attack — “are sharpening bayonets not only in the U.S. mainland but in all other parts of the world.”

Have you ever heard of “little dog syndrome”? It’s the tendency for little dogs to behave aggressively with people and bigger dogs, which people usually ascribe to some kind of dog inferiority complex but is actually caused by owners indulging behavior in their little dogs that they would never allow in a bigger dog. DPRK has the geopolitical version of little dog syndrome. The Kim dynasty has run the country so deep into the shit that there’s really no way out at this point. A North Korean person’s average life expectancy at birth has dropped 5 years over the past 3 decades. Their people live in destitution while the ruling class pilfers whatever it can to wrap itself in luxury and opulence. Potential contenders for the throne (or whatever) are being purged like it’s the 17th century Ottoman Empire or something. Plus, militarily they can’t really hurt anybody else, and the higher echelons of the ruling group know this. They’re a very tiny toy breed in the global dog show. Consequently, just as many small dogs tend to yap and growl a lot, North Korea’s leaders tend to yap from time to time about their military might and their plans to unleash it on the rest of the planet in some catastrophic way.

Think about it, though: even if DPRK really was behind this hack (which is still an open question for a lot of cyber-security experts), it means that the country put its cyber resources into an effort to embarrass some executives at a movie production company for making a film that pokes fun at Dear Leader. That’s, uh, chilling. Real evil genius-type stuff. DPRK spends a whopping 25% of its GDP on its military and threatens…whom, exactly? Yes they’re a nuclear power — one that would be completely obliterated within about half an hour if it ever decided to actually use its nukes against somebody else. They have missiles that can hit other countries, I guess, though nobody seems to have a very good sense of just how reliable those missiles really are. They’ve got a very big army…chock full of destitute, half-starved citizens in the enlisted ranks. Just as a Chihuahua latching onto your ankle is going to hurt, North Korea’s army can cause some pain, but just as you can shake that Chihuahua off and send it halfway across the room if it’s giving you trouble, North Korea isn’t a serious, sustained threat to anybody. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think they’d waste so much time and money showing their military hardware off if they were actually confident that they could do serious damage with any of it.

But the rest of the world keeps pumping them up as though they were a grave threat. Every DPRK missile test is severely and publicly condemned. We talk in scary tones about their 1.2 million man army and elite hackers, who so far haven’t managed anything more sophisticated than hacking into a shockingly negligent company’s systems (maybe) and conducting a few DDOS attacks. We put them in stupid but important-sounding categories like “The Axis of Evil.” This kind of thing rewards DPRK’s leadership for being aggressive posers as surely as petting your little dog after he growls at somebody else rewards the dog for being an asshole. It lets Kim puff his chest out and pretend to be a major world player instead of the kleptocratic warden of a giant open air labor camp. What if we all stopped elevating North Korea to the level of a serious threat and thereby giving Kim and his acolytes the recognition they crave? The way to cure a little dog of “little dog syndrome” is to stop giving it what it wants when it behaves badly. The way to cure Kim Jong-un of “little dictator syndrome” is pretty much the same thing.


One thought on “Yappy North Korea demands attention, and we should stop giving it to them

  1. We also need a good five cent cigar, but we’re not getting that either: when a Korean wants attention, she will go to insane lengths to get it. Burning down your house level insane, but rational enough to remove her precious possessions first.

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