In the United States, we make fun of Kim Jong Un and the North Korean regime's over-the-top propaganda machine. The regime may have launched a massive cyberattack on South Korean banks and TV stations last month, but we were circumspect that they were capable of such a thing. When former basketball player Dennis Rodman visited the country in February we giggled. How silly, we thought. Kim Jong Un is a Dennis Rodman fan - how out of touch! Soon after, a video emerged from North Korean state television showing Kim welcomed by jubilant masses of soldiers sprinting to welcome him as he visited a posting from whence rockets were launched in a brief 2010 skirmish with South Korea.
Again we chuckled at how staged it seemed. Just a week or so previous, a propaganda video came out showing images of Barack Obama and American troops on fire, and just before that, a sleeping Korean dreaming about a rocket destroying an American city. At these, we guffawed. We mocked the use of "We Are the World" and music from the video game Call of Duty as a soundtrack; we called one video " bizarre from start to finish"; " hilarious and disturbing "; "hilariously low-rent"; " cartoonish ." When the United States beefed up its missile defense network in California and Alaska to protect from a possible North Korean attack, we noted they wouldn't have the brains to actually hit us, and asserted that " no one's taking them that seriously." The propaganda, the rhetoric, it's all seen as a grand joke. Desperate, harmless hyperbole from a scorned and neutered country.