YOU almost have to admire the gall of it. Less than 96 hours after the United Nations announced its “strongest measures ever” against the North Korean dictatorship, leader Kim Jong Un sends another ballistic missile sailing over Japan, dropping into the Pacific Ocean, and landing the tough talking diplomats in a sticky mire of humiliation.
I can only imagine the glee on the tin-pot dictator’s face on Friday as he sat back to watch the most powerful nations in the world clamour over each other to condemn in the most certain terms what was essentially the diplomatic equivalent of setting off a firecracker at a wake – no one was harmed, but by God, it pissed people off.
As the most powerful men and women in the world shake their heads, wring their hands, and gather together once more to all agree that their masterplan has once again failed, you’ve got to wonder what’s next.
After such strong fighting talk from US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, threatening to “take the future of the North Korean nuclear programme out of the hands of its outlaw regime” and imposing the “strongest measures ever” to curb their weapons development, North Korea just raised one giant metaphorical middle finger to western diplomacy.
The impotent rage and bellicose language coming from the US is surely only playing into Kim’s hands at home. The regime has put time, money and resources into spreading the message of American bravado and aggression to its people. A recent piece from BBC Newsnight detailed how a North Korean defector claimed she did not think of Americans as humans and only referred to them as American-bastards while growing up under the Kim dynasty.
You need only take one look at a bumbling and belligerent Donald Trump threatening to rain “fire and fury” on Pyongyang to see how this argument might hold some sway.
“We learned that Americans are our primary enemies” – North Korea defector Hyeonseo Lee describes how she was taught to hate the US pic.twitter.com/MvEmbSB4wq
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) September 17, 2017
As the leaders of the world struggle to dream up more imaginative and fear-inducing synonyms for ‘unacceptable’ and ‘condemn’ – and let’s be honest, they’re running pretty thin on the ground for new material at this point – Kim must surely be delighting in all this.
What his next move will be is almost impossible to predict with any certainty, but as flying in the face of western attempts to curb him seems to be his preferred method of choice at the moment, more missiles shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. Prepare to witness more gleeful giggles and more toothy grins on that child-like face in coming months.
As North Korea has proven, a little bit of sabre rattling goes a long way when it comes to international attention. When it’s this easy to so succinctly and effectively show up western diplomacy for a sham, Kim will continue to bait the beast, and oh, what fun he shall have!
** This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of Asian Correspondent