The crazy aunt in the attic must not be getting enough attention in the international press, because she's banging on things again. Trying to get noticed, perhaps. This tends to happen every once in a while. As soon as the family is focused on something else, she'll start throwing dishes.
In Pyongyang, the pudgy little tyrant known as Kim Jong Un gave a speech the other day on "Victory Day," which we must put in scare quotes. In North Korea, an armistice to stop the Korean War in a stalemate is called a victory.
Anyway, Lil' Kim has said his country is "ready to mobilize" its nuclear weapons against the United States and South Korea.
"Our country's nuclear war deterrent is also ready to mobilize its absolute power faithfully, accurately and promptly in accordance with its mission." And as for the hawkish Yoon Suk Yeol government of South Korea, "Talking about military action against our nation, which possesses absolute weapons that they fear the most, is preposterous and is very dangerous self-destructive action," Comrade Kim said. "Such a dangerous attempt will be immediately punished by our powerful strength and the Yoon Suk Yeol government and his military will be annihilated."
The speech must lose something in translation. Or else Mr. Kim needs new speech writers.
What the rest of the world can't do, however, is ignore that speech. Or Lil' Kim.
The Kim monarchy/royal family/autocracy (wouldn't the Romanovs be surprised?) has been testing weapons at a blistering pace this year, sanctions be damned. After all, who in the Kim monarchy would be affected by mere sanctions? The people starve, not the Kim inner circle. Kim Jong Un apparently learned from the best, or the worst, by watching his father, who knew how to live it up even as his country did without.
The current Kim knows his politics, too, maybe even better than his predecessors. He knows he must continue to inflate outside threats to keep his people marching in line and his military focused. And he knows he must continue to throw dishes if he hopes to get the world to reconsider sanctions. The spooks in this country say to expect North Korean scientists to fry the innards of another mountain any day now, to show advancement on nuclear technology.
What Kim Jong Un won't do is give up that technology. We are reminded of what historian Niall Ferguson said recently about one of the repercussions of Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine:
"One of the most interesting consequences of this war is that all around the world, people are going to realize, 'We need nuclear weapons.' Look what the Ukrainians did. They gave them up. And now they are in a terrible state. The end of the era of nonproliferation is upon us no matter what happens in Ukraine."
Pyongyang's nuclear program guarantees its government. That's the world we live in now.
The crazy aunt may not have much. But what she does have could take down much of the house.
What the rest of us can't do is ignore her.