“Our intercontinental ballistic missiles are on standby … If we push the button, they will blast off and their barrage will turn Washington, the stronghold of American imperialists and the nest of evil … into a sea of fire.”
The North Korean Deputy Defense Minister just made this threat. Fortunately, North Korea has not succeeded in reducing its nuclear weapons to the size that would fit on top of a missile, according to U.S. intelligence estimates.
But that day will come. Until then, the threats are largely bluster. So are that regime’s threats to reign havoc on South Korea.
The inner workings of Kim Jong Un’s new order are essentially impossible to fathom. He has fired some of his father’s favorite generals. But his father’s sister and her husband, pillars of the old regime, still seem powerful.
What is clear is that these threats have mobilized the North Korean people behind the regime. Watch to see what the regime does with its mobilized people. That is all we can do.
Marvin Zonis is Professor Emeritus, Booth School of Business, The University of Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org