Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The attention seeking of North Korea…

As attention seeking behaviour goes, North Korea’s recent declaration that its rocket launches "are targeted at the United States, the arch-enemy of the Korean people," lies somehow between burning a copy of the Quaran, and your average Joey Barton tweet.

It's the hallmark of a pantomime villain who's put out to find Widow Twankey's protruding belly is frightening the children more than he does. Because on the international stage, North Korea has become a sideshow; and it's throwing its toys well and truly out of the pram because of it.

To be fair, you can see where they're coming from. As recently as last December, The Democratic People's Republic of Korea was still the only game in town when it came to uptight, paranoid-aggressive regimes. But then, Team America star and Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il finally proved true to his name and died. For a while, the eyes of the world lingered, but soon enough we became bored with the choreographed weeping and decided the new Kim on the block was too chubby to take seriously.

Since then, every despot, crackpot and whatnot in the Middle East and North Africa has been doing their level best to take Korea's Public Enemy Number 1 title. As you'd expect for a country raised on a diet of UN sanctions and enriched uranium, North Korea has not taken its fall from grace too well. There's been satellite launches, rocket tests, and even the old fail safe of threatening to wipe out the “puppet group of traitors”, (South Korea to you and me). But to no avail, North Korea has slipped into obscurity.

So now this: grandstanding. Calling the Americans out like a drunk in a bar. The whole thing is just tinged with desperation. What have they become? What's happened to the nation that humbled the mighty Brazil at the last World Cup? Whose ‘fans’ were paid Chinese actors; less any North Koreans use the trip as a chance to flee the nation. A country governed by the most oppressive regime in the world, but which still demonstrates its good sense of humour by describing itself as “Democratic”.

Well, for one, there’s been a change of personnel at the top. And whilst DPRK is still keeping it in the family, Kim Senior left some pretty big size 4 shoes to fill. On his watch North Korea wasn't just in the axis of evil, it was the bloody axis. But now, if you’re an aspiring dictator or international terrorist and you want to get something done, it isn’t the 38th Parallel you’ll head to, but the Sahara Desert.

It’s not that the new boss, Kim Jong-un, hasn’t tried hard enough to arrest this decline. Far from it. The ‘Pyongyang Pretender’ has done everything short of defecating on the American flag in order to get noticed. But then that’s precisely the point. No doubt haunted by comparisons to Jordi Cryff, Kasper Schmeichel and Calumn Best, Jong-un the youngun (as he’s affectionately known there), has turned into something of a drama queen in a frantic attempt to avoid becoming his father’s footnote in history.

This is not the North Korean way. By all means be a threat to world peace, that's what you do best, but please try and be a little bit less showy with it. Remember the quiet dignity of your secret nuclear weapons programme? Oh how we feared you then, but we also respected you. You wouldn’t give anybody the time of day; you just kept on denying you were building those nuclear weapons, even though we all knew you really were. You’re young Kim, and you’re learning you’re trade, I get that. Just don’t pimp yourselves out to the world’s press talking about this ‘rocket’ or that ‘space satellite’. Leave that to the media whores in Tehran, Tel Aviv and Tripoli. International interest is as fleeting as it is fickle, you know this. Keep your head up and don’t stoop to their level. After all you’re North Korea, you’re better than that. Form is temporary, but being the nemesis of those capitalist dogs in the West, well that’s permanent. 

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