“Full of Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing”

Dictator Kim Jong Un has been rattling his saber in North Korea with enough warmongering threats to go around. Though U.S. national defense and U.N. security officials recognize that the situation brewing in Pyongyang is serious, they also recognize it as ceremonious. There is a traditional rhetoric in these rumblings from a young leader, portrayed by the American media as frightening because it is foreign. Or so Americans like to think. What is truly frightening is that such rhetoric should be all too familiar.

The escalating threats of the supreme leader of North Korea directed toward South Korea and the United States may well be a customary strategy of bluff and bluster. Kim Jong Un is yet untested and unproven, and such tactics may inspire the admiration of the people and the awe of enemies. By exaggerating the havoc they can wreak externally, they may become more united internally. The situation in Korea, however, may be too unstable for such intense “beneficial” provocations as Kim Jong Un is demonstrating.

nkorea-kim jong unOn December 12, 2012, Kim Jong Un authorized a long-range rocket test to demonstrate North Korea could launch intercontinental missiles. Two months later, he ordered an underground nuclear test, despite U.N. sanctions banning such activity. On March 11, South Korea and the U.S. held annual military drills, which North Korea condemned as invasion preparation and voided the 60-year-old armistice ending the Korean War. In a muscle-flexing response, on March 28 the U.S. sent two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers to join the military drills and dropped dummy munitions on a South Korean range. The next day, Kim Jong Un held a midnight meeting of senior generals to sign a rocket-preparation plan and ordered his army on standby to strike the U.S. mainland, South Korea, Guam, and Hawaii, proclaiming that “the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S.” He then declared that, “inter-Korean relations have naturally entered the state of war,” and would retaliate against U.S. and South Korean provocations without notice and to nuclear extremes. On April 3, North Korea barred South Koreans from their borders. Also last week, officials reported evidence of missile transport. “The moment of explosion,” says Kim Jong Un, “is coming.”

When? Perhaps someone should ask Dennis Rodman who visited recently. Until something more materializes, this is still a great game of appearances. Once past the alarmist headlines, the news coolly describes Kim Jong Un’s rocket-readying as mere brinkmanship—or even showmanship. This perspective inspires wonder for these series of purported stunts. Such political posturing is typical of North Korea, but American media presents it as a curiosity. Most analysts agree that North Korea, barring some unknown advance in their arsenal, do not have the capacity to launch a weapon outside the Korean peninsula. Why all the big-talk from Kim Jong Un, then? Why the stunts?

 

Barack Obama shooting at Camp DavidUnfortunately, Americans can look for answers closer to home than North Korea. The one thing clear from Kim Jong Un is that he does not want to be ignored—and that is where a striking similarity appears between Kim Jong Un’s dictatorship and Barack Obama’s presidency. The Obama administration is similarly self-conscious, with motives that are at best, strange, and at worst, suspicious. Like Kim Jong Un, dramatic political stunts and overt personality propaganda are standard procedure for Obama; but few seem to question his obvious persona cultivation. After the Newtown massacre, President Obama signed a series of executive actions for gun-violence laws with suppliant children looking on, having written him letters pleading for a reaction. Why the emotional exploitation, Mr. President? Why the stunt? Obama is a king of such image sculpting, accepting the Democratic nomination on a stage resembling a Greek temple, or taking a bow for Osama Bin Laden’s death—or even replacing the stars on Old Glory with his face. Why the pomp and ceremony? Why the stunts? Moreover, why the public acceptance of it all? The simple answer is that this nation is rife with Obama sycophants, or worse, worshipers of the great “O.” They make grade school children sing songs of praise about their Dear Leader. Whether based on white racial guilt, liberalism, or government dependency, the widespread embrace of Obama-drama is as disturbing and strange as anything out of North Korea.

obamaStunts are means by which the leader of a personality cult maintains his followers. Obama is hailed as a messianic figure—the One, as his campaigns branded him. The quasi-religious devotion that Obama receives is precisely what one might expect to find in a North Korean theocracy. Kim Jong Un employs the well-worn methodologies of the Kim Dynasty personality cult to secure the loyalty of his people. The media manipulation, the staged interviews and photographs, the hyperbolic demonstrations all conspire to paint an idealized image to generate hero worship. This is, of course, an artifice—it is a stunt. Though Obama does not enthrall his people by rearranging missiles and international saber rattling, he still enthralls them with fail-safe programs that fail, moralistic over-regulation, and bald-faced budget bluffs. And Americans love a dog-and-pony show as much as North Koreans apparently. The national devotion towards Obama does not measure up with the national debt that will destroy the dollar. But he does everything as a smiling father, a stern commander-in-chief, a dashing celebrity or whatever role is required to appear powerful and presidential.

Kim Jong Un is no more of a political charlatan than Barack Obama, which makes them equally dangerous. Even if the particulars differ, the rhetoric of Kim Jong Un and Barack Obama is fundamentally the same—to dupe a nation into believing in him and him alone. Americans look to North Korea and wonder at their puppet-master nationalism, judging Kim Jong Un unstable and power-hungry. But would an honest analysis of our own leader yield a different conclusion? Both are devious stuntmen whose stunts fuel their cults and their agendas for government control.

Just as North Korea is Kim Jong Un, so is the United States Obama—or so would Obama have it along with a high percentage of Americans. The United States was conceived as a nation of laws. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were widely, if not universally, popular men whose power of character could have been exploited to establish a dictatorship. But this was not their vision for the nation. They envisioned a nation whose government was of the people, by the people, and for the people. Not Obama Nation. Not Obamacare. Not Omerica. They intended, instead, a nation of liberty and justice for all.

Even this seems like a strange saying nowadays, unhappily refuted by the ravages and atrocities that are politically sanctioned in this “nation under God.” There is an abundance of news detailing the peculiarity of life in North Korea. There is almost nothing detailing the insanity that prevails in the United States. The murder of unborn millions and same-sex unions has become part of the new American dream. We always see the mote, but never the beam. We fear the very thing that we are.

North Korea has claimed that the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. Perhaps someone should inform Kim Jong Un that the U.S. is doing just fine settling its own account.

Sean Fitzpatrick

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Sean Fitzpatrick is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and the Headmaster of Gregory the Great Academy. He lives in Scranton, PA with his wife and family of four.

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