You can't brush it off

North Korea's bluster taking on a more belligerent tone

It’s tempting to laugh off the North Koreans’ warmongering – as a Buffalo Bills football player did in a Twitter “tweet” suggesting that they bomb rival New England first.

We all know the North Korean regime is crazy and delusional, and is like an ant kicking an elephant when it threatens nuclear war with the U.S. And threatening others is just part of their playbook in Pyongyang; in the past, such blackmail has earned them food aid and other concessions from a spineless West.

We may have trained the heads of a starving nation to perform for food.

But the bluster seems different this time.

It could be that they’re acting out of self-induced desperation. The country – a veritable lab experiment on the fatal failures of communism – is wracked by shortages of just about everything nonmilitary. Satellite images show the breathtaking nighttime contrast between North and South Korea: The democratic South is lit up. And hunger is such a chronic condition that occasional reports of cannibalism leak out.

Even in a brainwashed nation desperation can cause unrest, and perhaps that’s what drives the regime to lunacy. That, and maybe the insanity that comes with believing your own press clippings: “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong Un, a pudgy thirtysomething, inherited the family dictator business from dad Kim Jong Il – who, it’s said in state-run media, shot 38 under par with five holes-in-one in his first round of golf.

Kim Jong Un, in short, has lived his entire life in a house of delusion.

And who knows what factional machinations are at work in the North Korean military that carries him on its shoulders?

Whatever is at work in North Korea can’t be brushed off. The country is assumed to be a nuclear power, and just as you don’t pooh-pooh local bomb threats you can’t just dismiss nuclear threats out of hand.

The regime has recently called off the armistice with the South; announced it’s restarting nuclear processing; and made increasingly menacing pronouncements about nuking American cities and territories.

The Obama administration has done what it should, which is to project military strength and solidarity with the South. But where the heck is China in all this?

It’s no secret North Korea and its volatile government exist at the pleasure of Beijing. And Chinese rulers undoubtedly relish allowing their pit bulls in Pyongyang to nip at U.S. heels; it’s caused us to divert all manner of military assets, at great cost. But how far off the chain are they going to let North Korea go?

China needs to quit playing Cold War games through its surrogates – especially at the expense of its best retail customer.

Once and for all, cut the nonsense; it’s getting dangerous.

And it’s way beyond funny.

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