Which means … what, exactly? We’ve always assumed that the Kim regime has a rational purpose, which is its self-perpetuation, unlike Iran, whose purposes fall into the realm of the non-rational (apocalyptic religious fervor), on which the Iranians act rationally. Rationally speaking, there is no way that North Korea can expect to win a war with the US. That assumption is why CBS and AP take great pains at the start of the article to argue that the Kim regime doesn’t mean what it says in its latest pronouncement:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned Friday that his rocket forces were ready “to settle accounts with the U.S.,” unleashing a new round of bellicose rhetoric after U.S. nuclear-capable B-2 bombers dropped dummy munitions in joint military drills with South Korea.

Kim’s warning, and the litany of threats that have preceded it, don’t indicate an imminent war. In fact, they’re most likely meant to coerce South Korea into softening its policies, win direct talks and aid from Washington, and strengthen the young leader’s credentials and image at home.

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