Cold War gangster: Kim Jung Un
Cold War gangster: Kim Jung Un

The world is watching to see if Kim Jong-un decides to act out his threats and go to war against "imperialists."

In recent days the last Stalinist dictator on Earth has been engaging in the sort of bellicose Cold War foot-stamping that seems to belong to the bygone era of films like Doctor Strangelove and mass marches of the proletariat. The difference here is that the nuclear warheads possessed by the pariah state are very real.

Nobody seems to know if the bluster coming out of Pyongyang has any substance. South Koreans on the other side of the 38th Parallel seem sanguine about it. They have heard it all before.

Meanwhile, in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea there has been little evidence that it is mobilising its huge standing army to stream across the border and seize Seoul - capital city of the sworn enemy of North Korea since the armistice of 1953.

Reports from inside the world's last communist totalitarian state suggest that many people are going about their daily lives - well, as normally as they can in a country trapped permanently in a Cold War mindset which is primed at any moment for invasion.

It is unlikely that North Koreans know of the world's reaction to callow Kim's theatrics. They are forbidden from knowing anything not prescribed by the dictats of the personality cult embodied by the 29-year-old.

Kim keeps lookout
Kim keeps lookout

He holds a plethorea of titles including First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, chairman of the Central Military Commission, first chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea and Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army.

Yet Kim's antics suggest he has no clue - or wish - to exercise responsibility by not ratcheting up tensions and bringing closer the possibility that the Korean peninsula could topple over into chaos because of naïve misjudgement of someone who has barely been in the job for a year.

North Korea watchers believe the object of Kim Jong-un's histrionics is to impress his domestic audience by showing himself as a strong leader.

He reformed the upper echelons of the military soon after assuming power on the death of his father, Kim Jong-il. Now he wants to live up to the title of being leader of one of the most militarised countries on Earth.

Appearing to act tough after sanctions were imposed on his people for a spate of rocket tests serves his purpose. Unfortunatley, the effect of those sanctions has been to inflict yet more suffering on a population that has already suffered mass starvation.

Under Kim Jong-un the old Cold War is warming up. It seems that beneath the bluster, it is abnormal business as usual in North Korea.