Why is Kim-Jong Un, the new boy emperor of the “hermit kingdom,” choosing this time to rattle the sabers?

NBC News reports this morning:

North Korea put its rocket units on standby Friday to attack U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after repeated threats and one day after two American stealth bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula in a military exercise.

What is different about Kim’s threat this time: an unnamed American official “warned that the isolated communist state is ‘not a paper tiger’ and its reaction should not be dismissed as ‘pure bluster.’”

As we all know, North Korea stands alone as a pure model totalitarian state — the remaining Communist country most resembling the Soviet Union of the ‘20s and ‘30s when Joseph Stalin attempted to erase any existing independent civil society, or Mao’s China in the age of the Cultural Revolution when that nation literally went mad in a domestic orgy of violence and destruction in the name of building revolution and smashing any semblance of “bourgeois” behavior.

“The time has come,” little Kim is quoted as saying, “to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation.” Of course, the only such situation is that created by either Kim or the North Korean generals who are testing his mettle, perhaps because they wish to control the nation themselves and are forcing him to a test which, if he does not pass, could possibly lead to a military coup. “Bonapartism,” the Bolsheviks called it in the early days of the Soviet Union — they feared if order was not restored after taking power and a civil war was underway, the military could quickly move to run the USSR on its own.

The U.S. official went on to say that although the world knows Kim is inexperienced, they do not know whether or not he has any real wisdom. Indeed, just last week a North Korean soldier at the 38th parallel separating South from North Korea threw a hand grenade at one of the soldiers patrolling the South’s side of the line of demarcation. Such a provocative act could not have been taken independently. In addition, Kim-Jong Un also threatened the South with a nuclear attack.

The government-controlled media also published an article presenting the populace with an ideological justification for the threats. “The opportunity for peacefully settling the DPRK-U.S. relations,” the paper’s propagandist Minju Joson wrote, “is no longer available as the U.S. opted for staking its fate. Consequently, there remains only the settlement of accounts by a physical means.” Ms. Joson continued:

A battle to be fought by the DPRK against the U.S. will become a war for national liberation to defend the sovereignty and dignity of the country and, at the same time, a revolutionary war to defend the human cause of independence and the justice of the international community.

The words emulate the kind of clarion call familiar to observers of revolutionary movements in their earliest phase, as they tried to rally the population and  army to pull together to save the Revolution from foreign threats. Immediately, Kim gave the order for a mass rally of tens of thousands to be held in the main square of Pyongyang a few days ago. The assembled masses yelled in union: “Rip the Puppet Masters to Death!” As the regime put its rocket launchers on standby — with missiles easily able to hit South Korea as well as other nearby nations — the United States responded with a show of force, sending two nuclear-capable stealth bombers to the region.