What exactly is North Korea getting at with its most recent YouTube upload, “Firestorms Will Rain on the Headquarters of War”? Continuing the chest-beating destruction fantasy that we first encountered a month ago in a similar video, this video features scenes of firing artillery, jets, missiles, and military parades. And then, at around three minutes, the White House appears in a crosshairs. After an explosion at the Capitol building, and a fanfare of missiles, a voice announces that the “capital of war” is within range of North Korea’s atomic bomb.
For all of the fury and fear and insanity evoked, and ignoring the translation gap, there is a distinctly YouTube aesthetic at work here. The iMovie-template production values and trollishness of the video recall Anonymous more than a dictatorship, muddling the message with a kind of basement DIY elan. (Leave blowing up Washington to Hollywood.)
Infuriated by new UN sanctions after its nuclear test last month, Pyongyang has already threatened the US with a pre-emptive nuclear strike. Even though that possibility is years away, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is talking up missile defense along the West Coast--just like politicians were doing a dozen years ago, before men with box cutters hijacked airplanes. And here we were, thinking that Dennis Rodman had changed everything.