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Is North Korea going to bomb us? Is North Korea a Threat? Is North Korea Communist? Why does North Korea Hate us?

These (according to my extremely imprecise research) are the most common questions people in the world have about North Korea...I have done my best to answer these questions using mostly knowledge that I stole from a variety of sources around the internet over the course of a couple days of research.

TL:DW - North Korea is terrifying and terrible, they are a threat to global stability and even more of a threat to their own people. But, no, they are not going to nuke anybody...unless they really want to destroy themselves.
Good morning John.

That is if the world still exists. If the world does not exist anymore, then bad morning John, very bad morning. But assuming that the world has not been destroyed by the kind of crazy that would be hilarious if it wasn't so freaking terrible, let's see what the world wants to know about North Korea using our old friend, Google auto-complete.

Is North Korea going to bomb us? Well that depends first on who the "us" in question is. If us is me, then no, because their missiles can't reach me, which is nice for me.

But if the "us" is everyone who's not inside North Korea, which I really kind of feel like it should be, then... well, if you're in South Korea or Japan or even Guam, they could. But they almost certainly will not.

North Korea is a big fan of the crazy threat. They've been using them for over fifty years. And though these are kind of really extra crazy, it's pretty normal. So why, you may be asking, the uptick in the crazy. A bunch of reasons actually.

Number one, recent UN sanctions against North Korea are pissing them off, especially because China, who is literally their only ally, is supporting them. (On screen text: "*China is supporting the sanctions not North Korea (confusing sentence)")

Two, South Korea just got a new president, and every time South Korea gets a new president, North Korea tests that president by being crazy at them.

Three, every year the US and South Korea do some joint military exercises and this always increases the rhetoric that North Korea starts to spew.

And finally number four, no one knows how North Korea works at all, like there's just... nobody knows how the internal political structure of Pyongyang works. And so, there may be some internal political reason for this and we will never know.

Is North Korea a threat? Yes, unfortunately. First, because yeah, they've got nuclear weapons and they're probably the only state on earth left that's crazy enough to use them. But more importantly, we should all note that North Korea's biggest threat is to its own people, who are malnourished; the average North Korean child is five inches shorter that the average South Korean child.

If you are declared to be an enemy of the state in North Korea, which is surprisingly easy, then you go to a concentration camp where the conditions are just terrible. But so does your entire family. And any children that you have, they grow up and live their entire lives in that concentration camp, and so do their children. Three generations of people. There are people in those concentration camps today because their grandparents sympathized with South Korea during the Korean War. What?

Is North Korea communist? No, not really. I mean, it says it right in the title. They're a democracy, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. And they can vote, actually. There's only one candidate on the ballet. And if they write someone in, they can be declared an enemy of the state, which, as previously noted, can be "the very very bad thing." So yeah, their system... they're kind of an absolute totalitarian multi-party hereditary military dictatorship. Did I say that right?

Now on to the why does North Korea hate the US? Well first, because we supported South Korea in the Korean War. Which defines North Korea, basically. This is a complicated story, and I don't have time to get into it, but we remain South Korea's strongest ally. And that... that is reason enough.

But second, and probably more importantly, military dictatorships need an enemy to rattle their sabre against. And by rattling their sabre against the United States, the strongest power in the world, they can pretend to their citizens like they are a global power, which they are not. But the people who live there have not heard anything different, and so to them it does not seem absurd.

But while most of the citizens are ignorant to everything that's going on outside the country - I mean it's the only place left on the earth where you can't buy a Coke - the leaders of the country are not, we hope, as idiotic as their rhetoric makes them sound. They know that if they drop the bomb on another country, we would wipe them off the map. It would be terrible for everyone, but we would do it.

But these like, tantrums, for lack of a better word, have gotten them concessions in the past. And since every wants a stable Asia, and nobody wants a war in Asia, and Pyongyang is really surprisingly unpredictable, sometimes I guess it's better to give the screaming child what they want than to have the entire supermarket staring at you and feeling really uncomfortable. Then again, if you keep giving them what they want, why would they ever stop screaming?

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.