Like all dictators and their regimes, Kim Jong Un and his family have perpetuated America as a fearsome enemy to rationalize massive military spending and decades of privation but the enduring national hatred of America is not entirely unwarranted, says Blaine Harden, reporter and author of “The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot.”
It all started in the early 1950s, when the U.S. Air Force bombed and napalmed North Korean cities, towns and villages in response to its invasion, which started the Korean War. The bombing, notes Harden, was “long, leisurely and merciless, even by the assessment of America’s own leaders. … After running low on urban targets, U.S. bombers destroyed hydroelectric and irrigation dams in the later stages of the war, flooding farmland and destroying crops.”
“Although the ferocity of the bombing was criticized as racist and unjustified elsewhere in the world, it was never a big story back home. U.S. press coverage of the air war focused, instead, on “MiG alley…” [where] American fighter pilots competed against each other to shoot down five or more Soviet-made fighters and become ‘aces,’ ” says Harden.
The Kims have kept the horrific memories of the war and the bombing “terrifyingly fresh,” while state media repeatedly warns that the Americans will strike again, sooner or later. “There is real value in understanding this paranoid mind-set,” urges Harden, who points out that the history “puts the calculated belligerence of the Kim family into context. It also undermines the notion that North Korea is merely a nut-case state.”