- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 11, 2013

North Korea’s propaganda machine has been in full-speed-ahead mode lately, using Stalin-era techniques that appear whimsical to the West but are nonetheless effective on the domestic front — and at garnering international attention.

Some of the latest messages, as reported by Bloomberg: The former South Korean president is a “rat.” Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is a “funny lady” who’s “by no means intelligent.” And the mainland United States is “similar to a boiled pumpkin.”

And one more: If the U.S. launches a nuclear attack, the North also warns it will “set fire to the dens of crimes and bases of aggression with its powerful and sophisticated nuclear strike means and completely wipe them out on the earth,” Bloomberg reported.

The propaganda may seem silly to those in the West, but it does serve its purposes well, analysts say.

“If your objective is to reassure the domestic population of your bravery and steadfastness, it’s probably effective,” said Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Honolulu, in the Bloomberg report. “If your objective is to get on page one of the New York Times or Bloomberg News, it’s probably effective. This sort of guarantees them attention. They believe it puts pressure on South Korea to negotiate on their terms.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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