I think both our media and the North Koreans are making themselves out as a bigger danger than they actually are
But beyond that I think that the over the top threats that the norks make are simply that, made for public consumption at home and to intimidate the fearful abroad.
You see in the end North Korea’s personality cult is not the same as Islam.
While radical Islamists are willing to die to advance their cause the leadership of North Korea is under no delusion as to the state of their state nor the cause of their ability to live high off the hog in land that doesn’t have all that many hogs in the first place.
So like any bully they will take advantage of weaknesses or lapses of judgement (the Pueblo Incident being a great example of this btw) to push the weak around. But they are not going to take any step that could end their gravy train.
And a nuclear strike would do so. It would invite retaliation that would devastate the county and decapitate their leadership.
It’s one thing to oppress the folks of a slave state to get ahead, it’s quite another to risk retaliation that can get you killed particularly when dealing with a president that they consider more unpredictable then they are
And this isn’t 1968 when the North Koreans could count on the military support of an isolated China, but now China is ecnomically tied to the west in general and the United States in particular.
As long as the west’s leadership was easily intimidated then China was all on board because their erratic behavior caused the west to worry about what they might do and brought concessions.
But now that their erratic behavior causes China to worry about what we might do, well that’s a different game entirely.
So when you hear people all worried about World War 3 breaking out on the Korean Peninsula, don’t.