North Korea has taken President Trump's recent statements as a declaration of war. Pyongyang reserves the right to shoot down American planes even if they are not inside their airspace.
I listened to Trump's speech to the UN with dismay. It demonstrated a total lack of understanding of his enemy and the inevitable consequences of inflicting personal insults on Kim Jong-un. Trump has access to the best informed experts in the world on North Korea and yet he either ignores advisors or he has surrounded himself with "yes-men".
NK follows a political doctrine of "Juche" - roughly translated as self-sufficiency. It is a development of Marxism-Leninism created by Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il and now enforced by the grandson Kim Jong-un. The official line is that Juche was invented out of "whole cloth" by the Great Leader and its Soviet and Maoist roots are denied.
Russia and China are officially denounced in the DPRK as "revisionist" and defectors from true Socialism.
As part of Juche, which encompasses every facet of policy, the entire nation is embodied in the person of the Leader. To insult the Leader is to insult every North Korean and everything they believe in. The overwhelming outpouring of grief at the death of Kim 1 in 1994 and of Kim 2 in 2011 was not entirely manufactured.
The doctrine of Juche makes change virtually impossible. Despite the cult of personality around Stalin and Mao both countries were able to reform after the death of their respective leaders. Nikita Khrushchev did 'deStalinise' the USSR and Deng Xiaoping introduced partial reform to China. The DPRK has no similar option available. "Military First" is hardwired into their failed economy. It cannot now be otherwise anymore than the current Governing Body could adopt the Trinity without deligimatising every single thing done by their predecessors.
Trump is dangerously incompetent.
Kim 3 is of course an irrational and despicable human being who rules over one of the most oppressive regimes on earth. However the objective of every politician must be to avoid massive loss of civilian life. Trump shows no sign that this is his priority.
War seems likely. How devastating it will be remains to be seen.