Kim Jong un’s North Korean regime are no strangers to exaggeration when it comes to threats levied toward the United States and its allies.  In fact, up until recently, there were really only two things you could count on in terms of North Korean diplomacy: that they would offer up outlandish threats, and that the majority of the rest of the world would chuckle, offer them the geopolitical equivalent of a pat on the head, and get back to more pressing matters.

Over the past year or so, however, things have changed.  Six nuclear tests, including one that appeared to be a successful detonation of dual-stage, or hydrogen bomb, warhead in conjunction with a litany of successful and failed ballistic missile tests have proven that Kim is no longer just a little guy with a big mouth – he’s suddenly a dangerous dictator with a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.

Nonetheless, Kim’s regime has maintained the status quo in terms of outward communication, continuing to threaten the world at large with colorfully described, violent retribution for each perceived slight, to include a number of threats of preemptive nuclear strikes.  Tests of the North Korean missile platform called the Hwasong-14 left experts within the United States reeling – as it appeared to demonstrate a flight path that would place cities on America’s East Coast within its range.

Issues muddied the water, however, including the apparent failure of the reentry vehicle on the platform, suggesting North Korea still has some work to do before effectively delivering a warhead, and a number of experts believed the dummy warhead affixed to the missile was actually significantly lighter than a real nuclear weapon would be, allowing it to demonstrate a flight capability that it couldn’t match in a real launch.