Can we declare a moratorium on using the word “enigmatic” to describe North Korea’s totalitarian leadership?

The death of the North Korea dictator Kim Jong-il made the late edition of the Monday New York Times. The obituary by veteran foreign policy reporter David Sanger appeared under the rather neutral online headline “A Ruler Who Turned North Korea Into a Nuclear State.”



Reporting on the death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il on Monday, CNN's American Morning re-visited a soft report from then-correspondent Alina Cho's heavily-guarded visit to the country in 2010.

Cho admitted that the state controlled where she went – but her reporting was fawning at times in what clearly was the state's effort to produce propaganda for outside nations.



President Obama’s nominee to a top State Department post is one of the few American diplomats to have met North Korea’s Kim Jong-il, whom she later described as “smart, capable and supremely confident.”

Wendy Sherman traveled to Pyongyang in 2000 in her capacity as counselor to then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Visiting South Korea four years later – when she was no longer in government – Sherman had positive things to say about the reclusive Stalinist leader. 



Evidently, not until the 10th paragraph of this puff piece about a pro-government rally (is there any other kind in Pyongyang?) that attracted conscripted 100,000 hapless souls.  Here's how it starts:



The wording may be a tad nuanced, the referenced two-bit dictator from a different country, but the idea behind the following jokes involving Barack Obama and the race card seems too similar for mere happenstance.

Judge for yourself.

On September 19, conservative blogger Jim Treacher wrote the following fictious exchange between "President" Obama and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that seems eerily similar to the one presented on the most recent installment of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" (video embedded right, relevant section at 3:30):



I'm still trying to figure out who died and made Joe "Anonymous" Klein Time magazine's foreign policy expert-in-residence. The sometime presidential primary fiction writer apparently thinks John McCain's statement on the Bush administration's nuclear deal with North Korea is too "grudging":

...Congratulations to George W. Bush for finally making the correct choice--diplomatic engagement, regional talks that enabled quiet unofficial contacts with the North Koreans, which then led to direct negotiations--in resolving this dispute. Wonder what John Bolton is thinking this morning?

Update: John McCain has just released this statement, which is a bit too grudging for my taste, but does raise the appropriate questions going forward

So let's see: Klein praises Bush but takes a mild swipe at Sen. McCain for having the gall to suggest that North Korea might not live up to its word, which it clearly has a history of doing.