Americans Obsessed with North Korea, Overstate Threat

Roughly Half of Americans Think North Korea Can and Will Nuke Them

Though the annual military drill-turned war hysteria surround US relations on the Korean Peninsula usually flies under the radar, Americans are pretty big into the whole North Korea thing this time around, according to new polls and data relating to them.

Pew Research showed large amounts of the American population are following North Korea “very closely” and take the threat “very seriously.” Google data shows a sudden flurry of Google searches about North Korea in the last couple of weeks, jumping it past usually popular searches for Beyonce, who the Washington Post showed has consistently been a more popular topic than the reclusive nation.

Unfortunately, that interest is a mile wide and an inch deep, as despite all of these Google searches Pew’s poll also shows a large number of Americans remain completely ignorant on the matter, with roughly half of the US population believing that North Korea can nuke them right now, and that same number believing that it is going to do so.

The polling data appears to be the consequence of constant unanalysed reporting of North Korea’s threats, published in their own state media and echoed across the world, coupled with the Obama Administration’s response, which isn’t to point out their technological inability of North Korea to do any of these things, but is rather to claim dubious military capabilities of their own that will totally counter them.

North Korea threatens attack with nuclear weapons they don’t have on targets they can’t hit, and the US retorts that they will use a missile defense system they don’t have to shoot down the missiles that aren’t coming. The story is completely full of holes, but apparently the narrative can still hold an audience, at least for a few weeks.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.