"But, that message is not coming from my co-workers at school or from the Korean news or from my neighbors; it is a message from the media."
American Paranoid Policy Heightened since 9-11
So it seems, in answer to the paranoia question at the beginning of this piece: the U.S. appears to have a comfortable lead in maintaining delusions of being threatened.
While the threats to North Korea are real and existential, that doesn't preclude some paranoia at the same time: consider the suggestion that the 2010 torpedo-sinking of a South Korean ship -- blamed on North Korea and raising war fears -- was actually a false flag operation by the Israeli navy using a state-of-the-art German submarine [Israel has a small fleet, armed with nuclear-warhead missiles].
On January 29, 2002, in his first State of the Union address, President George Bush declared that North Korea was part of "an axis of evil" along with Iraq and Iran -- nations that, while not an axis in the usual sense, got grouped by President Bush's belief that they were all developing weapons of mass destruction with which "to threaten the peace of the world."
Still searching for those weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. has now offered to sell South Korea 60 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter stealth bombers at a discount price of $180 million per plane. If the North Koreans are paying attention, they will not feel immediately threatened by this possible sale of a plane that is at least five years from being operational and still struggling in its test phase.
The F-35 may be more of an economic threat to South Korea.
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