Consider context. If you block a person from earning a living legitimately, he will have no choice but to turn to illegitimate means to survive. US efforts to cut north Korea off from legitimate trade with the rest of the world may, indeed, have forced Pyongyang into drug smuggling and counterfeiting as a means of survival. On the other hand, it’s strikingly easy to alienate a country of outside support by hurling false accusations at it. Damning charges made by the White House are guaranteed to be trumpeted instantaneously throughout the world by the mass media. Given an undeserved instant credibility, they will, in short order, become received truths. Washington could make perfectly absurd claims about Iraq possessing caches of undeclared weapons of mass destruction, despite a decades-long inspection regime, and have those claims treated as beyond doubt by commentators on both the right and left in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. That they were later acknowledged to be untrue was too little, too late. Turning north Korea into an ugly, disreputable house of horrors, which no sane person would ever think of uttering a kind word about, is firmly within the competence of Washington’s masters of propaganda. Failing to recognize that any government that seriously challenges capitalism or imperialism will be subjected to an unrelenting campaign of vilification by “reputable” sources and “serious” commentators, leaves one vulnerable to manipulation.