Headline from Reuters:
U.S. B-2 bombers sent to Korea on rare mission: diplomacy not destruction
Diplomacy? Hardly. Looks like this meaningless threat was the last straw for Kim 3. After this B-2 overflight, his rhetoric switched into full-on war mode.
There are two types of stupidity involved here, and both are very old.
Back in '39 we sent a naval fleet on a 'good will mission' to South America. Fibber (or rather Fibber's writers) noted this event and wondered why a battleship was seen as an instrument of 'good will'. "It's like sending Dracula to deliver a valentine." We didn't fool anyone then, and we're not fooling anyone now.
And later in WW2, the Krauts lost a big naval advantage when they built the Bismarck, the biggest and best battleship ever. On its first voyage it got trapped in a canal, and when it finally got into battle, its size and clumsiness left it vulnerable.
It's always tempting to build super-expensive superweapons, but it's always better to build a large quantity of smaller stuff. The B2 is another Bismarck. We can only afford a few of them, which means we're not going to send them into an ordinary battle. We'll reserve them for an event that isn't going to occur.
Banks, battleships, bombers. Same principle. When the item gets big enough to be truly impressive,
we can't let it function normally. We have to keep it in drydock, constantly supporting it but never allowing it to join into normal battle or normal commerce. It's a pure albatross, and in effect an enemy weapon.
Too big to fail = too big to use.
= = = = =
Later thought: Of course, Kim 3's brand of stupidity is also old. He's following the time-tested script of The Mouse That Roared, using threats to get foreign aid. There's one difference, though. Mouse-that-roared-ism used to work nicely when America was bustling and prosperous with lots of money and food to give away. It doesn't work quite as well when America is struggling and tired of foreign adventure, and it especially doesn't work when even China is getting tired of the tantrums.