Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me?
It’s not Kim Jong-un.
But the man who late last year became “supreme leader” of North Korea’s isolated, dynastic, Stalinist and downright delusional government recently shared the stage with an American cartoon icon.
A tempting reaction: We knew all along that North Korea was a Mickey Mouse operation.
Yet that cliche, which makes “Mickey Mouse” synonymous with “second rate,” remains an unjustified slight against the world’s favorite rodent — and the Walt Disney Co.
And North Korea’s use of Disney characters was unapproved by the company. (Neither has North Korea’s reputed production of counterfeit U.S. currency been endorsed by our Treasury.)
Still, video of the strange spectacle in that distant realm is amusing, if surreal. Costumed folks playing Tigger, Mickey, Minnie Mouse and other Disney characters cavort in front of seemingly delighted Kim Jong-un and a group of applauding generals.
We also can watch Mr. Kim beaming as Mickey Mouse conducts a group of young women playing violins in what can be fairly described as “skimpy” black dresses.
Unfortunately, the comic relief from this unlikely alliance is severely diminished by the widespread malnutrition — and starvation — in North Korea. As much of the nation’s deprived populace suffers from hunger, the communist regime pursues long-range missile technology — an ominous quest considering that it already has nuclear weapons.
But while we shouldn’t expect too much of Mickey as he works his enduring charm on North Koreans, it is encouraging to recall this insight from his creator, the late Walt Disney:
“Laughter is America’s most important export.”
Yuck it up, Mr. Kim.