North Korea’s 30-something dictator Kim Jong Un’s over-the-top reaction to Sony’s satire “The Interview” is rooted in his manifest insecurity about his grip on power and his need to maintain his cult of personality. That’s more important to him than whatever counterattack the United States might have in store.

On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama promised as-yet-unspecific “proportional responses” to the cyber-hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment the FBI has now officially claimed was sponsored by the North Korean government. The company pulled the release of the film, which showed the assassination of the young leader. But proposed responses such as attacking North Korea’s technological or financial infrastructure miss the point of why Kim took the bold and risky step to go after a major U.S. company, and are unlikely to change Kim’s calculus.

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