When your fellow family-dynasty totalitarian, communist aggressor, and general champion in spreading soul-crushing human misery is hinting that things have started to get out of control, you know you’ve got problems.

Retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro published his first column in nearly nine months on Friday, urging both friends and foes to use restraint amid tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

In the brief piece published in Communist Party daily Granma and other official media, Castro warned of the impact that nuclear war could unleash in Asia and beyond. He said Havana has always been and will continue to be an ally to North Korea, but gently admonished it to consider the well-being of humankind.

“Now that you have demonstrated your technical and scientific advances, we remind you of your duty to the countries that have been your great friends, and it would not be fair to forget that such a war would affect … more than 70% of the planet’s population,” he said.

Castro used stronger language in addressing Washington, saying that if fighting breaks out, President Barack Obama’s government “would be buried by a flood of images that would present him as the most sinister figure in US history. The duty to avoid (war) also belongs to him and the people of the United States.”

More of a friendly nudge than an outright condemnation, and he of course included the obligatory “everything is the United States’ fault”-solidarity line, but the message was there: Dude, you have got to pump the brakes on this thing.

Meanwhile, back in North Korea, the theater of the absurd continues:

As the days wore on, the threats increased to encompass nuclear war, while painted posters emerged on main streets showing rockets raining down on Washington, DC. The state news agency, KCNA, issued daily reports emphasising what is a pattern of the propaganda: that the regime’s belligerence is in response to dire threats from outside, such as the deployment of American B-2 stealth bombers and F-22 fighters as part of joint exercises by American and South Korean armed forces south of the heavily fortified demilitarised zone (DMZ). To its people, North Korea is painted as victim, not aggressor. …

In Pyongyang it was hard to escape the impression that the threats and bluster aimed at America and the South were mainly for domestic consumption. They seemed intended to present Kim Jong Un, the young dictator, as a fearless commander-in-chief. External threats justify North Korea’s paranoia and enforced isolation, whatever hardships are imposed on its people. And it provides existential drama to a nation used to mind-numbing, wall-to-wall Kim worship as entertainment.