NOT everyone, it seems, has been charmed by those rather wonderful North Korean cheerleaders at the Winter Olympics. Indeed some joyless curmudgeons have even claimed it’s all just part of a cynical PR exercise by the most unhinged of the world’s bampot states. These churls think that North Korea’s embracing of this sporting extravaganza is designed to detach the lips of its long-hated southern neighbour South Korea from the fundament of the United States of America.

For decades North Korea has been ridiculed and disdained by the sophisticated West over its isolationalism. So you would have thought that their decision to throw off the shackles of its self-imposed alienation would have been welcomed. Who could have forseen this a few months ago when the US president was talking about possessing a bigger nuclear button than the North Korean President and being willing to deploy it?

Yet the world’s diplomatic community, having danced to America’s choreography about criminal states and the axis of evil for many decades now, can’t quite bring itself to welcome the possibility of détente between North Korea and South Korea. Perhaps there are hidden benefits of a nuclear war that Western governments don’t want us to know about.

Why, if there was the slightest possibility of a thawing in relations between North and South Korea I might even indulge in the odd bit of propaganda myself. I’d have special North Korean editions of the main newspapers delivered to those hotels hosting the North Korean team and all their officials. In these the medals table would show that North Korea was dominating all the events. The gold medals would be pouring in every day for this abrasive wee republic. Thus the 2018 North Korean Winter Olympians could take their places alongside other great icons in their nation’s sporting pantheon. These include the legendary 1966 World Cup winners who defeated England in the final at Wembley and Kim Long-limb who was the first athlete to break the four-minute mile in 1951.

This is not to exhibit naivete at the human rights violations of successive North Korean regimes. This is a nation which routinely tortures its own citizens for fun and keeps them starving while the regime of Kim Jong-un gorges itself at their expense and maintains an army of astonishingly gargantuan proportions.

The champions of democracy in the West revile this country with the same vehemence they once reserved for the old Soviet regime. That was before Mother Russia at last fell into line with all the other capitalist lands of the free and we in the civilised West all began to beat our swords into ploughshares and celebrated the insurmountable power of the free market economy.

Certainly, there were a few little bumps in that process and we had to, you know, look the other way when amidst all the confusion former KGB chiefs began to gather private armies and use them to commandeer the odd oil field and energy company.

It was just as well we didn’t scrutinise how the new Russian oligarchs came by their wealth and why many in the old republics continue to starve. These were all merely the birth pangs that always accompany the triumph of capitalism. Just so long as the new Russian oligarchs continue to lavish a proportion of their wealth buying up most of central London and contributing to the riches of the financial capital of the world.

We used to shun the Arabs until we carved up their lands and helped a few ruling elites to make the most of their newly discovered oil wealth. Now we discreetly fail to notice when they behead their women for adultery or flog them in public for having shamelessly refused to struggle sufficiently while being gang-raped. But hey, those Arabian princes are also contributing to the strength of the London economy and have promised to keep an eye on the wrong sort of extremism in their own countries.

I’m sure that if we could just get Kim Jong-un finally to bend the knee to the inevitability of capitalism and the rule of law in our democratic kleptocracies in the West we could come to some arrangement with him too. The wee dictator will have a few billion stashed away in numbered accounts in Switzerland, the country that likes to say yes to dictators and warlords everywhere. And he’s sure to have a right few quid rubbing cheeks with Western capital in those oh-so-versatile companies based in Panama. Who knows? Once he starts to behave himself we might even interest Kim in some of those £20 million apartments in The Shard or in some other London neighbourhoods once we’ve cleansed them of unprofitable ordinary people. When that happens we’ll really know that he has embraced peace and tranquillity and put his delinquent ways behind him.

Is anyone really surprised that the North Koreans might just have been sizing up a PR opportunity as soon as it was announced that the 2018 Winter Olympics would be staged on the other side of the 38th parallel? They must have seen how the moral and upstanding Western democracies were all over China after Beijing was chosen to host the summer Olympics in 2008.

This was regarded as a massive coming-out party for the biggest emerging economy on the planet and marked the beginning of a feeding frenzy among Western states all eager to secure Chinese investment. With this at stake it was easy to overlook the human rights atrocities of the Chinese regime against millions of its own people.

And the North Koreans must have marvelled at the biggest Olympic propaganda exercise of them all – also known as the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. There we all were, happy Brits together with our NHS and our northern power-houses and the queen and James Bond. It was all there: a multi-million pound sporting circus; the royal family; the great history of the empire. If you were of a cynical disposition you might even say that this was when the ideas of Brexit were born.

When the entire country is portrayed as putting aside its differences in a mass rendition of Knees Up Mother Brown down the King’s Road why, you can be made to forget the inequality; the tax avoidance of the super-rich; the tax-breaks of the super-rich; the universal credit and welfare reforms; the attainment gap; the social gerrymandering.

Of course the wily North Koreans are staging a propaganda coup. But they have a long way to go before they can emulate the masters of the art.