Understanding Kim Jong Un, The World’s Most Enigmatic and Unpredictable Dictator
"Everyone knows that North Korea’s leader is a bloodthirsty madman and buffoon—or is he really? Mark Bowden digs into the hard facts for an unusual portrait.
BY MARK BOWDEN
"Does anyone make an easier target than Kim Jong Un? He’s Fatboy Kim the Third, the North Korean tyrant with a Fred Flintstone haircut—the grinning, chain-smoking owner of his own small nuclear arsenal, brutal warden to about 120,000 political prisoners, and … a big KICK ME sign. Kim is so easy to kick that the United Nations, which famously agrees on nothing, voted overwhelmingly in November to…"
"The unveiling of Kim Jong Un began as far back as 2008, when party cadres throughout the country began praising him as “the young four-star general,” according to Brian Myers, a professor at Dongseo University, in South Korea, who has made North Korean propaganda a primary academic interest. Myers wrote a book called The Cleanest Race, debunking the conventional notion that the country’s guiding philosophy was Communism, and tracing the origins of its ruling mythology to a long-standing belief in Korean racial superiority. The Kim family story has been liberally retouched and grafted onto the old legends of Korea’s founding. Kim Il Sung, born into a line of Protestant ministers, is said instead to be descended from the nation’s mythical founder, Tangun. His son, Kim II, is generally believed to have been born in Russia, where his parents had gone to flee the Japanese occupation, but in the official story he was secretly born on Mount Paektu, a volcano on the border with China and the place where Tangun’s father descended from heaven 5,000 years ago. For Kim III, the mythic backgrounds of his father and grandfather are hard acts to follow, but Pyongyang’s propagandists have put their shoulders to the task. The younger Kim is said to..."