Friday, April 17, 2009

Fact: Kim Jong Il of North Korea craves attention

No one should lose too much sleep over North Korea's declaration that it would withdraw from the six-party talks over its nuclear program. Attention-grabbing behavior is classic Kim Jong Il.

Associated Press correctly tagged North Korea’s April 6th missile launch as Kim's "bid for attention". Jerrold Post, a political psychologist who previously worked for the CIA, diagnosed Kim with a "malignant narcissism" personality disorders which involves extreme grandiosity and self-absorption.

William Choong writing in the Straits Times suggests that to get Kim Jong Il to pay attention to nuclear disarmament, he should be given less, not more, attention.

“Giving Kim the cold shoulder will push him down one of two routes. First, it could compel him to return to the six- party process, knowing that he has no other avenue to secure more benefits for his regime. The International Crisis Group (ICG) has proposed that the US should throw in what North Korea has been asking for all along: diplomatic normalization and a formal end to the Korean War. (These carrots should be offered after a "cooling-off period" of several months to avoid the impression of 'rewarding bad behavior.)

“The second route might involve Kim resorting to further rounds of missile testing, or even attacking the US or its allies. This might sound ominous, but he knows that there are certain red lines that Pyongyang cannot cross. He might be a madcap leader, but even fools can appreciate the blunt language of deterrence.”

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