Aug 14, 2017 @ 9:13


By Sebastien BERGER / Agence France-Presse

In some ways the 2 leaders on both aspect of North Korea-United States missile stand-off couldn’t be extra different. In others they’re startlingly comparable.

North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un has simply overseen his second take a look at of an intercontinental ballistic missile, bringing a lot of the US mainland inside attain and presenting US President Donald Trump with a disaster.

But whereas Pyongyang has lengthy issued bellicose threats of nuclear warfare, this time it’s the chief of the United States of America who’s declaring that his weapons are “locked and loaded” and promising “fire and fury like the world has never seen”.

“Donald Trump is probably the unlikeliest president of the United States you could possibly imagine, whereas Kim Jong-Un was the chosen heir,” says John Delury, an affiliate professor at Yonsei University in Seoul.

Kim’s father and predecessor Kim Jong-Il had groomed his son to take his place on the prime of Pyongyang’s political pyramid for years earlier than his death in 2011.

For his half Trump reached the White House through a profession in property growth and actuality tv, adopted by an unprecedentedly populist election marketing campaign that upended the US political institution.

While Kim was a youthful ingenue when he got here to energy — and stays among the many world’s youngest leaders — he has now held workplace for a number of years, whereas Trump, a grandfather in his 70s, is in his first political post.

“It’s a weird situation where he is much more experienced than Donald Trump, who is twice as old as him,” says Delury.

Kim “probably thinks he’s going to be around after Trump is gone”, he factors out. “Because he’s the heir of what appears to be a pretty stable, dynastic state means he has a longer time horizon than most people.”

And with a universally loyal media within the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, because the North is formally identified, and no social media, Kim has no must concern himself about tomorrow’s headlines -– or reply to them on Twitter.

– Family values –

Both males “prize loyalty”, says Delury, and are keen to make use of “a high level of flux in personnel to ensure that it’s their people who are running the system. That’s a commonality between Kim and Trump.”

They additionally each deploy family members in authorities. Dynastic descent from the North’s founder Kim Il-Sung is the idea of Kim’s private legitimacy -– Pyongyang’s propaganda promotes the similarities between them in appears to be like, mannerisms and even handwriting -– and a number of other members of the Kim household maintain influential positions.

In Washington, Trump’s daughter Ivanka is an assistant to the president, her husband Jared Kushner is a detailed advisor, and Trump’s son Donald Jr has been embroiled within the investigation into alleged Russian affect in final 12 months’s election.

Family politics are “formalised in the North Korean system but it’s been introduced through the Trump family in a way that’s unnerving to some Americans”, says Delury. “There’s another analogy there.”

Now the 2 sides are locked in a cycle of risk and counter-threat, with Pyongyang revealing a plan to ship a salvo of missiles in direction of the US Pacific territory of Guam.

North Korea has been issuing hyperbolic threats for many years, similar to turning Seoul right into a “sea of fire” –- one current tutorial evaluation of its language was titled “Turning it up to Eleven”.

Pyongyang sees itself as defiantly going through down the menace from Washington, and something becoming into that narrative bolsters the regime’s declare to legitimacy.

At the identical time Trump has theatrical instincts.

“This is the WWF part of Trump, reality TV, where each day is like a mini-show, and you need a foil, you need an enemy, you need a sense of drama and a good guy and bad guy, all these classic elements of popular entertainment,” says Delury.

“While North Korea is a horrifically silly selection as a spot to struggle an actual warfare, it’s an important place to struggle a faux warfare. They will do that for 4 years, fortunately, protecting it at rhetorical Defcon 10.

“It looks to me like they both really want this,” he added. “I think they are thriving on it.”(AFP)