North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is rational and logical, not at all a madman as some have portrayed him, psychoanalyst and author G. Heath King tells Newsmax TV.
“There’s an inner logic to it all,” says King. “He uses an inner fluctuation between intimidation and conciliation to get the West into what in psychology is called a double bind. And in that way we’re thrown off balance and they’re able to elicit economic concessions.”
It is vital to get inside the mind of a dictator such as Kim, King said, because so many previous predictions from the West of North Korea’s demise have been wrong.
King, a Ph.D, is a psychoanalyst and former professor of interdisciplinary studies at Yale University. He is author of “Existence, Thought, Style: Perspectives of a Primary Relation, Portrayed Through the Work of Søren Kierkegaard.” He explored the philosophical foundations of psychology at the University of Freiburg, Germany, where he completed his doctorate.
He is a regular contributor to Newsmax, having penned articles analyzing the minds and actions of Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes and Sandy Hook Elementary’s Adam Lanza.
As for North Korea, many thought the famine of 1995-1997, when Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, ruled, would topple the power structure of the isolated country. Gen. Gary Luck, former CIA Director George Tenet, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz all have predicted the fall of the Kim regime.
“Then in 2009, very recently, the U.S. government came out with a report saying that owing to the failed currency reform, it would collapse, and none of these things took place.”
To understand Kim’s thought processes, one must get beyond “mere economic data,” King told Newsmax. “You’re able to get into the decision-making apparatus, and that’s what the key is, because reality is retrofitted by the regime for survival.”
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One danger with anyone wielding such immense power, King noted, is the perpetual feeding of the brain with the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine creates a sense of power which in turn creates another surge of dopamine in a constantly renewing cycle. The problem, he notes, is that the dopamine surges obfuscate the brain’s frontal cortex processes of decision-making.
“I’d like to give him an MRI because I’m sure it would show a surge of dopamine.”
The Kim regime has been able to stay in power through three generations because of a cult of personality, King says. “[I]t is able to mobilize the populous like a school of fish with one brain.”
The cult of personality is so strong, he tells Newsmax, that even during the famine of the mid-’90s $1 billion of embellishments were added to the Memorial Palace, where North Korean founder Kim Il sung is entombed.
Another means of keeping power, King says, is religious persecution. Although the North Korean constitution allows its citizens to practice religion, Kim has instead used it to his advantage. Confucianism, which highly regards paternal hierarchy and loyalty, is influential in the country.
Kim takes the values from Confucianism, “despiritualizes it, and uses it to manipulate the population.”
King, like many others, says China is the key to averting a conflict. North Korea’s northern neighbor is its only ally. Discussions likely are already taking place, he said.
President Barack Obama’s first “chess move” was good, King said. “But I would say the second chess move would involve asking China to reduce its assistance to North Korea if it continues on the aggressive course that it’s on now, and this would benefit China also because China doesn’t want a major conflagration in that area. It is now a world economic power and that would disrupt its own economic position.”
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