December 7

Power and Influence

Friday’s Big Idea

Today's Big Idea: Global Risk

Here's what we know about North Korea. The so-called 'Hermit Kingdom' has rudimentary nuclear weapons and is led by a young man named Kim Jong-un, who might be in his 20s. Kim has purged every general who was at his side at his father's funeral one year ago. Kim has consolidated power around the party apparatus, not the military. Kim is itching to conduct another ballistic missile test in the very near future.

Here's what we don't know. Everything else. North Korea is perhaps the most secretive country on the planet. While we can view the country's Gulag system on Google Earth, we can't exactly see into the mind of its elusive young leader. And yet, so much rests on the question of his sanity. Is he motivated by the infantile desire to gain attention? Can he be constructively engaged? In today's lesson, former National Security Council member Victor Cha says that we underestimate Kim at our own peril. 

  1. 1 Kim Jong-un Sure Isn't Sexy. But ...
  2. 2 Central Challenges of U.S. Foreig...
  3. 3 Making The Grade in The Impossibl...
  4. 4 Negotiating With North Korean Off...
   
  1. Kim Jong-un Sure Isn't Sexy. But He May Not Be Crazy, Either.

    Kim Jong-un Sure Isn't Sexy. But He May Not Be Crazy, Either.

    Parodies of Kim Jong-un and North Korea are indicative of the scary reality that we simply don't have a lot of information about what is actually happening inside North Korea. 

    Read More…
  2. Central Challenges of U.S. Foreign Policy: Five Questions with Graham Allison

    Central Challenges of U.S. Foreign Policy: Five Questions with Graham Allison

    Ali Wyne interviews Graham Allison, the author of Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis, a book that swiftly and significantly altered our understanding of how policy decisions are executed. 

    Read More…
  3. Making The Grade in The Impossible State

    Making The Grade in The Impossible State

    What is the Big Idea? Step into a classroom in North Korea and you will find very little that ...

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  4. Negotiating With North Korean Officials

    Negotiating With North Korean Officials