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Today's Big Idea: Global Risk

The Big Idea for Friday, December 07, 2012

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 He May Not Be Crazy, Either.
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 Central Challenges of U.S. Foreign Policy: Five Questions with Graham Allison
    Ali Wyne Power Games
  3. 3 Making The Grade in The Impossible State
    An Phung Think Tank
  4. 4 Negotiating With North Korean Officials
    Victor Cha

Today's Big Idea: Global Risk

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