The Atlantic

Kim Jong Un Is Manipulating the World

The North Korean leader has deftly exploited fissures between the U.S. and South Korea.
Source: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Little was known of Kim Jong Un when he assumed North Korea’s leadership in December 2011. Reporting on his ascent following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, The New York Times noted: “Mr. Kim is young—believed to be in his 20s—and untested, making him more vulnerable to challenges.”

In the intervening seven years, Kim all but closed himself off to the outside world, cemented his hold on power, and advanced an already advanced nuclear-weapons program. During this time, he has also evaded international sanctions, opposition to his nuclear ambitions from his regime’s most important friends in

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