North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump have engaged themselves in a “war of words,” or at least childish insults, that has made headlines over the past few months. The rivalry that has spun barbs like, “dotard,” and “short and fat,” still openly suggests war and destruction.
Despite the animosity between the two leaders, they aren’t as different as they’d probably like to think. The two have five insanely similar traits, and two differences that will surprise you; one in particular is bad news for the United States. (page 7).
Both have their fathers to thank for their rise to fame
Kim’s gave him a country, while Trump’s gave him a few million. Neither could have risen to their current level of infamy without a little help from dad.
Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump, was once called the “Henry Ford of the home-building industry.” His son, seeking to follow in his footsteps, took a $1 million loan from Fred to purchase his first Manhattan hotel. Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, passed away on December 17, 2011. His third son was promoted to a senior position and succeeded him as North Korea’s leader.
They have large egos
Donald Trump was accused during his run for office as well as in his presidency for having a campaign rally addiction. “He just wanted to get in front of a crowd of people who still like him,” Jack Moore wrote for GQ in June, while questioning why exactly these rallies were still happening. If the rallies weren’t proof enough, some of Trump’s tweets will do the trick. He recently referred to himself as “your favorite president,” when responding to Jeff Flake’s criticism.
Kim’s ego may rival Trump’s, however. As Vanity Fair graciously puts it, “At age 32 the Supreme Leader owns the longest list of excessive honorifics anywhere, every one of them unearned. He is the youngest head of state in the world and probably the most spoiled.”
But pretty thin skin for criticism
It should come as no secret that Trump is a bit sensitive when it comes to criticism. Any slightly negative analysis of his policy decisions on the part of the media can send him into a deranged Twitter rampage, typing “losers” and “fake” quicker than you can say, “Is this really our POTUS?” TIME’s Jeffrey Kluger commented on his thin skin before The Donald took office, saying, “Contented people, well-grounded people, people at ease inside their skin, just don’t behave the way Trump does.”
Kim, according to Vanity Fair, must live with “dictator’s doubt,” the knowledge that his citizens might secretly dislike him. “The similarity in language between Trump and the North Korean regime thus reveals a deeper commonality: a profound sense of insecurity. Both sides feel compelled to celebrate their own virtues while bullying their foes.”
Both prefer maximalist solutions
Trump’s response to reduce the number of foreigners living in the U.S.? Build a wall. A huuuuge, “big, beautiful,” wall. Kim’s response to an “escalating war of words,” between himself and Trump? Increasing nuclear tests to showcase his arsenal’s power. The gray areas don’t seem to be something the two frequent, let alone are aware of.
The maximalism doesn’t cease when it comes to their insults. Trump tweeted that Kim was a “Rocket Man” and on a “suicide mission,” to which Kim responded that Trump was a “dotard” and “mentally deranged.”
They seem to share a foreign policy doctrine
Despite their differing leadership strategies, Trump and Kim share similar beliefs when it comes to certain foreign policy. As Vanity Fair points out, while they chart their “surprisingly mutual spheres of interest, influence, and outlook,” Trump’s plan from day one was to build a wall across our border with Mexico, refuse to accept Muslim immigrants from Syria, and confiscate Iraqi oil.
Kim’s definitive answer to a foreign conflict can be relayed through a quote. “If invasive outsiders and provocateurs touch us even slightly, we will not be forgiven in the least and sternly answer with a merciless, holy war of justice.”
Trump throws his family a bone in government, while Kim simply throws his to the dogs
Trump’s administration has entrusted more power to his family members than any recent president’s. All three of his children from his first marriage were named to his transition team. Ivanka was appointed Advisor to the President in March, although she remains unpaid for this work. Her husband, Jared Kushner, serves as Donald’s Senior Advisor.
Kim doesn’t quite afford his family the trust and responsibility that Trump does. Following the announcement of Kim’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek’s death, a Chinese newspaper reported that Jang was fed to 120 hungry dogs. Since the incident, a senior North Korean diplomat disputed the claim, telling Sky News that he was shot to death after committing “tremendous crimes against the government.”
Only one is deemed mentally unfit to lead
A few months ago, Lance Dodes, a psychoanalyst and former professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School along with 34 other psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers published a letter in The New York Times. The letter stated that, “Mr. Trump’s speech and actions make him incapable of safely serving as president.” Dodes told Rolling Stone, “It is continuous behavior that the whole country can see that indicates specific kinds of limitations, or problems in his mind.” While the experts didn’t offer a diagnoses, the mental illness that’s received the most attention since is narcissistic personality disorder.
Top CIA officials weighed in on Trump’s opinion that Kim is a “madman,” and the results surprised many. The officials said that Kim’s actions are not those of a “maniacal provocateur” but a “rational actor” who is motivated by clear, long-term goals that revolve around ensuring his regime’s survival. “There’s a clarity of purpose in what Kim Jong Un has done,” according to Yong Suk Lee, deputy assistant director of the CIA’s Korea Mission Center, while discussing escalating tensions between North Korea and the U.S.
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