The Psychological profile of a Dictatorship:
Kim Jong il and Kim Jong un
On this hot summers day in June 2018., I have been intrigued by the complex psychological strategies deployed by Kim Jong in the months of his preparation for the G7 Summit in Canada. My job as a British tv celebrity psychologist facilitates a psychological assessment and analysis of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, using the current edition of the Inventory of Diagnostic Statistical manual criteria, which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with Axis II of DSM-V.
Preliminary analysis of the data suggests that Kim Jong-un’s personality is primarily an amalgam of the accommodating and outgoing patterns, a fitting descriptive label for which would be congenial–cooperative.
The core characteristics of congenial–cooperative leaders may be summarized as follows:
Agreeable, acquiescent, and affiliation-motivated; tend to be inclusive, accommodating, and obliging in their relationships with others; characteristically gracious, neighbourly, and benevolent, pre¬ferring to avoid conflict and seek harmony — occasionally at the expense of their own internal beliefs and values.
Charming and socially gregarious, with a knack for focusing attention on themselves through dramatic or self-dramatizing action.( This we have seen recently )
Place a high premium on external approval, to the extent that in some respects they may value themselves more in terms of their relationships with others than for their own intrinsic qualities; by allying themselves with the virtues of others, they bolster themselves through a sense of shared competence.
They tend to smooth over life’s problems, main¬taining an air of pleasantry and goodwill with everyone, now with Donald Trump, and with a corresponding tendency to disavow disturbing emotions and maintain a relatively uncritical, optimistic outlook on human events.
They value service to others and are sympathetic to others’ needs, which at times may be self-defeating in the sense of relinquishing too much authority, failing to assert themselves sufficiently, delegating too much responsibility, or hesitation in taking the initiative when circumstances demand boldness or daring.
The personality profile raises the question of who is really in charge in North Korea; in short, Kim is an extraordinary complex political leader and a very modern dictator who has caused a plethora of political writers to assess his power and human effectiveness as a world leader.
For many years psychologists who study celebrities including world politicians, try to understand the mental functions, cognitions, social perceptions attitudes and much more that turn some into highly dangerous leaders. Since I and most celebrity, academic or clinical psychologists have not met this extraordinary world leader,we may use some recent cutting edge research methods to defrag his years of dictatorial rhetoric and threats.
Carl Jung and the Personality of Dictators
Carl Jung (1939) Swiss psychiatrist met Hitler and Mussolini in Berlin and observed thei socil interactions. Later personality psychologists like myself Coolidge and Segal , University of Colarado wrote that “ Jung said Hitler never laughed and it appeared that he as constantly in a bad mood state” Jung saw him as sexless and inhuman, with a singleness of purpose, to establish the Third Reich. A mystical all p[owerful german nation which would overcome all of Hitler’s perceived threats and previous insults in German history., “ Hitler inspired in Carl Jung only fear”. By contrast Mussolini apparently came off to Jung as “ an original man” who had “ warmth and energy”
In the context of modern day politics, it is especially difficult for indeed exceedingly difficult, for most people to get along with political dictators. Most of us psychologists depend ultimately on “ Informant reports” detailed analysis of the original narrative speeches audio recordings and others relevant sources besides secondary accounts of those who worked closely with the dictators.Whilst less than ideal, it’s the closes we often can go to get to the truth of their personality traits and the basic motives that drive these authoritarian personalities Most informant reports are in modest agreement with self reports and also that informants tend to agree with each other to increase the reliability and validity of the accounts. In 2007 Coolidge and Segal were in touch with five experts on Hitler asking them to evaluate him on the bases of the DSM-IV manual of psychopathological disorders. The consensus among the experts showed that Hitler had highly elevated scores on the personality disorder scales: paranoid, antisocial, narcissistic and sadistic. Hitler’s derived personality profile also suggested he probably had schizophrenic tendencies including excessive grandiosity and aberrant thinking.
Saddam Hussein also had high scores on the same personality dimensions paranoid, antisocial, narcissistic and sadistic, though sadistic traits were stronger in Hussein than in Hitler.Research findings demonstrate high statistical correlations (.79) between Saddam Hussein and Hitler personality characteristics. In 2009, Coolidge and Segal extended their research to examine deceased dictator of North Korea Kim Jong-il. The psychological researchers found a North Korean psychologist who had a” advanced psychological research training and intimate and established knowledge of Kim Jong-il. The psychologist wished to preserve anonymity for obvious reasons,and agreed to provide a professional psychological report on Kim Jong-il. Not alarmingly, his personality profile revealed the same “ big six” constellation of personality disorders, sadistic,antisocial, paranoid, narcissistic schizoid and schizotypal
We do know from contemporary psychological research in academic social and clinical psychology that personalities are as a result of the interaction of nature with nurture, in simple terms, a fusion of both genetics and our environmental upbringing and socialization into our social and political identities. Published scholarly research in personality confirms that Kim Jong’s father’s top ranking personality traits: sadistic, paranoid narcissistic and schizoid were correlated also to the same traits in Hitler and Hussein. Kim jong-il had more in common with Saddam Hussein (.67) in similar personality traits than in Hitler.Both Kim jong-il and Hussein had sadistic personality disorder as the highest rated item. We now ask in the context of G7 in 2018 .how can Kim Jong’s son with presumably similarly personality traits and personality disorder, especially ones with a “spectrum relationship” to psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, hold and sustain high positions of power and control over his people? Ultimately we don’t know how well this particular psychological profile of Kim-Jong-il would have matched is actual personlaity, but we are getting extremely close to it.The diagram below shows the breakdown of the basic personality patterns.
USPP presents latest research findings: April 27, 2018
The Personality Profile of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un
Research poster presented by Katlin Rice, Austen Luetmer, Suntina Spehar, Hillary Rethlake, Lucas Vetsch, Amanda Olson, and Mariah This research poster summarizes his core personality traits that I have also discovered in my Identity structure analyses of his rhetoric and political narrative over past few years.
Kim Jong-un: beyond the personality cult
The WEEK reported in a feature article that Little is known about Kim’s early life, not even his exact date of birth. Most commentators believe he was born in either early 1983 or 1984, the youngest son of previous leader Kim Jong-il and his third wife Ko Yong-hi.
Kim was never seen in public as a boy and very few people even knew he existed until he reached his 20s and began making public appearances alongside his father. He attended primary school abroad in Switzerland, along with his brothers.
At the International School of Berne, Kim posed as the son of a Korean diplomat, according to US TV network PBS. A former classmate revealed that Kim was a keen basketball player as well as a talented artist, drawing intricate pictures from memory.
However, because he was two years older than the other pupils and clearly stood out as foreigner, the future leader had few friends. “He was fairly isolated due to the language barrier, so he was always on his own,” his classmate said. He returned home in his late teens to finish his education at a military academy in Pyongyang.
Kim Jong un’s Personality and Leadership style
Few believed Kim would take over from his father, with most top officials predicting that his older brother Kim Jong-nam would be their father’s successor. However, he apparently fell out of favour “after being arrested in Tokyo in 2001 while travelling to Disneyland on a forged passport”, the Daily Telegraph reports.
So, when Kim Jong-il died of a heart attack in 2011 Kim was immediately hailed as the “Great Successor”, becoming the third generation of his family to lead the country.
Like his father and grandfather before him, Kim’s four year rule has been characterised by “international self-isolation, hostility towards South Korea and its capitalist allies, an all-pervasive personality cult, and ruthless elimination of all domestic opposition,” The Independent reports.
One of the most notorious acts of his leadership was the execution of his aunt Kim Kyong-hui and uncle Jang Song-thaek who were allegedly found guilty of plotting a coup.
Earlier this year, the UN published a report which concluded that North Korean officials, possibly including Kim himself, should face international justice for crimes comparable to “Nazi era atrocities,” including the systematic torture, starvation and killing of its people.
North Korea has carried out three nuclear tests under Kim’s leadership, saying in the past that it requires nuclear capabilities to defend itself against Western imperialism. This has caused predictable alarm in South Korea and the West, with the UN Security Council repeatedly condemning such acts.
According to the US state department, North Korea has one of the largest armies in the world, with an estimated active military force of up to 1.2 million military personnel.
Kim Jong Un is the Supreme Leader of North Korea who took over from his late father, Kim Jong II. His date of birth has been controversial as there are at least four different records but he is about 33 years of age. He became the leader of his country on December 28, 2011 after the state funeral in the honor of his late father. Kim Jong Un is the second child in the family and the preferred successor of his father. He was promoted to the rank of Marshal of North Korea in the Korean People’s Army in 2012 and also obtained a degree in Physics from Kim II-sung University. He is accused of ordering the assassination of his half brother, Kim Jong-nam in February 2017.
Kim Jong Un is seen as a dictator who has ruled his people with strong arm tactics over the years. In fact, it is said that his father chose him over his elder brother because he seemed tougher. By his policies he has continued to alienate his country from other nations especially in the last few years, he has been bent on establishing a nuclear weapons arsenal which he says is primarily to be used for self defence. In recent months, there have been a heightened tensions in the region and he and the President of the United States,Donald Trump have been exchanging words almost on a daily basis. There are indeed, fears in various quarters that there may be an outbreak of war in the Korean peninsula and possible nuclear attack on the U.S. mainland. The United States has mobilized military equipment and manpower to the region to neutralize any attacks that may take place its key allies in the region such as South Korea and Japan. This has still not made Kim Jong Un to let up his ballistic missiles launch and tests.
My focus is to identify on some leadership qualities that Kim Jong Un possesses that has made him popular among his countrymen. Obviously, he is a strong willed individual and this has kept him in control of the country over the years. He has been able to stand against threats from real or perceived enemies of his country. He rarely ever cowers to any one and tries to always show boldness no matter the situation his country is passing through. He is indeed a bold and courageous leader who in spite of the numerous sanctions put in place against his regime, he has continued to pursue his agenda of building a nuclear arsenal for North Korea. A leader who is not bold or courageous would not be able to withstand pressure when it comes. He can be described as a man on a mission. One of the clear objectives of his regime is to develop and improve the military strength of North Korea and he is on his way to achieving that goal. In the last few years, he has pursued this goal more vigorously than his predecessors and analysts say that he is very close to achieving it. He has made it clear that his country has been faced with threats from other countries for so many years and without their ability to have the weaponry to defend themselves, North Korea could be destroyed by its enemies. He has sold this idea to his people who now view the West as a major enemy and are in support of their leader, Kim Kong Un’s vision. He has also invested so much money and manpower to achieve his goal and has shown that he will in the shortest possible time. Another leadership quality he exhibits is the power to persuade his people to believe and accept whatever he puts in front of them. Though, there have been accusations against him of carrying out executions and silencing voices of opposition, he has been able to get majority of North Koreans to accept his views on a whole lot of things. He has created an image for his people and they believe in him completely. They believe his words, vision and in fact everything he says. You will have to give to him that he has persuasive abilities. Kim Jong Un is also seen to be a focused individual such that whatever he has set his mind to achieve, whether good or bad, he keeps going until he has achieved it. Focus is a great leadership quality and the more a leader knows or seems to know where he is headed, more people are likely to believe in him. A leader must be sure of himself or else those following him will not believe in him. Staying focused and on course is a quality that he has and it is one of the keys to the stability he has enjoyed. He is also a confident person. Leaders must exude confidence in words, actions and deeds. Without confidence, a leader would not be able to influence others. He believes in himself and this makes others to believe in Him. Sometimes, people mistake a leader’s confidence as arrogance. This is because there are not too many people who are sure of themselves out there. Kim Jong Un is a confident individual who carries an aura around himself and he has a lot of influence over his people.
Another area that I have noted about Kim Jong Un is that he rewards those in his team that achieve the goals he has set out to achieve. Over the years, he has promoted several of his military officers, scientists and researchers that have developed innovative ideas which have increased the capabilities of the North Korean military. He celebrates their achievements even on national television and never hides it from the public. This singular act makes his people committed to doing more. He has also made clear all of his goals and vision for the country. Clarity is important if a leader will succeed with certain policies. Kim Jong Un vision to make North Korea one of the world superpowers has not been ambiguous; he has laid it all out and pursued it with everything at his disposal.
Arthur Cassidy Ph.D
www.drarthurcassidy.com & www.darrenstanton.co.uk