Monday, September 11, 2017

A Kinder, Gentler Approach to Kim Jong Un

Today, C-SPAN broadcast the United Nations’ unanimous Security Council vote to increase sanctions against North Korea and its nuclear-threatening Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un. Speech after speech seem psychologically oblivious, merely returning threats of might with threats of greater might.

Of course, it’s possible that the sanctions will work. Some people understand nothing but pain and the threat of more pain. And it’s possible that Kim Jung Un is simply "crazy:” a psychopathic, megalomanical, sociopathic monster, as is often claimed.

But on the possibility that Kim Jong Un is not crazy but just a human being who for, some psychological and practical reasons, has felt backed into a corner and thus feels he must threaten and alienate the world with nuclear threats, assassinations, and human rights violations, even at the cost of great pain to his people, I thought it might be instructive to you if not to him to write a letter to him.

I can't imagine he'd actually read it, so its primary purpose is to offer my readers an approach to dealing with a hated person and to conflict in general that is more consonant with Psychology Today's and its reader's humanistic sensibilities. Perhaps the tactics I use in the letter may be useful as you address conflicts in your life. In that letter, which I post on, I embed those tactics in parentheses and italics.

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