Cover

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Copyright Information

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Table of Contents

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pp. iii-iv

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The Education of Kim Jung-un

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pp. 3-5

When North Korean state media reported in December 2011 that leader Kim Jong-il had died at the age of 70 of a heart attack from “overwork,” I was a relatively new analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. Everyone knew that Kim had heart issues—he had suffered a stroke in 2008—and that the day would probably come when his ...

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The Ten-Foot-Tall Baby

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pp. 5-7

North Korea is what we at the CIA called “the hardest of the hard targets.” A former CIA analyst once said that trying to understand North Korea is like working on a “jigsaw puzzle when you have a mere handful of pieces and your opponent is purposely throwing pieces from other puzzles into the box.” The North Korean regime’s ...

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Footsteps of General Kim

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pp. 7-11

If he had followed Korean custom and tradition, Kim Jong-il would have named Kim Jong-nam, not Kim Jong-un, his successor, because Jong-nam was the eldest of his three sons. But Kim Jong-il reportedly rejected Jong-nam as being unfit to lead North Korea. Why? For one, the elder Kim might have judged that Jong-nam was tainted ...

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A 21st Century Dictatorship

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pp. 11-14

As a scholar of U.S. history before I became an intelligence analyst, I couldn’t help but think about Andrew Carnegie’s famous statement about the third generation in America as Kim 3.0 took the reins of power in North Korea. “There are but three generations from shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves.” Or in other words, the first generation makes the money, the second generation maintains it, ...

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Bigger, Badder, Bolder

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pp. 15-19

For the past six years, Kim has poked and prodded, testing and pushing the boundaries of international tolerance for his actions, calculating that he can handle whatever punishment is meted out. To a large extent, he has maintained the initiative on the Korean Peninsula, to the frustration of the United States and his neighbors. ...

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Edging Toward Hubris

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pp. 19-22

North Korea’s highly provocative actions in the summer and fall of 2017—demonstrating ICBMs, conducting a test of a probable thermonuclear device, and threatening to detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific—suggest that Kim’s confidence has grown over the past six years. After all, he has outlasted both South Korean president ...

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About the Author

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p. 22

Jung H. Pak is a senior fellow and the SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies at the Brookings Institution’s Center for East Asia Policy Studies. She focuses on the national security challenges facing the United States and East Asia, including North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities, the regime’s domestic and foreign ...