Kim Jong Un a True Machiavellian Ruler

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Niccolo Machiavelli was born in 1469 to a noble family that was very poor. He had to rely on his love of learning and his brain to get him ahead in life, and they did. He worked in the government and moved up through the ranks. He finally worked as a diplomat, traveling to different countries to talk about foreign politics and policies. Machiavelli was observant when on these trips: he watched other leaders to see how they functioned, what made their citizens love or hate them, and most importantly, how they could be a success. Machiavelli was a patriot, as he wanted Italy to have a stable government and a strong military. To achieve that, he put pen to paper and wrote The Prince. The Prince is a form of a political guidebook written to help Medici become a good ruler and remain a strong figure to the country (Beck 476). Although this book was written in 1513, many leaders today either seem to follow it or stay as far away from its teachings as possible. According to Machiavelli, a leader who wishes to be great must have many strong qualities, including willingness to be cruel, willingness to fight, and willingness to appear good. Considering these three qualities and the importance Machiavelli places on them, it is clear that Machiavelli would approve of the leadership of Kim Jong Un, the dictator of North Korea.

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Machiavelli says if an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. He also says it is not enough for you to have exterminated the family of the prince, because the lords that remain make themselves heads of fresh movements against you. Machiavelli says the family and counselors of an old ruler must be exterminated so the new leader can move on without fearing the group before him. He is instructing leaders to be harsh and cruel. Kim Jong Un has threatened the people of his country and other world leaders for years. He consciously tries to come off as a mentally unstable sociopath who is not afraid to nuke another nation at a moment’s notice in order to maintain long-term intimidation (Ozguar). Kim Jong Un is so ruthless that he wants people to think he is crazy. The people are unsure how their leader will act or what he will do next. Not knowing what is coming next is frightening to his people. He is a man who has slain his own family including his half-brother, Kim Jong Nam to secure his throne (Savage). Kim follows Machiavelli’s advice that cruelty can and should be used, even as far as killing family and political allies so they can not return to harm him.

A prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study than war and its rules and discipline (Machiavelli, 33). That is Machiavelli’s first instruction in the entire chapter devoted to The Subject of War. Kim Jong Un supports this Machiavellian teaching by being willing and ready to fight. One of Kim’s senior advisors claimed that Kim was desperate in maintaining his rule by relying on his nuclear weapons and ICBM (O’Connor). Kim has threatened to use nuclear weapons and has increased the number of firepower North Korea has. From the beginning of his rule, Kim showed his people how ready he was to fight, starting with killing supporters of previous rulers. His top military advisor fell out of favor with Kim Jong Un and was executedhe killed innocent North Koreans…he killed his own family members(Mullaney). All of Kim’s followers“everyone who lives in North Korea and most of the educated world“know Kim is willing to fight and many times for no understandable cause.

Machiavelli says it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. A prince should appear to be a good person, no matter what he is really like. Kim Jong Un has appeared kind over the years. He was a runner-up for the Man of the Year award from Times Magazine and he let a K-Pop group tour North Korea so that his citizens could hear this form of popular music. His so-called goodness included sending cheerleaders to the Olympics (Bogage). This trip, which they would not have had without his help, included tickets to sporting games and clothing. Kim also has begun to allow farmers to keep some of the crops they grow in order to help the food crisis in the country. No matter what the reason Kim Jong Un is doing these acts of kindness, he is, as Machiavelli said, appearing to be good.

Machiavelli wrote The Prince to help the leader of his time to be a good leader. In this book he tells the Medici family about leaders that came before them, and how to learn from their behavior. Kim Jong Un has followed Machiavelli’s guide

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Kim Jong Un A True Machiavellian Ruler. (2019, Jul 26). Retrieved December 3, 2022 , from

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