Over the past month, President Trump’s incendiary threats to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea in response to its ballistic missile program set off a chain of military escalations that climaxed this week with Pyongyang’s sixth test of a nuclear device, a hydrogen bomb three to five times more powerful than the American bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
As the crisis unfolded, the Rand Corporation, a military-intelligence think tank founded during the Cold War, relentlessly promoted the views of Bruce W. Bennett, a defense researcher it calls “one of the leading experts on the world’s most reclusive country.” Two or three times a day, Rand’s media shop tweets out links to Bennett’s writings on Kim Jong-un, the 33-year-old who rules the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK), its formal and preferred name.
While Trump has vowed to use sanctions, war threats and diplomacy to stop Kim from developing a ballistic missile that could fire nuclear weapons at the United States—exactly what Kim claimed to do on Sunday—Bennett believes that the only target worth considering is North Korea’s “Supreme Leader” himself.
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