Trump's video played for Kim elicits sneers from media but was a brilliant persuasive device

Because everything President Trump does has to be bad in the eyes of the mainstream media, there was considerable elite media sneering yesterday over the video that the White House produced for President Trump to show to Kim Jong-un during their meeting in Singapore.  If you haven't seen it yet, you watch it here:

The Washington Post tellingly headlined, "Reporters thought this video was North Korea propaganda.  It came from the White House."  That's what reporters think is obviously the most important information for the Post to convey.  The New York Times sneer is that it was a "faux" (a favorite word in the age of Trump) movie trailer: "Coming Attractions: Trump Showed Kim a Faux Movie Trailer About a Transformed North Korea."

Both of these papers, which function as pilot fish for the rest of the mainstream media, sneered at Trump throughout his presidential campaign and were dead certain that he would lose, of course.  Their sneering has an awful track record in understanding the appeal of Trump, it is quite fair to say.

The man who, more than any other commentator, understood Trump's appeal, and who boldly predicted his win early on, is Scott Adams, the "Dilbert" cartoonist and expert on persuasion.  He livestreamed his reaction yesterday to the video yesterday, commenting on it while playing audio.  He was not restrained in his praise:

It might be the best thing anybody ever did in a negotiation, period[.] ... [I]t hits every note.

You can watch this commentary as he starts and stops the video, explaining each segment after playing it.  He does a thorough job, requiring 18 minutes of your time.

I must note that it has been reported that an extensive psychological profile of Kim Jong-un has been created in preparation for this meeting.  Everyone who attended the Swiss boarding school with him, for instance, has been debriefed about his experiences with him.  This sort of study can reveal a lot of clues as to what motivates him, what his hopes and fears might be, and other insights.

As for the appropriateness of a film, keep in mind that not only was Kim's father a movie buff, but he actually devoted considerable attention to the art of filmmaking.  He directed his own films, after kidnapping a renowned South Korean film director and his actress wife to teach him the art.  The North Korean film industry was an important part of the regime's propaganda apparatus.  At a minimum, Kim Jong-un sees film as important.

Kim obviously craves celebrity.  His relationship with Dennis Rodman demonstrates that.  His excursion to a casino in Singapore reveals his taste for glamour and the flashy accoutrements of an affluent society.

The video also speaks to the realistic fear that Kim and the Pyongyang power elite have about the being overthrown over their failure to deliver prosperity to their own populace.  During his father's and grandfather's reigns, North Koreans were successfully isolated from knowledge of life in South Korea and beyond.  They were propagandized into believing they had it better than their cousins south of the DMZ.  That bulwark has collapsed.  Millions of video-players, some of them dropped by balloons from South Korea, are available to people in NoKo, as are cell phones now.  Reports are that South Korean soap operas are widely seen.  People who live along on the Yalu River can see what is happening over the border in China, as well.  Pretty much everyone now understands that they are the only poor East Asians left.

That is why Trump's promise of prosperity by joining the world system of trade, investment, and commerce is such a lure for Kim and his ruling class.  You can bet that they have all seen this by now.  Trump bestowed a gift to KJU to help him sell the transformation of North Korea to fearful members of his ruling elite.

So let the media grandees sneer.  They have no way of understanding Trump.

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