I Would Like to Understand What Kim Jong-un Is Up To

Yonhap News/Newscom via ZUMA

Forget Donald Trump for a minute. The upcoming summit meeting with North Korea has been orchestrated entirely by Kim Jong-un. It started with his outreach at the Olympics. Then he proposed the meeting with Trump. He halted missile testing. He met with South Korea and it was all smiles. He’s implied that he’s in favor of complete denuclearization. He released three American hostages. And he’s now planning a public spectacle of destroying North Korea’s nuclear testing site.

What is he up to? One possibility is that he’s genuinely willing to give up his nukes. All his actions make sense if that’s the case.

But no one thinks that’s the case. So what’s going on? Does he really believe that he can squeeze serious concessions out of Trump without verifiably giving up his nukes? Even I don’t think Trump is that dimwitted. So what’s on his mind? Does anyone have a clue?


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.