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Kim Jong-un: Can US trust North Korean leader to act rationally?

Kim Jong-un isn't the first North Korean leader to use threats for political gain. But the West doesn't really know what to make of him because of his youth and the uncertainty that shrouds the country.

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North Koreans rally in Nampo, North Korea, Wednesday, according to the official North Korean news agency. The rally is reportedly a demonstration of support for victory in a possible war against the United States and South Korea.

NCNA/Reuters

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North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s saber-rattling rhetoric and threats to restart his nuclear program could be a rational move to garner more in the way of concessions in the world community and much-needed political street credentials among the populace and troops he commands.

But just how confident can Pentagon officials be about whether Mr. Kim is a rational actor?

Could he, in fact, be young, reckless, without great political savvy and in grave danger of making a move that could set off a chain of events – including an inadvertent war – with dire consequences?

 

“We’ve seen some historical trajectory here on where North Korea occasionally will go to try to get the attention of the United States, to try to maneuver us into some position favorably to them, whether it’s more assistance or bilateral engagement,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a press conference last week. 

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