Mr. Kim’s behavior can be attributed to him wanting to maintain a mythical cult lineage and philosophy of Juche, coupled with a deep resentment and resistance to imperialism that resulted into a frenetically isolated adherence to a self-sufficient state. Beginning with his grandfather Kim Sōng-ju who reached deity status under the name Kim Il-sung (taken the name from a renown Korean resistance leader from Japanese occupation) with apocryphal fanaticism filled with pomp and circumstance.
The 35-year Japanese occupation beginning in 1910 subsequently gave way to a division of the peninsula, followed by concurrent five year occupations — with the north occupied by the Soviet Union until 1948, and the South occupied by the United States until 1949. I wanted to offer historical context to better ascertain the rationale behind the North Korean perspective and objective.
Both Koreas at the time continued to serve as ideological proxies of communist-socialism juxtaposing capitalist-democracy. The Soviet occupation stabilized and propped up the North Korean People’s Army, they clandestinely participated in the Korean War conflict. Outwardly participating would be in direct violation of UN accord and would directly escalate into nuclear war with the US.
Kim Il-sung, is actually not Korean born and barely spoke Korean, because he was actually born in Soviet territory and educated in Chinese. He became a leader of an anti-Japanese group of guerrilla fighters affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party who ended up in the Soviet Union after fleeing Japanese incursions. Mr. Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il was born in a Soviet military camp in 1941 or 1942 and grew up speaking Russian and was educated with Russian children until the age of 12.(1, pg 49) Kim Il-sung’s serendipitous rise to power came when he was recommended to Stalin, who consented to have him installed to a puppet post as a Communist leader of this Soviet occupied territory. Out of many more esteemed and capable candidates they chose Kim Il Sung, for apparently his show of total obedience(1, 49).
After the Soviet Union collapsed, it became clear just how clumsily the Soviets had installed Kim Il Sung. “We created him from zero,” boasted NKVD Oficer Leonid Vassin. “We did very crudely.” Vassin worked in the 7th Department of Special Propaganda of the 25th Army in charge of military propaganda in enemy territory, and says he was in contact everyday with Kim during his first six months.
What transpires next is truly propaganda-manipulation, deception and image building by the Soviets to legitimize the installation of a supposed hero. While Kim Il Sung was lavishing praise and devotion to the Soviet Union in his speeches and concluding telegrams to Moscow by saying “glory to the Soviet Army”, looting of industrial hardware by the Soviet occupation force for shipment back to the Soviet Union was occurring. The looting angered many prominent Korean nationalist leaders who met in Seoul and were bent on resisting all foreign interventions and resisted the proposal to divide the country under respective trusteeship of the Americans in the south and the Russians to the north. Meanwhile to the south, Winston Churchill declared in the Cairo Declarationof 1943 that, “mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea, are determined that in due course Korea shall become free and independent”. To say that all this foreign interference — from Japanese occupation, Chinese sponsored guerillas, to Russian/American occupations — was an insult to the Korean sovereignty is absolutely an understatement.
The Korean split is seen by many scholars including a novice like myself, and most importantly the Korean people as a betrayal and a weakening of the pride and spirit of the country. North Korea essentially became “a Stalinist dictatorship with labor camps, purges, arbitrary arrests, public executions, and a personality cult. Kim Il Sung erected the first statue of himself in 1949, before he was even 40 and began calling himself “The Great Leader” or Suryong.” (1, pg 53)
The newly installed leader of North Korea was inspired by the disillusionment to rewrite the narrative and create an alternative history and false personification during the distractions.
The vanity and hubris that marked the next 5o years of Kim’s rule were already evident, even before the Korean War erupted in June 1950.
You see it is the false narrative and its bad faith concept— where now, the grandson, Kim Jong Un feels the need to oblige in himself, and for his regime, under the pressure of this sociocultural circumstance to adopt false values of self-deception and resentment with a military-first policy towards not just the United States, but to the world in defiance and in deity to his name.
Trump — who lacks any historical knowledge or acquaintance with geopolitical study — is only seen as adding to Mr. Kim’s incredulous credibility via cult personality reputation. Attacking Guam would be suicidal and fatal for Mr. Kim and his regime. They have to know this, through China and South Korea’s advisement and contacts, but the concern and scrutiny warrants the attention, and therefore the unsolicited buy-in Mr. Kim needs to survive from within and from without North Korea. You have also answered your own riddle, that if he intended to attack Guam, why would he announce it. It seems that his provocative strategy plays into merely keeping up with a long tradition of upholding false appearances and mysticism. It is the only kind of diplomacy Mr. Kim knows of which is only available to this regime in that sociocultural context for their survival. If not, there would certainly be an epic, self-imploding collapse of what we know see of North Korea without any interference from foreign influence this time due to the outrageous abusive nature of its governance.
All citations and references are sourced from here…