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How Can Trump Win Over Kim Jong Un?

At the moment things aren’t going very well between Donald Trump, President of the United States, and Kim Jung Un, the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. At one point a while back Trump announced to all the world that if North Korea threatened the USA again, they “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Kim Jong Un’s response was to reveal plans to nuke the Island of Guam, a territory of the United States.

As North Korea continues to test ballistic missiles and stronger H-bombs, Trump seems at a stalemate with regard to dealing with Kim Jong Un, a man who many describe as mad. Threatening him doesn’t seem to do any good. Is there another way that could solve the riddle and ease the tensions?

Kim Jong Un is a young man who hated his father. According to those who knew him, when he was a young man, he despised his father’s “special mansion,” where he kept young women who serviced his sexual and other needs. His father urged his son to partake of the girls, but Kim Jung Un would have nothing to do with it, and his father wondered whether his son was gay. For these and many other reasons, including a neglectful childhood devoid of love, Kim Jong Un hated his father and has now transferred that hatred to Trump. Bombing America would be like toppling his father.

Hence, the way to deal with Kim Jong Un is not to threaten him. That is only going to spur him on to fulfill his ambition of being king of the hill and knocking down his father (Donald Trump in the transference). Instead, the way to deal with Kim Jong Un is to be the father he never had. If Trump wants to show that he is a President who can deal with someone like Un, he is going to have to understand Un the way he might understand his an angry and wayward son of his own.

First of all, Trump mustn’t fall into the trap of seeing himself as right and Kim Jong Un as wrong. He must find the humanity in himself and in Kim Jong Un. He must approach him as a possible friend, someone who shares similar interests (they both want to be king of the hill) similar sensitivities (they both don’t like to be threatened) and similar pride. He should approach him as an equal, not as somebody who is evil while he is good.

Having made this adjustment, he should attempt to arrange a face-to-face meeting with Kim Jong Un, as he would meet with a friend with whom he has developed a problem. The goal of this meeting is to talk things out in order to reach a better understanding of each other and to establish some kind of bond. They may ask each other questions such as “What can I do for you?” “What can you do for me?” “We are now both nuclear powers; how can we coexist together peacefully?” Kim Jong Un might say, “It’s not fair for countries who have nukes to make laws in the UN that other countries can’t have nukes.” And Trump might answer, “You’re right, it isn’t fair.” “And,” Kim Jong Un might continue, “it’s not fair for North Korea and other countries to be sanctioned and treated as criminals for doing something that many countries around the world have already done.” And Trump might again respond, “Yes, that’s true.” Kim Jong Un might say, “The UN isn’t really a fair world government. It is basically a government run by five countries that are permanent member of the Security Council. To be a real world government. There should be no permanent members of the Security Council.” And Trump might answer, “That’s a good point.”

The meeting might take place in another country that can be a mediator. China might serve that purpose and it’s President, Xi Jinping, could sit in on the meeting. China (as well as most of the world) wants peace between the USA and North Korea and has made useful suggestions such as a compromise in which North Korea stopped testing nuclear weapons and South Korea and the USA stop having provocative military exercises.

Trump has to be the bigger man and allow Kim Jong Un to express his grievances. He might ask, “Why do you want to Nuke the USA?” Kim Jong Un might answer, “Because the USA is arrogant and self-righteous and I have seen your pornography and I know that you have a sick morality where the people are spoiled and are always talking about their rights but not interested in the rights of other countries.” And Trump might say, “There is some truth to that. But on the other hand, you aren’t interested in the rights of your people and are letting them starve while you spend all your money on nuclear weapons.” And Kim Jong Un might respond, “You have a point.”

Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump would have an honest and open-ended discussion, like a father and son. Hopefully, this would lead to a closer relationship. We all have neighbors who we get along with better than others, but we try to respect and be polite to all neighbors because it will make our own lives better. Just so, North Korea is our neighbor in the world, and we need to find a way to bridge our differences.

Maybe future meetings will be arranged in which Trump visits North Korea and Kim Jong Un visits the USA. Perhaps they will establish exchange programs, trade programs, joint efforts. Since Kim Jong Un is known to be a fan to the NBA, perhaps the two leaders might talk about basketball exchanges, or a new World League in which North Korea would be a member. Perhaps a new peace treaty could be discussed along with a real peace treated between the two Koreas.

Through such a meeting, enemies who seem to be heading for a nuclear showdown could instead become partners in the restoration of world peace. Is this just a pipe dream, or could it really happen? I say it must happen, if the world is to survive.

How Can Trump Win Over Kim Jong Un?

Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D.

Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D. is a licensed psychoanalyst in New York and has been practicing for over 37 years. He works with adults, couples, families, adolescents, and children. He has graduated from three psychotherapy institutes and received a Certificate in Psychoanalysis from the Washington Square Institute in 1981. He has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor of psychology at the Borough of Manhattan Community College since 2002 and has authored thirteen books on psychotherapy and psychoanalysis as well as four novels and a book of poems and drawings. More recently he wrote 20 screenplays (winning four first-place awards at festivals) and produced and directed two feature films.

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APA Reference
Schoenewolf, G. (2018). How Can Trump Win Over Kim Jong Un?. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 19, 2019, from


Last updated: 21 Jan 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Jan 2018
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