Analyzing Elements of Demagoguery in Kim Jong Un's New Year Speech Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1138 Words
Date:  2022-12-04

Demagoguery is divisive propaganda that seeks to motivate an in-group to propagate hatred towards an out-group. Demagoguery thrives when the public is restricted to access information and give views of various issues. Demagoguery significantly undermines public criticism and quality of public arguments (Roberts-Miller 1). Demagoguery creates an environment that makes people perceive it so dangerous to criticize dominant political groups, cultures, or views. It makes a discourse sound coercive by its constant appeal to arouse hatred for the out-group. Demagoguery is a precursor to the end of democracy. Robert Miller says that a demagogue breaks down a camp into two groups. The one he/she represents (the in-group) and the out-group.Kim Jong Un new year speech is a typical illustration of the implementation of demagoguery. This paper will discuss Kim Jong Un new year address illustrating how he used rhetoric of hate, denial of responsibility, and nationalism to propagate demagoguery.

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Kim Jong Un dedicated his fast half of the speech to highlight the economic progress that North Korea has made. The President subtly denies the responsibility of the tolerating relationship between North and South Korea. Instead, he blames external forces for the woes of the two countries. Kim mentions the issue of South Korean military exercises as having been cooperation between South Korea and other foreign powers. He accuses the external forces for the current situation at the Korean peninsula. He called for a stop in the introduction of military weapons from foreign countries and strategic assets from outside. Kim's statements denote a denial of responsibility for the disastrous situation in the Korean peninsula (Kim Jong Un's 2019 New Year Address). He does not describe himself or the North Korean policies as responsible for that situation.

The president asserts that simple solutions can solve the inter-Korea problems. A demagogue emphasizes that simple solutions can solve a problem irrespective of the magnitude of the issue at hand (Roberts-Miller 1). For instance, Kim argues that he is ready to fix the existing issues as early as possible is prepared to forget the past relationship between his country and South Korea. He further abounds that nothing is impossible to a willing heart noting that the peace treaty can be reached when both parties treat each other with mutual respect and genuine intentions. This shows that Kim is blaming South Korea for the disagreements the two countries have had for a long time.

Kim does not want to carry any responsibility for their struggles with the US concerning nuclear regulation. He accuses the US of putting up many restrictions on North Korea, thus making it impossible for him to stop producing nuclear products. Kim stroke a very reasonable tone for the condition of negotiations with the United States. It was evident he was setting the speech to make sure that the US takes the blame for the impasse. In his address, Kim described North Korea as having complied to a set of agreements not to manufacture, test, use, or spread nuclear weapons. Kim's talk is just a strategy to exonerate himself from the blame and instead implicate the US to take responsibility for the current disputes.

Un seems to promote nationalism in his New Year speech. Demagogues promote patriotism (Roberts-Miller 1). Demagogues tend to promote nationalism with the argument that their nation is the best. In his speech, Kim portrays those in support of South Korea -America alliance are unpatriotic to their region. He asserts that Koreans can solve their problems without the involvement of other countries. He calls for consciousness among all Koreans citing that it is the Koreans who are the ambassadors of peace at the peninsula.

Further, he urges the Koreans to be intolerant of the intervention and interference of other countries in their path to reconciliation and unity. As such, he is appealing to the Koreans to get rid of outside countries that are interfering with their attempts to seek reconciliation. He accuses foreign powers of their evil intentions towards the inter-Korean peace agreement. For instance, he suggests that the US has not been responding proactively with reliable measures aimed at providing practical solutions to the existing problems. He claims that foreign countries are helping solve the issues while putting their interest and taste up front. As such, he is trying to sound like a nationalist by pointing out the US bad intentions towards the peace impasse between the South and North Korea.

President Kim Jong Un propagates motivism by regularly depicting foreign powers as having anterior motive towards the peace issues in his country. Demagogues do not have a concrete reason for their actions but are motivated by some dark motives (Roberts-Miller 1). Kim portrays the foreign powers as having no interest in the welfare of peace in Korea but led by other anterior motives. Kim greatly discourages his people from cooperating with people who have no genuine interest in the well-being of Koreans.

A section of Kim's sentiments towards the US was vague. Kim said that if the United States attempted to enforce something upon North Korea and persist in imposing sanctions and pressure, then they would be obliged to look for a new way of defending the sovereignty of the state and the supreme interests of the country and for achieving peace in the Korean peninsula.

The formulation of Kim's statement is vague, and he intended to do it. The statement does not commit Kim to any specific course of action twice. First, Kim was cautious about making a pronouncement that Pyongyang often uses to avoid making a straight threat from which retreat would be difficult. He used the phrase "we may be compelled" instead of saying "we will" which is more definite. Secondly, Kim's usage of the phrase "new way" is sufficiently vague so that at least it could be understood to mean anything. Kim's vague language gives North Korea an open space to roll out the meaning of his statements drop by drop when necessary.


Demagoguery is a technique used widely by leaders to polarize people and rule them with minimal criticism. It is critical to watch out the leadership styles that each leader uses to determine whether one is a genuine leader. Knowledge about demagoguery is significant because it gives one a clear view of the actions and enlights about the different motivates that leaders possess. Demagoguery as a vital subject enables one to become conscious of the things happening around leadership circles that people may not readily recognize. Kim Jong Un is a subtle demagogue that uses nationalism, motivism, and denial of responsibility to situations. As such, one can quickly identify the kind of leadership of an individual through reading or listening to their speeches.

Works cited

Roberts-Miller, Trish. "Characteristics of Demagoguery." Department of Rhetoric and Writing, the University of Texas at Austin (2008).

"Kim Jong Urn's 2019 New Year Address." NCNK. N. p., 2019. Web. 21 Mar. 2019.

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Analyzing Elements of Demagoguery in Kim Jong Un's New Year Speech Essay. (2022, Dec 04). Retrieved from

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