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This essay aims to study the leadership philosophies of both the present and prior presidents of the United States of America, as well as North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un. The two presidents are compared and contrasted in the article based on their leadership philosophies, foreign policies, and national policies that they have established for the two countries.
The United States' 40th president was Ronald Reagan. He held government from 1981 to 1989, and throughout that time he strengthened the American people by bringing them together (Preston, 2012). Reagan increased national security, slowed inflation, sparked economic growth, and opened up job opportunities (Quiggle, 2014).Despite his attempted assassination in 1980 Reagan was dedicated to working with his congressmen to improve and spur the posterity of United States (Mervin, 2014). He declared war against international terrorism after Libya’s attack on American soldiers (Quiggle, 2014). He also made sure that there was a free flow of oil during the Iran-Iraq war.
President Reagan united and protected America. He always spoke of America as one united nation and always sought to talk about the real state of the people and addressed their oppressions (Quiggle, 2014). He urged them to hold social values such as good neighborhood and peace. Reagan challenged citizens to take responsibility for their lives so as to reduce reliance on federal government. He encouraged teamwork among the citizens (Preston, 2012). He respected and had the compassion to the less fortunate. Security was a major stronghold to maintain peace and Reagan ensured that the American citizens were well protected (Quiggle, 2014). He did so by rearming his security forces and increased their technology in by providing conventional weapons. During his two terms in office, Reagan left America freer and better.
Secondly, Reagan also inspired American citizens by assuring them that they had constitutional rights to life and liberty and was so determined to break barriers that hinder them from achieving their dreams (Quiggle, 2014). His political courage, integrity, and commitment to do the right thing at all times won the votes of many American citizens (Mervin, 2014). Reagan was not afraid to explain his leadership policies that led to prosperity (Preston, 2012). He headed the forces that brought an end to the cold war that freed the people from tyranny. He also courageously confronted the Soviet Union on diplomatic, moral and military reforms (Preston, 2012). Reagan was a visionary leader hence steering the country to success by dealing with the drowning American economy by balancing the budget and applying the same concept in his leadership.
Thirdly he cut taxes from 70 percent all the way to 28 percent hence providing investors with enough incentives to carry out their businesses (Mervin, 2014). By doing so he ended up steering a lot of employment opportunities to citizens (Preston, 2012). The low tax rates encouraged a lot of women to venture in business enterprise. This steered the reduction of inflation hence restored the strength of the dollar (Quiggle, 2014). The high growth rate led to the rise of new industries and technology advancements that changed the livelihood of many American citizens by the reduction of poverty, raising their incomes and spurring the growth of the global economy.
Kim Jong-un became the supreme commander of Korea in 2012 after succeeding his father Kim Jong-Il and took over formerly as a leader of the Workers party that was ruling then. Kim Jong had no military nor political experience (Bechtol, 2014). He learned power management domestically and internationally from diplomats and scholars (Bechtol, 2014). His father Kim Jong-Il chose him to be his successor for he saw a youth with temper similar to his and this would ensure the succession of his well-known dictatorship legacy (Bechtol, 2014). Contrary to Reagan, Kim Jong was considered as a bad leader and a dictator due to the following reasons:
First, he steered the suppression of opposition by executing senior officials who were previously in his father's regime (Bechtol, 2014). It is also alleged that he executed his half-brother that created criticism of his government from the international community. These executions led to the continued violation of human rights within the Korean borders (Bechtol, 2014). The United States President Barack Obama even went ahead to place the first personal sanction in 2016 on Kim Jong for human right abuses.
Secondly, North Korea under Kim Jong's authority was suspected of carrying out weapon testing programs where it launched nuclear missile launch in 2012 (Bechtol, 2014). North Korea launched a long-range rocket in space that put a satellite in the orbit but the United States claimed that it was a cover up for the ballistic missile technology tests (Bechtol, 2014). Later on, other nuclear tests were carried out by the Korean government that caused an international conflict with other countries such as China, Japan, and Russia (Bechtol, 2014). Recently North Korea and South Korea have fought over the Northern limits line maritime border (Bechtol, 2014). This war resulted in over 300 dead naval soldiers on both sides. The situation escalated and led to the sinking of a South Korean ship that killed 46 sailors who were .on board.
Thirdly Kim Jong led to economic depletion of Korean government where the country experienced a severe famine and food shortage (French, 2015). President Obama had agreed to provide the Korean government with food aid if they agreed to suspend the nuclear missile tests but the shipping was done North Korea had already launched another nuclear missile (French, 2015). This caused a lot of political heat and President Obama retracted his aid. There are also complains of the concentration of prison camps and their dreadful conditions such as forced labor, inadequate food and abuse by guards (French, 2015). Kim Jong’s dictatorship was extreme such that he could execute or torture as a punishment for anyone who didn’t honor him (French, 2015). He expected North Koreans to praise him like a God and pledge their support for him.
Despite his dictatorship leadership, Kim Jong has steered reforms in North Korea which include diversifying the energy sources (French, 2015). Although North Korea has significant coal deposits Kim said that the nation must rely more on renewable sources of energy such as solar, geothermal and hydropower (French, 2015). The Korean citizens have adopted and implemented on this energy use.
Development of metal and railway industries. Kim Jong said that this would provide means of exporting graphite to the rest of the world (Bechtol, 2014). This was Kim's idea of self-reliance and through this, he believes that his country would engage more in the international economy.
Kim Jong also stated that he would not use the nuclear weapons unless his state faces an attacking threat from hostile forces (French, 2015). He also promised that he would harmonize and improve relations with nations that respected his country’s authority
COMPARISON BETWEEN KIM JONG’S AND REAGAN’S LEADERSHIP
Ronald Reagan was elected to power by the American citizens through democracy where each citizen is entitled to choose their favorable leader (Preston, 2012). On the other hand, the Korean government practiced monarchy system of government where Kim Jong inherited power after his father’s death. He practiced dictatorship that led to the oppression of the Korean citizen. He executed anyone who dared to oppose his rule and adhere to his guidelines.
While Ronald Reagan was improving America’s economy by creating more employment opportunities, creating a conducive environment for trade and empowerment of American people (Mervin, 2014). The condition of North Korea under Kim Jong was deteriorating day by day. United Nations and international sanctions due to missiles and nuclear weapons development have negatively affected the economy of North Korea.
Ronald Reagan challenged the Soviet Union to review their policies on basis of morality. He gained respect from the Soviets (Quiggle, 2014). Reagan curbed the Soviets aggression by supporting the freedom fighters in countries such as Angola, Poland, Afghanistan and Nicaragua and this led to the end of the cold war (Preston, 2012). He also restrained the Soviets such that they would not gain ground within one square kilometer of the state. He also opposed the launch of nuclear missiles (Preston, 2012). He had a new way of looking at ballistic missiles and nuclear war. He noted that through developing a strategic defense initiative that they would retaliate ones the enemy would launch any missile directed to the American state (Preston, 2012). This strategy of defensive initiative seemed ideal. On the other had Kim Jong was busy launching his ballistic missile tests.
Kim Jong was more of a military leader rather the political one as opposed to Ronald Reagan. Kim Jong was promoted as vice chair of the central military without any training (French, 2015). To Kim Jong, power is a matter of survival where you kill before you get killed (French, 2015). Kim Jong-un has over three years used his cunning dictatorship rule to secure his position as the president (French, 2015). Kim Jong tortured, killed many of political rivals and forced many to free in the country to avoid torture and detention without trial.
Unlike America where President Ronald Reagan respected the laws and followed the human rights act, in North Korea there were no human rights, therefore, all the citizens in all levels of the society are subjects to those holding positions above them (Gause, 2015). Torture and oppression are part and partial of everyday life civilian and political leaders opposing the leader (Bechtol, 2014). This has gone to an extent where even a mere haircut is regulated and it must resemble that of the president (French, 2015). Filming anything including family events is considered a treason in North Korea. Many North Korean citizens who oppose their leader have been imprisoned or exiled since the country has limited freedom of expression (Gause, 2015). Kim Jong's thirst for power went to the extremes of executing his family members who dared to protest against his rule (French, 2015). The main point of Kim Jong’s dictatorship execution is to eliminate any threat to overthrow him.
Ronald Reagan was well educated and as a diplomat, he was well equipped with matters pertaining law and order (Quiggle, 2014). Kim Jong’s education background is not well defined to date as he rose to power as a glorified leader who was in to fill in the shoes of his late father.
North Korea's economic collapse has been attributed to the extravagance utilization of public funds by the government under Kim Jong's command (Gause, 2015). First, he has spent almost 300 million dollars to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles (French, 2015). Secondly, he spent millions of dollars on a lavish lifestyle at the expense of countries revenue which include bulletproof train, 30tf Yacht, personal cinemas, sports cars and an enormous collection of shoes (French, 2015). His leadership is characterized by gift offering to people in his inner circle to maintain their loyalty to him (Gause, 2015). Ronald Reagan, on the other hand, ensured that there was low federal expenditure and achieved it by slowing growth of federal bureaucracy. He also stabilized the monetary policy ensuring that the prices of commodities were relatively low and this reduced the inflation rates.
As of North Korea, the dictatorship leadership should be eradicated and people should be given the chance and freedom to vote for their desired leader (French, 2015). Recently Kim vowed to reform educational, agricultural and economic sectors to better the life of Koreans. There are still assertions that Kim Jong is still violating humanitarian right by his continued brutal executions (Gause, 2015). To date, international investors are so afraid of doing business with North Korea due to tax incentives and concerns about the international sanctions and restrictions and the ongoing nuclear activities.
In conclusion, the two leaders have a different leadership style. Kim Jong uses a dictatorship style and uses the military more to maintain his position at the expense of the civilian and economic development of North Korea. Kim has not maintained a good international relationship due to his policy of development of nuclear weapons and missile testing. Ronald Reagan was a leader who advocated for policies to strengthen the American people and also maintained good international relations with other countries.
Bechtol, B. (2014). North Korea and Regional Security in the Kim Jong-un Era: A New International Security Dilemma. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.
French, P. (2016). Our Supreme Leader: The Making of Kim Jong-un. London: Zed Books LTD.
Gause, K. E. (2015). North Korean House of Cards: Leadership Dynamics Under Kim Jong-un. Pyongyang: Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.
Mervin, D. (2014). Ronald Reagan: The American Presidency. Oxford: John Wiles & Sons Inc.
Preston, T. (2012). The President and His Inner Circle: Leadership Style and the Advisory Process in Foreign Affairs. New York: Columbia University Press.
Quiggle, D. (2014). Lead Like Reagan: Strategies to Motivate, Communicate, and Inspire. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
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