Trump’s Disruptive Innovation: A Film Trailer Starring Kim Jong Un
Among the many details prepared to make the June 12 U.S.–North Korea summit go off without a hitch was a short video apparently designed to instill confidence and excitement in North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, encouraging him to part with the past and usher his country into a new era.
The roughly four-minute video, styled in the fashion of blockbuster movie trailers, seems to have been tailored specifically for Kim, hitting upon his life experiences, personality traits, and aspirations.
The format itself is well-suited to Kim, who grew up with his father’s massive DVD collection—30,000 titles, according to GQ.
The video starts by ramping up the stakes for Kim, declaring that “there comes a time when only a few are called upon to make a difference.”
It acknowledges the longstanding tensions on the Korean Peninsula and all the failed attempts to resolve the conflict, as if history was repeating itself. But then it adds a twist: that history only “seems” to go in circles. While North Korea was stuck in the past, the world has expanded in prosperity.
“The past doesn’t have to be the future,” the narrator says. “Out of the darkness can come the light, and the light of hope can burn bright.”
“What if,” the video asks, “a people that share a common and rich heritage can find a common future?”, referring to the idea of a reunified Korea, which builds on the historic meeting of North and South state heads earlier this year.
But then the stakes are raised even more, presenting Kim with a “special moment in time when a man is presented with one chance that may never be repeated,” ending with a scene of a basketball player doing a slam-dunk—Kim is a basketball fan.
“What will he choose? To show vision and leadership? Or not?” the narrator asks.
Suddenly, the tone changes, presenting an ultimatum.
“There can only be two results. One of moving back,” the narrator states, showing pictures of dilapidated habitats, empty store shelves, rockets launching, and a fighter jet flying above a flotilla of American aircraft carriers.
“Or one of moving forward,” the narrator states.
With decisive music, the video shows a rocket launch footage in reverse followed by an aerial image of the Korean Peninsula at night with the North covered in darkness. Suddenly, the city lights spread to the North, Pyongyang shining just as brightly as Seoul.
“A new world can begin today,” the narrator says over an image of massive skyscrapers being constructed in Pyongyang, dwarfing the pyramid-like Ryugyong Hotel, the tallest structure in the isolated country.
“One of friendship, respect, and goodwill,” the narrator continues. “Be part of that world.”
Then the question comes again: “What if? Can history be changed?”
The video then puts Kim on the world stage, offering him to be the hero of his own movie, one who brings prosperity to his people and the world’s respect to himself, striking at both his ego and his sense of nationalism.
“It comes down to a choice,” the narrator says. “On this day. In this time. At this moment. The world will be watching, listening, anticipating, hoping.”
“The future remains to be written,” it concludes.
Trump is no stranger to innovative approaches to communication in politics. The president is the first to employ Twitter as a platform to communicate to millions of his supporters without depending on the perennial middleman of political discourse, the media.
Everyday Americans aren’t the only ones watching Trump’s 280-character messages. The president can often shape a day’s news coverage with a single tweet. Unlike prior presidents, Trump often sends newsworthy updates over the weekend, ensuring coverage when other newsmakers in government are out of the office.
From the first days of Trump’s presidential campaign in 2015, he also redefined the norms of political correctness to give the media exactly what it wanted: headlines loaded with hyperbole that attracted huge audiences.
The technique wasn’t new to Trump; he even coined a name for it in his book “The Art of the Deal,” calling it “truthful hyperbole.” But it was new to politics, and it blindsided the pundits and prognosticators who had dismissed Trump as a political novice.
The video, casting Kim as the star of a fictional movie, is yet another move showing Trump’s outside-the-box approach to conventional politics.
Epoch Times reporter Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.
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