When youthful dictator Kim Jong Un spent who knows how much money building and populating a state-of-the-art dolphin aquarium, opened to great fanfare in Pyongyang this week, it would certainly seem like another moment of madness and unhinged narcissism by a regime that is singularly talented at both. [...]
But there’s an internal logic to these obviously wasteful extravagances, a method to the Kim family madness that is both crueler and shrewder than it might seem. Far from silly, these dolphins — who will likely live better lives than most North Koreans — are of a piece with the regime’s long-running propaganda campaign that is one of the most important pillars of its against-all-odds rule.
Very interesting story.