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The Contender
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Kim Jong-il was a fine leader to the people of North Korea.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/31/2011 Category: News
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,157 times Debate No: 20142
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (4)




Looking at the reactions of the people of North Korea, it is curious to know how well his leadership was. This first round will be just for acceptance of debate, the 2nd and 3rd rounds will be the main debate, and the last round will be closing words. I will be in the Pro position. Good luck to anyone who takes this debate.


I accept this debate, I am interested to see in what way Kim Jong-Il was a great leader to the people to North Korea.
Debate Round No. 1


I support the statement that Kim Jong-il was a fine leader to his people.
First of all, I according to the debate subject, I only need to prove that Kim Jong-il was a good leader to his people, not to the international populations.
My first argument is that Kim Jong-il was able to advance his country into modern times with the tests of the nuclear war arsenal he has in his country. Although this action is unlawful in international circumstances, this would allow North Korea to be on par in terms of its military with the other higher class countries. This action from Kim Jong-il in around 2003 advances North Korea ahead of South Korea. It also heightens the enthusiasm from his people, since they have gone past the problem of widespread poverty and advanced their status in the world.
Secondly, Kim Jong-il inspired hope from his people by displaying his cult of personality. His persona in North Korea has grown so that citizens during his time would be able to trust the government and his many programs. Although he has eliminated dissenters, he has also eliminated negativity in his nation so that his nation could work on progress. Many of his people have called him "the great successor to the revolutionary cause" and the "fearless leader." These claims show the trust and security the people felt when he was their leader.
In his cult of personality, he had also encouraged the progress of cultural arts in his country. Kim Jong-il has allowed artisans to express themselves and the greatness of his father across all forms of media, thus allowing the spread of artistic ability.
Kim Jong-il also kept the prosperity of North Korea in mind when he trained his son to be the next leader of his country. His foresight to his succession into rule gave him the wisdom to train his son in the diplomatic ways. In doing this, he is assuring his people that his policies would be safe with his son and his legacy would live on.
During the drought of 1997, North Korea needed food. Kim Jong-il implemented a Military First Policy that although looked like would only benefit the military, soon was able to produce some economic progresses and some market practices. His wise decision to depend on foreign aid for food allowed him to advance his military. This action allowed him to increase the power of his military while slowly making North Korea independent from other nations with an increasing food supply.
These shrewd actions may not have made Kim Jong-il unpopular with foreign nations, but it allowed North Korea to gain prosperity and security. North Koreans' reactions to his death clearly shows his importance to his country.

(by the way), I am trying to play devil's advocate in order to be unbiased in this debate. I hope that the opponent will have fun with this topic as well.)


Okay, I thank my opponent for his response. I have basically found three points in my opponent's (flawed) logic:
  • Able to advance nation into modern times with nuclear weapons
  • Nuclear arsenal helped North Korea
  • Inspired nation and made him popular to his people
  • Art progress in his nation
  • Wanted to continue "progress" after he was gone
  • Food programs were designed to make nation "food independent"

Able to Advance nation into modern times with nuclear weapons

North Korea DID NOT NEED ANY NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Yes, we all know North Korea is not well liked on the international spotlight, but it has a strong military without nuclear weapons when you consider the size of its army. It is the fourth largest military in the world with over 1.2 million armed personnel, and although oudated, has a very important, large ally ---China. China is right next to North Korea, and is on of the five permanent U.N. members that makes it very significant in international affairs. By participating in the pursuit of nuclear weapons, which I have shown was unnecessary, Kim Jong-il chose the choice to put many of his people into famine for no real reason. This is not a virtue of a fine leader, to jeopardize the lives of millions just to gain some more recognition in the international spotlight when they already have a large recognition on the international stage, because of infamous reasons.

Inspired nation and made him popular to his people

This is does not make Kim Jone-il a fine leader to the people of North Korea. People did not feel truly secure and confident of prosperity. However, the state-controlled media of North Korea told North Koreans that virtually everything they have has come from their "Dear Leader". Also, personality cult driven propaganda has been attacking citizens there their whole lives. A cult of personality of glorifing "Dear Leader" has caused people to become brainwashed into thinking their leader is so dear even though its nation is a dire prospects of a better future.

Also, if the cameras are rolling and everyone else is crying, and a person is not, that would be punished by something known as elimination or being secretly moved from society there. North Korea is known for being one of the worst nations in THE WORLD for having the worst human rights records.

Art progress in his nation

Sure, there was art progress in his nation. Kim Jong-il may have encouraged the expansion of the arts in the country. However, all of the arts are controlled by the government. So, true feelings of the populace that may of been really shown in true art was not shown in North Korea, since Kim Jong-il made the state continue in making the state control the arts. Therefore, this point is irrelevant, as are the others.

Legacy and "Prosperity" will live on after him

Since you apparently don't know what prosperity is, I will define it:

Prosperity: A successful, flourishing, or thriving condition, especially in economic aspects, good fortune.


North Korea is one of the world's most centrally directed and least open economies, and faces chronic economic problems. Its industrial condition is nearly beyond repair as a result of years of underinvestment, shortage of spare parts, and maintenance. LARGE SCALE MILITARY SPENDING has drawn off resources needed for civilian consumption. Industrial and power output has stagnated for years at a fraction of pre 1990 levels: BEFORE Kim Jong-il was the fine leader, illustrating EVEN MORE his POOR leadership. Large scale food deliveries to North Korea has allowed N. Korea to escape widespread STARVATION, but poor living conditions and malnutrition are still widespread.

Although Kim Jong-il allowed private Farmer's markets in 2002, in 2005, the government tried to end this by forbidding private sales of grains and again making the central government control the food supply.

The per capita GDP, is only $1800 per year. Imagine surving on this. The U.S. per capita GDP is around $46,000 - $47,500. This further demonstrates that the wellbeing of N. Korean citizens is NOT well.

Also tens of thousands of North Koreans cross into China each year to escape famine and political oppression, showing CLEARLY that Kim Jong-il has not been a fine leader. For an example, under Bill Clinton, in 2000, when at one point for example his approval rating was at 66% you didn't see thousands of people escaping into Canada or Mexico. Bill Clinton was a good leader, and America was a beacon of hope, not an island of despair like North Korea is. Even when George W. Bush was president and had approval ratings of 18%, you STILL didn't see thousands or more escaping into other nations to escape DEATH. This clearly proves that Kim Jong-il was a poor leader since people wanted to escape his wrath and brainwashing puppets.

Human trafficking: North Korea is a country where men, women, and children are trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation.

Also, North Korea has been receiving food shipments from the international community to prevent starvation of North Korea's populace.


Kim Jong-il was a poor leader to the people of North Korea. Under Kim Jong-il, N. Korea's industry has significantly declined. "Dear Leader" has also not put ANY significant efforts to reduce human trafficking in his nation where thousands, if not more are exploited for labor or sexual commercial reasons. Tens of thousands cross into China each year to escape from Kim Jong-il's political oppression and the famine of N. Korea which Kim has not heavily worked on. Instead of making his nation stable with real food and making itself truly independent, he devoted a large chunk of his nation's economy to nuclear weapons which WAS A BAD CHOICE for N. Korea and had no real useful reason, China is a defender of N. Korea already. NO art progress has occured under Kim's leadership, because all of the art is controlled by the state. Kim Jong-il put no lasting market reforms into his nation's economy. What good has truly came to the nation of N. Korea during Kim Jong-il's tenure? I would like to see any, because barely if any progress was made while starvation, malnutrition, political oppression, and economic depression was prevalent. These DO NOT fill the virtues of a good leader! I hope my opponent shows me a true reason soon, since so far, he has provided no true information. Thank you.


The World Factbook (App Store app)

Debate Round No. 2


Looking back at Kim Jong-il's history and life, it probably is safe to say that we do not know much about him and his history. Probably until we find more information after North Korea opens up would we be able to find some good thing about Kim Jong-il that was not influenced by the media of his government.

I would hate to admit it, but due to our limited knowledge from the censorship from the North Korea country, this debate would definitely side more towards the negative side, that is the con side. There is a severe disadvantage, I realize, to the pro side of this argument.

First of all, your main argument in the second round has all been rebuttals to my arguments. I do not know whether or not those rebuttals are part of your case, or you have no original arguments of your own. That being said, theoretically speaking in a Lincoln Douglass debate, you have no case, all I have to do is defend my own case, and you can't make any more new contentions since we are in the rebuttal period. But then again, we are not really debating in a Lincoln-Douglas style debate, so this argument may or may not be useful according to interpretations.

Secondly, one of you sources come from wikipedia, which connects to the human rights argument. I have checked this and for the human rights section, there are points in there where citations are not listed, which may or may not be true. Although I prefer wikipedia as a general information source, personally some information may be deviated from its original source. Possibly in your next argument you can list other sources needed to support your arguments.

Thirdly, a major flaw in your own argument is the lack of source for the many strong arguments you put against my case. I have checked your sources, and all of it validates about 50% of your whole case. I wonder if the information you put in there is valid. I would like to think that they are legitimate, but until they are sourced, they can be considered made up information (not that I am accusing you of making up information since your whole argument states that I am making up my own information, I am just asking for your sources.)

Now coming to my own case to defend it, I would like to reiterate some of my arguments.

First of all, nuclear weapons is essential in the evolution of an army. Having nuclear weapons in a country would create the MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) situation with all other countries in the world. The MAD situation allows North Korea and its people to be protected by other countries with nuclear weapons. This nuclear weapons project also creates fear in other countries, which protects itself from some lower-class countries. Also, if the American were to invade, the North Korean army would need to fight a defensive war, which was a tactic that has shown throughout the years to be an effective position in the event of a war. So this expands my argument that nuclear weapons would help South Korea in a military element.

Secondly, Kim Jong-il's personality cult was not as extreme as his father's. In a sense, he has inherited his father's personality cult. This inheritance may have not been 2 way, but possibly in Kim Jong-il's defense, he had to continue the personality cult of his father in order to please his people. People have been anticipating the new successor, so Kim Jong-il had to please his people. This shows the sign of a good leader in order to act on the expectations of his own people.

Additionally, foreign aid is a useful tactic that allows the government to feed its people while working on different projects that could benefit its country. Relying on foreign aid is not a bad thing, since it can prove effective in rebuilding a country. Kim Jong-il at least allowed foreign aid to come in, rather than not issue it at all. That decision at the very least shows good leadership.

In conclusion, your arguments are strong, but they are missing some reliable sources, making them useless unless they are fixed straight away. Not having original argument of your own allows me to win this debate by only defending my own case and not focus on your arguments. And finally, if you interpret actions in another way, you can see that Kim Jong-il's tactics were necessary and proper for his country as a whole.

The ones from my first argument


Yes, it is obvious information that we don't know much about North Korea since North Korea is one of the most isolated nations and has the most repressive government in the world. I willl expand later.

I will make my case more clear.

I will also be more clear in my sources this time around, the information that you were likely looking for on my source for Wikipedia was likely from the Time source or the World Factbook source. Regardless, all of my sources were solid.

Kim Jong-il was not a good leader to the people of North Korea:

  • Industry heavily eroded - to point that it's beyond repair
  • Tens of thousands or more people are forcefully engaged human trafficking against their will
  • Over 2/3 of children are severly malnurished or underweight
  • Did not seek more freedoms for the people of N.Korea
  • Put military pride over his people's welfare
  • Repressive dictator

"Nuclear weapons are essential in a military"

North Korea having nukes is useless for national defense. Nukes may provide a psychological sense of security, because of deterrence, there are no guarantees in this idea will successfully prevent any attack. Nuclear weapons are not cost effective either. Nuclear weapons are unfeasible for N. Korea as well. Since N. Korea is already cash strapped, they will have to protect the nukes against terrorism and nuclear annihilation. [1]

More importantly, assume N. Korea wants to attack S. Korea. Using nuclear weapons is unfeasible. As a defender of N. Korea, China would abandon N. Korea to help improve their own (China's) image around the world, because a poor Chinese image around the world would reduce their money from exports, and hurt the economy of China. [2] [3] Also, after a nuclear weapon is used, it is gone. Making them is completely unfeasible, since they will probably never be used. If you still defend this point, you are saying that Kim Jong-il made the right decision to pursue nuclear weapons because they will never be used, are dangerous to N. Korea's own security because of internal threats, and that losing China's support is worth it. It's only one ally - your only ally by the way. North Korea can afford to lose nearly all of their world trade (80%) and nearly half its food supply. China doesn't want a nuclear N. Korea either. [2] [3]

If Kim Jong-il really wanted a stronger military that would be useful, Kim could've bought tanks and other modern military equipment from another (likely Communist) nation. This would of been more practical, for one reason is that it would of been more affordable leaving more funds for the civilians of N. Korea.

" Kim Jong-il had to continue personality cult"

I have researched this point and see that yes his father had a more extreme personality cult. That is why I do not include this point on my side of the debate (on top). However, Kim Jong-il could of helped his citizens by making introducing the freedom of press, and if Kim Jong-il was a good leader, doing all he could to maximize REAL prosperity, he would have nothing to worry about!

"Reiterating Kim Jong-il's 'People problem' "

I guess that Kim Jong-il doesn't care heavily about his citizens. North Korea is likely the most repressive of all governments in the world. North Korean people are heavily brutalized as well. Many human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch have put N. Korea in an extremely unfavorable position. [4] [5] N. Korea, and former Kim Jong-il, have done nothing or barely anything to reduce human trafficking [8].

Kim Jong-il operated death camps. [6] So did Hitler. Kim's death camps hold hundreds of thousand of inmates, about 0.85% of the total population. Now, what was the main reason for these huge numbers? Listening to music, and other nation's culture. [12] [13] A leader that denies basic freedoms for his citizens is not a good leader. However, in the death camps, medical experimentation, forced labor, and forced abortions, and growing their own food with none suppled is the case. A leader that locks up his citizens for no valid reason is not a good leader. Hitler did the same to large numbers of his citizens, and he is regarded negatively in that nation as well.

Industry and Other

Under Kim Jong-il's tenure as "Dear Leader", industry in North Korea declined. It is now nearly beyond repair. No valuable industry is not a good trait in a nation, it reduces a nation's independence. [8]. You also say that foreign aid helped his nation while military building. Well, sure this was something positive for a poor leader, however, this was inconsistent. At some points, Kim Jong-il denied food assistance entirely. This was not a good choice. The total result is however that Kim Jong-il DENIED FOOD INDEPENDENCE for the most part for his citizens. [10] Also, 2/3 of all children are still severely malnurished or underweight. Much of the nation's economy is devoted to its military, which could of been cut and the funds given towards food resources. [8] [11] Overall, Kim Jong-il was not helping his nation enough to the extent he could of easily done. He has done some, but nearly not enough. As a result, over 3.5 MILLION people died during the 1990's during Kim's tenure. [10]


Kim Jong-il was a poor leader. He may of had one or too good points (food delivery and temporary private markets - that were later banned), but Kim Jong-il has been harmful for his nation, devoting not enough resources to his nation's infrastructure and welfare. Thousands and thousands have been forced into human trafficking, N. Korea's industry is much weaker, millions have died due to starvation, and over 2/3 of all children are severly malnurished or underweight. Kim also didn't give his people freedoms and has an oppressive regime that gave its people basically no freedoms.


[8] The World Factbook (App)

Debate Round No. 3


Thanks for the debate.

I had a feeling that due to the unpopularity of Kim Jong-il, his many missteps in leadership, and our lack of information about his life as a whole would make this debate lean towards the negative position. In fact, I do not know who would debate the positive side of this debate unless they want to play devil's advocate like I have done!

I think at this moment, I should reveal the real reason why I created this debate. I wanted to gain more information about Kim Jong-il through the opposition side. I did not necessarily believe that Kim Jong-il was truly a good leader, but I wanted to try and see how well I could debate it. I believe that in the long run, no one would probably vote for me since Kim Jong-il was an unpopular ruler.

In a nutshell, I would like to thank my opponent for having strong arguments against the opposition and clearer sources to his arguments.


I want to thank my opponent for this debate, and this helped solidify my ways of referencing sources, as the way I did was new to me. I think he truly knew that Kim Jong-il was a "nut job" and just wanted to see in what ways he might of been good.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by mrbusy 6 years ago
He is still indeed greatly revered leader in North Korea even after death. Although they have been and are going thru difficult times, they are building unique self-independant system. their culture is mostly collectivist thus many westerners doesn't understand and liberal's nightmare, but Juche ideology is partly in line with 'narodnaya volya'(people's will) or 'nezavisimost'(independece,self-sufficient economy) appeared in mid 19C in russia, although it has its share of criticism, I think Juche ideology can be strong alternative to globalization and NWO.

Speaking of dear leader... Try to imagine yourself to be a leader who's targeted by the world 1st power. it is not a previledge but a great burden to be a leader in such a country.
Posted by Judy-Jang 6 years ago
Well, I live in south Korea.. but I don't think Kim Jong-il was a fine leader.
Posted by vmpire321 6 years ago
what do you mean?
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
going to steal this debate
Posted by vmpire321 6 years ago
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by airmax1227 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded, but did a decent job of defending the resolution until then. Cons arguments were well organized and well written, as he refuted nearly all of Pros points.
Vote Placed by royalpaladin 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: mrignao concedes the debate. Kim Jung Il was an evil man who used communist language to manipulate the masses even though he was not an adherent of communism.
Vote Placed by vmpire321 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Fully rebutted PRO's points, had strong arguments, and more qualified sources to back them up.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This would be essentially a tie if mrignao created paragrahs and used more sources.