Monday, December 19, 2011

Kim Jong Il is Dead: North Korea's Ruling Dynasty's Third Generation

Sooner or later, this was bound to happen:
"N Korean leader Kim Jong-il dies"
BBC News Asia (December 19, 2011)

"North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has died at the age of 69, state-run television has announced.

"Mr Kim, who has led the communist nation since the death of his father in 1994, died on a train while visiting an area outside the capital, the announcement said.

"He suffered a stroke in 2008 and was absent from public view for months.

"His designated successor is his third son, Kim Jong-un, who is thought to be in his late 20s...."
I wrote about North Korea's ruling dynasty about a year ago. (November 25, 2010) On paper, North Korea is an up-to-date nation, with a Chairman: not a king or emperor. Considering the way that territory is run, and how ownership is passed along in the Kim family: I think it's a bit more accurate to think of the place as an old-fashioned domain, ruled by a family of fairly colorful warlords.

I also think that most folks in North Korea will probably be much better off, after the Kim family and their enforcers get replaced. Provided that whoever gets the job of cleaning up the mess is modestly competent: and more interested in public service, than imported lobster and ideology.

That's about as close to a rant about the Kim dynasty as I'll allow myself today. I explained why I don't 'dance on the grave' of dead autocrats, in another blog:

North Korea: So Far, So Good

"North Korea's state-run news agency, KCNA, urged people to unite behind the younger Kim.

" 'All party members, military men and the public should faithfully follow the leadership of comrade Kim Jong-un and protect and further strengthen the unified front of the party, military and the public,' the news agency said...."
In a way, KCNA's official take on Kim Jong Il's death is quite good news. Whoever's calling the shots at the moment doesn't seem to want the 'unified front' to blame the late Kim's death on Yankee imperialism. It's early days, of course. For all I know, someone will get the idea of blaming Kim Jong Il's death on that plot to set up a Christmas tree near the North Korean border.

Christmas tree? I am not making that up.

2,000,000 Dead in Famine; Human Rights Abuses; and Nukes

"...Mr Kim inherited the leadership of North Korea - which remains technically at war with South Korea - from his father Kim Il-sung.

"Shortly after he came to power, a severe famine caused by ill-judged economic reforms and poor harvests left an estimated two million people dead.

"His regime has been harshly criticised for human rights abuses and is internationally isolated because of its pursuit of nuclear weapons...."
Like I said, I think folks in North Korea - those who aren't close enough to the ruling family - could do a whole lot better, with someone else running the country.

They could do worse, too. Quite a few North Koreans didn't die in that famine, and it looks like the Kim family knows how to put on large-scale public entertainment.

And, not to be too pessimistic, someone who believes North Korea's official line on reality might take over - and decide to launch some of their nuclear warheads. That could be a very unpleasant situation.

Somewhat-related posts:

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Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.