Silliness in the Hermit Kingdom and fun with North Korean succession

I  haven’t picked on my favorite diminutive despot in a while so I guess it’s time for more fun with North Korea.  Kim Jong-il North Korea’s totalitarian munchkin is rumored to have pancreatic cancer and has about five years to live. To that I say it couldn’t happen to a nicer person.  This is also part of the rumors that he has picked his youngest official son Kim Jong-un to be his successor, surprising many South Korean analysts who thought Kim Jong-chul, Kim’s middle son was the most likely pick, since his oldest son Kim Jong-nam is the moron that in a crime you would only expect from an 8 year old kid got busted trying to sneak into Japan to go to Disney Land pissed off daddy with that stunt and was sent back to the Chinese casinos he spends all his time in.  In an earlier post I had speculatted on the rumor that Kim Jong-il may have died and a fake had taken his place in order to keep the country from a violent power struggle common n Communist countries during a succession because of Kim Jong-il’s failure to start training a sucsessor some of which I will reprint here:

“Most Communist countries the leader usually took charge and upon his death successors usually fought it out in a power struggle to gain control or people in the higher positions in the party overthrew the leader and took charge.  Even in Cuba where Castro’s brother took charge was not quite the same since Raul took over at the request of his brother during an illness and then Fidel just let him keep it but never went through the long and intentional process of grooming him for the position openly such as what happened in what could be rightly called “The Bad Korea”.  Interestingly enough it seams that the Younger Kim has failed to do this for any of his children – or anyone else for that matter – as his father did for him.  The younger Kim is slacking but he might already be dead so it could be a little late to start now…

“Well first lets remember how Kim Jong-il came to power in the first place.  Kim Il-sung spent years raising up Jong-il to be his successor from altering history to helping his son form his own personality cult and mythology and putting him in positions of power were he could excel.  As I have mentioned earlier most communist countries the change of power is usually violent power struggle by spending years building up his son Kim Il-sung was able to make the transition of power smooth and simple.  Kim Jong-il however has failed to do this with any of his children or even people in the inner circles of the Party.  With the lack of the foresight displayed by his father Kim Jong-il has made the country open to the kind of violent power struggles that come from the death of the Party leader in a dictatorship.  Since Kim Jong-il almost godlike status in North Korea makes replacing him difficult without a long transition period if he were to suddenly die what would the other party leaders do to keep control without ending up killing each other? ”

Since the rumors that Kim Jong-il had died ended up not true or at least very unlikely to be true now with Kim’s obvious fading health, since the fake wouldn’t be dying, or if he is they picked the wrong fake, it looks like Kim Jong-il (or the party) has finally figured out that they need to start grooming a replacement.  The real question is does Kim Jong-il still have enough time for a proper turn over of power since his father had turned over all real power to him while he was still alive, as well as had spent years grooming him for the job, something that I don’t think Kim Jong-il will be able to do as well due to the time constraints of his illness and his lack of planning.  So since very little is know about Kim Jong-chul it is very hard to say how this will turn out for North Korea, granted I’m sure right now the North Koreans are trying to figure out the best way to start the propaganda for him, but unlike his father the propaganda is going to start after his selection as the next leader rather than before.  Kim Jong-il was already well known by the people through propaganda and the North Korean media long before he even looked like he would succeed his father, however Kim Jong-un is not very well know by the people much less the outside world so gaging how effective the next couple years worth of pro-Jong-un propaganda will be over the average North Korean much less the party leaders and military brass who Jong-un will need the support of in order to maintain any authority.  Jong-un is believed to be 25 or 26 so if the estimates on his fathers life are true he would take power when he was only 30 or 31, this could hurt him with the older party members who might not like taking orders from a “inexperienced kid”.  So what are the options, overthrow or use him as a puppet until he is old enough and then dispose of him or allow him to take full charge.  Basically if Jong-un isn’t able to consolidate power in a relatively short period of time he is opening himself up to overthrow by either disaffected military brass or party members.  In my opinion while he may be able to hold on to power for at least some time the economic conditions in North Korea and the slow influx of information from the outside world will eventually damage the current structure of North Korea to the point where it will eventually have to change to some extent.  The thee options of this change are, first violently in coup that will maintain power but cast off the Juche ideology since it is too closely tied in with the Kim’s but not necessarily Communism.  Second by a slow progression towards a China like economic and political form, or third a total collapse such as in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, that has had different effects depending on the country. Granted we could have a mixture of the first two but however it turns out it’s going to get interesting.

The real question of the day becomes “who is Kim Jong-un and what will he do?” Although some people such as a man living under the alias of Kenji Fujimoto who claims to have been Kim Jong-il’s personal sushi chef sated that Jon-un was just like his father, there is very little known about Jong-un that can be verified.  But if he is “just like his father” then the kids a bastard, a pervert, a lunatic, an egotistical despot and a mass-murderer in training.

Kim Jong-il before

Kim Jong-il before

Obviously sick Kim Jong-il now

Obviously sick Kim Jong-il now

Only known picture of Kim Jong-un

Only known picture of Kim Jong-un



  1. If the regime collapses, (which seems to me increasingly likely) what do you foresee as the immediate and longer term consequences?

  2. I’ll try to answer that in another post.

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