My youngest came down the stairs just as he was crashing for bed to give the good news that Kim Jon Il, dictator is dead.
It’s a nice thing but I’d guess it means very little.
Unlike Saddam and Gaddafi his death was not caused by either a US invasion or a popular revolution supported by the west that means the people of North Korea having any kind of say in what happens is highly unlikely.
Let’s go right down the line who WILL have the final say in North Korea?
It is unlikely to be his son Kim Jong Un. As the successor to an absolute ruler this is by nature the most vulnerable time for him. Also as a youngest son the question of if his older siblings have connections that might give him grief is up in the air. So the next people to check with is….
…The North Korean Army. they are the only group in the country that is both well fed and armed so what they say will go. HotAir notes that there is a problem between the haves and the have nots even there.
How loyal will the military be to new supreme honcho Kim Jong-un? On the one hand, the old guard was reportedly fulsomely obsequious towards him when the regime started rolling him out last year as the heir apparent. Could be that they were acting that way simply to avoid being sent to Camp 22 by his pop if they didn’t, but it could also be that his pedigree as a Kim is enough to warrant absolute devotion. Remember, this is a country so deeply, insanely cultish in its worship of the leader that Kim Il-Sung — Kim Jong-Il’s father, and a man who’s been dead for nearly 20 years — is technically still president.
The Koreans have been subject to this cult for long enough that those alive today likely do not remember a time before the cult. (In a country where the people are starving to death I don’t suspect we see a lot of octogenarians outside of the elites).
Bottom line if the Military wants something they will bet it unless a veto is imposed, but who could impose a veto on the 4th largest military in the world? Simple…
…China. A lot of people forget that the only reason there IS a North Korea is because Chinese troops poured over the border to push us back. With the fall of the Soviet Union it is safe to say that nothing happens in North Korea without the permission and/or approval of China. I would go venture as far as to say that China likely has been the real people running the show for a while. Not only does it allow for a positive contrast but any mischief that China wants to do internationally can be done through NK giving them plausible deniability.
My thought? China will use the situation in North Korea to it’s fullest to achieve two immediate goals.
1. Keep the west off-balance. Western nations will come hat in hand to ask China to help keep Korea “Stable” meaning “Not falling apart and attacking the south.” There is no danger of this as the NK Army and elites exist only as long as China allows them to but western nations will still give China concessions to make sure.
2. Wukan? Never heard of it? As long as the Korean peninsula is in crisis the west is going to totally ignore the revolt in Wukan. China will play this to the max using the Korean situation to keep the west from making demands concerning the rebellious city (in exchange for their “help” in Korea) while giving the western press something else to think about. My prediction? This means that NK will be up in the air up at least until China finishes off Wukan, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chinese helped things along for the late Kim to provide this distraction.
The only big winner is ….Jon Huntsman as it highlights the value of his experience in China but other than his campaign, you won’t see any kind of benefit for anyone else.