Posted on 22-02-2011
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

Drowned out by the tumult in the Middle East, is the news of the crumbling North Korean autocracy.  The rogue regime has spent the last few months begging for food.  However, with its track record of diverting aid to the military, donor states are unwilling to prop up a crumbling regime.

North Korea’s starving population increasingly appears willing to protest conditions in the Stalinist state.  Even more unsettling for the regime is the willingness of the most brainwashed citizenry in the world to mock its leaders.  A few months ago the ailing Dear Leader commenced preparations for the eventual succession of his 28 year old son Kim Jong-un.  Even though state media started the usual absurd propaganda to buttress the thin resume of one of the few pudgy young men left in the country, the public appears to have greeted the new heir with derision.

A popular children’s song “Three Bears” about a cute bear family with a chubby papa bear, a slim mommy bear and a cute baby bear in a house was modified to mock the Kims:

Three bears in a house, pocketing everything; grandpa bear, papa bear and baby bear.  Grandpa Bear is fat, Papa Bear is fat, too, and Baby Bear is a doofus.

Meanwhile the cash starved regime is struggling to provide its people and elite with the usual bribes and gifts distributed to mark Kim Jong-il’s birthday.  Starved of cash, food and oil the military capacity of its million strong army is an open question.  Even with its diminished capacity, North Korea is still as unpredictable and dangerous as ever.

However, its ability to manage a second dynastic succession is in doubt.  Kim Jon-un faces a dynastic rival – his older, fatter and discredited brother Kim Jong-nam.  From his Chinese exile Jong-nam has criticized the planned succession.  There are rumors about his connection with North Korea’s benefactor China, who has reason to be irritated with the ruling Kims.  However, it is not clear that Jong-nam plans to give up his comfortable subsidized hedonistic lifestyle to rule a crumbling impoverished failed state.

The world is frighteningly unprepared for a North Korean collapse.  China which does not want a flood of refugees across the Yalu continues to prop up the regime.  It may also not want to share a border with a united and democratic Korea.  South Korea (particularly its left) parrots the cause of eventual unification but may not want to inherit or pay for such a basket case.  The cost of Korean reunification will dwarf the cost of unifying Germany.  With no media access into the country, it is hard to estimate when North Korea will reach its tipping point.

So for now we wait and watch as the Hermit kingdom crumbles and starves.

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Rashtrakut » Blog Archive » Kim Jong-il is dead on 18 December, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

[…] to be ailing and earlier this year named his inexperienced son Kim Jong-un as the heir to the crumbling hermit kingdom.  The youngest Kim will probably rule with the help of a regency council designated by his father […]

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