Posted on 18-12-2011
Filed Under (Current Affairs) by Rashtrakut

Two international figures died this weekend.  Vaclav Havel personified the Czech nation in bringing down communism and remained a moral authority after his presidency.  He will be widely mourned.

The second was the patriarch of possibly the only obese family in North Korea.  Coming to power after the first dynastic succession in a Communist nation, Kim Jong-Il deepened the impoverishment and isolation of his unfortunate country.  Other than the brainwashed minions, few will mourn him.  Kim Jong-Il was widely reputed 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 until/if he ever takes over.

Kim Jong-il could to some extent feed off the mystique of his father Kim Il-sung.  However, by the end of his rule it has been difficult for North Korea to hide the extent of its backwardness and impoverishment from its own people.  Too many South Korean movies and television programs displaying their far healthier and prosperous brethren circulate in North Korea.  Too many North Koreans have crossed back and forth across the Yalu River into China for an information blackout to be absolute.  With little moral authority left it could be difficult for the regime to hang on.

And so a delicate diplomatic dance begins.  South Korea has placed its armies on high alert.  Seoul and Washington must evaluate the diplomatic language to use in responding to the news and conduct a cost-benefit analysis of expressing condolences.  The Chinese, the primary prop for this bankrupt regime, must evaluate whether they should play along with the succession or encourage Jong-un’s fatter brother to seize power.  In the short run it appears that a weaker regime in Pyongyang leans closer to becoming a Chinese satellite.

Yet even presumed Chinese satellites are uncomfortable with the close embrace of the dragon.  Fear of Chinese dominance has pushed an equally paranoid Burmese government to ease its isolation.  How far will the weak regime in Pyongyang resist Beijing’s diktats?  And does this regime have the strength to survive a glasnost?  The next few months will be interesting.

2011 has not been kind to dictators.  Long standing regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were toppled.  Syria and Yemen are tottering.  Bahrain has been shaken to its core.  Even the previously secure corporatist regime of Vladimir Putin has seen cracks appear in the foundation.  Even if the death of Kim Jong-il was not as gory as the video below:



he leaves a shaky regime in the hands of his inexperienced son.  Rot in hell Kim Jong-il.

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