Meet Kim Jong-un, he may need your advice

You’re the 20-something-year-old son of megalomaniac prison warden
who owned and ran a brutal penitentiary housing around 23 million prisoners,
many of whom are starving to death.

You’ve no real understanding of the world and nor has the world
of you
. Your father’s just died, bequeathing you the family business without any
training and, presumably, to the ire of some of Dad’s older cronies.

Your Chinese sponsor is very nervous about its own power
transition next year and will not appreciate any sudden erratic or dangerous moves.
But your estranged South Korean neighbor is ready for all-out-war at any moment
and, according to your generals, you need to establish early on that you, far
from being lost, are ready too.

2011 has seen more dictators fall than any year (seen, that
is, by everyone except by your prisoners) in your living memory and falling
means certain death for you and your family.

Oh, and you’ve a stockpile of nukes.

So, what’s your first move?

  • sherdy

    Kim Jong said he was Il – now do you believe him?

    PS – Is this black spot fatal?

  • Mick Fealty

    No I’m getting it too. Sorry.

  • Kel

    I’d reach out to the UN and see who the superpowers are: America, Russia, China? Figure out who I can partner with to feed my people and give them basic services. As the son of a dictator, there will be some posturing, especially about the nukes.
    But, I’d study the Arab Spring and think twice about continuing my father’s insane dictatorship.
    It will be fascinating to see what actually unfolds…

  • pauluk

    An interesting take on Kim Jong Il from Václav Havel, who also recently died.

  • Oh, and by the way, growing eyes on the back of your head, young man, would be a good idea.

  • Obelisk

    Well he’s a relatively young man, maybe with three to five decades of life ahead of him.

    Maybe he’ll slowly amass power as his father did before him, slowly replacing the elite around him with those of his own chosen until he stands alone.

    Or more likely the internal contradictions that underpin the regime will finally come to a head and he will meet an ignominious end.

    If he dies an old man and the people wail in the streets again i’d be shocked.

    As for a first move? If he was sane he’d announce he was relinquishing power and move abroad to China like his big brother. Anyone with money and sense flees that insane asylum.

    If he wants to end well, go down in History as the Gorbachev of the North and aim for long term reform.

    If he follows the most likely path, that everyone around him wants him to follow and which by the few indications we have he is eager to go down, then his best bet is to stay on the side of the military leaders who REALLY rule Pyongyang now until he can replace them with his own people, and not too reach too early for the prize.

  • Manfarang

    Advice for the dear young lad
    Avoid strong drink, eat plenty of fresh vegetables, stay in shape- play lots of ping pong, and you won’t get diabetes.

  • abucs

    I flew away from the de-militarized zone this morning to Busan so i hope he doesn’t do anything silly with those nukes.

    I was told that when there is a death in the North of a minor general then sometimes villages just across the border can be targetted for shelling.

    Hopefully the son will look to signal a more friendly relationship with the south and by extension the U.S in the weeks ahead.

  • Manfarang

    I am sure life will go on as normal in the south.
    North Pole weather in Busan?

  • Kim Jong-un, like his father, will have no power whatsoever, but will simply be a figurehead for the generals who really run the zoo.

  • Rory Carr

    Well guys. I have to admit that, just like the rest of you, I haven’t a clue what’s going on in North Korea much less any idea of what is likely to happen next. And, trouble is, the only information that comes readily to me is of the most crass sort of propagandistic received wisdom that would do justice to a Daily Mail pull-out supplement.

    In such circumstances I find that ignorance truly is bliss (or at least preferable to most, if not all, of ill-informed comment for the sake of it.)

  • Manfarang

    Where is Aidan Foster-Carter when you need him?

  • abucs

    No plans for scuba diving Manfarang. About 3 degrees celsius.

  • Comrade Stalin


    Actually most of what we know from NK comes from defectors, and there’s plenty of TV footage from within the state’s borders. The fact that western tourists aren’t allowed to even move around the country’s capital city, much less its suburbs, without being escorted by a party official really should tell you something.

    In terms of the new leader, it’s hard to say but it seems sensible to assume that nothing will change in the absence of a change of attitudes within the North Korean military. The only prospect of that happening is if China are able to persuade them to make reforms, and frankly I suspect China’s power over North Korea tends to be overstated – China does have the capacity to pull the plug but even then nobody can predict how the North Korean military would respond.

  • Munsterview

    Mick : ‘ No I’m getting it too. Sorry.’

    Sorry ? Ah well, now that you know how it feels perhaps you will not be as flaithiul with them in future?

  • Well, there is certainly a golden opportunity for anyone who has a head for future global intelligence, Ruarai, and an understanding of all the present zeroday vulnerabilities in the struggling West which can be used for leverage to garner suitable required virtual aid to modernise the profile and upgrade and restructure the perception which the West pimps about the North Korean nation, which is always so predictably negative and belligerent.

    I wonder if British intelligence has anything good to offer the young ruler, for Blighty have their own clones in Princes William and Harry to school in the Great Game Arts. Or would that be a Royal Household in-house task and responsibility to honour … or abdicate ….. or outsource ….. or screw right royal up or whatever is done nowadays in such a sensitive field.

    It would be a sad and sorry state of affairs if there is nothing of attractive value to offer, methinks, given what it would say to everyone globally.

  • He should take a sabbatical to do a Masters in Public Policy (but not plagiarise a Ph.D. like Ghaddaffi´s son).