Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Ils Son.
In my opinion, this guy will never be the new leader.
It is a fight between those seeing the benefits of more capitalism and those who want absolute cult like authority like his father. My guess also is that the ratcheting up of aggressive activity over the western oceanic DMZ, may be the stirrings of the military leaders who want to position themselves as even tougher militarily than fearless leader. Gen. O Kuk-ryol, the National Defense Commission’s vice chairman has become so powerful himself that he would have to nod to anyone who takes power and there are those who wonder if he’s thinking, “why not me?” Obviously an extreme right wing military state will have its own right wing sentiment generating culture. So some jockeying for position are trying to be “badder” than other candidates, ordering artillery fire on disputed though empty areas along the DMZ. Barely reported naval clashes have seen patrol ships and frigates sink on both sides. So one theory, mine, is that the ratcheting up reflects a political power struggle already beginning inside the NK government.
Some see the ratcheting up as a bargaining chip. “Oh, you want us to stop firing possible nuclear delivery vehicles over disputed areas? No problem. Recognize our right to build nukes…or grant us a vote in the Security Council.”
File this under wild possibility: a civil war or a Coup D’etat could be the surprise conflict of the year in North Korea. The party apparatchniks will want to preserve the status quo. The capitalists will want to reach out as much as possible. If moderates win, the military could ‘restore order’.
You see the capitalists have managed to build multinational partnerships in heavy industry. Capitalists have seen growth of some industry despite the persistent food shortages. Jangdams, or free market flea markets have sprung up in North Korea and begun to spread. Some have managed to help bring in commodities that otherwise no one would have and have helped to stave off starvation.
Keep in mind in a recent report, a North Korean defector was surprised by the reports leaking about Kim Jong Il’s illness. They actually thought he was immortal. So there is no telling how easily this brainwashed gullible people can be turned one way or another. The incumbent hard right wing state controlled media status quo group has the upper hand.
That said, it is also possible that the more moderate successors will win power and then the military will take over and return North Korea to the 19th century again. This might then provoke the west to strike the government or strike possible nuclear development sites.
Also Kim Jong Un was schooled in Switzerland, and is said to be diabetic and suffering hypertension. He is probably culturally very different from the hypermilitarized hypercontrolled hyperdiscipline of North Korea. In Switzerland, he lived in one of the freest most liberal nations in the world. Already there are reports that there is a national song made with his name in it and is already called “Brilliant Comrade.” We know he was named probably successor and then suddenly received a high level position in the bowels of the government.
Once Kim Jong Nam the oldest son was a candidate but embarrassing news of some bad judgment, and an unappeasable appetite for the finer things pulled him from contention.
Then the middle son Kim Jong Choi was thought to be too feminine.
Then there’s Jang Seong-taek, Kim Jong-il’s brother-in-law, who is sort of a Chief of Staff to Kim Jong Il is also a contender.
Of course all of this is a guess based on rumors leaking from an extremely closed country.
Then there’s China.
Little is really known about how China would react to a succession fight in North Korea. Obviously, a capitalist China would prefer a capitalist North Korea and it’s possible that the death of Kim Jong Il would bode well for everyone if the Chinese exerted pressure to preserve a favorable, peaceful outcome.
But the Obama Administration has already sent diplomatic personnel to try and create a unified response to Kim Jong Il who probably knows his days are numbered and wants to make North Korea a nuclear power before he dies.
I am not afraid of Kim Jong Il’s nuclear North Korea. I am afraid of the next nutcase hypermilitarist waiting for his turn to take power. And let’s face it. Seoul is about an hour from Pyongyang. It wouldn’t take long to get devastating results. with or without nukes. The North has artillery tubes pointed at Seoul that would devastate the city.
I think China would increase it’s worldly profile if it would rise to the occasion when Kim goes and try to unite the two Koreas. It would be good for everyone, and perhaps one day we might see a reason to remove the tens of thousands of troops and expensive deployments to South Korea.
Regarding US commitments to Japan, Germany and South Korea. A lot of critics add up the expenses we could save by closing down base facilities in places where the war that opened them was over more than half a century ago. Critics don’t often consider that having a place to deploy men at arms makes an army stronger and makes our world political footprint bigger. But it does seem that we could better afford the wars we are in by using resources still tied down in the wars we have already fought.
The Mexican Border.
Well I have to once again reference a book by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger who predicted that drug gangs could get so powerful in northern Mexico that it might require US military power to counter it.
Already the street of Laredo Nuevo look like Chicago in the 1930s. Bodies everyday, mutilated, tortured, kidnapped, all drug related. And Mexicans on both sides of the conflict have been seen either fighting or patrolling in or over US territory.
That could spill northward. Wait until you hear this getting to San Antonio. Then panic.
Nothing succeeds like success.
I have written about Obama heavily criticizing him as another corporate hack and a loser who could not move a single major piece of legislation through outside of his own executive authority. I slammed Democrats as losers who were always at the behest of the dogma I call the tyranny of even handedness, reaching across the aisle and trying to be bipartisan and civil when the other side is playing to win, willing to call arcane procedural tricks to stall, spread lies to confuse, make outrageous smears, all under a Spartan like dedication to saving the country from even one major legislative effort of the majority of the people. Democrats tend to fight by the Queensbury Rules and the Republicans tend to find MMA cage style.
What a difference a week makes.
Suddenly, out of the blue, the President’s testicles appeared and he lead the Congress to “save the Democratic Brand,” as Bill Maher says. David Frum, a Senior Fellow with the right wing think-tank American Enterprise Institute was asked to leave because he painted the comprehensive health care bill passage was a major policy setback and cultural loss for the Conservatives. The hurt was just too much and the acceptance of this sort of criticism was too much for the already sclerotic official Conservative Establishment. The fact is, this bill has not only revitalized Obama’s presidency, it is the single fastest turn around I have ever seen and I am almost embarrassed at some of the things I said earlier. Polls have turned and the boiling point backlash that manifests itself in open and blatant racial slurs, random violence, calls for violence among right wing groups are not the first time we have seen these things.
In 1791, The Whiskey Rebellion broke out in response to a tax on the substance in western Pennsylvania. Tax collectors were beaten, tortured, murdered, and riots and fires were set. Washington sent 12,000 troops to put down the insurrection that had lasted three years.
The New York Draft Riots were an ugly turn in American history where citizens burned, looted, and attacked African Americans in The United States first “Hell No We Won’t Go” movement. Troops from Gettysburg had to quell the violence.
When Social Security passed, the right wing spread the same tales of communism and loss of freedom and the death of the republic.
Prohibition became the money maker for crime gangs.
In the sixties anti Vietnam sentiment created huge riots and violence and an anti government Left.
The Voting Rights act resulted in a resurgence of White Supremacy and Klan Activity.
And now Bill Maher said it again so well regarding where Americans really are in regards to the two parties.
They see a guy wearing an Uncle Sam Hat, hanging from it are a line of tea bags, and the guy is wearing a Revolutionary Army uniform and a sign that has a picture of Obama with a Hitler Moustache and line that says “No Communism Here”.
And they decide, “I’m going to go with the calm Black guy.”
So we have been here before. And this is a major win for the President and the Democratic Party. It’s a win because the team that America voted for just got their first taste of victory and may pursue it with alacrity.
Steven Spielberg has created so much high quality blockbusting content that just putting his name on your list of producers is like hanging a cross in the room of an exorcism. Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan are the gold standard for recreating real combat on film. He surrounds the viewer with the confusion, the desperation, the shock, the screams, dust, the snap and authority and noise of actual combat. The characters are believable. The story hangs together.
Combat veterans have told me that much of those scenes felt very real.
Not so much The Pacific. I have only seen episode one and two and have some criticisms. The battles lack the snap and confusion and blood. The characters are a bit too predictable. The environments less real for me. The dialogue less interesting.
I’ll give it a few more before I probably take it all back.
But something is missing.
Just like health care reform became a mass ‘it’s-about-time’ moment for the administration, it was a similar sentiment across the world as Israel’s biggest ally, the United States, decided that it would no longer enable one treaty violation after another by the Israelis.
There will be no peace until Israeli undoes the ghettoizaton of the West Bank.
It was another consecutive loss for K Street, this time AIPAC.