Saturday 21 January 2012

Plump Prince: Pouff! or Prevail?

Guitar Hero. Next stop: feather duster??
Will the new puffy dictator survive or will North Korea succumb to internal squabbles, even unto major change?  I am refererring, of course, to the portly new child-tyrant, Kim Jong-un, son of Jong-il and grandson of Il-sung...

I nailed my colours to the mast, with an off-the-cuff prediction that he'd be a goner in a few months.  I admit a minimal amount of analysis to make this judgement.  I've visited North Korea: four times in the early eighties, doing some coking-coal business and at that time it seemed to me that maybe it was due for a China-style opening up. Of course that didn't happen, so that should be a guiding light, shouldn't it? Still, isn't enough enough?  For the the people of that benighted country, and even, surely, for its leadership?

My judgement, slender and slight though it was, turns out to be shared by the late, great Christopher Hitchens.  I'm reading his excellent collection of Essays, "Arguably", and in "Worse than Nineteen Eighty-four", he concludes: "... why should it be assumed that their failed state and society are permanent?  Another timeline, oriented to liberation and regime change, is what the dynasty most fears."

Then I read an excellent article, "Racial Purity, North Korean Style", by B.R. Myers in the Herald Tribune, in which he makes a powerfully and knowledgeably argued case that the odious regime, "headed" by the porcine Kim Jong-un will continue.
"... his succession makes perfect sense in North Korea's ethno-nationalistic personality cult.  People who value racial purity always consider some bloodlines purer than others, and ... no bloodline is purer than the eternal presidents."
I dunno.  I guess I'll just have to fall back on the time-honoured journalistic "time will tell".

Update: a video of a talk by B.R.Myers, about a year ago: "The Cleanest Race", an in-depth look at North Korean society.  This guy seems to know his stuff.