Will the World Change Following the Death of Kim Jong-Il?

Kim Jong-Il is dead—his heart failed him.  The country he leaves behind is economically dead, its population is mostly starving, as what resources it didn’t use to support the lavish comfort of the now dead 69 year-old dictator was pumped into maintaining an offensive military and the development of nuclear weapons and delivery systems.  Most likely, Kim Jong-Il’s death won’t end hunger in North Korea, reduce the threat of war, or work towards reuniting the Korean peninsula. 

The area we now call North Korea and South Korean was an independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. Five years later, Japan formally annexed the entire peninsula and ruled with a brutality, which characterized the Japanese Empire of that day.

Historians and a few others know that the Soviets declared war on Japan the day after the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.  In a mad rush to claim territory before it could be liberated, Soviet-sponsored Communists, under the leadership of Kim Il Sung took control of the northern half of Korea.  After the US and the rest of the free world disarmed, the Communist North Korea invaded liberated South Korea but failed to conquer the UN and US-backed Republic of Korea (ROK). 

President Kim Il Sung, adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic “self-reliance” as a check against outside influence. They demonized the US as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda, and molded political, economic, and military policies around the core ideological objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang’s control.  In 1994, Kim Il Sung died and Kim Jong Il assumed the dictators position.

After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, North Korea relies heavily on international aid to feed its population. North Korea’s history of regional military provocations, proliferation of military-related items, long-range missile development, WMD programs including tests of nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009, and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community.

Kim Jong-un, the third son of the dead dictator, is the new “dear leader” and get this—he’s 20 years old.  How will he lead?  But come to think of it, a lot of things were said about Kim Jong-Il which made one wonder how a Hennessey-sipping, sashimi-carving, caviar-chomping, DVD-watching, golf-cheating, people-starving megalomaniac could run an entire country, even one with such limitations as North Korea.  But we know the answer, don’t we? 

Since Kim Il-Song heart failed him at 82 years of age, other people have been running the country.  Having a “dear leader” for the people to worship helped them keep the people motivated.  Following Kim-Il Song’s death, many people reportedly “committed suicide” which probably goes to explain the consolidation of power by the winners.  Those folks, with their logical replacements, will continue to pull the strings on their new puppet—Kim Il-un.

Therefore, not much of anything will change.

It just makes sense.

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