Au Revoir Iraq
Dec. 19 in US Military History

Kim Jong Il Dead



Our Dear Leader Comrade Kim Jong Il, the evil and loony dictator of North Korea, is dead at last, supposedly suffering a heart attack while riding a train.  His funeral follows on December 28, which will be a vast creepy spectacle of mass wailing.  Don't miss it.

They'll probably feature his theme song, "No Motherland Without You":

You pushed away the severe storm
You made us believe, Comrade Kim Jong-il
We cannot live without you
Our country cannot exist without you!

It may well be true that North Korea can not exist without Kim Jong Il, that it will unravel without him.

Kim has been grooming his slacker son, Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong-un, to succeed him, promoting him to four star general at 27 years of age.  It's unlikely he will win the power struggle which will follow his father's death.  Without Kim Jong Il holding the country together with fear, North Korea will likely implode.

There is no great fear of the North Korean military.  Even though it gets first priority for resources, it has suffered considerably from the terrible economic situation brought about by Communist management.  Their ill-fed soldiers can not perform a full hour of physical exercise.  After firing a couple hundred artillery rounds at the South Korean island of Yeonpyeongdo, North Korea scrambled its air force to make a demonstration of force.  They lost several aircraft just launching them, due to lack of experience by pilots who simply have not flown much.  North Korea has a large military, but it is a paper tiger.

The real threat of the North Korean military is that it has the guns, which means it can take what ever it wants.  Most of the population is unemployed and living hand to mouth.  The harvest was bad again.  Winter is coming on.  Expect anarchy to rule in the hinterlands, which will spread to the cities and eventually to Pyongyang, the capitol.

North Korean civilians will starve if they stay in place, so expect them to be on the move.  Hundreds of thousands will probably flee north to China, led by the border guards.  Many will flood the southern border into South Korea, probably overwhelming the defenses of the DMZ.  Expect a massive crime wave in Seoul by North Koreans accustomed to breaking the law to survive.

The worst nightmare of South Koreans is the ten thousand artillery tubes facing Seoul to open fire.  The second worst nightmare is the fall of North Korea, prompting astronomical costs of assimilating the failed North Korean state.  The North Korean population, for the most part, is probably untrainable.  The last generation of North Korean children suffers from retardation from malnutrition.  South Korea will be carrying the dead weight of North Korea for a generation.

The Chinese have the most penetration into North Korea and will probably have the strongest presence there after it collapses.

Without the security forces to impose order, North Korea will fall apart.  The bad economy has corrupted the security apparatus, which has been taking bribes to survive.  We'll probably see some top leaders fleeing to China and South Korea within the week.  The unravelling of North Korea will be the top story for months to come.

If you want to read up on North Korea, I might suggest "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea" by Barbara Demick, who interviewed in detail a handful of defectors. It gives you a good view inside the heads of North Koreans and their deteriorating lives. Another revealing book is "North of the Dmz: Essays on Daily Life in North Korea," by Andrei Lankov. Lankov is a Russkie who went to North Korea on an exchange program. He gives a good view of the everyday life of North Koreans back in better times. There is a lot of interesting information, but it is a collection of newspaper columns and often repeats itself.