Friday, 12 April 2013

DPRK - what the hell?


      Not really literature-related, but I'm certainly fascinated by the North Korean posturing festival of early 2013.

      Being a writer, I decided I would treat the Kim the Younger as a character and try to decide what his motivations might be. I'm sure the CIA does something similar, and much more professionally, but it's a fun mental exercise.

     Kim's spent the past weeks vocally threatening nuclear attack on his neighbors, the US and, as far as I can tell, Atlantis. He's had missile launchers potter around and look threatening, and the sum total of his profit thus far has been to make China and Russia back away from their historic relationship with the DPRK.

    If I was writing the thriller, what possible reason could Kim have for his visible course of action? We'll discard "he's crazypants" as an explanation because it's boring. If he's nuts there's no reason to speculate. Let's try to decide what he could be hoping to get out of it.

    Whatever profit he expects can't be coming from outside North Korea, as he's alienating everyone (with the possible exception of Iran). Therefore, he must be looking to increase his standing with forces inside the DPRK. Inside, the only major player is the North Korean military - it’s unlikely Kim gives a shit what the people think of him - so we can go with the idea that his posturing is meant to impress the generals.

    Being a hawk often enamors politicians to generals, so the tough talk is probably aimed at them. That raises a more interesting question: Why is he not popular enough with the generals? Young Kim was educated for several years overseas, so is he seen as not sufficiently committed to the revolution? Are the generals actively looking to gain control of the government in such a way as to oust the Kim cult-dynasty? Who knows, but it's interesting to speculate.

   If I had to guess, I'd say Young Kim took the seat of power without understanding the existing interplay of influence in Pyongyang, and others are chipping away at his throne. So, yes, there might be a war, but it would be intended as a distraction from internal conflicts that would, I think, rapidly turn that violence inward.

   I think there's a chance that Kim may suddenly suffer a retirement due to heath issues. We'll see. It's a bit like trying to predict what a cage full of lobotomized cats will do.