Kim Jong-un is a murderous, dictatorial jerk, as was Kim Il-sung. However, Kim Il-sung did more than merely murder and act in dictatorial fashion. He led. He personally visited Stalin several times and managed to convince him that an attack on South Korea would be successful if Russia provided generous military assistance — military equipment, strategic and tactical guidance and other support prior to the attack and during its initial phases. Stalin obliged, warning Kim to be prepared fully prior to attacking. The “surprise” attack, which should not have been a surprise, came early on the morning of June 25, 1950. Reunification, under his own terms, was Kim Il-sung’s main priority. It seems quite unlikely that Kim Jong-un will travel to China, meet with her leaders and convince them to support North Korea’s military nuclear ambitions, his main priority.
The article concludes,
The possibility of a far reaching purge in a nuclear-armed state defined predominantly by hostility to the outside world is deeply disquieting. Amidst the uncertainties and dangers posed by Jang’s ouster and execution, there is an urgent need for all surrounding powers and the United States to consult closely to limit the risks of an even larger crisis.
Domestic disruptions in North Korea and displeasure evidenced by China over Kang’s execution are indeed potential problems. China has until now played significant roles in North Korea’s Special Economic Zones. China may reduce her role in them, causing North Korea to look more aggressively elsewhere for “partners.”
As I contended in a recent article titled North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons programs coming to Special Economic Zones?, the nuclear weapons potentials of new North Korean Special Economic Zones may be of substantial interest to Iran should international sanctions on her nuclear activities be eliminated or even merely curtailed. That would likely precipitate new, and potentially even more serious, crises than the current Iranian fixation with nuclear warheads, delivery systems, Uranium enrighment and Plutonium production. Even with sanctions, Iran and North Korea have cooperated on nuke matters. With more funds available to Iran there would be increased opportunities and incentives for more cooperation, in North Korea and/or in Iran. An analogy might be drawn to the two rogue nations combining resources to achieve critical mass.
As I read the P5+1 November 24th deal, it shows little if any promise of curtailing Iran’s drive for “the bomb” and means to deliver it. There has thus far been no indication that possibilities of enhanced cooperation between Iran and North Korea were considered in arriving at the P5+1 deal and there is no indication that they will be considered in attempts to craft a final deal.
What happens next? The immediate question is the depth and severity of the coming purge. It is likely that thousands of officials linked to Jang could face either dismissal or death. The prospect of a reign of terror within North Korea could trigger unforeseen consequences, either intimidating elites near the center power or undermining their loyalty to the system. The very logic of “a traitor in our midst” undermines the Kim clan’s repeated claims of political omniscience and omnipotence, revealing the depravity and deception that has been among the secrets of the regime’s longevity.
The possibility of a far reaching purge in a nuclear-armed state defined predominantly by hostility to the outside…
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