Thursday, February 11, 2016

Kim Jong-un's Stressful Role


Counted among the worst experiences that might befall any dictator are personal or regime embarrassments and world ridicule. For mature dictators political survival and continued existence depends upon keeping power over subjects and projecting it toward foreign states that condemn it. For untested successors survival requires building a new personal power legacy, exercising harsh discipline and possessing even more impressive weapons.   

Following his father's (KIM Jong Il's) death in 2011,  young Kim Jong Un (then 28) assumed most of his father's dictatorial titles, duties and policiesIn the 5 years since, young Kim and his regime have encountered public embarrassments, if not outright ridicule.  In 2013 the regime announced its new policy calling for simultaneous improvements of its nuclear weapons and its economy.  Kim considers foreign condemnation of North Korea's policies proof to his subjects of DPRK's standing as a world power.  Kim Jong-un must also believe that his subjects attribute N. Korea's world standing to him, and that they would defy any attempt by his military to grab his power.  He covets the gratuitous condemnation received by threatening South Korea and the world's superpower --- the U.S.

Some Personal Embarrassments
Security around Kim reportedly increased dramatically in 2012 because Kim "is extremely nervous about the possibility of an emergency developing inside North Korea" caused by "mounting opposition to his efforts to rein in the military".[90]
The May 2014 collapse of a 23-story apartment building in Pyongyang was speculated to have caused hundreds of fatalities. No official casualy count was released, but North Korea's' official news agency quickly issued a rare statement of "profound consolation and apology".
Kim Jong-un did not appear in public for six weeks in September and October 2014. State media reported that Kim was suffering from an "uncomfortable physical condition". Previously he had been seen limping.[134 et al] When Kim reappeared he used a walking stick.[140] and in September 2015, the South Korean government observed that Kim appeared to have over the previous five years, reached a total estimated body weight of 290 lb.[142]

Latest Foreign Ridicule of N. Korea

Kim Jong un is been reversing his predecessor's reliance on the military by stripping its top officers of export controls.  Related cash flows are thus removed from military oversight diminishing a once dominant role.

Chief of Staff, General Ri was last seen in public on January 5, at about the same time as the North’s claimed “hydrogen” bomb test, when he participated in an “inspection of coastal artillery” with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Yonhap reports that its source “raised the possibility that Ri may have raised objections to Kim’s recent appointment of party leaders [civilians] to key military posts.”

Kim's increasing willingness to execute some of the most senior figures in his military may suggest the young leader is struggling to maintain control. Analysts are beginning to wonder how much more the military will put up with. source

Latest Embarrassment for Kim Jong-un  

11 February 2016 - US sends submarine to South Korea

Dispatch of Virginia-class submarine USS North Carolina (SSN-777)  withTomahawk cruise missiles and submarine-launched torpedoes is in response to the recent North Korean space satellite launch condemned by both Seoul and Washington, claiming it may be a veiled missile test violating UN Security Council resolutions.

The spokesperson claimed the United States is also considering dispatching two new combat aircraft with stealth capabilities, possibly a B-2 bomber and an F-22 Raptor fighter plane, to South Korea.

M.E. note:  A new administration may send a vessel like this to anchor off South Korea as a very serious diplomatic message and an instant game changer for N. Korea's young Kim Jong-un.

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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