Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kim Jong Un emerges as . . . um . . . whatever

Whatever it is that we are supposed to know about dictators, we don't know it about Kim Jong Un. A current buzzword about Kim Jong Il is "unknowable." And that is after decades of public prominence and a giant cult of personality. The young Kim has seemingly achieved a great leap forward in unknowableness. This captures it pretty well:
According to various press analyses, the new leader is either a bumbling naïf or a clever, multilingual operator who’s already formed alliances with key generals. He will either push market reforms or preserve the status quo. He will reach out to the West or step up confrontation or do neither.

Here’s the real answer: We really don’t know much of anything. [...]
What does North Korea's news agency tell us about the Great Successor?
[...] Standing in the van of the Korean revolution at present is General Kim Jong Un, the great successor to the revolutionary cause of Juche and outstanding leader of the Party, the army and the people.

He is the eternally immovable mental mainstay of the Korean people. [...]
"Eternally immovable mental mainstay"? Hmm. Not nimble on his feet like his father? In any event, Reuters evidently has an infallible informant who informs us that the Young General is going to rule, not by himself, but as part of a military junta. If that's true, that counts as an actual development. And if not, oh well, nobody ever said unknowability was good for journalism.

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