Are we missing something here? It's North Korea on my mind again and I'm back to scratching my head over L'il Kim!
Let's face it, when his Dad died many of us thought given the young man's alleged lack of formal education, and an entrenched, serially indoctrinated military with no particular desire to change things, that he might not last too long. Sufficiently unskilled in the dark arts of subterfuge he may fall victim perhaps of a "general" coup or some unfortunate but conveniently fatal "illness". Well, he's defied those particular pundits so far, which led me to thinking - which as we know is always a dangerous character flaw, especially for a banker.
Uncle Jang Song Thaek, widely perceived as Kim's adviser and right hand man, was not generally seen as a reformer. One suspects he could be uncharitably disposed towards his 20s something relative and with that in mind, well placed to plot a future path for him and his friends that would exclude young Kim. Indeed about a quarter of the way through last year there were reports suggesting that the Dear Successor was the target of an assassination attempt.
What chance then that after some "investigation", that Uncle Jang found himself not in the position of influence and power he sought, but suddenly was like a rabbit in the headlights. Result? Execution! And anybody close to Uncle - family members in particular also executed, it seems, thereby obliterating any relatives who might be holding a grudge.
Whatever rumours are coming from North Korea as to the circumstances of the instruction to execute, they would suggest that L'il Kim had in fact outwitted the old guard. Whether or not ordered in a moment of instability, alcohol-induced (in vino veritas) or otherwise, decided that he had to make an example of someone. Sending a message that would work very quickly to deter other like-minded plotters. A variation on the story of Hercules and the Hydra; cut off the one head and immediately prevent all the others from growing back. Perhaps the Leader had a classical education after all!
The story so far? Clearly, if you go round killing people that's Bad! If you do it in a fit of uncontrollable rage and then compound it when you have calmed down by killing off other people, one has to suggest Mad! And Sad?
I think the boy is sad. He has been out of Korea; Switzerland at least and who knows elsewhere. He has a brother who frequents haunts in Macau, and who I am sure has some stories to tell. He is a fan of Disneyland. He loves basketball. He is said to like Eric Clapton and other Western performers - and where is he? Stuck in an increasingly isolated hole, particularly as China gets fed up with his antics - and indeed those of the whole regime. He makes friends with Denis Rodman that becomes high profile - and speaking personally I think there's a whole new story there and possibly some missed opportunities. If he has his wits about him, which it seems he might have more of than previously given credit for, he will be well aware that he could lead North Korea for the next 50 years. Does he, in his heart of hearts, really think he can keep the "lid" on the country for that length of time without his family's misdeeds being discovered? And as I have said before in these Blogs, if I were he, I would either want to find a way to get out with my life - or be the Kim who took his people off the poverty line and into the 21st century.
Unfortunately, for him, I would bet he won't get old either gracefully or disgracefully! I don't think he'll make it. But I do wonder whether, in all the speculation about his motives and the fear he instills in the rest of the world by his potential to do something really silly, that there is a worried young man who is actually saying, "I want change". He has potentially removed one of the obstacles to change, and ensured that any potential followers down that path will keep well out of his way lest they suffer the same fate.
He has already lined up a potential link to the outside world - albeit a rather strange one, and like a person contemplating suicide could it be that he is looking for a route to The Samaritans? Okay, so he may be going about it in a rather strange way, but he's a rather strange person from a rather strange country, and I am sure there will be many out there who will not agree with my musings, but could we actually be missing a cry for help?