Monday, June 08, 2009

Il Timed Infantilism

While he's rattling the usual sabers and convicting reporters of doing their job, the shrinking leader of North Korea has at least finally admitted that he's not immortal. This exceeding outsider among world leaders is emitting great volumes of his usual pronouncements while making nice with the military, to all appearances purposefully positioning a son to take over.

Another, latest, blow has landed, with the isolated nation threatening traffic in waters it considers under its control, while two young reporters have received harsh sentences for venturing too close to its closed borders.

North Korea has warned fishermen and boat captains to stay away from the country's east coast, Japan's coast guard said Monday, in another sign the communist regime is planning to fire more missiles after its recent nuclear test.

Pyongyang also threatened Monday to retaliate with a "super hard-line" response if sanctions were imposed.

North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said Pyongyang "has made clear many times that we will consider any sanction a declaration of war and will take due corresponding self-defense measures." The commentary carried by the official Korean Central News Agency did not elaborate.

The U.N. Security Council has been discussing imposing sanctions against the North in response to its May 25 nuclear test, while Washington considers introducing its own financial sanctions.
On Monday, Pyongyang, handed down 12-year prison sentences to two U.S. journalists, convicting them of unspecified hostility toward the country and illegally crossing the border. The reporters were arrested March 17 near the North's border with China while researching a story.

The only action taken by the previous maladministration seems to have been cutting the cord in Macau, where the country has been producing its own currency for awhile. From that place, the admission from the eldest, errant, son (recently finally removed from succession plans)comes.

The eldest son of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il appears to have confirmed reports his younger brother has been designated the country's next leader.

Kim Jong-nam, when asked by Japanese broadcaster NTV about whether Kim Jong-un would succeed his father, said: "I think so. I hear this news by media".

Kim Jong-nam, who denied reports he had defected, said he could not remember the last time he spoke to his father.

South Korean media last week said Kim Jong-un had been designated to succeed.

In the interview, which NTV said was conducted in Macau, Kim Jong-nam, 37, said in English: "The appointment of a successor is totally my father's decision.

"He makes his decisions so he doesn't need to talk to me or talk to another person."

The outsider of world regimes is a sad, bothersome remnant of days when rule was all in the family. Spain will not be invading England again to claim its due after the kind assassinates his Spanish-born wife, and Shakespearean dramas won't be inspired by family feuds that topple heirarchies. While this is an improvement in many ways, we do have to reflect that family concern for a country's well-being could be good in instances when an elected leader proves to be daft and/or dysfunctional.

But I digress.

Sadly, in the waning days of the Clinton administration, U.S. relations with N.Korea were actually making progress. We cannot know what difference it would have made if the adults had remained in charge, rather than the maladministration irrevocably undermining diplomatic efforts by blustering about 'axis of evil' attitude problems. That we have no existing channels for dealing with a deteriorating world leader - who appears to be paving his son's way by giving his military free hand in world affairs - verges on disastrous.

The results of the infantile maladministration's bad handling of absolutely everything has brought world threat to a precipice, and it will take good work with little predictable by way of results to bring off a good ending.

This is a hard lesson in the importance of electing thoughtful, even responsible, world leaders.

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