10 January, 2012

It's hard to manuafacture a god

From the looks of things, the attempt to consolidate Kim Jong-un's godhead are not going well with all sectors.  Some of them are downright laughable.  The ever-fascinating Nightwatch describes what's going on:

North Korea: Sunday, 8 January, was the birthday of Kim Jong-un, but it passed without fanfare. Instead, millions of North Koreans viewed a 50-minute television program showing Kim Jong-un greeting enthusiastic soldiers, driving a military tank, handling weapons, sitting in the cockpit of a military aircraft and riding a horse. 
Comment: North Korean propagandists have indulged in the theater of the absurd with the 50 minute documentary on the military genius of a young man raised in a Swiss boarding school who has never worn a uniform, never trained with a weapon and never done a pushup as an adult. In North Korean tanks and personnel carriers and in all North Korean combat aircraft, Kim Jong-un probably would be disqualified as a crew member or pilot because his girth would not allow him to fit, except for a photo op. Armor and flight officers have strict height, weight and girth requirements. 
In their zeal to manufacture a leader, the propagandists risk blow back from real soldiers. There were numerous assassination attempts against Kim Chong-il by soldiers because he had no military background, never wore a uniform or submitted to military training. He had a half-brother who did, however, and rose to the rank of colonel, but was exiled to Poland as an ambassador. 
Only Kim Il-sung was a genuine, Soviet-trained and advised military leader. Kim Jong-un resembles his grandfather in appearance, but that is where the likeness ends. This leadership transition is not being well-handled, from outside appearances, and cannot be considered stable based on the need to manufacture military credentials for Kim Jong-un. 
The need to manufacture military credentials for the successor is the best evidence yet that the military are in control and must be placated. The family leadership group around Kim Jong-un appears to want to restore the party's authority, which Kim Chong-il eviscerated and reviled for most of his tenure. However, in the short term, they cannot. Thus they apparently must pander first to the Korean People's Army. The Army, for now, is dominant in this power struggle, but the tension offers opportunities for South Korea and the US to nurture greater Party control.

Kim Jong-un.  Born last Friday in 1984 (photos from a birthday in 2009).

see Nightwatch

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