Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Comes Early For Uncle Jang . . .

Jang Song Thaek
"Jingle, jangle, jingle
I can hear those 'slay' bells ring"

Kevin Kim calls attention to Joshua Stanton over at One Free Korea for his intriguing insight into the Child-King's possible faux pas in having his Uncle Jang so publicly executed for plotting a coup:
The very fact that North Korea concedes that a recently-esteemed and trusted leader secretly despised and plotted against Kim Jong Un is an acknowledgement of the unthinkable. It shatters one of the most sacred illusions of North Korean propaganda. Had someone tried to overthrow Kim Jong Il (and someone probably did) Kim Jong II would never have admitted it (and he didn't). Both Jang's execution and this announcement suggest that Kim Jong Un is a much more volatile man than his father, and much less schooled in the ideology that explains his father's longevity. For once, I'm astonished by North Korea's candor.
Joshua's point is that the Kim-family's spell has been broken. Every North Korean now knows that the man closest to Kim Jong Un hated him. There may now be a lot of desperate officials who were indebted to Jang and don't want to suffer his fate, and if the Man-Child Leader is perceived as volatile, unpredictable, and brutal, then he is making a problem for himself, as I noted about a week ago:
If he's executing people on a whim, then nobody in the high elite can trust him. An intelligent dictator can be harsh, but if the rules are clear and applied consistently, people will generally obey them and thus know that they are secure. But if there are no rules and punishment is arbitrary, conditions are ripe for revolt.
But we'll see. Meanwhile, let's appreciate the "Brilliant General" for this early Christmas present . . .

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At 2:32 AM, Blogger TheBigHenry said...


Uncle Joe Stalin, arguably the most successful tyrant of modern times, single-handedly controlled roughly 300 million people for two decades. He accomplished this feat by structuring a power-pyramid (with himself at the apex) based entirely on random terror. No one whom Stalin knew personally could ever feel entirely secure, even his own family members.

At 4:04 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, it can work. Saddam Hussein also managed it (but couldn't control his adventurism).

Baby-Faced Kim, however, might be too impulsive for the task of structuring that power pyramid.

We'll see if he's the man for the job.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:38 AM, Blogger TheBigHenry said...

I agree that Baby-Face may not be man enough. Very few, if any, have the kind of dispassionate murderous despotism that Stalin had in abundance.

Recall that Stalin refused to trade his own son (who at the time was a German POW) for a few German genrals captured by the Red Army. His son was subsequently executed.

Stalin was truly an equal-opportunity killer. I doubt that Saddam would have condemned his own sons in similar circumstances.

At 4:50 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Correct, I think, on Saddam. He did one time condemn his oldest son (Uday) to capital punishment for stomping to death the son of his (Saddam's) personal cook. But he didn't follow through on that judgment and instead temporarily exiled his son to Switzerland (what a punishment!).

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:02 AM, Blogger TheBigHenry said...

Ha! The only thing better than temporary banishment to Switzerland would have been permanent banishment to Switzerland

At 5:10 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Even funnier is that Uday tried to present himself to the Swiss as a supporter of human rights, but he got into a brawl in a nightclub (if I recall correctly) and was quickly booted out of the country and returned to Iraq.

Apparently, he had suffered enough and was welcomed home . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:34 AM, Blogger TheBigHenry said...

The funniest quip I ever heard about Saddam's sons was Dennis Miller's description of how they met their ultimate fate:

Uday: Qusay! That shit is coming from a helicopter! The walls are starting to fall!

Qusay: Uday! Uday!

Miller: Them's the marines, motherf*cker!

At 5:51 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Is there a You Tube video of that?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:34 AM, Blogger TheBigHenry said...

I am not aware of one, but if you find it let me know.

At 6:41 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I looked but didn't find one.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think it might "just be possible" Auntie simply wanted a divorce?

Norkie law (so far as I've had experience with) doesn't seem to address such things as irreconcilable differences or, division of property.


At 4:42 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

One can never be certain, given that we're talking about North Korea.

Jeffery Hodges

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