With tension still running high in the Korean peninsula, there are still more questions than answers. It has been confirmed that the South Korean ‘Cheonan’ was sunk by a North Korean torpedo, but there has been no reason given for this unwarranted act which could be, and has been by various news sources, termed an act of war.
Was it the action of some renegade submarine commander that harbored a particularly strong hatred for his southern neighbors? Perhaps he saw it as an opportunity to find favor in Pyongyang? This theory is unlikely, as intelligence sources have revealed that a few Yeono-class midget submarines, and a mother ship supporting them, left a North Korean naval base in the West Sea two to three days prior to the attack and returned to their port two to three days after the attack. This would indicate a planned attack, under orders from a higher authority.
Many have speculated that it could be an attempt by Kim Jong Il to assert his power, or perhaps more accurately the power of his family, over the North Korean people. It is a country that is virtually dead on its feet, by some accounts much like its leader. It is evident that he has been honing his youngest son, Kim Jong-Un, to take the dictatorial throne upon Il’s death or incapacity.
As with most things in N. Korea, much about the younger Kim remains a mystery. Even recent photographs, claimed to be of him, have been disproved. The one shown here was taken when he attended a German-speaking school in Berne, Switzerland, while assuming a false name. According to fellow students, he was a great fan of the NBA and held Michael Jordan in high esteem. He owned a collection of Nike shoes which, he lamented, were not available in his home country.
Perhaps, after tasting the freedom of the west and all it offers, it has opened his eyes to the reality that capitalism is not the beast portrayed to him by his forebears.
There is the possibility that this latest attack is the ‘dying wish’ of a man who knows that his time is near, that the chances of a conflict with those that he holds in contempt will be diminished after his passing, that he would prefer to go in a blaze of glory, regardless of the consequences to his people and the world.
Let’s hope that his successor will see this act as the folly of a senile, power-crazed tyrant, rather than the inspirational act of a paternal figure. Whatever happens in the domestic affairs of North Korea, whoever takes control, we cannot allow acts of aggression that involve the deaths of innocent personnel to go unpunished. However, with one as unbalanced as Kim Jong Il, we have to tread very carefully.
(Editor Dee is in for Skip today)