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Tag: Vaclav Havel

Dec.
19th

Kim Jong Il, Vaclav Havel: A study in contrasts

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is where the phone rings if the American troops deployed in South Korea call 911. Big troubles in North Korea always threaten to strike close to home here.

Is trouble brewing there with the sudden death of dictator Kim Jong Il? One of the many scary things about Kim-ruled North Korea is that no one ever quite knows what’s going on inside its halls of power.

Kim’s son and announced successor, Kim Jong Un, is only in his 20s and was only anointed heir to the dictatorship about a year ago. Who is he? Will his succession stick? Will one of his father’s military barons muscle him off the throne? Will there be political turmoil and chest-beating that could trigger military attacks on South Korea?

We not only know nothing about what’s happening with the world’s most secretive regime, we have no idea who we ought to be rooting for.

In the absence of knowledge, we can hope for the best. If this were a game of chance, the odds would overwhelmingly favor the rise of a better North Korean ruler – just because it would be so hard to find a worse one than Kim Jong Il.
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