The world’s last surviving James Bond villain traveled to China earlier this week amidst tight security and a virtual information blackout. Which means everyone on the planet earth knew about it. It was also hard to miss an armored train with full security escort hauling ass through rural Chinese villages.

Kim Jong Il almost never leaves North Korea. Few people know this but he is physically unable to do so. He has so thoroughly hypnotized his people with bullshit that he now only exists because they believe he does. My guess is that the full psychic energy of the Chinese Communist Party was needed to keep him in corporeal form for the visit.

Why is any of this important? It’s not. The really important part is who went with him: his youngest son Kim Jong Un. According to Forbes:

“Monday evening, Kim Jong Il returned home after his sixth official visit to China. The dominate narrative is that Pyongyang’s leader sought Beijing’s approval to put his youngest acknowledged son, Kim Jong Un, on the throne. “North Korea‘s most urgent issue is the power succession,” a senior aide to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak told reporters. “It’s like how we pay a visit to the national cemetery ahead of making a major decision.”

There is a superficial logic to the storyline. After all, the North’s supremo will, in about a week, convene a national conference of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the first such meeting in 44 years. The speculation is that Jong Un will be given a position on the party’s Central Committee, a stepping stone to succession.”

There has been much debate about the trip. Some say Kim Jong Il was seeking China’s blessing for the transition of power. Others say the trip was merely a political courtesy as China is North Korea’s only real ally. Others say that if I keep working out so much I’m going to have to buy all new clothes.

Historically speaking, the transition between ruling governments is the most vulnerable time for any nation. And many experts are concerned about any power struggle that could lead to civil war, considering North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and standing army of over a million men. I know that’s what I’m concerned about. Especially when the people who are going to be shooting it out for power are these clowns:

“Kim Jong-il’s brother-in-law, Jang Song-thaek, appears to be very much back in vogue after a few years in the wilderness, having now been given one of the vice-chairmen positions on the country’s powerful National Defence Commission. Many observers suggest he will play a trusted role as regent, guiding the young Kim Jong-un as he consolidates his power base, and may be given another powerful party position at the upcoming meeting.

Two other NDC vice chairmen, O Kuk-ryol and Kim Yong-chun, a key Workers Party official and defence minister respectively, are also tipped as men to watch.

Mr O, once said to be in charge of North Korea’s highly sophisticated efforts to forge fake $100 bills, is now reported to be advising Kim Jong-un on operations against South Korea.

Ri Je-gang, a first deputy director of the Workers Party Organisation and Guidance Department, was another official said to be tasked with ensuring that the succession goes smoothly. But, thought to be a long-time rival of Jang Song-thaek, Mr Ri died in a car accident late at night while driving home from a concert in June.

Many observers have raised the possibility of foul play and suggest that the case highlights the potential for power struggles and bloodletting during the uncertainties of the succession period.” – BBC News

I’m going to miss Kim Jong Il. He’s old school. He knows how to scare the hell out of the rest of the world. He has that right mix of crazy and astute. This is the guy who, for eight years, pulled his pants down and showed his ass to George W. Bush. And all the while he was selling missile parts and centrifuges to every Tom, Dick and Harry and didn’t give a shit who knew about it.

Once he’s gone, alas, we’ll be left with the scheming Mr. O and the Case of the Fake $100 Bills. I’m sure South Korea is happy to know that their nuclear-armed enemy is about to be helmed by a 27-year-old and a gang of thugs right out of a Hardy Boys novel.

When I was 27 I could hardly balance my checkbook let alone run a country. And I’m sure inside Kim Jong Un’s steely, post-Soviet Communist Exterior beats the heart of a man who never got to be a boy. All he needs is that special someone, a princess perhaps, to come along and unlock the goodness in him. And I have to believe this, unfortunately. Decades of media programming by Disney have left me incapable of considering the possibility that I live in a world in which there are no happy endings.


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