I know that it was only meant to be a box-office comedy – a joke, by any other name – but the idea fielded in the movie The Interview that the assassination of Kim Jong-un would be a concept worth considering isn’t. No, not really. Kim Jong-un is purported to be the supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). And his being “the supreme leader” of this miserable acreage of human sorrow is of course a lie equal in magnitude to the application of the word “Democratic” as in “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”.
Everyone – and I mean everyone, including the unfortunate people that are purported to be North Korea’s “citizens” knows that the latter are better referred to as “inmates” in the world’s largest prison camp. Or maybe it might be better to refer to them as “hostages” in the worlds longest hostage taking, ever since the partition of Korea at the end of in 1945. This resulted in the creation of the Communist-aligned Democratic People’s Republic of Korea headed by the former guerrilla leader, Kim IL-sung, who effectively took possession of this territory and its population for his own personal use; it allowed him and his clique of fellow Stalinists to live like royalty of the fat of the land, regardless of how little there was to begin with or would be left over for anyone else between its borders and who – as a result – have been starving ever since.
Well, the clique of Stalinist thugs are still all there, and it would be overly optimistic to think that the elimination of one of these thugs – and in particular the one with a physique of a marshmallow sporting a 50 cent haircut – is going to make a difference to how this unfortunate farce of a country is managed. The fact is that within this gang of thugs leadership is a function of the need of the gang to survive as a unit – so even if you are a seen as a prominent member of it and seemingly in a leadership position, you remain vulnerable, to be replaced at any moment if the survival of the gang demanded it.
In this context we can consider the sudden purge and execution of Kim Jong-un’s uncle Jang Song Thaek in 2013, who was at one time considered his mentor and instrumental in Kim’s rise to power in December 2011 and for a while regarded as the second-most powerful figure in North Korea. The point to focus on here is the resiliency of criminal gangs to fill a sudden void in their leadership structure regardless of what caused the void in the first place, i.e., if this came about because of internal or external factors. All that matters is their ability to hang on to power, by hook or by crook – as the saying goes – and with respect to the latter of these means, they couldn’t be more suited for it.