A great unknown

Published 12:22 am Wednesday, December 21, 2011

With the death of Kim Jong-Il, the dictator of North Korea for nearly 20 years, and the installation of his son, Kim Jong-Un as that country’s new dictator, this saying comes to mind: “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”

With Kim Jong-Il, the world pretty much knew what to expect. Now with Kim Jong-Un calling the shots, the world is waiting to see what the new dictator and North Korea will do, or not do, in the coming days, weeks, months and years. The third and youngest son of Kim Jong-Il, the new dictator, being called the “great successor” by some, is pretty much an enigma to most of the world. His age is uncertain to most of the world. He’s believed to be in his late 20s.

Until he was promoted to the rank of four-star general about a year ago, the new dictator was, for the most part, an unknown quantity to most of the world. CNN reports there are some people familiar with North Korea and its new dictator, including Victor Cha, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and an expert on North Korea, who believe Kim Jong-Un is not ready to rule.

“This is the most opaque regime that is a nuclear weapons state, and now they have a leadership vacuum in which a kid is basically trying to run the country,” Cha told CNN. “So it’s not a good situation at all.”

We concur with Cha’s assessment.

It’s unclear just what decision-making authority the new North Korean leader possesses. That begs this question: If Kim Jong-Un isn’t calling the shots in North Korea, just who is calling the shots? Is it the person who decided that North Korea should fire a missile in the wake of Kim Jong-Il’s death?

The world knew where it stood, for the most part, with Kim Jong-Il running North Korea. Things are different now, and that difference, filled with much unknown at present, is what is making the world more than a bit nervous.

The world is in uncharted seas when it comes to the new North Korean ruler.

It should prepare for the worst, hope for the best and keep a close watch on Kim Jong-Un — especially his trigger finger. Don’t forget that North Korea has nuclear weapons.