- In-Country Power
- International Power
- Military Strength
- Special Skill:
- Official Title: Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers's Party of Korea
- Government: Dictatorship of the Insane
- Years Left in Office: Life
- Political Classification:
- Education: Went to an English language school in Switzerland?
- Age: 37 (born December 31, 1983)
Kim Jong-un Facts and Information
- Un is the third leader of North Korea, after his grandfather, then father. Kind of a crazy dictatorship/monarchy situation
- Un is the youngest, most unexperienced, and therefore most unpredictable leader thus far of this state of insanity
- Un has continued to keep up the same anti-US, anti-Western rhetoric of his forefathers and has so far shown no signs of changing the status quo of hatred, nor of opening up the state
- Un is known as “Fatty the Third” in China; perhaps a sign that even China is growing weary of the psychotic nature of North Korean leadership
- Un is likely dealing with behind-the-scenes power struggles between the military generals and his royal family
- North Korea has the 4th largest standing army in the world, and possibly has nuclear weapons
Generally when a leader or country is referred to as “crazy,” the description shouldn’t be taken literally. Generally “crazy” is just another way of saying, “We don’t agree with their policies” or “They don’t play by our rules.” North Korea is the exception to this. They actually are freakin’ crazy. One needs to look no further than the three men who have ruled this insane country in the modern era: The Kim Bloodline.
As this bio is about the newest leader of the nuclear-power aspiring North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, who came into power in December 2011 due to the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il, we will focus our attention on him, but it is important to first understand the modern history of this troubled nation. We will start this era in 1945, the marking of the end of WWII and the split of Korea into two separate nations which we now call North and South Korea. It was here that the Kim Dynasty began its reign in North Korea with the presence of Kim Il-Sung.
This leads to the obvious question, how did this country get so messed up? Well, you are in luck, because I am going to tell you! The mayhem started when Japan seized control of the Korean Peninsula during their imperialistic fling. The Japanese weren’t the nicest of imperial masters, and the Korean people were exposed to some pretty brutal treatment. While a large scale resistance was impossible, a few small groups waged guerrilla warfare against the Japanese. Kim Il-Sung was the leader of one such group, and while he didn’t accomplish a whole lot, he made a name for himself.
A few retreats into Russia aside, Kim kept up his guerrilla activities until Japan was defeated in WWII. Near the war’s last stages, the USSR launched a campaign into Korea. When the war ended, the Japanese were removed from the Korean peninsula, and Korea was divided into two administrative zones. The Soviets controlled the northern half of the country; the Americans controlled the southern half. Obvious tensions arose, and both world powers stayed in place much longer than originally anticipated. North Korea officially became the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” none other than Soviet appointed Kim Il-Sung as its Supreme Leader in 1948, despite the wishes of the United Nations. Tensions rose between the Northern Communist state and the Southern right wing Democratic state of Korea, and Kim felt the need to “restore the fatherland,” under his rules of course. With Soviet support and a “hunch” that the United States would not defend South Korea in a war, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), invaded the Republic of Korea (South Korea) in 1950, and started what we now refer to as the Korean War. (Now, as you all know, the “hunch” mentioned above was incorrect as the U.S. did defend South Korea in this war). The Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice agreement which ceased fire between North and South Korea until a further peace treaty was drafted. That peace treaty has yet to be drafted, but the nations still exist separately, divided near the 38th parallel.
Kim Il-Sung maintained his hold on the communist Northern half of Korea and did so until his death in 1994. Like Russia and China before it, we can look at North Korea’s government as communism-with-a-twist. Kim Il-Sung instituted a system called “Juche” which is best translated as “self-reliance.” His idea was to create a socialist utopia reliant on, and subject to, no one. In Kim’s mind, to build a “strong and prosperous nation,” one must be completely independent. In another ironic twist, North Korea survived and prospered in the 60’s and 70’s, even surpassing South Korea, but not really from the communism, shocker, right? While preaching his grand Juche idea and encouraging his people to work harder for less (which is exactly why communism always fails – who in their right mind would do that?), the government was taking in mass cash and resource infusions from the Soviet Union.
Now this all sounds fine and dandy, typical socialist propaganda, but there’s one more piece to the puzzle. This is where the crazy really begins, if you have not sensed it yet. Through a nationwide propaganda campaign, Kim Il-Sung put in place a cult of personality, sort of like Jim Jones minus the Kool-Aid. What does this mean exactly? From birth to death every North Korean is taught everything in their lives – every hour they work, every grain of rice they eat, every step they take is a product of their marvelous leader, who at this point was Kim Il-Sung. This cult declares that all North Koreans must be absolutely loyal to the Kim family and states that the country is a one man dictatorship “through successive generations.” So if you were wondering how the Kims have kept their power in North Korea despite their insanity, there is you answer: the cult of personality. In turn, they are told the Americans are imperialist devils who are out to kill every North Korean man, woman, and child, and that the South Korean government is a uppet just following the “great and powerful United States.”
This held strong during the Soviet years. Kim Il-Sung kept North Korea almost completely isolated from the outside world. Remember how well isolationism works in the modern era? Wait, it does not work, at all; kind of like communism. Anything that did come in from the outside had to be government approved, and the common North Korean had no way of accessing international news sources. Anyone who challenged the system, showed any non-Juche ideals, or failed to pay homage to Kim Il-Sung faced a range of punishments. If the secret police were feeling generous, and the person in question was well connected, they would find themselves falling a few steps on North Korea’s citizen loyalty ranking system (which has around 45 distinct levels). If the person really pissed the authorities off, they could find themselves on a one-way trip to a work camp.
So we all know that the Soviet Union is no more, but what happened to North Korea. How did they survive without the extra help? Did things get better, were they a saved nation? Hell no! Things got much, much worse. For all his faults, for all his craziness, and for all his mistreating of the average North Korean, at least Kim Il-Sung was mentally stable when it came to international affairs. While he isolated his own people, Granddaddy Kim engaged other world leaders, and was in talks with the United States to end their nuclear program up until his death…
And then shit hit the fan. Enter Kim Jong-Il, born on a mountain under a double rainbow, visited by all manner of birds (according to the North Korean government), the little jumpsuit wearing Kim hit the ground running and became, to those of us not brainwashed by the cult, utterly psychotic. Having been groomed for command for twenty years, Middle Kim’s antics have become legend. He was a massive Michael Jordan fanatic, a heavy drinker of imported booze, had a movie collection 20,000 titles strong, loved James Bond, and had a fleet of Mercedes Benzes for when his four personal trains couldn’t manage. Oh, and he single handedly attempted to bring tan jumpsuits back into style.
All this would be fine if Jong-Il was just some eccentric playboy with cash to blow, or if North Korea was an affluent country. However, this wasn’t the case. When Kim Jong-Il came into power in the mid-90’s, North Korea was already in massive financial decline. The USSR had been dead for four years, and while Russia still supported their old friends a little, they themselves were suffering financially and forked up an insignificant amount compared to the Soviet era. In response, the young Kim diverted more and more resources to the military and government to maintain his authority.
Simultaneously, North Korea was hit by massive floods. With their harvests destroyed, and no USSR to bail them out, the North Koreans called on the international community for help. In order to maintain the façade of “The Juche Idea” domestically, the government issued statements to the people that international bodies came to them offering support, and that they were afraid of the military capabilities of North Korea. When the aid finally arrived, the vast majority was sent to (surprise, surprise) the military and party officials. The government turned around and lied to those giving the aid, and prevented them from verifying where the aid was actually going. Sounds like an upstanding government if you ask me (Please tell me you sensed the sarcasm).
As time went on, they began to blame the Russians for not giving them loads of money (spoiler alert, late-90’s Russia didn’t have any money to give), the UN for not buying their bullshit, South Korea for existing, and Japan for that imperial business from a hundred years prior (which, in fairness to the North, was an ugly period in history). Whenever they got really mad, they would shoot off some missiles, promise to kill everyone in South Korea, and then beg the rest of the world for more money. Are you feeling the crazy yet?
And so began a cycle that continued for over two decades. The North Koreans would say crazy things, do some military tests, and ask for money and supplies on humanitarian ground. The outside world would make the North promise to give up some program (usually their nuclear reactors) in return for aid, the North would agree, and then they funneled all the aid to the military/government and continued the program anyway. Every once in a while Kim Jong-Il would do something that really pissed everyone off, like sinking a South Korean destroyer, but the outside money and supplies kept coming.
In short, Kim started his tenure as the head of an ex-USSR BFF that was struggling a bit financially, but at least somewhat stable; and ended up presiding over one of the worst famines in modern history. However, everything was solid for our khaki jumpsuit wearing friend. He continued his chain-smoking, womanizing, booze-guzzling ways, played with some massive fireworks, tested a nuke (or two), and kept the populace in line through propaganda and labor camps… and then he had a stroke.
Kim Jong-Il’s stroke was a huge “Oh shit!” moment for everyone in the North Korean government, especially Kim himself. See, Kim Il-Sung was aware of his own mortality seeing that he spent twenty years grooming Kim Jong-Il for command. Having been in the loop for that long, Papa’ Kim commanded respect within the government and the military. He knew how to lead, and was able to take full command of the country from his first day in office; whether that was a good thing or not – well, you decide. Kim Jong-Il seemingly believed the BS the North Korean propaganda machine cranked out. He never saw an end to his reign, and never prepared for the inevitable. So, when his blood vessels decided to rebel, Papa had to find a son and read him “Leading an Insane Nation: For Dummies.”
One would assume that the eldest son of Kim Jong-Il would be rushed through the succession process, but said son had fallen out of favor and lived in exile in Macau. Apparently, trying to enter Tokyo’s Disney theme park with a false passport isn’t exactly “embracing the Juche Ideal.” Logic would dictate the second eldest son would be the next in line, but logic and North Korea would make for a good oxymoron. Instead, Papa Kim skipped a few familial steps and went straight for the youngest of the bunch, Kim Jong-Un (a.k.a. Lil’ Kim…well maybe Big Kim – have you seen him?).
Kim Jong-Il spent the last two years of his life trying to prepare Jong-Un to rule. Things did not go smoothly. Whilst Kim Il-Sung had twenty years to move government officials around quietly, Kim Jong-Il had to act quickly. The result, many officials were demoted or promoted overnight, and those on the losing side harbored anger towards Kim Jong-Un. Next, Kim Jong-Il attempted to reform North Korea’s currency. The idea was to confiscate the individual wealth, and make the people more dependent on the state. Instead, the reform caused inflation of 17000%. Oops. Jong-Il then thought it would be a good idea to give Big Kim some military cred, so he decided to shell a South Korean island and give Jong-Un the credit.
When Middle Kim finally died in 2011, Kim Jong-Un became one of the, if not the, youngest leader of a modern sovereign state. He hadn’t lead anything on his own before; he couldn’t even keep Twinkies afloat, despite appearing to be a massive consumer. Big Kim faces the task of trying to hold together a country where neither political sector really likes him. The conciliatory side wants to reach out to the international community, and they see Jong-Un as a product of the old era. The military side wants a hard line against South Korea and America, and sees Jong-Un as too soft and inexperienced.
Worse yet, the few handpicked individuals who do support Jong-Un have been around a long time, and probably won’t be alive for more than a decade tops. Even worse for our pudgy friend, the people of North Korea aren’t so easily swayed by government propaganda anymore. Years of famine and hardship have taken their toll, and with Chinese investment in the country, more and more international goods have found their way inside.
Much has changed since the beginning of Jong-Un’s regin, but the latest Kim has proven to be just as insane as the world feared.
Arguably, his biggest move was deposing Jang Song-Thaek. Jang was an integral component to the DPRK government during Kim Jong-Il’s reign, and was set to act as regent to the new Kim. While appointing Jang was a smart move by Jong-Il, dictators tend not to share power well. There was never a high-profile power struggle, Jang had been around long enough to be careful when subverting his liege. However, Jong-Un eventually decided he wanted all the dictator’s toys to himself and to say it lightly, he kicked Jang to the curb. Want the real story? He blew Jang’s stinkin’ head off. This created a power vacuum that exists to this day. On one hand, the survivors of this purge continue to strengthen ties with the military, who themselves have grown weary of a kid calling the shots. On the other hand, the general governing bodies/administrators want North Korea to grow economically, which requires ties with the outside world. Remember when I said isolationism wouldn’t work? As one could imagine, it’s hard to reach out successfully when a college-aged kid prone to temper tantrums has nuclear launch codes.
All the while, Kim continues to expand the prison/labor camps at a rapid rate, which points towards a major, Stalin-esque purge. However, as time goes on, Kim’s relations to the military grow weaker and weaker. If he is going to make a move and come out alive on the other side, he will have to act fast.
Kim Jong Un has also threatened that should the United States or South Korea show any aggression toward him or his country, that “it will result in a deadly nuclear catastrophe and the United States will never be safe.” Just the words we wanted to hear coming out of a crazy man’s mouth…We have no choice but to wait and see what the lovely Jong Un has in store for North Korea, and for the rest of the world in the years to come, because he is probably going to be there for a long time, unfortunately.
One thing is for sure, this place is freakin’ crazy. If I have not convinced you yet, chances are you have fallen prey to their cult of personality and should seek help immediately.