December 19, 2011, midday

A incompetent cultist kid is allegedly in charge of N. Korean nukes? How can the result be good?

What are the scenarios for North Korea’s future upon son Kim Jon Un’s succession to his deceased father (died December 27, 2011) Kim Jong-il’s leadership of North Korea. The recent past illuminates the possibilities:

First, on Monday, the same day it announced the death Kim Jong-il. North Korea test-fired two short-range missiles, having a 72-mile range, off its east coast. Was it mere testing of N. Korea’s new KN-06 missile, a modified version of the KN-01 and KN-02 ground-to-ground missiles, or a policy statement? The messages is clear -- the military is operating as usual -- it has previously engaged in such testing.

Second, of course, South Korea’s military is on alert, calling in police officers for emergency duty, and pledging that its central bank will stabilize financial markets. The U.S. maintains 28,500 troops in South Korea.

Third, the U.S. was ready this week to announce a food aid donation to N. Korea -- 240,000 tons of high-protein biscuits and vitamins over one year, but not any much desired rice. The U.S. hoped N. Korea would announce its suspension of its uranium enrichment program within days. It is reported by AP that this food aid was the result of discussions since this summer in New York, Geneva and Beijing, and that as a result of this food aid, N. Korea had agreed to suspend nuclear and ballistic missile testing, readmit nuclear inspectors expelled in 2009, and resume dialogue with South Korea. The Obama administration, hoped the food aid would cause the resumption of the six-party talks between North and South Korea, U.S., China, Japan and Russia. These talks were suspended three years ago. Food from other nations is key to N. Korean survival. China has carried the burden of feeding the North Korean people on their mutual border; if China does not do so, they simply cross the border foraging for food. The Kims have starved their own people to pay for their testing two atomic bombs in the past 5 years and to pay for one of the largest land Armies in the world – 1.2 million soldiers with 7.7 million in reserves – 5% of the total population. In fact, demobilization of any of this Army would create further pressure to feed and maintain the population. In the 1990s , 2 million N. Koreans died from famine. Hungry people sometimes revolt to get food. On the other hand, hungry people can be too weak to revolt.

Fourth, the U.S. wants N. Korea’s plutonium-producing nuclear reactor at Yongbyo dismantled. N. Korea has engaged in the past in two underground nuclear tests – the first was a dud, the second was quite effective. In 2009, North Korea tested a missile capable of reaching U.S. shores.

Fifth, in March 2010, N. Korea sank a S. Korean warship and in November 2010, it attacked civilians on a front-line South Korean island.

Sixth, Recently, N. Korea had agreed to allow the U.S. military into Korea to recover remains of servicemen killed during the Korean war, a mission which was suspended in 2005.

Now, however, these six developing scenarios, still presumably in progress, may be interrupted by the son’s accession to power.  Will N. Korea collapse economically requiring massive international humanitarian aid? Will the scion of the Kim family -- Kim Jon-un hold onto power in a real way or as a puppet? Will there be regime change? Will N. Korea abandon recent conciliatory scenarios and forge ahead with more belligerent nuclear testing and acts of aggression against S. Korea?

A few weeks ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. will “pivot” its attention toward Asia. Obama is looking for expanded trade with Asia to boost the U.S. economy. Today, Monday, Clinton is meeting with Glyn Davies, special representative to Korea and with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba who happened to be visiting Washington.

Must Kim Jong-un and the powers behind him, especially the military, prove they are in command? The new leader, about age 28 or 29, was only chosen by his father to succeed him last year, when he was appointed to the second-highest military post with the Worker’s Party. Because of the economy and potential unrest, it appears he must assert himself. Why?

The father leaves behind an economy in shambles caused by his mismanagement, crop failures, sanctions and a failed currency revaluation. N. Korea’s economy is about 3 percent the size of S. Korea’s, the third largest economy in Asia. Kim Jong-un will have to put up a show of force by accelerating nuclear testing, attacking S. Korea. He may do this in a atmosphere of instability as he purges certain officials, to prevent the N. Korean elite from installing an alternative leader, or to avoid his being marginalized or assassinated.

Who is this youngest son, Kim Jong Un? He is certainly not experienced and ready to lead. There is great uncertainty as to what his behavior as the new “Dear Leader” will be. Not until October 2010, was there formal mention of him, at which time he was promoted by the Worker’s Party to the rank of four-star general and one of the four vice chairman of the National Defense Commission. He studied in a German-speaking high school in Liebefeld, a suburb of Bern Switzerland and may speak English, German and French. He has no known profession or military training. He is the father’s youngest son. The eldest Kim Jung Nam, lost favor when he tried to visit Tokyo Disneyland using a forged passport. The second eldest son, is like the eldest, known to be a lazy playboy. According to U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks, June 2009, Kim Jong Un, called “Young Master”, began working as the acting chairman of the National Defense Commission, to “support his ailing father who may have had a stroke in 2008. In September 2011, he and his father met with the president of Laos, and he also attended a massive military parade at his father’s side. Statfor says that Kim Jong Un’s uncle Jang Song Thaek, will rule behind the scenes as the new leader trains. Thaek is also a vice chairman of the National Defense Committee, and is the No. 2 government official. Last year, the father made Thaek and his sister Kim Kyong Hui, and Worker’s Party official Choe Ryong Hae guardians of his son. Obviously, the father did not believe his son was fit to rule on his own. Kim Jong Un’s father’s wife, Kim Ok , the in-laws, the relatives and the generals are obvious contenders to lead N. Korea, yet they might support the youngest son as a puppet leader. (Kim Jong Un’s mother, Kim Jong Il’s third wife, was a former dancer who died in 2004.)

Kim Jong Un has already demonstrated his incompetence. He did so when he led the revaluation of N. Korea’s currency, which forced people to barter because of the lack of available currency. Food shortages and protests, (and protests in N. Korea are  highly unusual) resulted. Kim Jong Un also showed his military belligerence by overseeing N. Korea’s attack last year on a South Korean warship and the bombardment of a S. Korea border island. It is rumored that Kim Jong Un Kim is close to Lt. Gen. Kim Yong-chol, 65, a defense hard-liner and head of military intelligence, who may be his mentor. It is also rumored that senior military staff is now being purged in favor of younger officers.

Will there be a revolt of the N. Korean population against the Kim regime? In the past, dissidents were immediately imprisoned. Now, however, the people have some access to outside information about China and the rest of the world through smuggled in cellphones, CDs and USB flash drives. A few private market places, thus meeting places, have emerged. Foreign investors are engaged in N. Korea.

The Kim’s are a vicious family – enriching themselves enormously and ostentatiously with luxury items while starving the general population. They use a mix of an ancient Confucian monarchy with a 20th-century Stalinist cult of personality. The general population bought this cult for two generations of Kims. Will they continue to buy it? The N .Korean government has already begun a period of hysterical, intense mourning of the deceased father.

Ultimately, U.S. satellites, drones and surveillance systems are on full alert trying to answer the central question --- who is really in control of the hermit kingdom’s nukes? When the freeze on N. Korean weapons development, obtained by President Clinton, ended in 2003, U.S. intelligence estimated N. Korea had enough plutonium contained inside irradiated nuclear fuel rods to build six nuclear bombs. In the weeks before the father Kim’s death, N. Korean media boasted of “leaping progress” regarding nuclear efforts, causing some to infer that a third nuclear test could occur. Pyongyang also warned other nations not to interfere and threatened to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire.”

A incompetent cultish kid is allegedly in charge of nukes? How can the result be good?

                  SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD
                           Walt Whitman

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill'd with them, and I will fill them in return.)


You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all
that is here,
I believe that much unseen is also here.

Here the profound lesson of reception, nor preference nor denial,
The black with his woolly head, the felon, the diseas'd, the
illiterate person, are not denied;
The birth, the hasting after the physician, the beggar's tramp, the
drunkard's stagger, the laughing party of mechanics,
The escaped youth, the rich person's carriage, the fop, the eloping couple,
The early market-man, the hearse, the moving of furniture into the
town, the return back from the town,
They pass, I also pass, any thing passes, none can be interdicted,
None but are accepted, none but shall be dear to me.


You air that serves me with breath to speak!
You objects that call from diffusion my meanings and give them shape!
You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers!
You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides!
I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me.

You flagg'd walks of the cities! you strong curbs at the edges!
You ferries! you planks and posts of wharves! you timber-lined
side! you distant ships!
You rows of houses! you window-pierc'd facades! you roofs!
You porches and entrances! you copings and iron guards!
You windows whose transparent shells might expose so much!
You doors and ascending steps! you arches!
You gray stones of interminable pavements! you trodden crossings!
From all that has touch'd you I believe you have imparted to
yourselves, and now would impart the same secretly to me,
From the living and the dead you have peopled your impassive surfaces,
and the spirits thereof would be evident and amicable with me.


The earth expanding right hand and left hand,
The picture alive, every part in its best light,
The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where it is
not wanted,
The cheerful voice of the public road, the gay fresh sentiment of the road.

O highway I travel, do you say to me Do not leave me?
Do you say Venture not--if you leave me you are lost?
Do you say I am already prepared, I am well-beaten and undenied,
adhere to me?

O public road, I say back I am not afraid to leave you, yet I love you,
You express me better than I can express myself,
You shall be more to me than my poem.

I think heroic deeds were all conceiv'd in the open air, and all
free poems also,
I think I could stop here myself and do miracles,
I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like, and whoever
beholds me shall like me,
I think whoever I see must be happy.


From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master total and absolute,
Listening to others, considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that
would hold me.

I inhale great draughts of space,
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.

I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know I held so much goodness.

All seems beautiful to me,
can repeat over to men and women You have done such good to me
I would do the same to you,
I will recruit for myself and you as I go,
I will scatter myself among men and women as I go,
I will toss a new gladness and roughness among them,
Whoever denies me it shall not trouble me,
Whoever accepts me he or she shall be blessed and shall bless me.


Now if a thousand perfect men were to appear it would not amaze me,
Now if a thousand beautiful forms of women appear'd it would not
astonish me.

Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,
It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.

Here a great personal deed has room,
(Such a deed seizes upon the hearts of the whole race of men,
Its effusion of strength and will overwhelms law and mocks all
authority and all argument against it.)

Here is the test of wisdom,
Wisdom is not finally tested in schools,
Wisdom cannot be pass'd from one having it to another not having it,
Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof,
Applies to all stages and objects and qualities and is content,
Is the certainty of the reality and immortality of things, and the
excellence of things;
Something there is in the float of the sight of things that provokes
it out of the soul.

Now I re-examine philosophies and religions,
They may prove well in lecture-rooms, yet not prove at all under the
spacious clouds and along the landscape and flowing currents.

Here is realization,
Here is a man tallied--he realizes here what he has in him,
The past, the future, majesty, love--if they are vacant of you, you
are vacant of them.

Only the kernel of every object nourishes;
Where is he who tears off the husks for you and me?
Where is he that undoes stratagems and envelopes for you and me?

Here is adhesiveness, it is not previously fashion'd, it is apropos;
Do you know what it is as you pass to be loved by strangers?
Do you know the talk of those turning eye-balls?


Here is the efflux of the soul,
The efflux of the soul comes from within through embower'd gates,
ever provoking questions,
These yearnings why are they? these thoughts in the darkness why are they?
Why are there men and women that while they are nigh me the sunlight
expands my blood?
Why when they leave me do my pennants of joy sink flat and lank?
Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious
thoughts descend upon me?
(I think they hang there winter and summer on those trees and always
drop fruit as I pass;)
What is it I interchange so suddenly with strangers?
What with some driver as I ride on the seat by his side?
What with some fisherman drawing his seine by the shore as I walk by
and pause?
What gives me to be free to a woman's and man's good-will? what
gives them to be free to mine?


The efflux of the soul is happiness, here is happiness,
I think it pervades the open air, waiting at all times,
Now it flows unto us, we are rightly charged.

Here rises the fluid and attaching character,
The fluid and attaching character is the freshness and sweetness of
man and woman,
(The herbs of the morning sprout no fresher and sweeter every day
out of the roots of themselves, than it sprouts fresh and sweet
continually out of itself.)

Toward the fluid and attaching character exudes the sweat of the
love of young and old,
From it falls distill'd the charm that mocks beauty and attainments,
Toward it heaves the shuddering longing ache of contact.


Allons! whoever you are come travel with me!
Traveling with me you find what never tires.

The earth never tires,
The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first, Nature is rude
and incomprehensible at first,
Be not discouraged, keep on, there are divine things well envelop'd,
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.

Allons! we must not stop here,
However sweet these laid-up stores, however convenient this dwelling
we cannot remain here,
However shelter'd this port and however calm these waters we must
not anchor here,
However welcome the hospitality that surrounds us we are permitted
to receive it but a little while.


Allons! the inducements shall be greater,
We will sail pathless and wild seas,
We will go where winds blow, waves dash, and the Yankee clipper
speeds by under full sail.

Allons! with power, liberty, the earth, the elements,
Health, defiance, gayety, self-esteem, curiosity;
Allons! from all formules!
From your formules, O bat-eyed and materialistic priests.

The stale cadaver blocks up the passage--the burial waits no longer.

Allons! yet take warning!
He traveling with me needs the best blood, thews, endurance,
None may come to the trial till he or she bring courage and health,
Come not here if you have already spent the best of yourself,
Only those may come who come in sweet and determin'd bodies,
No diseas'd person, no rum-drinker or venereal taint is permitted here.

(I and mine do not convince by arguments, similes, rhymes,
We convince by our presence.)


Listen! I will be honest with you,
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes,
These are the days that must happen to you:
You shall not heap up what is call'd riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve,
You but arrive at the city to which you were destin'd, you hardly
settle yourself to satisfaction before you are call'd by an
irresistible call to depart,
You shall be treated to the ironical smiles and mockings of those
who remain behind you,
What beckonings of love you receive you shall only answer with
passionate kisses of parting,
You shall not allow the hold of those who spread their reach'd hands
toward you.


Allons! after the great Companions, and to belong to them!
They too are on the road--they are the swift and majestic men--they
are the greatest women,
Enjoyers of calms of seas and storms of seas,
Sailors of many a ship, walkers of many a mile of land,
Habitues of many distant countries, habitues of far-distant dwellings,
Trusters of men and women, observers of cities, solitary toilers,
Pausers and contemplators of tufts, blossoms, shells of the shore,
Dancers at wedding-dances, kissers of brides, tender helpers of
children, bearers of children,
Soldiers of revolts, standers by gaping graves, lowerers-down of coffins,
Journeyers over consecutive seasons, over the years, the curious
years each emerging from that which preceded it,
Journeyers as with companions, namely their own diverse phases,
Forth-steppers from the latent unrealized baby-days,
Journeyers gayly with their own youth, journeyers with their bearded
and well-grain'd manhood,
Journeyers with their womanhood, ample, unsurpass'd, content,
Journeyers with their own sublime old age of manhood or womanhood,
Old age, calm, expanded, broad with the haughty breadth of the universe,
Old age, flowing free with the delicious near-by freedom of death.


Allons! to that which is endless as it was beginningless,
To undergo much, tramps of days, rests of nights,
To merge all in the travel they tend to, and the days and nights
they tend to,
Again to merge them in the start of superior journeys,
To see nothing anywhere but what you may reach it and pass it,
To conceive no time, however distant, but what you may reach it and pass it,
To look up or down no road but it stretches and waits for you,
however long but it stretches and waits for you,
To see no being, not God's or any, but you also go thither,
To see no possession but you may possess it, enjoying all without
labor or purchase, abstracting the feast yet not abstracting one
particle of it,
To take the best of the farmer's farm and the rich man's elegant
villa, and the chaste blessings of the well-married couple, and
the fruits of orchards and flowers of gardens,
To take to your use out of the compact cities as you pass through,
To carry buildings and streets with you afterward wherever you go,
To gather the minds of men out of their brains as you encounter
them, to gather the love out of their hearts,
To take your lovers on the road with you, for all that you leave
them behind you,
To know the universe itself as a road, as many roads, as roads for
traveling souls.

All parts away for the progress of souls,
All religion, all solid things, arts, governments--all that was or is
apparent upon this globe or any globe, falls into niches and corners
before the procession of souls along the grand roads of the universe.

Of the progress of the souls of men and women along the grand roads of
the universe, all other progress is the needed emblem and sustenance.

Forever alive, forever forward,
Stately, solemn, sad, withdrawn, baffled, mad, turbulent, feeble,
Desperate, proud, fond, sick, accepted by men, rejected by men,
They go! they go! I know that they go, but I know not where they go,
But I know that they go toward the best--toward something great.

Whoever you are, come forth! or man or woman come forth!
You must not stay sleeping and dallying there in the house, though
you built it, or though it has been built for you.

Out of the dark confinement! out from behind the screen!
It is useless to protest, I know all and expose it.

Behold through you as bad as the rest,
Through the laughter, dancing, dining, supping, of people,
Inside of dresses and ornaments, inside of those wash'd and trimm'd faces,
Behold a secret silent loathing and despair.

No husband, no wife, no friend, trusted to hear the confession,
Another self, a duplicate of every one, skulking and hiding it goes,
Formless and wordless through the streets of the cities, polite and
bland in the parlors,
In the cars of railroads, in steamboats, in the public assembly,
Home to the houses of men and women, at the table, in the bedroom,
Smartly attired, countenance smiling, form upright, death under the
breast-bones, hell under the skull-bones,
Under the broadcloth and gloves, under the ribbons and artificial flowers,
Keeping fair with the customs, speaking not a syllable of itself,
Speaking of any thing else but never of itself.


Allons! through struggles and wars!
The goal that was named cannot be countermanded.

Have the past struggles succeeded?
What has succeeded? yourself? your nation? Nature?
Now understand me well--it is provided in the essence of things that
from any fruition of success, no matter what, shall come forth
something to make a greater struggle necessary.

My call is the call of battle, I nourish active rebellion,
He going with me must go well arm'd,
He going with me goes often with spare diet, poverty, angry enemies,


Allons! the road is before us!
It is safe--I have tried it--my own feet have tried it well--be not
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the
shelf unopen'd!
Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn'd!
Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer plead in the
court, and the judge expound the law.

Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourselp. will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live

                                Van Gogh, Caravans