Of all the recent tidbits about the March 26th sinking of the Cheonan, the one that most piqued my interest was a May 24th item about an alleged MI6 intelligence report. Gleaned via the high-tech listening and monitoring devices aboard one of Great Britain‘s three nuclear submarines, the intel purports to place North Korea successor-in-waiting Kim Jong-un at the underground military command bunker of Mt. Baekdusan at the time of the Cheonan attack.
Dastardly theories abound about the motivations for the latest bit of bad pattern behavior by the Hermit Kingdom towards its better-lit neighbor to the south. But the one that appeals to me more and more these days is the idea that in trying to force the schedule of a dynastic threepeat, pops Kim Jong-il is essentially putting a family member at the rudder controls who has wildly uncalibrated Dr. Evil skills.
This is all pure speculation of course, as we currently know as much about the late 20s, possibly 6’7″ heir as we did about Kim Jong-il‘s health during the detainment last year of Laura Ling and Euna Lee. Jong-un was not alongside dad during that recent train trip to China; a rumored 2010 photo of him as an adult turned out to be a dud, mislabeled by an opportunistic Japanese newspaper; and on close to a daily basis, there are one or more analysis pieces speculating about how the older cadre of the North Korean military presently – and in the future – has no time for Junior.
However, I prefer for the moment to assume that the MI6 intel, along with previous reports that Kim Jong-un successfully oversaw a Kim Il Sung anniversary fireworks display and completely bungled a December 2009 currency re-denomination, are correct. It all adds up to this delightful mental image (and I do mean “mental”) of an inept young son sitting at the Mt. Baekdusan controls, giving the order to torpedo when a simple float-by would have sufficed.
Transpose KJ Jr. from the realm of faux fireworks to real ones and you get a badly fumbled ball, reminiscent – dare I say it – of a certain George Herbert – George Walker Bush dynamic on this side of the goofy globe.
Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone.