Overnight we learn that Kim Jung IL died.  One of the interesting parts of my life, was the Brezhnev died, is was in an insulated cocoon at MCRD.  Every night after lights out, as part of the routine, we would get a lecture from one of the DIs on something.  It would not last long, generally five minutes or so.  One night during Phase 1, we were told that Brezhnev was dead, and the succession was still undetermined.  That was it, we never heard another word.  Of course our little microcosm was solely focused on surviving the daily thrashings, and visits to the pit.  It was a couple of months before, we were back to being exposed to the uncertanties of the Cold War.

With the passing of Kim Jung Il, we are presented with a nuclear armed dictatorship that has to negotiate it’s way through a succession.  Presumably, the path of succession will lead to the installment of Kim Jong Un.  With luck, it will also be a peaceful and smooth transition with the military leadership supporting the designated heir.  With a younger Kim in place, and with his Uncle, most likely, providing the behind the scenes power and decision making it will be interesting to see how things develop.  Needless to say, the anxiety level in Japan and S. Korea is probably pretty high.  I am thinking that a lot of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines that had planned on heading to the states for Christmas are having those plans changed for them by their commands.

With luck, we will begin to see a reduction in tension between North and South Korea.  Perhaps it will even lead to a reunification during my lifetime.  Given the news that NK  just closed their border with China…  maybe not.

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