Joseph S. Nye, Jr. on Kim Jong-il

North Korea’s Uncertain Future
Power and Policy
December 19, 2011
Commentary by: Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Harvard University distinguished service professor and a member of the Belfer Center Board of Directors
Topic: Kim Jong-il

“The death of Kim Jong Il may gradually unlock change in North Korea, but the process is unlikely to be smooth or quick. In 2010, Kim promoted his 20s-something son Kim Jong Eun to be a four star general and spent the last year trying to bolster his standing among top party and military leaders. Whether Kim Jong Il will posthumously succeed in consolidating an oxymoronic communist monarchy is unlikely, but the succession politics of the last year were marked by two dangerous bellicose events – the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel and the shelling of a South Korean island.”

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