A pattern of military behavior is emerging from North Korea’s military strike on Yeonpyeong Island yesterday. According to the Times, the strike, which has prompted President Obama to send a carrier and ships to conduct joint military exercises with South Korea, looks like a similar show of power from Kim Jong-il when he was named his father’s heir. Now that the supreme leader’s youngest son, Kim Jong-un, has been promoted to four-star general, a prerequisite for taking over his father’s role, the strike is being read as a show of military credentials from Supreme Jr., who is rumored to be 25-years-old.
Pressing against a precipitous reaction is that the North’s attacks have a choreographed character, even a back-to-the-future feel. The last time North Korea engaged in acts this destructive was in the 1980s, when it blew up a South Korean airliner and also detonated a bomb in Myanmar in a botched attempt to assassinate the visiting South Korean president. Both attacks were said to be ordered by Kim Jong-il, who was then the heir to Kim Il-sung, his father and North Korea’s founder.
This is just like when Marty McFly went to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance to help his parents fall in love so he could continue to exist in the present — except in North Korea’s case, it was some 200 artillery shells to make sure one of the world’s “poorest and most isolated nations” could continue its nepotistic line of rulers at the cost of restarting a war and furthering food shortages for its people. See, pretty much the same thing.