Well, it blows if you’re Jang Sung Taek.
Here are the scenarios we looked at here almost exactly years ago upon Jong-Un’s ascension:
1. Kim Jong-un, Jong-il’s youngest son, steps quickly and easily into his father’s shoes. All goes swimmingly.
2. Kim Jong-il adviser Jang Song-taek acts as regent to the younger Kim and rules effectively while Jong-un continues to hone his chops in Pyongyang.
3. North Korea launches artillery attacks against the South.
4. North Korea tests a nuclear device.
5. Factional in-fighting will prevent any individual or group from exercising effective control.
6. Kim Jong-il’s death was not natural as reported. Kim Jong-un and other members of the Kim family may be next on the hit-list.
7. The additional uncertainty caused by Kim’s death drives segments of an already hungry, malnourished population over the edge. North Koreans head for the Chinese border in droves.
I added, “Number 2 is what the Party would accept. Dynasty assured, reliable regent in place. Surely this is what they’ll work for.”
Well, it’s what they got — for a while. I guess Jong-Un’s chops are now finely honed.