And . . .
What�s Next for North Korea?
David J. Gardner
The simple answer to �what�s
next for North Korea� is probably just more of the same.
Kim Jung Il did not select his
son, Kim Jung Un, to take over because he would be an agent of
change. He was chosen to preserve the status quo.
Wealth, power and control is in the hands of those who proclaim the
virtues of the North Korean status quo and use crippling fear to
dominate the rest of the people. Considering that he Kim Jung
Un is in his late 20�s, he has the life expectancy to be in control
for a very long time.
If Kim Jung Un wanted to look
for a different economic system and business model, he need only
look to South Korea which enjoys a vibrant economy nearly 40 times
the size of North Korea�s economy. Some economists call North
Korea�s economy medieval � it is completely isolated from the rest
of the world.
Do not expect Kim Jun Un to
look at what is working outside of North Korea. We can
however, expect that when he is faced with a difficult decision Kim
Jung Un will more probably say to himself, �What would my father
have done?� For that is exactly what his father did.
The legacy Kim Jung Il, also
known as �Dear Leader,� can be best described as pathetic:
Reports claim that up to 2 million died of starvation
while he continued to expand his military and nuclear capability.
In North Korea there are insufficient food supplies to
keep the mass of the people from getting adequate nutrition on a
daily basis. Most get about one-third of their nutritional
Gulags account for several million more deaths.
There are reports that the happiest days for these people are when
they are infrequently allowed outside the gulag to eat grass and
weeds, an action that is forbidden inside the gulags.
A few years ago I read a human
about life in the North Koran gulags. The report was very disturbing
� I do not recommend reading it to the more sensitive. One of the
most interesting statements was by a guard who offered that his
greatest fear is that, if the people incarcerated in the gulags were
to turn on them, their sheer numbers would overwhelm the guards
quickly. Imagine if the people in the gulags knew this?
Liberation is closer than any of them know.
North Korea is a fear-based
regime of the greatest proportions: fear of not saying or thinking
the right things, fear of being imprisoned, fear of not having any
food to eat, fear of further loss of liberty. The question, Is
such fear sustainable? It may not be. One need only look at
Libya, Tunisia, or Egypt. North Korea is different, but,
perhaps not entirely resistant to change.
As a management consultant, I
learned long ago not to want something more for a client than the
client wants for themselves. And, the same is true for North
Korea. Until Kim Jung Un realizes that there is a better way,
nothing will change. However, Kim Jung Un is unlikely to place
himself in the precarious situation of offering changes to the
status quo, because those that benefit from the present state of
affairs might just decide to take him out. Sadly, fear has a
complete stranglehold from bottom to the top in North Korea.