Fox News reports:

 Kim, 66, reportedly suffered a stroke and underwent brain surgery in August. North Korea, however, denies he is ill.

Speculation about the reclusive leader’s health grew when he missed a September military parade marking North Korea’s 60th anniversary. He then disappeared from public sight for two months.

North Korea has sought in recent weeks to tamp down rumors about Kim’s health with news reports and footage portraying the leader as active and able, attending a soccer game and inspecting a military unit. The reports, photos and video are undated.

My guess – like yours? –  is that he is very ill, possibly dead, and a power struggle is going on, so only the announcement of  Kim’s successor will allow a simultaneous announcement of his incapacity or death to be made. Fear that the enemies of the country might take advantage of a power gap would plausibly motivate his henchmen to claim he’s still firmly in charge of the state and his own faculties.  

Don’t expect anyone better to take his place. You’d be inviting disappointment. 

PS. Of course, this is the time those enemies – which is to say we – ought to strike against that cruel and internationally dangerous nuclear-armed tyranny. But I’ve got a feeling that we won’t. 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 29, 2008

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