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Throughout its checkered history, North Korea has always broken international rules and violated international norms as it pleased — more or less whenever Pyongyang deemed doing so to be to its own advantage. But at the same time, North Korean leadership has always adhered its own *internal* set of rules and norms: what we might call the “North Korean code of honor.” And Rule Number One in this honor code has always been: The Royals Stay Safe.
The regime may launch a surprise attack that culminates in a war killing millions; it may blow up foreign civilian airliners or attempt the assassination of adversary heads of state; it may dispose of untold numbers of its own subjects in labor-death camps or inflict catastrophic famine on its country’s “little people” — but never, never, are the royals to be exposed to harm. Ever.
Indeed: two decades ago, shortly before his death, dynasty-founder Kim Il Sung even laid that injunction down explicitly, as what was supposed to be an Eternal Commandment.
Well, his grandson, Dear-And-Respected-Leader Kim Jong Un, has just broken that injunction — and broken it big time.
Audiences throughout Asia this morning were treated to television footage of a show-trial-style drama in which young Jong Un’s uncle, de facto regent Jang Song Thaek, is dragged from a Party gathering beneath the impassive gaze of his nephew after being publicly denounced by the country’s premier.
This creepy, made-for-TV immolation of a North Korean royal opens a new and very dangerous era in DPRK politics.
Stay posted for more blood on the floor. And remember — the hand with the ax has not demonstrated itself to be the steadiest in the land.
Kim Jong Un is the guy who was too busy to meet the visiting head of Google, Eric Schmidt, but cleared his schedule to enjoy some quality time with wacko ex-basketball great Dennis Rodman.
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