Those North Korean Government Changes
The picture comes from an article in The Daily Galaxy on 'Einstein's Biggest Blunder'--the attempt to create a cosmological constant to establish an ordered grip on the universe.
North Korea seems to be having a little bit of a purge. As I've written before, I think that attempts to impose an apocalyptic framework on the land of the morning calm are practically worthless. There's a game on in Asia. It involves the Americans being pushed off the landmass, the South Korean experiment in Protestant capitalism being rejected, the Koreans and Chinese cosying up to Asean, and the long slow death of Kim Jong-Il. American readers should also not be surprised to learn that, as a general rule, many Koreans don't want them on the peninsula and nationalism stretches across both states.
Still, something other than the dreams I keep having of nuclear confrontation there seems to be afoot. The North gets restless when it runs out of money, being something of a gangster state. In the past year, the Prime Minister, the economic team, and several wehrmacht chieftans have been replaced. Here's the list;
Kim Yong-Il, the elderly Prime Minister, has been dropped, ostensibly because of a botched currency reform. He has been replaced by Choe Yong-Rim.
Chang Sung-Taek, Kim's brother-in-law, has become head of the Oberkommando.
Pak Nam-Gi, Chief of Planning and Finance, appears to have been shot. In addition, the provinces and cities have been mined for Vice-Premiers, suggesting a clearout at the centre. You know something is up when you awake to find that Mayor Daley is Treasury Secretary and that the Archbishop of Canterbury has been replaced by Knuckles Maguire.
This isn't a North Korea on the edge of war; it's a North Korea on the edge of famine and more blackmail. The South Koreans seem to get that point, which is why the government's Cuban Missile diplomacy may have backfired.
It isn't a timed and fused tinderbox anyway. Korea is complex. One should expect nothing else from a land marked by a Hebrew-style alphabet invented in the fourteenth century and a Catholic-Buddhist ChonDokyo blend of communism. The states there, in a sense, are German-style Lander, existing at some moment where the Holy Roman Empire and the Frankfurt Congress got knotted in time. In fact, there is evidence that the newest generation of Koreans are actually Southern in an almost Eurasian way. They appear to believe that their wider identity, like that of the eponymous Russian peasant, is somewhere 'over there'--not here.
If war comes, bizarrely, it will be a complete surprise to everyone, and those looking for a trigger to end the depression ought to understand that. Our potential Sarajevo-on-the-Bug still stands in Teheran....