Austin Bay

"His father's generals" is the important phrase in the previous sentence. No one really knows if his father's generals are baby-faced KJUN's generals. What these armed, slate-faced and secretive men think of The Great Successor, much less how they perceive the world, is a 4- to 5-trillion-dollar mystery. Four to 5 trillion is one wild estimate floating around of the cost of a reignited Korean War that puts the global powerhouse economies of South Korea, Japan and China at risk.

The senior generals in the army high command are Kim Jong Il's real heirs. We can speculate that they value their lives and privileges, which so far have depended on the Kims' criminal empire. But the generals know China has changed, drastically, and prospered. After suffering several vicious attacks during the last two years, South Korea no longer sends stringless cash north.

In late 2010, the South Korean government outlined a long-term plan for Korean reunification. It emphasized the South's immense strength and the North's evident weakness, portraying South Korea as the future, the Kims' regime as a dead-end past. It was the kind of political program that might give forward-thinking North Korean generals the bold idea to unseat Un and dim the Kims for good.

Austin Bay

Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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