Retired General: Keep Eye On North Korea
December 19, 2011, 9:59 PM
SIOUX FALLS, SD -
The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il will have a major global impact especially when it comes to relations with the United States. The two countries were already on frosty terms because of Kim's leadership. And one local foreign policy expert believes the country should keep an eye on the current instability.
Kim Jong-Il was one of the world's most revered dictators, accused of human rights abuse and attempting to acquire nuclear weapons. But the North Korean media portrayed him as an almost mythical figure.
"He was born on some high mystical mountaintop under some heavenly deity," retired major general Lynn Hartsell said. "The first time he ever played golf, he had 11 holes-in-one. We all know that's a bunch of hooey."
Hartsell says, state media aside, the death of Kim Jong-Il likely means his youngest son, Kim Jong-Un, will be North Korea's new leader. And while the nepotism might raise some red flags, Hartsell says the 28-year-old may have a more idealistic approach.
"The pro is, unlike his father, he has been educated abroad," Hartsell said. "He has traveled more extensively abroad than his father and so he knows some of the ways of the Western world."
The downside, according to Hartsell, is Kim Jong-Un's youth, inexperience and the fact he's got powerful influences right in his own family.
"He'll probably get a lot of guidance from key leaders in the military, who also happen to be his relatives, that will tell him how to govern the country," Hartsell said.
As for an immediate danger to the United States, Hartsell says North Korea's weapon capabilities are limited. But considering the current instability, he says the U.S. simply needs to reaffirm its allegiance to South Korea and keep an eye on changing activities.
"There's always been uncertainty about it," Hartsell said. "And now, it's going to be even more so for the next few months or few years."
Hartsell says North Korea's missiles are capable of hitting South Korea's capital city of Seoul, which could draw in more U.S. troops for military action. However, he says that would be a tactical mistake on North Korea's part since they would be unable to sustain a long-term war.
© 2011 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.
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