Aidan Foster-Carter: Apocalypse or a new dawn -- what next for North Korea?
THE sudden death of Kim Jong-il changes North Korea, in Donald Rumsfeld's useful phrase, from a known unknown to an unknown unknown.
With Kim senior we knew where we were -- to some extent: the old trickster liked to keep us guessing. But his son is a blank -- so far. Anything is now possible. The range of scenarios runs from benign to apocalyptic.
The world wants North Korea to come in from the cold and embrace peace and reform. That seems unlikely. The Kim regime is heavily invested in an avowed military-first policy, and in continuity -- despite marching down a cul-de-sac. The mighty Korean People's Army (KPA), whose clout grew under Kim Jong-il, has much to lose from any outbreak of peace.