may be very different from the present, and it can also help decision makers choose strategiesbased on this recognition
Bringing this analysis model to the North Korean case there is a fairly recent SpecialReport by the Council for Foreign Relations titled “
Preparing for Sudden Change in North Korea.”
One of key developments in the news is Kim Jong-Il health conditionand the implications of this issue in the case of
in the North Koreanregime. This report devised three scenarios for change: 1) managed succession; 2)contested succession; 3) failed succession. However the authors doubt that politicalchange might come from below: “
There are certainly good reasons to be skeptical about the possibility of fundamental political change in North Korea, certainly through a “people-power”type social movement that have toppled dictatorships elsewhere. The country’s cult-like politicalsystem, its relative geographical and political isolation, the
absence of any real civil society
, and repressive state control all clearly
reduce the impetus and opportunities for change from below
The first scenario described as managed succession implies a smooth transition in powerfrom Kim Jong-Il to a handpicked successor; no evident internal struggle and nosignificant change in the regime’s posture. Some media sources have speculated thissuccessor might be Kim Jong-Un (Kim Jong-Il’s third son).The second scenario depicts a contested succession, basically struggle of power betweencompeting factions or individuals. This scenario may imply the eruption violence andunexpected consequences like regime change but not necessarily in a desired direction,consequently creating internal instability.The third scenario is a failed succession, sending North Korea to a failed state condition(if is not already one?) with dire humanitarian consequences for its population andcreating tension all over the region, especially in the Chinese border.But no interested party wants North Korea to fail. The costs, risks and challenges are justtoo big for all the players.
Lempert, Robert J.
Shaping the Next One Hundred Years: New Methods for Quantitative, Long-TermPolicy Analysis.
RAND, 2003. Online athttp://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_reports/MR1626/ (Accessed October 19, 2009)
Stares, Paul B. and Joel S. Wit.
Preparing for Sudden Change in North Korea.
Council of ForeignRelations, January 2009. Online athttp://www.cfr.org/publication/18019/preparing_for_sudden_change_in_north_korea.html(AccessedFebruary 25, 2009)
Ibid, page 3. (boldface included by me)