The Key Question

Andray points out that calls of instability in North Korea following Kim Jong Il's passing were overblown in 38North, a publication of John Hopkins SAIS. Stability is the word on everyone’s lips, from diplomats, to cable news pundits, to the man on the street. But when headlines shout, “Concerns over stability on Korean peninsula,” what do they mean?

Stability in North Korean society is almost a given, at this point. Transfixed as we are by the cultishness of Kim Jong Il’s North Korea, we often miss the fact that the Kims are just one node in a broad social and political structure. “Just” might be understating it: Kim Jong Il was the most important component of that structure and his son, Kim Jong Un, appears set to now occupy a similar, if necessarily diminished, echo of that role.

While it remains to be seen how far that transfer of legitimacy and practical control can be taken, what is clear now is that the rest of the system developed under Kim Jong Il remains entirely intact...

Read more at 38North.