Hosni Mubarak and Kim Yong-Il, courtesy of efouché/una vita a 12 volt/flickr
Do you get to bring your offspring to work once a year? Will that inspire them to follow in your footsteps or do they simply enjoy playing with office supplies and promotional freebies?
The world has seen two very inspiring dads in the past week. Hosni Mubarak and Kim Jong-Il have touchingly taken their sons along on their business trips.
Gamal Mubarak got a taste of one of Egypt’s main diplomatic conundrums: Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Let’s hope that he made a good impression in Washington – he seems pretty serious about taking over his dad’s job.
Reports from South Korea signal that Kim Jong-Un has also probably been getting a little field training with his dad. Speculations that Kim Jong-Il introduced him to the Chinese president last Friday have been making the rounds.
Both authoritarian leaders’ health is ailing, but as professional statesmen they are making sure that the succession will be smooth.
Jean Sarkozy must be so jealous. But don’t worry, good old democracies offer hereditary career possibilities, too. Just ask Uncle George for advice.
Bombs over North Korea in 1950, courtesy of the US Department of Defense/Public Domain
Last week marked the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War; a war that gave rise to one of the most intractable conflicts in modern history. Technically still at war, North and South Korea were torn apart in the shadows of the early phase of the Cold War and in some ways represent one of the last remnants of it.
Yet the war itself, as well its veterans, are often overlooked; a mere footnote in the long, epic and tragic saga of the 20th century.
But to understand the current conflict, to see how deep the antipathy and fear go, it is important to look back at the war and to remember that the seeds of Kim Jong-Il’s madness, the source of China’s intransigence and the root of South Korea’s fear were sown in the conflict that a war-weary and exhausted world fought in 1950-53.
Here are some interesting resources on the topic:
- The Boston Globe’s Alan Taylor takes us through some harrowing and haunting images of the war in a new picture series.
- BBC provides an excellent overview of the war and its most important phases.
- An Institut für Strategie- Politik- Sicherheits- und Wirtschaftsberatung (ISPSW) brief seeks to put together the North Korean puzzle.
- The 1953 Armistice Agreement in our Primary Resources section shows how the war turned into the stalemate we know today.
- A chapter from the Canadian Military Journal on the contribution and strategic effects of Canadian and Australian involvement in the war.
Lotte Icic DMZ water / Photo: lottechilsung.co.kr
How about a taste of the icy waters of a frozen conflict?
South Korean beverage company Lotte Chilsung’s ‘Lotte Icic DMZ 2km‘ water may quench your thrist. The spring water hails from the accidental nature area that emerged in the buffer zone between North and South Korea.
The folks at the Lotte Chilsung say that the South Korean Ministry of the Enviroment will use the water as part of its campaign for the zone to become a UNESCO biosphere protection site. According to the Guardian, environmentalists say there are close to “2,900 plant species, 70 mammals and 320 types of bird flourishing in the zone.”
The article says a bottle of DMZ water is about GBP.30 ($.50)
From the company site: “‘DMZ’ is one region in the world that the ecosytem is well preserved as it is and has been out of human reach for 50 years.”
Well that’s a diplomatic way of putting it.
Hat tip to Monocle.
Just a tad bit late for Groundhog Day, North Korea leader Kim Jong Il, or one of his doubles, may have appeared during his ‘re-election’ to another five-year term as ‘eternal president.’
I don’t think they’re doubles. I think he’s re-spawning, hence the multiple re-elections as ‘eternal president.’
Kim’s been out of sight since having a stroke last August.
Or maybe he’s been taking a well-deserved break.
Being ‘The Great Athlete’ is a hard job:
‘Master of Creation’ is harder:
Oh, and we mustn’t forget, ‘The Fashion Designer’
He’s runway ready.