The US is monitoring intelligence that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, is in grave danger after a surgery, according to a US official with direct knowledge…Kim received the cardiovascular system procedure because of “excessive smoking, obesity, and overwork,” according to the news site, and is now receiving treatment in a villa in Hyangsan County following his procedure.
This is contradicted by (Reuters) South Korea says North Korean leader Kim not gravely ill.
Kim Jong Un is age 37, unusually youthful for a bypass. The procedure is, with high probability, balloon angioplasty, perhaps combined with stent placement. Although these are very popular procedures, whether they improve long term survival over purely medical treatment has been questioned by some studies.
A common complication of these procedures occurs when small pieces of arterial plaque break free, lodging in small blood vessels of the brain. The resulting ischemia causes brain damage, from slight “brain fog”, to apparent, to severe.
This scenario would explain the divergences of the CNN and Reuters sources:
- It may have originally appeared critical, with danger to life receding after treatment with clot busters.
- Mild cognitive impairment, or motor problems would be hidden as long as possible by those who derive power from Kim.
- Cognitive impairment risks the crumbling of Kim’s personal power structure. Those who derive power from Kim are motivated to extreme measures of concealment, even a body double.
In some cases, rulers with mild cognitive impairment remain in office because of the lack of a consensus replacement. King Salman of Saudi Arabia is said to have Alzheimer’s. From (Wikipedia) Salman of Saudi Arabia:
In August 2010, Salman underwent spinal surgery in the United States and remained out of the kingdom for recovery. He has had one stroke and despite receiving physiotherapy; his left arm does not work as well as his right. Salman also suffers from mild dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s.…
US intelligence officials believe that King Salman has been kept apart from his wife Princess Fahda bint Falah Al Hathleen for several years, on the orders of their son Prince Mohammad bin Salman. …
Yet up to the recent, Salman is credited in the media with command authority. With little or no open source contradiction, this indicates a system of ruling legitimacy that “splints” the incompetent.
António de Oliveira Salazar, dictator of Portugal from 1932 to 1968, had an incapacitating stroke that resulted in his immediate removal from office. He lived until 1970. He became lucid during this interval. Out of popular respect, he was never told he had been removed from office. He died in this illusion.
Fate has smiled on Salman and Salazar. But the power of neither was based on Mao’s claim, that Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. As the authentic heir to a Stalinist state, Kim Jong un believes this. If Mao was right, then so was Matthew: Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.
The estimate now follows:
- If Kim has sustained even mild cognitive impairment, his power structure will crumble, and he will be disposed of.
- U.S. policy towards North Korea should take into account Kim’s short life expectancy. The waiting game can win.