Sunday, June 05, 2005
What would Kim gain by doing so? First, he could use the impending catastrophe to squeeze more aid out of Western countries. Already, donor nations suspect that, like dictators before, Kim reroutes the aid to his military and political leadership while leaving the peasants to starve. Aid donations have tailed off significantly over the past year because of the lack of verification on their use, and that may be causing Kim some problems with his military. Even more sinister, reports coming from Pyongyang noted that Kim faced unprecedented criticism in the streets of the capital, although it remained mostly anonymous. A series of incidents, including a massive explosion at a train station, has analysts wondering if Kim may be facing significantly organized opposition for the first time in his life. Emptying the cities may not have anything to do with a bad harvest or food shortages, but may be a defensive measure designed to keep his enemies from banding together to topple his regime.