Monday, July 13, 2009

Reports of His Pending Demise

Our latest column at looks at potential succession scenarios in North Korea--and the limits of our medical intelligence. A South Korean broadcast report--picked up by Reuters--suggests that Kim Jong-il has pancreatic cancer. Patients with that disease (typically) live only three to six months after diagnosis, meaning the DPRK could have a new leader by the end of this year.

But it may be premature to write Kim Jong-il's obituary. Juding by past examples, medical intelligence on foreign leaders is often bad, and reports about the North Korean dictator may prove inaccurate as well.


Ed Rasimus said...

Wasn't pancreatic cancer the diagnosis of Justice Ginsberg about four years ago? We've got good medical intel on her, but still can't get it right.

The recent photos of Dear Leader, however, seem to improve the credibility of the report. He looks bad.

Ken Prescott said...

This news just breaks my (expletive deleted) heart.

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lgude said...

I would speculate that the Army is really in power in NK - not unlike Zimbabwe - and that the demise of the leader may not bring about much change. At least I wouldn't be counting on it.

Storms24 said...

Could it be that recent NK posturing is in preparation for this leadership change?

Nancy Reyes said...

Maybe so, but Kim's most recent photos suggest cachexia...

He's usually chubby, and one doubts the weight loss was from his diabetes.