Kim Jong Un gained power by birthright, and the world is watching as he attempts to rule in his own right.
His grandfather, the “Great Leader”, passed power to his “Dear Leader” son, the erratic, eccentric Kim Jong Il. And he in turn passed power to a third generation Kim, the so-called “Supreme Leader,” not yet 30.
“He is the youngest head of state in the world,” said analyst Patrick Chovanec. “There’s still a lot of debate about how much power he has, whether other family members are in control or the military.”
Before Kim Jong Un is one of the largest armies on the planet. It is a war machine, still fighting a battle from more than half a century ago. They move in lockstep, legs kicking and arms swinging as one, discipline and focus measured in millimeters. A vast arsenal of weapons, missiles and tanks, paid for by the suffering of the people it is primed to defend.
Kim Jong Un may struggle to emerge from the shadows of his father and grandfather, but the gun here looms even larger. As young and green as he is, he knows this much: Without it, his rule and the regime itself will not survive.