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Lundi, 19 Décembre 2011 23:18

Nukes, Missiles and Porn: Kim Jong-Il?s Awful Legacy

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North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il is dead. He leaves behind an inexperienced twentysomething son as his successor, as well as nervous questions about the future of the violent Stalinist regime. But can anyone truly replace the Dear Leader?

It'll be a tough job for anyone trying to fill his platform shoes. Kim consistently frustrated adversaries and allies alike with his mercurial ways. He tested nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in bids to shake down the United States for aid. He sold dangerous weapons tech to whichever rogue regime was buying. And toward the end of his life, he brought the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war by having his son attack South Korea in order to burnish his future military credentials.

Check out some of the more infamous moments that punctuated Kim's life, from his ballistic fireworks over Japan to his hard-charging, porn-hoarding lifestyle.

In the late 1990s, Kim Jong-il gave the United States and its East Asian allies a scare by testing a Taepodong-1 ballistic missile over Japan. The three-stage missile was supposed to launch a satellite into orbit, but it flopped. The third stage of the rocket carrying the satellite ripped apart in the air over Pacific Ocean, despite North Korea's claims of success. But the incident still spooked the Japanese, who subsequently signed on to start researching the Theater Wide Defense missile shield project with the U.S. Navy. And it touched off a wave of panic in the U.S. about the North's missile proliferation.

Since then, North Korea has kept lighting off missiles whenever it's feeling anxious or wants to squeeze concessions out of the United States and the region. Subsequent tests haven't fared much better than that 1998 attempt. A 2006 Taepodong-2 exploded in the air shortly after launch and another fired in 2009 failed to get its satellite into orbit. On Monday, North Korea saluted the Dear Leader's passing with another missile test, letting the U.S. and its regional allies know it would keep up the North's traditional belligerence in his absence.

Nukes, Missiles and Porn: Kim Jong-Il?s Awful LegacyAdam Rawnsley is a former think-tanker and contributor to Danger Room who writes about terrorists, pirates and associated bad guys.
Follow @arawnsley on Twitter.

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French (Fr)English (United Kingdom)

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