Monday, 19 December 2011

2011: A Bad Year for Bad Men - Kim Jong-il joins Bin Laden & Gaddafi. Who's next?

Back in May here in my blog, I commented on how 2011 was turning out to be a bad year for bad men on the news that Bosnian Serb Military Commander Ratko Mladic had been arrested by his own Serbian authorities.

As I said at the time...
"After Osama Bin Laden's capture and death at the hand of US forces, Bosnian Serb Military Commander Ratko Mladic has been arrested by his own Serbian authorities and awaits a probable extradition to the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague.
"With Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi under extreme siege from NATO forces in Tripoli and with long-standing leaders in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Syria either out of office or struggling under severe local unrest to go that way, it has been an extraordinary 2011 for those who have been seen to use their powers for wrong".
When I wrote that post, little could I have realised that the names would keep on falling.

Gaddafi's recent fall was the most graphic depiction of a tyrant being stripped of his overwhelming power by his own people.

By contrast, today's news that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has died, supposedly of a heart attack whilst on the train, does not have the visual depiction of an end of a dictator's reign as those of Gaddafi or Osama Bin Laden or earlier, Saddam Hussein.

But it is nevertheless another incredible event that has seen the death of another of the world's most tyrannical leaders in this year, 2011.

North Korea's secretive ways and it's nuclear threat has made it one of the last outposts of a Cold War that came to an end a generation ago. Since succeeding his father in 1994, Kim Jong-il has done little to bring his nation back in from the cold. With his death, there is a mutual hope and fear for what is an unknown future in one of the most unstable corners of the world. In what direction will his little known 3rd son Kim Jong-un lead his nation no-one knows. He was educated in Switzerland, is 27 years old and was only unveiled as his father's chosen successor last year.

These are volatile times and for long-standing dictators, an increasinly worrying one.

Who's next? Mugabe? Assad? Castro?

There's still 12 days to go before we move into 2012 but one thing is certain, the world is a very different place to the one of December 2010.

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