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As if global politics weren’t turbulent enough, the Obama administration better start thinking about impending dynastic successions in two different but very dangerous places. Read this Economist article for a brief rundown on Egypt, where dictator Hosni Mubarak is mortally ill and laying the groundwork for a transfer of power to his sun Gamal. Egypt is widely regarded as the most important country in the Middle East, and while Mubarak is no democrat, he has kept the peace with Israel and fought jihadist terror. It’s not only his son jockeying for position, however. The Muslim Brotherhood is an important force in Egyptian politics, and it may make a play to rule if it sees an opportunity. Meanwhile, Egyptian democrats like Ayman Noor and Mohamed El-Baradei are also in the mix.
Then there’s North Korea. Kim Jong-Il’s slave state is on the cusp of meltdown. (Read Barbara Demick’s excellent New Yorker article on Kim’s disastrous November 2009 currency “reform.”) Kim has traveled twice to China in recent months, perhaps introducing his Chinese patrons to his son, Kim Jong-Un. Noko watchers say the elder Kim will designate his son heir at an upcoming party conference. But will the North Korean military, political, and intelligence establishments accept a third Kim as god-king?
The White House has a full foreign-policy plate already. Is it ready for a second helping?