A recent topic of conversation in my American Government class has been whether a leader should be allowed to fill important advisory positions with relatives and old friends without regard to actual proficiency in the field. Originally, this topic was debating the appointments made by the current POTUS, Donald Trump. Things like putting his son-in-law in charge of coordinating the efforts for peace in the Middle East amongst his other duties alongside his wife, Donald’s daughter, another high-profile Trump advisor. When that promotion came to light, it wasn’t the first time President Trump’s motivations had come into question and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. Another Trump Administration example being the appointment of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of the Department of Education despite her general lack of experience in the educational administration field and well-documented bias in favor of ineffective charter schools – of which she has financial ties. These power moves in Washington D.C. have culminated in Americans seeing political consolidation everywhere. However, there are recent examples where it’s plainly obvious.
Kim Yo Jong – younger sister to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un – was promoted to a high ranking position sometime before the ruling party’s summit in late 2017. (If that sounded familiar, I would ask you read the third sentence of this post again.) No one is yet sure of what exactly this could mean for the governmental policies and foreign affairs in regards to North Korea, but some have speculated that recent cooperation between North and South Korea, such as with the upcoming Olympics, is a good sign for the direction the regime is taking. However, most agree that enough time has yet to pass between her appointment and any major action taken to determine her exact stance on any one issue. Truthfully, Yo Jong has been a member of the regime’s political dealings for many years, though never in a position this high. Though, that is exactly what is causing concern. Other associates of Jong Un who have filled these positions in the past have been swiftly executed upon being deemed a threat to Jong Un’s control. Yo Jong has had a lifetime to build a rapport with her brother, but what does that really mean? Could his sister be a figurehead meant only to fill a seat or does she wield more power than we know?