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Meet Kim Han Sol

It's been a very public few days for Kim Jong Il's 16-year-old grandson, Kim Han Sol.

On Friday, the United World College's (UWC) Bosnia-Herzegovina campus, one of 13 UWC international schools globally, announced Kim Han Sol's acceptance. Board chairman David Sutcliffe explained that the decision "understandably generated surprise and comment, some of it critical." But, echoing the school's mission statement, he went on to say that the UWCs "exist in order to cross new frontiers in international education.… The opportunity of taking a first step in bringing North Korea into the international community, through youth, is one to be cherished."

Three days after the UWC announcement, the Korean Daily News discovered what's believed to be Han Sol's Facebook page as well as the page of his father, Kim Jong Il's eldest son, Kim Jong Nam. If it is really him, then one picture shows Han sporting dyed blond hair and posing with a girlfriend. His favorite movie, according to the page, is Love Actually. Notably for the grandson of one of the world's most brutal tyrants, the page includes an encyclopedia definition of democracy. He also reportedly polled his friends on whether they preferred it to communism, as he did.

In this way, Kim Han Sol would resemble his father, whose talk of reform within North Korea (and being caught with a fake passport with the name "Fat Bear" en route to Tokyo Disney Land) cost him his position in line for the throne. Kim Jong Nam has lived in exile in China and Macau since 2001. What's believed to be his own Facebook page criticizes both his father and the North Korean establishment including his half brother, heir apparent Kim Jong Un.

In any event, it doesn't seem like there's much future for Kim Han Sol in the family business.

Photo by Gawker.com

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Does Rick Perry really want to send U.S. troops to Mexico?

It's been superseded in the national media discussion by the controversy over the name of his old hunting spot, but Rick Perry also generated some controversy over the weekend with comments over how he would respond to Mexico's drug violence

“It may require our military in Mexico,” Perry said in answer to a question about the growing threat of drug violence along the southern border. Perry offered no details, and a spokesman, Robert Black, said afterward that sending troops to Mexico would be merely one way of putting an end to the exploding cartel-related violence in the region.

Black said Perry’s intention is to work with the Mexican government, but he declined to specify whether Perry is amenable to sending troops into Mexico with or without the country’s consent.

“If he were president he would do what it takes,” Black said. “The governor said, ‘I’m going to work with the Mexican government to do what’s necessary.’?”

As Brookings Institution scholar Michael O'Hanlon tells the Post, “It’s almost as sensitive as saying U.S. troops should go over the border into Pakistan.… It’s much more likely to cause a breakdown in our relationship with Mexico than make a difference in the drug war.”

One would hope that having met with Mexican presidents in the past, Perry is aware of how unlikely it is that any Mexican government would allow U.S. troops across the border and knows that, in practice, this idea is a non-starter. This isn't the first time Perry has floated this notion, though it hasn't come up much on the campaign trail, and it's possible the governor may be trying to counter the emerging line of attack from Mitt Romney that he's soft on immigration.

Of course, it's one thing for the governor of Texas to engage in some tough-sounding bluster to get the crowd riled up; it's quite different coming from a leading contender for the U.S. presidency. U.S. primary voters may be used to discounting some of the rhetorical excesses of campaign trail rhetoric, but I imagine it's a little more difficult for viewers in Mexico (or Pakistan, or China) to know which statements they should and shouldn't be taking seriously from the possible future leader of the free world.

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