This paper argues DPRK instability narratives that the Kim regime will collapse like the Soviet bloc are misguided and that US foreign policy founded upon them has at times led to a 'wait and see' approach sometimes referred to as strategic patience. One source of instability narratives, hereditary succession in North Korea, has occurred twice successfully, with leaders choosing their successor and being invested in their succession in a way that may not occur if the successor were not family. By comparing Kim Il Sung and Mao Ze Dong's succession attempts, this paper hypothesizes that the longer time a successor has to consolidate power prior to succession, herein referred to as the "power incubation period" (PIP), the more likely their regime's survival. This contributes to both the literature on authoritarian regime succession and foreign policy towards those regimes by demonstrating that the temporal aspect of regime consolidation takes place both before and after succession and that in cases of hereditary succession, the perceptional variant of family ties allows for a longer PIP prior to succession.
II. Literature Review
IV. Perceptional Variants: Upbringing
V. Perceptional Variants: Family and Fatherhood
Ⅵ. Kim and Mao's Succession Programs
VII. Perceptional Variants and the Successor's Dilemma
VIII. Conclusion and Implications