Kim Jong-il, North Korea's elusive dictator, is dead

Kim Jong-il, brutal dictator of North Korea for the past seventeen years, died December 17th.

Kim Jong-il was mocked and ridiculed for his short stature, elevator shoes, and fascination with all things Hollywood. However, US diplomats who met with him, learned to reassess that caricature as he continually surprised them with his political knowledge and dexterity.

Relations between the US and North Korea have teetered on a fragile balance for a very long time as Kim Jong-il pursued the development of nuclear weapons despite coordinated international condemnation and sanctions.

Kim Jong-il, secretive to the end, was 69 or 70 years old.