When former U.S. President George W. Bush famously denounced North Korea as a member of his "axis of evil", he made sure to make special mention of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. Yet despite having enemies on all sides, the man managed to keep an iron grip on his country.
That man is now dead. North Korean TV reported that the mercurial and enigmatic leader, has died of heart failure on Dec 17 at that age of 69.
Despite his death, there is no rejoicing in Seoul, Tokyo or Washington. South Korea's stock market, the Kospi, dived nearly 5% on the news. The reason is that although Kim has often been ridiculed in the media, he was also a man who had made North Korea into a country that worries the rest of the world. North Korea has the world’s 5th biggest army and managed to get their hands on nuclear weapons.
No one talk about regime change for North Korea.
The bottom-line is this; if he is mad, then there is a method to his madness. Kim Jong Il may be enigmatic and ruthless but he was also highly intelligent and the iron man of a nuclear country. Considering how young (and weak) his successor, the twenty-something Kim Jong Un, is…there may come a time in the future when we wish Kim Jong Il was still at the helm of North Korea.