Kim Jong-Il a 'Pigmy', 'Tyrant' US Will Miss

Like a good dictator, he kept N. Korea's nukes in check
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2008 3:59 PM CDT
In this Korean Central News Agency's undated photo released Aug. 14, 2008 by Korea News Service in Tokyo, North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il, left, inspects women troops.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Bush administration felt a pending bittersweet goodbye when news leaked that North Korea's Kim Jong-Il likely had a stroke last month, the New York Times reports. True, officials had called Kim a "tyrant" and a "pigmy," but they knew he kept close tabs on his nation's nuclear arsenal. Now North Korea, like Pakistan, is a volatile country without a dictator to keep its nukes in check.

US intelligence officials are reshuffling their nuclear deterrence plans, fearing that groups in nations like North Korea may seize nukes during times of upheaval. But a Harvard prof disagrees, saying it "is very difficult for me to imagine someone arriving at a North Korean facility with guns blazing and emerging with a nuclear weapon." One bit of good news: North Korea only has enough plutonium to make about a dozen nuclear weapons.