Believing anything that North Korean news reports is a dangerous game, but this one appears to be true: Kim Jong Il, monstrous ruler of North Korea, has died. Maybe yesterday. Maybe on a train.

Big question now, what happens next with the totalitarian regime that Kim inherited from his father, and was apparently trying to pass on to one of his sons? And will U.S. diplomats now rush in, as they did during North Korea’s last succession, in 1994, with aid and deals that help shore up the regime during the vulnerable stage of transition? Or will they do the right thing, and look for ways to finally bring down the horrific system which since the late 1940s has enslaved North Koreans and threatened the Free World?