“The news of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il’s death is akin to a beautifully wrapped holiday present: It’s full of promise, but might turn out to be a huge disappointment,” writes Heritage’s Peter Brookes. (New York Post)

John Bolton writes that there is no guarantee the North Korean military will accept another hereditary ruler. (Wall Street Journal)

CSIS’ Victor Cha: “North Korea as we know it is over. Whether it comes apart in the next few weeks or over several months, the regime will not be able to hold together after the untimely death of its leader, Kim Jong-il. How America responds — and, perhaps even more important, how America responds to how China responds — will determine whether the region moves toward greater stability or falls into conflict.” (New York Times)

“[Ron] Paul’s supporters love to talk about how he was a lone voice of dissent. They never explain why he was alone in his dissent. Why couldn’t he convince even his ideologically sympathetic colleagues? Why is there no Ron Paul caucus?” (LA Times)

Mitt Romney’s tax troubles. (AEI)

Congress is trying to improve on its transparency grades. (Cato)

If America is the battleground, nobody has any rights. (Washington Examiner)

Daniel Pipes suggests that with the Iraq withdrawal, Iran has a place in the presidential elections. (National Review)

“Strangely, the president seemed absolutely opposed to a compromise that would promote the very construction jobs he claims to favor. “Any effort to try to tie Keystone to the payroll tax cut, I will reject,” he said. “The reason is because the payroll tax cut is something House Republicans and Senate Republicans should want to do regardless of any other issues.” The only logical explanation for Mr. Obama’s continuous opposition to constructing XL is that he thinks it’s a bad idea. With that in mind, let’s judge the pipeline on its merits,” write CEI’s Iain Murray and David Bier. (Washington Times)