Hardliners Target Dtente with North Korea

The Bush administration’s approach to North Korea was once quite consistent with its overall foreign policy. There was name-calling, a preference for regime change, and an emphasis on military solutions. Not surprisingly, then, the relationship between the United States and North Korea, like so many other tense stand-offs, deteriorated over the last seven years. The United States accused the third member of the “axis of evil” of money-laundering, missile sales, and a secret program for the production of nuclear material. For its part, North Korea responded tit for tat at the rhetorical level. And, in October 2006, it upped the ante by exploding a nuclear device. If the United States were not tied up in other military conflicts, and eyeing Iran to boot, a war in Northeast Asia might have been higher on the administration’s to-do list.

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