north korea and the bomb
Some random comments on the latest proliferation of the supposedly nonproliferable:
1. The North Korean situation strikes me as different from Iran (or Iraq) in that everyone knows the North Korean Government will eventually collapse, as opposed to Iran which seems poised on several fronts to try to dominate its region. It is, in essence, a hostage situation--bribe us with money and recognition or we will harm our neighbors (and ourselves) even further. Given the lack of support for military action in South Korea, not to mention China, some form of a diplomatic approach seems inevitable, unless or until further outrages.
2. The Korean situation further demonstrates the bankruptcy of the "it's too early/it's too late" approach to nonproliferation. The same people who argue that "Bush lied" about Iraq, because they hadn't yet made enough progress to justify intervention, will now argue (perhaps rightly) that it is too late to take on North Korea because they've already made too much. If you're not willing to risk being too early, you will always find yourself late.
3. One piece of good news is the budding Japan-China rapprochement resulting from the Korean standoff. The current status of Japan, as an economic superpower but political pygmy, has been unsustainable for some time. No one wants to see a return to the 1930s: but a Japan that takes a seat as a global power, with due diplomatic and other recognition, is long overdue, and the Korean situation is likely to make the day that come much sooner.