Relations between Washington and Seoul have never been better. But if the two do not reconcile differences on North Korea and seal the deal on a Free Trade Agreement, the alliance will suffer.
What North Korea hoped to gain from its failed missile launch -- and how Washington can avoid falling into its negotiating trap.
Pundits, academics, and Bush bashers insist that the United States is losing ground in Asia, but they are wrong. The Bush administration's Asia policy has been an unheralded success. Improved relations with China, stronger U.S.-Japanese cooperation, North Korea's gradual nuclear disarmament, and expanding regional alliances have made Asia more prosperous and secure than it has been in decades.
President Bush's condemnation of North Korea as part of the "axis of evil" caused confusion worldwide, as allies and enemies alike tried to discern his administration's constantly shifting policy toward Pyongyang. But there is method to the madness. Look closely, and a consistent strategy emerges: "hawk engagement." Although Bush's team may use tactics seemingly similar to those of Clinton's, the administration wants to engage Kim Jong Il for very different reasons: to set him up for a fall.