FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: North Korea and the Bomb

The Long Road to Pyongyang

Army personnel gather at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea.  (KCNA KCNA/Courtesy Reuters)

At first glance, the outcome of the North Korean nuclear standoff might appear to be a positive one for the United States. Under the February 2007 nuclear deal negotiated by the Bush administration, North Korea will freeze its main nuclear reactor, at Yongbyon, and allow the return of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors. The agreement also reawakens the slender hope that Pyongyang is on the road to nuclear disarmament.

More broadly, Bush officials have pointed to the outcome of the North Korean saga as evidence that the administration has defied -- or, as some would have it, never deserved -- its caricature as a bellicose, preemption-obsessed neoconservative clique. After the initial confrontation over North Korea's nuclear program, the diplomacy quickly assumed a multilateral dimension and never lost it. Japan has been a valued partner of the administration, its voice influential on North Korea policy; China was fully engaged. Outright military

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